Reptiles lizards amphibian and snakes
These often depict our basic spinal and lower brain reactions, such as fight flight or freeze, reproduction, attraction or repulsion, sex drive, need for food and reaction to pain. This includes the fundamental evolutionary ability to change and the urge to survive – very powerful and ancient processes. Our relationship with the reptile in our dreams, depicts our relatedness to such forces in us, and how we deal with the impulses from the ancient part of our brain. See Animals in your Brain
Modern humans face the difficulty of developing an independent identity and yet keeping a working relationship with the primitive or fundamental parts of their nature, thus maturing and bringing the primitive into an efficiently functioning connection with the present social world. The survival urge at base might be kill or run, but it can be transformed into the ambition that helps an opera singer meet difficulties in career. Also the very primitive has in itself the promise of the future, of new aspects of human consciousness. This is because many extraordinary human functions take place unconsciously – in the realm of the reptile / spine / lower brain / right brain / autonomic nervous system. Being unconscious they are less amenable to our waking will. They function fully only in some fight or flight, survive or die situations. If we begin to touch these with consciousness as we do in dreams, new functions are added to consciousness. See: the dream as extended perception under Esp.
Frog The deeply unconscious psychobiological life processes, that transformed us from a tadpole/sperm, into an air breathing frog/adult – therefore the process of life in general and its wisdom. The enormous information such symbols hold if we explore them gives them their power; meeting with what we find difficult or repulsive in life and ourselves, that if we can accept transforms into personal potential and power – the frog into the prince story. It is often a form of love that transforms the dark sides of oneself, the toad or beast, into something that is life enhancing; a sub-personality, an aspect of one’s character that is usually unconscious, but occasionally shows itself in behaviour. See Clicking On
The frog has also been associated with the power of resurrection and renewal.
Frogs spawn: Sperm, ovum and reproduction. See: sub-personality
gecko Although a gecko is a lizard, and many lizards are not liked or welcome, a gecko is often seen and welcomed in people’s houses. It is a useful creature to have to rid a house of irritating insects. So it could represent feeling or ability to get rid of irritating feelings and thoughts.
There is the possibility that any lizard can represent the unconscious life of the dreamer.
Lizard: Very much the same as snake, except it usually lacks the poisonous aspect; awareness of unconscious or instinctive drives, functions and processes.
Chameleon: Either one’s desire to fade into the background, or adaptability.
Example: ‘My wife and I saw a large lizard on the wall near a banana. It was there to catch the flies. The lizard turned so it was facing away from us – head up the wall. We then were able to see it had large wing like flaps that spread from its head in an inverted V. With amazement we saw on these flaps wonderful pictures, in full colour, of birds. In fleeting thoughts, I wondered if the bird’s ‘paintings’ were to attract birds, or were some form of camouflage. But I felt certain the lizard had ‘painted’ these wonderful pictures with its unconscious art.’ David T.
In the example the banana is both David’s pleasure and sexuality, while the lizard is the creativity emerging from his unconscious through the attention he is giving it – in other words he is looking at the lizard, his instinctive life, through exploring his dreams. See the information about the reptilian brain under brain levels and dreams.
In this next example it can be seen how allowing the influence of the instinctive ‘lizard’ life into awareness is strengthening.
Example: As we were walking something touched my leg or ankle. It was some sort of alien lizard type creature. I realised it had scratched me and thereby put something into my bloodstream. There was slight anxiety about what this would do, but as I stood wondering I could feel some change going on with my hand and wrists. I looked at my right wrist and saw it had become thicker and stronger. It looked really powerful, and I could feel the same sort of change and strength occurring throughout my body. It was like a positive viral attack. As we walked along further the changes deepened. All of us were now changing and metamorphosing, a process we were learning to direct or change in some degree. I remember making my head bullet proof and my body almost armoured with a sort of scaled chitin.
