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Snake

It is usually depicting the fight or flight 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. The ancient civilisation of the South Americas, saw the snake as a messenger of the gods. And it can be if we relate to it well, because it represents the force of Life in us – surely worth listening to!

The snake can bite you, and its venom may flow throughout your being and kill you. Most of us are very frightened of this. The reason being that the venom will take away your personal sense of self – it faces you with the death of yourself. It melts the boundary of egoic self-interest, and personal connections with family and children, with choices in action. It replaces the personal interests and fears with a self that is part of the one great life. So the fear of the snake is not because its venom is deadly, but because it transforms. It turns you into a being who is part of the whole. It robs one of the artificial walls placed between self and the collective pool of life consciousness.

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.

The ancient civilisation of the South Americas, saw the snake as a messenger of the gods. And it can be if we relate to it well, because it represents the force of Life in us – surely worth listening to!

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. The snake depicts the force, purpose or energy behind that movement. It is the force of life, the latent energy or potential within us – that leads us both to growth and death, along with the passionate emotions and urges that drive us so powerfully

In the destructive aspect the snake represents the poisonous thoughts and emotions that can destroy you; the awful things we do to ourselves, to Life in us. 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: energysex dreams.

Example: Dreamt I was on the side of a very steep hill. So steep I could only just hold on. It was very rounded and grassy. I was near the top clinging to the grass. There seemed to be many snakes, lizards and needs, about. Occasionally one would leap at me and bounce of my coat. I took care to keep my hands covered. There was a woman, who seemed to be something like a secretary, who was advising me. I was then in a wood. There seemed to be a lot of apprehension and fear. Some robbers had stolen my pony. The fear went when I realised that there was no need to walk through a swampy area of the wood. Only the robbers, or rough types knew the way through. I turned to the right out of the wood.

In exploring his dream this is what he received – The dream shows you bringing your love to the crown. The dream was the way of sorting out your problems over sinking or rising. You can reach the highest either way. Sinking is the way of letting go. This was represented by the swamp. The way of bringing love to the crown is the way of rising. The hill represents your present situation. The clinging means you try too hard. There is no need to bring so much effort. The snakes represents your lower powers trying to break into consciousness. These must be directed to the crown. These are the forces which help you break through. They stimulate you to rise. The woman is love giving you advice. Love will direct your efforts. The part where you walk through the wood means you look for life through delving within. The swamp is swamping my consciousness. Your consciousness must live, not drown, in the deep waters of life. This can be achieved only by bringing unification to those urges seen as the brigands. These and the snakes are much the same. Your soul must live without division. When the soul brings union within itself, so it achieved union in the whole. This way is a way of love.

It doesn’t matter that your dream snake bites you – after all it is an aspect of you, and the only poison you will meet is the poisonous emotions you have been injecting into yourself – and they need to be felt to clear them out. See Our Reptilian Brain

The snake can shed its skin, and so symbolises self transcendence, rebirth.

The alchemists put a gold crown on its head, symbolising expanded or spiritual consciousness arising from the same energy as sexuality. Often a diadem, gem, or light is at its brow symbolising the possibility of expanded consciousness, or awareness of the eternal nature, and life in eternity. Christ is sometimes depicted as a crucified serpent, suggesting the mystery of Life nailed to physical awareness of the senses. See: Reptile.

Example: I just woke up from a bad dream. I saw that I was in a car without a driver and I was sitting on a snake which I could not see but only slightly feel under me. I was afraid that the snake might bite me because of the bumps during the car drive. And then it does bite me. It was painless but I felt blood oozing out of my tummy. Then suddenly I saw a stranger in the driver’s seat who was a lady whom I don’t know. And I am just praying her to drive me to the hospital and she refuses to drive. I was spooked big time and I am on the internet now. Came across your website. I hope I can find an answer. Please help me.

The snake is your dream snake and should not be confuse with an actual snake. It is your basic energy, like electricity in your house, and as such can be expressed in any number of ways. This links with the car, another form of energy, expressed as a way of getting where you want. But the snake energy you are sitting on, not knowing how to direct it, yet you can feel it wriggling at the base of your trunk. You are scared of what this energy will express as if you allow it, but sitting on it is not good, because your thoughts and feelings, your imagination are the way we direct this energy. And what did you do, you felt fear it would bite you, and that is where you directed it. Fortunately you were not scared enough to direct it to inject you with the poison of your own fear. But it did cause an energy leak that you realised you needed help with.

The Hebrew word for the serpent in the Garden of Eden is Nahash. And to be understood we have to understand that Hebrew is a sign language, one that each letter of the alphabet had a particular meaning. And there  is no indication in the ancient  Hebrew that this was a snake. It has been translated as snake because the  original meaning was lost. It can be seen as a divine force that expressed in seven levels or ways – so much like the ancient symbol as it was understood by older  cultures. For full explanation see Hebrew Translation.

