A snake is regarded as one of the most ancient and well regarded mythological characters among a variety of cultures. Since these reptiles are known to shed their skin on a regular basis, it is widely believed that they represent rebirth, transformation, or positive growth. Snakes have also been compared to symbolizing a temptress, god, repressed sexual energy, or even knowledge and wisdom. It is said that every human being on the planet has, at some point, has a snake in dream, and hence there are multiple connotations in each culture to try and interpret what exactly these serpents signify or indicate or the exact meaning of a snake dream.
We will now look at the interpretations of the meaning of seeing a snake in dream according to various religions and cultures.
It is a well-known fact that snakes are revered and feared in the Hindu religion. Naga or cobra is a symbol that needs no introduction in the religion and is often associated with Lord Shiva. It is said that the cobra around Shiva’s neck is the symbolism of his control over malignant forces. Along these lines, if an individual has a dream about catching a snake, it is said to be a symbol of victory over the dark forces in his/her life.
A coiled serpent resting at the base of the spine is said to be symbolic of the kundalini, also known as the spiritual energy that rests at the base of the spine. In this case, dreaming of a snake could signify that the individual’s kundalini is finally taking shape and coming back to life. In Hinduism, this awakening has great spiritual meaning referring to wisdom and fertility, which implies balance among the chaos of the cosmos.
In other interpretations, the snake bite dream is considered a symbol of good fortune, whereas killing one signifies impending misfortune. Further, looking at a large and lengthy snake in one’s dream could be a warning of possible misfortune, while witnessing a snake coming out of a body part could mean the body part will suffer from physical discomfort in the near future. The Swapna Shastra (Hindu interpretation of dreams) says that any dreams about snakes only indicate positivity. For example, if a snake bites a person it means an ailment will be cured. Also, if an individual dream about eating or chewing a snake, it speaks of the possibility of having children or coming into a large portion of wealth.
Despite all the positive symbolisms, not every Hindu interpretation of snakes has a good outcome. Spiritual leader and Vedanta yoga guru the late Swami Shivanand interpreted snakes as sly and dangerous, hence seeing them in a dream often meant that someone was plotting to harm the individual. Snakes are present even in Hindu astrological charts and usually signify something negative.
Christianity’s understanding of snakes is quite the opposite of what Hinduism interprets. In Christianity, it is understood that snakes are malicious creatures, and dreaming about them brings about an air of negative vibes.
To understand the reasoning behind this, we need to go back to the Bible and the story of how it was a snake that tempted Adam and Eve to take a bite of the apple in the Garden of Eden. In this instance, the snake is a pawn of Satan and seduces Adam and Eve to go against the wishes of god. Considering the snake was against god, Christianity believes that snakes are usually bearers of misery. Seeing a snake in dream is understood to be a warning about an individual trying to cause harm or a warning that bad times are around the corner. Dreaming of a snake bite usually signifies deception or a revelation of deep dark secrets. Christianity associates the snake with deception, death, negativity et cetera.
Another stark contrast to Hinduism’s beliefs is Christianity’s interpretation of killing a snake in dream. It is Christianity’s belief that this act signifies something positive wherein a person will overcome recent struggles and troubles. This, of course, stems from the fact that unlike Hinduism, in which snakes are worshipped, Christianity views serpents like the devil’s henchmen. This is famously seen in the image of the Virgin Mary where her foot is on the head of a snake indicating that she has conquered her desires.
Islam: It is not surprising that Islam’s interpretation of snakes in dream is much like Christianity’s considering the similarities the two religions share even with a holy book (Quran and Old Testament). Considering snakes are thought to be evil by Islam, dreaming about them is said to bring negativity to the individual and their surroundings. Islamic mystic and interpreter of dreams Ibn Sirin considered snakes as the enemy, therefore dreaming about them signified that a person was not being a good Muslim. Interestingly, Islam also interprets the other way. For example, if a snake is swallowing someone, it is said that great riches await them. Conversely, if a snake is speaking to an individual in a dream then it is said that the individual will suffer at the hand of his enemies. The overall theme of Islam’s interpretation of snakes is negative and always discusses the possibilities of catastrophic life events.
The Greeks have a rather two-sided theory on snakes. Considering they are a civilization that has thrived on prophecies and understanding various symbolism, they interpret dreams as warning signs and signifying the possibility of good times. Early representation of snakes by the Greeks was through Hermes, who is depicted as a staff with two snakes intertwined, interestingly the modern-day symbol for medicine. This is possibly taken from Asclepius – the Greek god of medicine. Greeks believe that dreaming of snakes signifies a process of healing. Also, capturing a snake in a dream signifies victory, an interpretation that comes from the story of Hercules defeating a snake.
Snakes also form a harmful Greek tradition in which Medusa – who can turn people to stone with her stare — is shown with snakes on her head instead of hair. This could signify a warning of death but there is a positive understanding as well since Medusa is the Greek symbol of feminine wisdom. In this light, dreaming of snakes could mean gaining knowledge.
Egyptian and Roman: The Egyptian goddesses are often depicted wearing crowns with cobras on them. Going by this symbolism, dreams about snakes are considered positive and symbols of wisdom and immortality.
Romans believed snakes to be guardian spirits and dreams about the same signify hope and an assurance that there is a force that is there to protect the individual.
There is no negative belief of snakes in Chinese tradition. The Chinese understand snakes as mysterious, yet wise creatures. They also believe that snakes have abundant healing properties. Going by this, it is a firm belief that dreaming about snakes is a positive sign. ZhouGong’s Dream Dictionary is what the Chinese use to interpret their dreams. The book states that if a woman is holding a snake she is bound to get pregnant soon. There also plenty of other symbolic dreams that show the relationship between snakes and other animals like cats and dragons – all of which signify positive outcomes for the individual.