What does it mean when you dream about snakes?
Dreams about snakes are actually quite common, and in fact are among the most common types of animal dreams.
Below, we take a look at all aspects of snake dreams: from their meaning to their history, as well as their role in different cultures.
What you will learn in this article:
- 1 The most popular themes in dreams about snakes
- 2 The 8 most frequent symbols in a snake dream
- 3 What does it mean to dream about snakes? Interpreting your snake dream
- 4 What does dreaming about snakes mean if they appear suddenly?
- 5 Snake dreams throughout history seen as negative
- 6 The 16 most common types of snake dream
- 6.1 1. What if the snake is shedding its skin?
- 6.2 2. What about a snake hurting or challenging me in my dream?
- 6.3 3. What about a dream of snakes in water?
- 6.4 4. What does it mean if I am being chased by a snake in my dream?
- 6.5 5. But what if I was (not) running away from the snake?
- 6.6 6. A snake in a house, versus outside: what does that mean?
- 6.7 7. What if you dream of a poisonous snake?
- 6.8 8. What if you dreamed of eating a snake?
- 6.9 9. What if it’s an adult snake?
- 6.10 10. What does it mean to dream about being attacked by a snake?
- 6.11 11. A snake bite dream: what does it mean?
- 6.12 12. Holding a snake in my dream: what does it mean?
- 6.13 13. A snake in the car, in your room, or in the bath: what does it mean?
- 6.14 14. What does it mean if I defeat the snake in my dream?
- 6.15 15. What does it mean when snakes are crawling all over your body?
- 6.16 16. Multiple snakes: what do two or more snakes in my dream mean?
- 7 Snake dreams around the world
- 8 What does the type of snake in your dream mean?
- 9 Colors of snakes in dreams
- 10 Conclusion: dreaming about snakes is a rich field of symbolism
- 11 Further reading about snakes in dreams
The most popular themes in dreams about snakes
In general, if you have a dream about a snake, it might be telling you something about an issue that has been troubling or frustrating you.
In some cases, it might be a sign of self-sabotage and how it’s holding you back in other areas of your life. Likewise, a snake in your dream might then be a symbol of something you are avoiding.
But the snake can also represent something good: regeneration.
It may also suggest that the situation is not what it seems and that there’s more to discover beneath the surface.
If we think about snakes as being wise, then they can show us how to deal with things in life like fear or anger.
Likewise, if the type of snake that you’re dreaming about is known for poisoning its prey, this dream could stand for poison — be it a toxic person or situation, or even jealousy.
The 8 most frequent symbols in a snake dream
There’s no doubt that dreaming about snakes can be scary for some people, especially those who have had very traumatic experiences involving snakes.
But this section of the article shows that the “meanings” of these serpentine dream symbols are quite wide-ranging.
- Temptation: The snake is often seen as an image representing sin.
- Wisdom: Sometimes a snake in your dream represents wisdom or healing, but this will depend on its coloration or how they are presented.
- The symbolism can also stand for rebirth — in other words, your life needs renewal.
- Snakes are symbols of strength or courage. They’re are often depicted with their heads up high — not looking down at the ground like most other animals.
- A snake also moves without making any noise which means there is no warning before an attack; these qualities show some level of confidence, power and agility.
- For most people, snakes are a symbol of danger. You may want to watch your step, or you might be walking right into the snake’s trap. The snake is an animal that has been feared for centuries and it can have negative connotations in dreams as well. It may represent malicious people, from friends to foes, who are circling around you and your life.
- However, this does not mean that dreams about snakes always turn out bad — there are exceptions when having a serpent in your dream symbolizes something positive; from regeneration to strength or courage.
- If the snake is alive and moving, then it could symbolize transformation such as a change of lifestyle. If we’re afraid enough to want to challenge them (in our dream), this may symbolize our anger at how someone has hurt us.
How did we arrive at these snake dream explanations?
We looked into common interpretations given by psychoanalysts and psychologists who have written books about dreaming; some say that seeing many snakes in a dream may indicate that you are afraid of change.
Below are more interpretations regarding dreaming about snakes, and what it could mean for your situation.
What does it mean to dream about snakes? Interpreting your snake dream
Snakes in your dreams may indicate change, or frightful things in your life.
They may be a warning that you are going to experience some changes in your future life.
Below are some ways by which you can find out what seeing snakes in dreams means.
Analyze your dream, and think about your attitude and notions while dreaming: who was in the dream, and what was the snake doing in the dream?
