Snake Meaning and Symbolism

What Does a Snake (or Serpent) Symbolize

Dreaded by many, a snake is a symbol of rebirth, shrewdness, patience, intellect, fertility, longevity, vigilance, eternity, protection, rejuvenation, intuition, enigma, and splendor. A ground-dwelling animal, it suggests you stay grounded despite any changing situation in your life.

A Dead Snake represents good health, luxury, and abundant wealth.

As Your Spirit Animal (Totem Animal)

If a snake happens to be your totem guide, it means you have a natural ability to strike a balance. As a result, you maintain diplomacy in your day-to-day dealings without getting judgmental.

During any discussion, you know how to articulate your points, making everyone believe you without any question.

Flexible and dynamic, you encourage good thoughts and support others’ decisions. For this reason, people consider you as a mentor for their personal growth.

An epitome of duality, you are frank and act boldly most often, but may turn subtle and secretive all of a sudden. Those who don’t know you may misconstrue your actions.

You seek success and abundance in your life, utilizing every opportunity that comes your way.

Snake Symbolism Spirit Animal Dream

When a Snake Crosses Your Path

A serpent crossing your path suggests you be patient during your period of struggle for reaching your goals.

Dreaming About Snakes

If you have recurring dreams about serpents, it means you are feeling threatened by someone powerful and influential. Whether seeing a snake is good or bad may depend on their actions in your dream.

A dream where you are bitten by a snake is a sign of abusive remarks made by you against others. If it bites your left hand or leg, it signifies financial loss. On the other hand, a snake biting someone else, such as your dog or a friend, could indicate that you are out of danger.

Snakes chasing/following you, or coming to attack you in a dream symbolize your unwillingness to adjust with certain people.

Dreaming of killing snakes represents your strong character that is helping to overcome difficulties. Burning them may signify self-realization and enlightenment.

Seeing snakes anywhere in your house, including your kitchen is a warning for you to take immediate action about a particular event occurring in your waking life.

If you spot them in or under the bed, even pillow, it justifies your desire for physical intimacy. Likewise, sleeping with snakes has the same meaning.

A snake leaving or running away from you marks separation and heartbreak.

Snakes in water or river may refer to your hidden emotions and passions. Seeing them underwater might represent peace and tranquility.

A snake moving through grass means that you want to minimize social interactions.

A winged serpent or a flying snake is a representation of love and societal bond.

A curled up or coiled snake implies economic concerns.

A friendly snake playing with you in a dream means that you are firm about your decisions.

Snakes shedding their skin are an interpretation of your successful growth.

A snake hatching or giving birth to babies means new ideas are coming to your mind.

If a snake has wrapped around your body, including your neck, back, arms, and legs in your dream, it symbolizes frustration caused due to too many restrictions in your waking life.

Witnessing a snake under your skin signals you to understand your spiritual aspects.

Eating or swallowing snakes in a dream suggests that you are trying to stay happy and contented. However, a snake eating itself or a cat or kitten represents profitable business.

Swimming with a snake in your dream could suggest that you want to go with the flow without taking tension.

While catching a snake may indicate good luck with money, holding or handling it in a dream is a symbol of failure.

Fighting with a serpent in your dream is a way of protesting against change. If it fights with a lion, such a dream symbolizes virtue, essence, and artistry.

Hunting a snake in a dream divulges tricks that are used against your rivals to deceive them, whereas just sighting it means that you are trying your best to broaden your mentality.

A dream where you are kissing or licking a snake implies that you are losing interest in your work.

Getting a snake as a gift in you dream marks acceptance and hospitality.

A snake coming out of your body or mouth and crawling over you foretells illness and worries. On the contrary, snake entering your body is a sign of wish fulfillment.

A snake on your head testifies your strong influence over authorities.

Having dreams about colorful snakes may mean that you have vibrant energies within yourself, not recognized until now.