Just after this dream a massive storage heater in my cottage fell on my right foot as I was cleaning it. The pain was awful and a large swelling came up immediately as if the impact had burst a blood vessel or broken bones. It was about two inches across. I thought I had crushed my foot, but was relieved to see I could just about move a couple of toes. The pain was too much to do more. Within an hour and a half all the swelling had gone and the pain was disappearing. By the evening my foot appeared normal apart from small abrasions. This was so amazing I wept to see how my body healed itself so quickly. The next day I went for a long walk with a friend without any pain.
snake It is usually depicting the fight, flight or freeze instinct. It is also an image connected with the force, purpose or energy behind that power of growth and unfolding. It is the force of life, the latent energy or potential within us. It leads us both to growth and death, along with the passionate emotions and urges that drive us so powerfully. That energy, like electricity in a house, can be heat, power, sound or vision, and lies behind all our functions. So in some dreams the snake represents our sexuality; in others the rising of that energy up our body to express as digestion – the intestinal snake – or as the creative or poisonous energy of our emotions and thoughts, even disease. In the throat it becomes the destructive or constructive speech and language – expressed or repressed feelings and speech. In the head it becomes thinking, perception and higher cognition.
Example: Last night, prior to going to sleep I explored the coloured snake dream. When I imagined myself as the snake I clearly felt I had no voice. I could not speak, and my existence was of being impelled by impulse and response to the environment. At its peak this was a very subtle feeling of existing as unconscious life – a living being that finds its way through experience without thought. I felt there was great richness in the snake, but it was still unconscious, so unknown. This was shown by the many colours.
In the destructive aspect the snake represents the poisonous thoughts and emotions that can destroy you. We tend to depict this facet of the snake as biting or attacking us, even though we have ourselves given rise to such poisonous emotions as hate and guilt. Because our thinking and emotions are an expression of our life energy, you are capable of directing the creative force of life toward self-destruction. As an example of this, a dreamer exploring her snake dream saw that it represented her flight or fight instincts. This linked with her aggressive and protective feelings in connection with the way men had acted with her. The problem was that the snake was in a poisonous, strangling and killing mode. This, she realised, showed how she had withheld, strangled, her anger about what had happened, and that anger was turned inward, poisoning or strangling her flow of full life.
The opposite is also true. The power of life and death can be directed creatively. Then the snake is seen in its healing role in dreams, and in ancient times was shown in the form of the staff with two snakes coiling up it – caduceus – still used today as a symbol of the medical profession. See: energy emotions mind.
The Hebrew word for the serpent in the Garden of Eden is Nahash. The snake can represent many different things, but usually the energy that expresses as our life processes. If we think of a person’s life from conception to death, we see a flowing moving event, similar in many ways to the speeded-up films of a seed growing into a plant, flowering and dying.
A crowned or light encircled snake: When our ‘blind impulses’ our instinctive or unconscious urges and functions are in some measure integrated with our conscious will and insight, this is seen as the crowned snake or even winged snake. It shows real self-awareness and maturity.
In coils of snake: Feeling bound in the ‘blind impulses’ or habitual drives and feeling responses. Instincts and habits can be redirected, as illustrated by Hercules labours.
Sitting on snake: Mastery of the instinctive nature and transformation and the making conscious of the wisdom and power resident in the unconscious.
Snake biting oneself: Unconscious worries about our health, frustrated sexual impulse, our emotions turned against ourselves as when internalised aggression poisons us causing very real illness, so may be shown as the biting snake. It may also suggest an influence in one’s life – the venom – that takes away one’s identity and perhaps opens one to a life beyond self, the spirit.
Snake biting others: Biting remarks; a poisonous tongue; emotional energy turned against oneself or someone else.
Snake coiling up tree, pole, cross: The blind instinctive forces of life emerging into conscious experience – in other words the essence of human experience with its involvement in pain, pleasure, time and eternity; the process of personal growth or evolution; healing because personal growth often moves us beyond old attitudes or situations that led to inner tension or even sickness.