Dreaming of snakes goes hand in hand with many different feelings and emotions: powerlessness, fear, envy, or even resentment about others’ success.
You need to find your own personal meaning among the usual meanings, as dreams can mean different things for different people.
What does dreaming about snakes mean if they appear suddenly?
But what does it mean if you dream of snakes all of a sudden, even though you’ve never dreamed about them before?
Dreams about these reptiles could mean anything from regeneration to strength or courage.
If you see a snake while dreaming, then it’s best to take a look at the context of your dream.
Much like a Rorschach blot, a snake can represent life in all its good and bad aspects, and a snake in your dreams might mean that your brain is just trying to figure things out as it processes the memories of the day.
A snake in a dream need not be bad news, much like a real snake bite in waking life need not be fatal.
Snake bites heal, dreams fade away, and as the snake sheds its skin, so too does your subconscious shed memories and traumas from a day’s worth of living.
Snake dreams throughout history seen as negative
In ancient times, snakes were thought to be the guardians of secrets and treasure due to their ability to shed their skin, which symbolized transformation and renewal.
There are many interpretations for what a snake indicates in dreams according to different cultures, but one thing is certain: if you have ever dreamed about snakes, it typically has a negative meaning.
But there are exceptions when such a dream symbolizes something positive, for example regeneration or strength.
You should consult with an expert before interpreting your own dreams, as a trained dream analyst may benefit you more than just telling yourself that “it means that I am going through hard times.”
The 16 most common types of snake dream
Below we look at the 16 most common types of snake dream, and try to shed some light on what they often mean.
1. What if the snake is shedding its skin?
If a snake in a dream begins shedding its skin, this could signify the need to discard an old way of thinking in order to move forward.
It might also mean that you are shedding an old life and adopting a new one.
The snake here represents regeneration.
So, when people keep seeing snakes in their dreams, it means that both parties can regenerate from one stage to another.
This also occurs in nature with reptiles, who can cast off their old skin and grow a new one, or with trees that lose their leaves in autumn before growing them back again in the springtime.
This interpretation for a snake dream often indicates something of a wake-up call: if a person or situation in your life is connected to your recurring snake dream, then pay attention to any meanings that might stand as a symbol of rebirth.
2. What about a snake hurting or challenging me in my dream?
If you are dreaming about a snake attacking, it can mean that there is some aspect of yourself that is in need of attention.
From the way they hunt their prey to the number of snakes one sees on land or in water, this common dream symbolizes danger from within; an internal struggle which, if not dealt with properly, will manifest outwardly.
As for the interpretation of a snake actually hurting you in your snake dream, that could have several different meanings. It could symbolize, for example, your own self-destructive behavior.
3. What about a dream of snakes in water?
The ancient sea serpent is a potent symbol of the unconscious, of the unknown forces that may be lurking in our own psyches or any dark depths.
The sea snake also symbolizes intuition, instinct, and the ability to get much closer to one’s prey.
In dreams of snakes in water, this common dream symbolizes danger, and probably speaks to unknown and dangerous impulses that are surfacing, or to an instinctive fear of water.
4. What does it mean if I am being chased by a snake in my dream?
A recurring theme for those who have had dreams involving snakes chasing them is being afraid.
It’s possible you feel like your life needs renewal. Alternately, being chased by a snake means you’re in need of a “sea change.”
Ultimately, being chased by a snake means you’re in need of a change that can only come from within yourself.
5. But what if I was (not) running away from the snake?
This could be any number of things related to recent major changes in your life and what will happen next.
It also might just mean something bad is happening right now but doesn’t have anything to do with you personally.
It’s possible this dream means that you are afraid because there isn’t much meaning or purpose left in your current situation.
6. A snake in a house, versus outside: what does that mean?
If your dream features an “indoor” snake, then this is likely a warning to beware of the hidden dangers in your life.
Outdoor snakes, on the other hand, often signify that you should take care not to get carried away with future plans or actions.
7. What if you dream of a poisonous snake?
There are more than 3,000 types of snakes in the world, including snakes that are harmless and helpful.
Dreaming of a poisonous snake might be a more serious wake-up call than dreaming of a garter snake.
Just because the snake is poisonous, that doesn’t mean that it’s bad.
If you’re dreaming about a snake that’s actually venomous, then there may well be something that has left you feeling bitter.
8. What if you dreamed of eating a snake?
Eating a snake often means ingesting negative energy from someone else’s mind and emotions.
However, occasionally such an act represents power over these forces by conquering them within oneself rather than allowing them to remain external.
