Snakes in dreams: what does it mean? – Screen Shot
Deep Dives Level Up Newsletters Saved Articles Challenges

Snakes in dreams: what does it mean?

What does it mean when you dream about snakes?

Have you recently had a dream (or many) where snakes appeared? Did you wonder what it could mean? Usually, when a snake appears in a dream, it indicates that something significant is happening in the unconscious—this can be either dangerous or healing, negative or positive. So what are the different meanings of dreaming about snakes? Here’s everything you need to know.

The general meaning of snakes

Snakes are a common dream archetype that typically represents a person in the dreamer’s life who exhibits toxic behaviour. After all, there was a reason that Eve ate the apple that the snake offered her. While snakes in dreams are widely known to have a negative meaning, they can also represent something related to health or healing. In Greek mythology, snakes were associated with healing and medicine. Many cultures associate many different meanings to snakes but regardless of what you imagine the snake might represent, if it appears to you in a dream, you shouldn’t ignore it.

The negative meanings of snakes in dreams

First, let’s start with the negative meanings that snakes in dreams can represent.

Start by thinking about how your dream made you feel. If your dream was terror-inducing, this nightmare is a good indication that your subconscious feels there is a toxic person in your life—an immediate threat. This can mean that their toxic behaviour has reached a point where your subconscious has had it and needs to slap you into attention. If you can’t think of a specific person, you might be dreaming of something else that is toxic. The snake can reflect bad and deceptive behaviour, or even difficult life events. Are you surrounding yourself with something that is poisoning your life, such as bad people, addictive substances, or even doubts and worries? Have a think about that.

Now, if you remember exactly which snake appeared in your dream, this might help you identify a more precise meaning it held.

Did you dream of a boa constrictor?

Nothing in a dream is ever random. A boa constrictor is known for squeezing its prey to death, so dreaming about one can be connected to someone in your life who is causing you to feel constricted or someone who may be squeezing you, financially or emotionally.

Did you dream of a rattlesnake?

When someone gets close to a rattlesnake, the venomous serpent will rattle its tail to warn the threat away. If a rattlesnake appears in your dream, it may be telling you to start paying attention to warning signs a certain person may be displaying.

Different meanings for different colours

The colour of the snake you dreamed of can also mean different things. A white snake can mean that you have a clear mind, you finally know what it is that you want to achieve and what steps you need to take.

A black snake can predict something bad, it symbolises an obstacle you are facing or are about to face. If you dream of a black snake, keep in mind that this might be a sign that you need to avoid anything that could endanger you.

If you dream of a yellow snake, this might be a sign that you are afraid of the unknown.

Where was the snake in your dream?

Detail is key! In your dream, if you came across a snake in your house, well, this means that you should probably be looking for potentially toxic people under your roof. You can also try to think of it more figuratively, meaning that you might be bringing this toxicity home with you.

If you saw a snake outside in your dream, it might be a message that it’s time to get things ‘out in the open’ with this toxic person. In other words, it’s time to speak up!

Snakes can also symbolise male sexual energy—yes, you guessed it, because of their shape. If a snake appeared in one of your sexy dreams, you might simply be attracted to a man in your life.

Snakes in dreams: what does it mean?

Who did the snake bite?

If you dreamt that a snake bit you, then it likely has less to do with others in your life and more to do with you and your health. Ask yourself if there are any health issues that are beginning to get better or an emotional wound that seems to be healing. If not, the snake bite could also signify that you are the victim of someone’s ‘biting’ remarks.

If a snake attacks a loved one in a dream, then that person could be the one dealing with a health or emotional issue. If you don’t think it has anything to do with health, ask yourself if you might be the snake. Have you been spewing venomous words at that person?

Finally, if the snake bit an enemy, then you might be the snake. Dreaming about someone you dislike getting bitten could reflect your desire to take them down with your own remarks.

Were there more than one snake?

The number of snakes that appear in your dream can also hold meaning. Multiple snakes can represent multiple toxic people or a toxic situation that has many facets to it. Alternatively, these could represent multiple health issues or one health issue that has many elements to it. This might also represent the stage of life that you are in, question if you know how to escape whatever is happening to you at the moment, or if you want to.