 

Example: A dream told me by a woman I met in Mexico. She said that she dreamt a large snake was crawling up the bed and then bit her on her left breast. She said she then tried to suck out the poison.In the destructive aspect the snake represents the poisonous thoughts and emotions that can destroy us. We tend to depict this snake biting or attacking us, even though we have ourselves given rise to such poisonous emotions as hate and guilt. Because our life energy flows into thinking and emotions, we are in this way directing the creative force of life. Directing it negatively has the power to bring illness and death, for we are dealing with the power of life and death itself.

I asked her to explore the dream by imaging herself as the snake, feeling it biting her. The result was that a story unfolded. She had felt, rightly or wrongly, that her husband had been unfaithful, and she had felt bitter and revengeful. But instead of expressing those feelings they had turned inwards and poisoned her, leaving her depressed. So the snake was an image of her poison biting her and poisoning her life. So do not be afraid of a snake biting you. It is not dangerous. The dangerous part is avoiding the bite, because the poison stays in you unmet.

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.

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.

For 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. The Mother Church was a form of initiation into a much wider view of spiritual beliefs. It came about because his sexual drive was directed more upwards rather than out of his genitals.

Example: “Tony taught me a process in which a dream could be interpreted and understood by assuming that everything, people and objects alike, in a dream represented aspects of the Self. Sitting cross-legged on the squishy, old-fashioned sofa in the living room of my sadhu’s cave opposite Tony, I’d close my eyes and mentally return to a dream I had the previous night.

So if I dreamt about a tree, I would ‘become’ the tree, assume its personality and respond from its viewpoint. He’d ask ‘So what kind of tree are you? Are you big or small, old or young? What do you look like? Where are you growing? Why are you in Tiziana’s dream?’  This sounded like a silly exercise at first, but I was soon enough convinced of its validity.

Other dreams taught me about my psychological and emotional processes, such as in one dream, in which I was in a dark forest with a female friend. We hid behind a felled tree. From our path towards the left, we saw a big black snake approaching. It was absolutely enormous and had no head. We were exhilarated and scared. Next, a badger walked past. Then, to our wonder, a gang of wolves came by. In my consequent interpretation I saw that the headless snake stood for `my sexuality and my often ‘headless’, raw desires. The badger signified my illusions that needed to be ‘killed’ and transformed by the pack of wolves, who represented my growth and evolution. Although painful, my intuition – symbolized by the female friend – knew that I had to go through the fear and ‘be killed’ in order to grow.

Overall, together with the practice of LifeStream the dream work helped me to retrieve and untangle many clues and memories that were buried deep in my unconscious.” See http://dreamhawk.com/approaches-to-being/lifes-little-secrets/

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.

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.

Unfortunately, as Jung points out in Man and His Symbols, people in modern society, whether black, yellow, brown or white, have lost their sense of nature and the cosmos as being anything other than processes without consciousness or living feeling. Jung says, ‘No river contains a spirit, no tree is the life principle of a man, no snake the embodiment of wisdom…No voice now speaks to man from stones, plants, and animals, nor does he speak to them believing they can hear.’

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 you: 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 ones life – the venom – that takes away ones identity and perhaps opens one to a life beyond self, the spirit.

Example: I realised as I explored my dream of being bitten by the snake I had thought about this a lot already and that losing ones identity meant in this case not being tied to ones family so rigidly, no longer relating to people as if from a single fixed gender, also there is the possibility of getting insight into the person you are meeting more fully, because the artificial barriers of gender, family ties, nationality and creed have been dropped. These barriers prevent us from actually knowing each other very fully in everyday life, and are operative in most of us without our realising it.

As I think about this I wonder whether this is part of the way we create identity. It appears to be made from many sources. For instance the family physical – DNA – inheritance plays a very great part, as does the information of behaviour repertoire handed to us when young. The cultural patterning given with language shapes our mind, and the chemical importance is also being seen lately. All of these produce the person we call I. Yet the ‘I’ is capable of being radically shifted, simply by taking a drug or medicine. This often reshapes the way we see ourselves, so an evolution in the process of identity building has occurred. Identity in the end is not a set of beliefs or behaviours. The I is not limited to these. See Programmed

So as I faced this part of the session I wondered what I would be saying goodbye to if I allowed myself to be bitten by the serpent and its poison transform me. I felt that although I would lose my old connection with my family I would bring them a lot more than in the past because my being would itself be much larger and connected. I saw this as if I were living in a courtyard, and that courtyard was my family life, my work life, and was made up of my sympathetic connections with my children and the powerful bonds that led me to favour them over others. If these bonds dissolved they would no longer be favoured above others out of the same powerful ties. The ties would dissolve, but of course they would still be people I had a lot of connections with because of friendship and common goals, etc. So I would relate to them out of something other than family feelings. We would be drawn together or pushed apart out of the same influences that attracted or repulsed in general.