The act of consuming the snake is also a symbol of the desire to get back to a primal state, or to return home.
9. What if it’s an adult snake?
Seeing an adult snake means powerlessness or feeling threatened by someone else’s words.
If the adult person is powerful enough to hurt you, then seeing them might symbolize being scared, or anger at being overpowered.
If they’re less powerful than yourself, this dream can mean envy or resentment over their relative success.
It could also suggest self-doubt about what others think of you, accompanied by worry that you will be betrayed.
10. What does it mean to dream about being attacked by a snake?
If you’re being attacked by a snake, the interpretation is usually made based on how the dreamer feels about themselves.
If they feel powerless and threatened, then it could symbolize fear or anger at someone else’s words; if they don’t feel powerful but are still aware of their situation, this might be envy or resentment over what others see as success
11. A snake bite dream: what does it mean?
Being bitten by a snake in your dream could symbolize a fear of intimacy.
Sometimes, it is the need to confront and conquer one’s own fears.
Depending on the severity, a snake bite could also mean a fear of being harmed, or something in your life that is causing you harm.
Dreaming about being bitten by a snake suggests that you’re feeling vulnerable in your waking life, to the point that your dreams of snakes are connected to your sense of (inner) safety.
The snake bite could indeed be psychologically painful, but that pain might be connected to a new chapter in your life.
12. Holding a snake in my dream: what does it mean?
In many cultures, the snake is seen as a symbol of wisdom or rebirth.
Holding a snake could suggest that you’re facing an important decision, and that you’re waiting for a sign that will help you make up your mind.
The snake could also represent a vital energy that’s just waiting for someone to pick it up and lead them.
13. A snake in the car, in your room, or in the bath: what does it mean?
Seeing a snake slithering about inside your car could represent anxiety: you’re trapped in there, you and the snake, with no obvious way out other than to drive the car.
Seeing a snake inside your bedroom is a common nightmare.
It could represent your fears about personal safety, or it might be a sign that you’re being invaded by something destructive from within (a guilty conscience, for instance).
A snake in your bathroom is likely to make people feel uncomfortable and unwelcome.
If this is happening to you often, then there’s probably some underlying anxiety or guilt issue which needs addressing urgently.
Your subconscious mind may also be telling you not to take risks with money and investments anymore.
14. What does it mean if I defeat the snake in my dream?
Defeating a snake while dreaming could mean you’re ready for some changes.
If you see a snake that’s harmless, such as a garter snake, but still choose to confront it, then maybe you’re feeling guilty about having taken advantage of someone’s kindness or gullibility.
But if you see that same garter snake and let it go, then maybe you’re also ready to start going easy on yourself again after a long guilt spell.
On the other hand, harming a snake like a boa constrictor is a likely sign that you feel you need to free yourself from a “snake” in your waking life who holds you back, or keeps knocking you down.
A boa constrictor in your waking life might be your terrible boss, or your hypercritical relative, or even a “snake” in yourself that you want to shed.
To defeat this source of psychic distress is itself a form of rebirth.
15. What does it mean when snakes are crawling all over your body?
There’s no definite answer to this question, but it might be that such dreams could symbolize feelings of insecurity or vulnerability.
Dreaming about snakes all around you has an underlying meaning of powerlessness; it also symbolizes fear or anger at someone else’s words.
16. Multiple snakes: what do two or more snakes in my dream mean?
When dreaming, two snakes are often a symbol of duality.
It can represent two sides to a story, or even opposite aspects of your own personality — such as the good and bad person that you’re scared to acknowledge inside yourself.
Or maybe a “lost” version of your former self, which in waking life you’re too afraid to think about because of some toxic memories.
Pay attention to any “dreaming symbol” or sign connected to snakes that might tell you just how scared you are of addressing this part of yourself.
More generally, dreaming of multiple snakes in any number indicates that you may feel a need to be more connected to your community; in that sense, dreaming of multiple snakes is a sign that you may need to reach out a little more.
For example: if you see snakes together as opposed to singularly, this may mean an increase in obstacles for you during waking hours but not necessarily at night.
Snake dreams around the world
In almost all cultures snakes can symbolize something negative, such as deceitfulness or a sinister plot.
A snake in your dreams symbolizes protection and power to some — snakes are known for their ability to sense things before they happen, which is why people often use the saying “snake alert” when danger approaches.
The presence of this animal indicates both good luck and bad omens at the same time.
Snakes in the dream-world are not always ominous.
In some cultures, they’re actually symbolic of inner transformation — for example, when the snake helps shed the skin and move on to a new life.