Snake coiled around you crushing you: The way you are caught up and constricted in your own or other people’s emotions. Being crushed by emotions, fears; struggling with powerful emotions and urges.
The statue is of Laocoõn and his sons.
Snake Colours – Green: Our internal life process directed – perhaps through satisfied feelings, love and creativity – into a healing process or one that leads to our personal growth and positive change.
White: Eternal aspect of our life process, or becoming conscious of it.
Blue: Religious feelings or coldness in relations.
Snake in connection with any hole: Sexual relatedness.
Snake in the grass: Sense or intuition of talk behind your back; danger; sneakiness.
Snake with tail in its mouth: Sense of the circle of life – birth, growth, reproduction, ageing, death, rebirth; the eternal.
The Africans believed the dream of a snake round the leg signified slavery, while the dream of a dragon round the body is a symbol of bondage in Artemidorus.
Example: ‘A small snake about a foot long had dropped down my shirt neck. I could feel it on the left side of my neck. Fearing it was poisonous and might bite me I moved very slowly. At one point I put my head on the ground, hoping the snake would wish to crawl away. It did not. Then I was near an elephant I loved, and hoped it would remove the snake. It did not. Even as I slept I felt the snake was an expression of the attitude of not sharing myself with anybody except family.’ David T.
or months prior to the above dream David had experienced a great deal of neck pain. After discussing the dream with his wife, and realising much of his thinking and feeling was in-turned, the pain disappeared. So the snake was both ‘poisoner’ and ‘healer’ representing the power of David’s negative and introverted emotions and thoughts on his body. This may be why snakes are used as a symbol of the medical profession.
Example: ‘I was in a huge cathedral, the mother church. I wanted to go to the toilet/gents. As I held my penis to urinate it became a snake and reached down to the urinal to drink. It was thirsty. I struggled with it, pulling it away from the unclean liquid. Still holding it I walked to a basin and gave it pure water to drink.’ Bill A.
Here the connection between snake and sexuality is obvious. But the snake is not just Bill’s penis. It is the direction his sexual urges take him that he is struggling with. Out of his sense of love and connection with Life – the cathedral – he wants to lift his drive toward something that will not leave him with a sense of uncleanness. In this sense a snake might be something one wrestled with, depicting the wrestle one has with inner drives and hungers, especially sexuality or anger.
Snake raising you: This suggest that as a baby, and perhaps afterwards, you were easy and in tune with your very basic life lessons and instincts.
Example: Dreamt that a snake – a huge python — had raised me. I had the sense that it had cradled me in its coils when I was a baby, and that it had taught me without words how to survive. This was a sort of jungle/life wisdom.
See: brain levels and dreams; colours; anxiety dreams; death and rebirth, the self under archetypes; Greece (ancient) dream beliefs; snake in cellar under house and buildings; hypnosis and dreams; jungle; paralysis.
toad Deeply unconscious drives and processes, such as the biological activities to do with intestines and cells, so what we might feel squeamish about – might therefore connect with abortion; the power of life in us; a cold blooded or ugly part of ourselves. See: frog in this section above.
tortoise Our vulnerable feelings or hurts that hide behind a defensive shell – perhaps of shyness, introversion or withdrawal – could be anger; in ancient China the tortoise represented the cold dark of North and death. See also: crab; shell; snail; shell fish under fish and sea creatures.
turtle There are so many different sizes of turtles it is difficult to be specific, but turtles are creatures that can live under water and also on land. They also have a protective shell they can withdraw into, and these are probably the main points your dream uses to depict something of yourself. So this part of your dream may link with deeply inner feelings or even vulnerabilities that are surfacing or being felt at present.
Useful Questions and Hints:
Am I feeling vulnerable at the moment, and if so what about?
Are there ways I withdraw sometimes, and in what way do I do that?
What am I feeling deep within me?