I felt then that I did want to be bitten by the snake. I trusted the larger life. I want my life to have connections with it and my actions to flow out of these wider connections.

At one point it was like being shown something. On my computer I have a small program to do my accounts on. I take a lot of time putting information into this program to keep my accounts straight. It was as if the wider life said to me, “You don’t need to all the time look after your own affairs in this individual way. There is a wider life in which the ‘accounts’ program is built-in. Every action you do, every interaction is recorded automatically, and so you no longer need a personal piece of software”.

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 peoples emotions. Being crushed by emotions, fears; struggling with powerful emotions and urges.

Snake ColoursGreen: 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.

Useful questions and hints:

What is happening with my dream snake, and what is the significance to me personally?

What does this indicate about the way I am direction my life energy?

Is this depicting my life energy expressing some positive potential or healing

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Comments

-Felicity 2016-09-24 1:50:02

Hi. I was wondering if you could help me with interpret my dream. My dream was I was sleeping outside, on the grass and I woke up with a snake on my left arm. It was coiling on me and I tried to resist. It was about to eat myhand, I thought that the snake doesn’t intend to eat my arm and it thought that my hand was shaped like a meat so I opened my palm and the snake stopped on attempting to eat it. Then came a guy, holding a butcher’s knife. Killed the snake, and butchered it.

P.S I am really afraid of snakes, and this is the first time I had this kind of dream.

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    -Tony Crisp 2016-09-26 9:07:13

    Felicity – Whenever we dream its images are not like real life, because a dream is nothing like outer life where things could hurt you, but is an image like on a cinema screen that even if a gun is pointed at you and fired it can do no damage – except if you run in fear; so all the things that scare you are simply your own fears projected onto the screen of your sleeping mind.

    So your dream was a way of meeting a wonderful life force that is part of you. But because we all tend to see our dreams as the same as waking life, so you felt fear and you killed the snake. True it is best to be careful in dealing with snakes in waking life, but in dreams everything stands for parts of you. So if you feel like it you can create a different ending by using http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/secrets-power-dreaming/

    Tony

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      -T 2016-10-09 17:13:42

      Tony, thank you for this amazing page and your brilliant writings.

      Maybe you can help me interpret a snake dream I had, and the first I can remember with this animal.

      In my dream I was in a bed and like Felicity felt something going past my right arm. I rose my head and torso in fear and realized it was a snake, who seemed to be going past me. It rose as well and stared at me, it was a dark snake that looked like a cobra, no hissing, no sound, just a long stare and my heart beating like crazy. I continued to feel panic. Then the snake slid out of the bed in serpentine motion and I only saw and heard a rattle in the end.

      I woke up and when I went back to sleep somehow resumed the dream, or some form of it. I was with a friend in an art class trying to draw the snake, but I couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried or how much help I got.

      Reply

-Newt 2016-10-27 5:16:03

Hi, insightful interpretations, thought dreaming of a snake was bad. I would love your interpretation on this dream. I had a brown tree snake in my hands holding its head and draining its vernom, am in east Africa so its a foreign species never seen it, i drained about a quarter of a cup walking i met a stranger who had a rabbit, the venom spilled and touched him, he went into a coma i had to let go of this snake to save him, i flagged a vehicle coincidentally an ambulance, they asked which type of snake had bitten him and i showed them, saw the snake eating the rabbit but not as a snake would, but rather how a dog tears the fresh, they went and i started hunting the snake to capture it again. Scene changed to a room wit close friends en family eating supper, i was scared to step on the floor else i be bitten however had two metal rods to hold it down, moved from corner to corner but couldn’t catch it, it kept escaping and my friends were not scared, just ate supper and let me jump from chair to chair, snake was under the chairs it got dark and i couldn’t see the snake, shining a flashlight on it made it escape… Woke up not having captured it

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    -Tony Crisp 2016-10-28 10:02:06

    Newt – You, “thought dreaming of a snake was bad.” That is because most people writing about dreams mix up fear people feel with the dreams meaning. See http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/brain-levels-and-dreams/

    Another thing you should know is that whenever we dream its images are not like real life, because a dream is nothing like outer life where things could hurt you, but is an image like on a cinema screen, so that even if a gun is pointed at you and fired it can do no damage – except if you run in fear; so, all the things that scare you are simply your own fears projected onto the screen of your sleeping mind.