In Buddhism, snakes are thought of as symbols that represent wisdom and enlightenment — they can shed their skin because they have no ego-clinging, which allows them to become enlightened beings.
And in other myths, it’s possible for humans who bravely confront this animal to gain some measure of power over those creatures.
There could be any number of interpretations depending on your culture.
But one thing is certain: there was something going on in your subconscious during that dream time!
What does the type of snake in your dream mean?
Seeing snakes in your dreams all the time and everywhere could mean that you are feeling overwhelmed or that something is suffocating your life.
- A boa constrictor, for example, can indicate that you’re feeling smothered in a relationship.
- On the other hand, seeing a viper when you dream of snakes might be a sign that you’re scared of being “bitten” in waking life by a toxic person, or something in your life that makes you think of metaphorical snake bites.
- Poisonous snakes in a dream: this can mean that something you were expecting didn’t happen as planned. It can also mean that some aspect of ourselves has been lost within us.
If you’re dreaming about a poisonous snake, then perhaps this indicates how someone’s deceitful words have made you feel like they’ve poisoned your hopes and plans. Or even worse yet, caused physical harm through their treachery.
Colors of snakes in dreams
Seeing multiple snakes of any color is often interpreted by traditional culture to indicate good luck. But what about individual colors?
Red snake dreams: Seeing a red snake is usually interpreted as bad luck or that someone close to you has betrayed you.
A red snake is also a symbol of passion, power, and vitality — so if you dream about one, it might be time to take charge or stand up for yourself in order to give your life more energy!
Ultimately, a red snake could be a sign that you need to get more engaged in life.
Black: Seeing black snakes typically symbolizes darkness — it’s an omen from the unconscious mind warning about hidden dangers ahead and impending difficulties.
A black snake is a creature of the night, which can indicate inner gloom and depression — they’re also symbols of negative thoughts such as guilt.
A black snake dream often indicates that our hope has been lost because of something we did.
Green: Dreams of a green snake typically symbolize healing, both physical healing as well as the spiritual variety.
Seeing a green snake while dreaming can also indicate a need for growth, as well as a movement towards greater enlightenment or spiritual awakening.
Dark green often indicates a deeper, more philosophical kind of healing, while lighter shades of green are more about practical healing in the here and now.
Pink: Pink snakes typically symbolize joy, love, and happiness; in fact, pink is often associated with feminine energy.
So seeing a pink snake might even signal a “feminine” aspect of yourself that you’d previously ignored.
Blue snake dream: Dreams about blue snakes usually have positive meanings — they’re symbols for creativity and wisdom to come from within you.
Blue snakes in dreams are a symbol of healing, protection, and communication with the spirit world.
Yellow snake in a dream: Yellow is the color most associated with happiness in all cultures throughout history, so seeing yellow snakes in your dream may signify that you will soon be happy again after going through a difficult time.
It could mean that an issue has been resolved satisfactorily, or that there’s something important ahead related to personal growth.
White snake dreams: White snakes in your dreams usually symbolize a sense of purity.
Dreaming about a snake that’s white may also represent an unspoken truth that you’ve been keeping inside yourself — after all, snakes are symbols of truthfulness.
Conclusion: dreaming about snakes is a rich field of symbolism
Above, we have explored what it means to see snakes in your dreams and how they can be interpreted based on context clues.
We dream about snakes all the time, yet we’re often left in the dark when trying to figure out their meaning.
It’s important to interpret them in the context of your waking life, and not just from a negative perspective.
With this knowledge, you’ll be able to better understand your own dreams and gain new insights about yourself.
Perhaps most important is the knowledge that dreaming about snakes is not necessarily a sign that things are going wrong, and it doesn’t always represent a negative meaning.
Thus, after exploring the significance of snakes and their appearances in the dream world, we can conclude that they’re rich symbols with deep meanings, which is why interpreting them should be done carefully.
Further reading about snakes in dreams
- To learn more about dream interpretation in general, this Wikipedia page is a helpful resource.
- If you’re interested in the role of snakes in history, the page explains them all, from the Garden of Eden to St. Patrick and beyond.
- And if you’re trying to identify a snake you saw in your dream, this page can get you started.
Other posts about dreams:
- What do dreams of being pregnant mean?
- What does it mean if you dream about someone?
- What does it mean if you have dreams about teeth falling out?
- Dreaming of water might mean we want renewal and cleansing.
- Why do you dream about losing your hair?
- What does dreaming about bees mean? Bee dreams range across the whole spectrum of common dream scenarios.