A big/giant/large snake symbolizes a ruthless person you can’t stand in your waking life.

Finding a hissing snake in your dream tells about your sacrifices for others.

Seeing baby snakes mean that you want to stay aloof about the dangers in your life. Similarly, a headless snake holds the same meaning.

A poisonous snake represents emotional healing whereas one spitting venom could point to a person bringing negative vibes in your life.

Dreaming about dead snakes signifies temptation, sin, and hatred.

Dreaming of snakes at night or early morning during pregnancy is a sign of motherhood. Hugging them ensures the birth of a baby boy. However, being pregnant with snakes may be a sign of insecurity.

Eggs of snakes in the nest may symbolize productivity and rebirth.

A dream about a snake ring announces death and devastation.

Dreams with snakes with other animals like spiders or bats reveal that you are getting into too many complications.

An eagle carrying a snake symbolizes that somebody would soon meet you and bring joy.

Two snakes in a dream mean the lack of trust and understanding in your relationships.

Three snakes could point at your problems with communication.

The head of a snake predicts that your enemies will surrender soon.

The eyes of a snake symbolize intellectual awareness.

The tongue of a snake advises you to stop lying and be honest.

Different Types of Snakes in Dreams

A python showing up in your dream symbolizes the constriction and confinement you are feeling about a certain relationship.

A cobra suggests that somebody’s charm spellbinds you.

A viper snake may bring positive news to your life.

Snakes in Various Colors

A yellow snake represents betrayal and timidity.

A green snake is associated with earth and nature.

Seeing a black snake may refer to disagreement with friends or acquaintances. If two black ones appear, it refers to annoyance.

Although a red snake appearing in your dream indicates danger ahead, it will come along with wealth and prosperity.

To dream of a white snake promises a new beginning in your life. However, a black and white snake is a symbol of sadness.

A blue snake may carry a religious significance.

A dream with a purple/violet snake might reflect your lack of power.

A brown snake symbolizes independence and playfulness.

A silver snake featuring in your dream means betterment in your career.

A golden snake is a symbol of beauty, royalty, and opulence.

Snakes in Unusual Forms in a Dream

A two-headed snake (often a green one) reflects your conflicting views about someone.

A three-headed snake (white in most dreams) is a sign of vitality and strength.

A four-headed snake denotes mental stability and hard work.

A five-headed snake represents spontaneity and courage.

A six-headed snake is indicative of unity and perfection.

A seven-headed snake may imply that you will soon encounter domestic bliss.

An eight-headed snake promises material gains.

A snake with legs is an urge for support and love.

Cultural Significance of Snakes in a Dream

In Islamic beliefs, snakes coming in a dream are not interpreted as a good omen as they might symbolize enmity, theft, and personal loss.

In Hinduism, a snake biting you could mean spiritual cleansing and detachment from the materialistic world. On Nag Panchami, having such a dream is believed by the Tamilians to be auspicious.

As per Christian and other Western beliefs, dreaming about it discloses your temptation for doing something evil.

In Chinese culture, snake transforming into a dragon denotes a desire to be powerful and wealthy.

Dreams with snakes are related to wisdom and commitment as believed by Native American tribes.

Spiritual Meaning in Different Cultures and Religions

In Native American Culture

Among the aboriginal tribes, a snake is considered to be a powerful spirit animal whose skin was used before for making medicine bags. According to some folktales, a person breaking any rule or law within the community would be punished by getting bitten by a serpent. Garter snakes symbolize jealousy and cruelty. The Mayan tribes worshipped the snake deity, Kukulkan.

In Hinduism

In their rituals and traditions, snakes define divinity, eternity, and materiality. Lord Shiva, a Hindu God whose neck is coiled three times with a snake, represents creation, preservation, and destruction. The sacred thread of Lord Ganesha is shown as a snake. Therefore, different Hindu sects revere it like other deities. According to some superstitions, death due to a snake bite will give misery in the next birth.