    All the images, people, animals, places we see in our dreams, are simply your own feelings, fears, hopes and wonder projected onto the screen of your sleeping mind as images. So, it makes sense to take the image of your dream person, thing or animal back into you and own it. In that way, you are actually meeting and dealing with the things about yourself you are not owning or conscious of. That is why dreams are often difficult to understand, because we are hiding things from ourselves. To do this you can use http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/acting-on-your-dream/#BeingPerson

    So your dream shows you draining the venom – your own negative feelings – yet you are still frightened – more venom which leads to more fear.

    The light is your focussed self awareness, which manages to get the fear out if you, but it is better to take the creature into you.

    Tony

    Reply

-Jen 2016-10-30 15:50:22

I’ve been having recurring dreams that little colorful snakes the size of a pencil are biting me. They latch into my shins and my forearms as I try and kick and swat them away. They aren’t poisonous but I bleed and am hurt. My two children are often next to me in the dreams and think it’s funny because I’m scared of snakes yet don’t understand that I’m protecting them from getting hurt. In one dream I am outside on a lawn and in others I’m in my house. One in particular I’m cuddling with the kids and a little red snake bites my shin and I have to pull it off. After I pull the snake off I always hold it by the tail and wack its head On a hard surface to ensure it’s dead.

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    -Tony Crisp 2016-11-01 8:56:59

    Jen – The only thing you are protecting is not your children, but your fears. Because, whenever we dream its images are not like real life, because a dream is nothing like outer life where things could hurt you, but is an image like on a cinema screen, so that even if a gun is pointed at you and fired it can do no damage – except if you run in fear; so, all the things that scare you are simply your own fears projected onto the screen of your sleeping mind.

    Example: In my dream, I was watching a fern grow. It was small but opened very rapidly. As I watched I became aware that the fern was an image representing a process occurring within myself, one I grew increasingly aware of as I watched. Then I was fully lucid in my dream and realised that my dream, perhaps any dream, was an expression in images of actual events occurring unconsciously in myself. I felt enormous excitement, as if I were witnessing something of great importance.

    The small snakes are actually processes going on within you, and killing them is killing parts of you. In fact, you are carrying fears that are relevant to your outer life and using them negatively within yourself.

    Try taking them into you and watching what happens when using http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/acting-on-your-dream/#BeingPerson

    Tony

    Reply

-Joebert 2016-11-16 4:20:27

I had a dream just last night, I remember my dog was carrying a baby snake but it was slim and really long about 4 feet. I then grabbed it around it’s neck so it wouldn’t bite me. I thought I had proper grip on it but it still bit me multiple times then I grabbed it by it’s head my thumb on top and my other fingers below the jaw. Then, it died. As I dropped the snake, a large tooth was stuck on to my thumb which I thought doesn’t make sense because when did snakes get teeth underneath their heads. Like I said my thumb was pinning on the snakes head, when I dropped the snake a tooth pierced and got stuck on my thumb. I then removed it immediately, I felt like the venom went to my brain and not my hands. Then, I told my family to get me to the hospital. But none of them were really taking action. I thought I was gonna die cause a green snake bit me. Minutes passed no one still took me to the hospital or called an ambulance. Then, in a room at our house I saw my ex bestfriend who betrayed me months ago.

I don’t really know the meaning behind this because I have been told that when you dream about snakes, someone is going to betray you. But that betrayal happened to me months ago. Why would I dream about snakes now? Please help on this. Thanks!

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-Veronica 2016-12-02 3:27:43

I had a dream of a snake in my bedroom on the floor next to my bed. My two boys were siting on the bed and I was standing trying to capture it or kill it with a broom. At one point I think the snake bite me on the arm and bite my oldest son on his leg. I have no idea what this means.

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-Shraddha 2016-12-03 22:39:44

I had a dream of very artistic snakes.There were two snakes. Me and my friend went there. I was looking at snake very happily as they were too good. After sometime snake started constantly hitting on my neck from it’s tail and i was trying to keep it at distance. So i was taking out his tail from my neck. But after i woke up i am feeking some kind of pain on my neck.Can u interpret??

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-Jessica 2016-12-04 15:23:21

Hi, I had a dream the other night that I was a snake handler and I was doing inventory on the snakes when i realized one of them was missing. It was a bright red snake with dark red stripes, and in my files it was known to be the most venomous and deadliest I owned. I didnt feel scared i just figured he’d show up sooner or later . So I went to the fridgerator for something to eat and when i opened it, there was the snake just staring at me. Still, I wasn’t startled when i reached to grab him. He struck at me and bit my thumb on my left hand….and thats when i panicked lol i ran all over the house to find somebody to take me to the hospital and told everybody what happened but they were so nonchalant about it. But the venom wasnt even killing me I jus thought it would cause my files said so and when i finally got in the car to take my own self to the hospital, thats when I woke up. Please help, dream is way too vivid, i need answers lol

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