In Hindu villages, snake charmers/wranglers were often called to hypnotize snakes who invaded somebody’s house.

In Egyptian Culture

A stylized, upright form of an Egyptian cobra, Uraeus represents sovereignty, royalty, and holiness in ancient Egypt. It also symbolizes the Goddess Minoan whom the natives worshipped.

In Christianity and Catholicism

A serpent is considered to be an agent of Satan from a biblical perspective. In fact, it has often been used as an instrument to curse animals. In the Gospel of John, Lord Jesus had made mention of the Mosaic serpent while talking about his crucifixion to a Jewish teacher. It was also the chosen image for the cross. In Hebrew Bible, a snake symbolizes an evildoer who was responsible for the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

In Mexican Culture

Here, a snake is an emblem of transition, renewal, honor, and humanity. In the coat of arms of Mexico, a golden eagle perched on a prickly pear eating a rattlesnake is depicted. Also, in Mexican mythology, a snake and skull/ bones represent a message of impermanence. In the famous British Museum, there is an Aztec sculpture of a double-headed serpent.

In Israel Culture

In the Soloman’s temple, there was a brazen serpent admired by the people of Israel until Hezekiah ruined it into pieces.

In Wiccan Culture

Pagans worship the serpent as a goddess who lives in both heaven and earth to bring the two worlds closer. Sometimes, it is associated with Kundalini, the feminine spiritual energy.

In African Culture

In African mythology, the worship of pythons is a fertility cult. Disrespecting or killing them was considered a punishable offense. In Haitian Vodou, the sky father, loa Damballa, is illustrated as a snake while his wife, Ayida-Weddo, represents a rainbow serpent that holds up the sky.

In Greek Mythology

When the Greek forces were attacked by the Trojans, all witnessed a hawk carrying a snake. A similar incident took place when the Greek ships were targeted even though Polydamas had warned Hector before.

The alchemists created an Infinity symbol in the shape of a circle called Ouroboros which was a snake that ate its own tail.

In Spanish Culture

In one of their novels, Die Unendliche Geschicte (The Neverending Story), a group of snakes are biting each other shown as an amulet called Auryn.

In Shamanism

It was a shamanic custom to inject the blood of a serpent into an infected human body for practicing black magic, witchcraft, and other occult tricks.

In Buddhism

Various statues in Thailand where Buddha is depicted in a meditation pose have a Naga snake protecting it from rain and storm.

In Chinese Culture

One of the zodiac signs, the snake was initially referred to as the Little Dragon, also called Fire Serpent in Tibet, who comes out of its hibernation on the third day of the third month of the Chinese lunar calendar. In Feng Shui, wearing a snake bracelet or other jewelry might bring good luck.

In Celtic Culture

A hybrid figure of a snake and a dragon was associated with the horned deity Cernunnos and the torque collar, a sign of supremacy and status. At the same time, the serpent was related to the dragon responsible for healing pools and springs.

In Japanese Culture

The Snake, called Hebi in Japanese is a traditional tattoo that can either be evil or good, having a strong association with life and death.

In Korean Culture

The wealth Goddess, Eobshin, has often appeared as an eared black snake. In Jeju Pungtorok, killing snakes is an ill omen since they eat pests and rats, guarding farms.

Why is there a Snake on the Medical Symbol

Many health organizations, hospitals, and ambulances in the United States of America use a symbol of a short stick/pole entwined by double snakes with wings at the top, called the caduceus, representing the Olympian God Hermes who was a messenger between the Gods and humans. Since he was a helper of travelers, the connection with the medical field is apt as long back doctors would walk far to see patients. Coiled around the staff, the serpents signify healing and balanced harmony.

Meaning of Snake on the Pharmacy Symbol

In the pharmacy profession, the Bowl of Hygieia portrays a snake twisted around a bowl or cup. As Hygieia was the Greek Goddess of health and hygiene, the use of the logo holds great significance.

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