The positive meanings of snakes in dreams

There still is some hope that your dream might have had a positive meaning. If you dreamed of a harmless species, this may represent someone you were originally cautious about but are now realising is not a threat to you. Furthermore, if you saw a dead snake, this can often indicate that you have overcome an obstacle that made your life difficult. It can predict the end of a difficult situation or liberation from toxic or self-destructive thoughts.

These are common meanings behind snakes that appear in our dreams but don’t forget that each dream has its own personal meaning for each of us. Try to think about how you felt in your dream, remember all the details, places and symbols—then review your own life. After all, snakes in dreams have one main meaning: it is time for you to take care of yourself.

How to lucid dream in easy steps

You don’t have to have superpowers to lucid dream, as much as those who do would like to tell you so. However, it is important to start your practice by knowing that even if you do follow all the steps we give you, and more, you may never experience a lucid dream. We’re here to suggest how to up your chances.

What is lucid dreaming?

First of all, let’s explain what lucid dreaming actually means—it happens during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which occurs in cycles, going deeper and deeper until you fall into a deep sleep. During this phase of consciousness, surprisingly, your mind is almost as awake as when you are actually awake—and it’s also when you’re most likely to dream. To lucid dream is when you realise you’re dreaming but you’re asleep ‘on the outside’. Because you know you’re dreaming, this also means that you can control every aspect of your dreamstate and scape. In other words, anything you can think up comes to life in your dream.

Lucid dreaming has long been a trippy conversation topic, and has sparked inspiration in thousands of artists and writers for many, many years. English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge once wrote that “if a man could pass through paradise in a dream, and have a flower presented to him as a pledge that his soul had really been there, and if he found that flower in his hand when he awoke—Ay! And what then?” What then indeed… Inception here we come.

In order not to go nuts with paranoia, the main goal is to actually decipher when you’re dreaming—when you’re already dreaming. But a tricky part of dreams is that they are built on what we expect to see, in the sense of being awake, which is thoroughly believable when we are not.

Because of this, you’ll need a reality checklist. Here are a few common ideas:

– Look for a clock in your dream, read the time and look away, then read the time again. If it’s different to moments ago, then you’re safely awake and dreaming. Time is distorted when you’re asleep, it can go backwards and forwards and doesn’t make much sense. 

– Read and reread some text, again—your brain is miles ahead of you when it’s dreaming on its own, so if the text changes and you notice it, you’re awake in your dream.

– Look at your hands, or feet. Do they look like how you remember them? The common phrase ‘I know you like the back of my hand’ doesn’t come from nowhere. Your hands will look different in a dream, because unless they are the protagonists of your dream, they won’t matter much to the storyline, and therefore your mind won’t make much of an effort to remember them as they actually are. 

– Toggle the lightswitch, more often than not you’ll be able to see either way if asleep.

Dream researcher Stephen LaBerge most famously explored the realm of this seemingly unattainable reality, and he acknowledged the importance of preparing ourselves before seriously setting out for the experience. He suggested that by becoming more in tune with our dreams, they will become more accustomed to our shaping of them. 

Two things we can do every day is:

– Record your dreams from the previous night. Write down what you dreamt, not only will this be hugely entertaining to read back later in life but it will also trigger a subconscious awareness by paying attention to what was uncontrolled before. 

– Practise your prospective memory. Ask yourself as you are awake, daily ‘Am I dreaming now?’ This will then pop up into your subconscious as part of a habitual response, and therefore into your subconscious.

After you’ve picked whichever preparations and thoughts you wish to implement into your habits, you should also extend that to your surroundings. For example:

– Cosy up, but not too cosy. Include an element of potential disturbance around you. 

– Sleep in an armchair, where you’re comfortable but not comfortable enough to fall into a deep sleep. 

– Depending on how deep a sleeper you are, hold something like a metal plate in your hand, as you fall asleep your hand will drop it—create a noise, you want one that isn’t loud enough to wake you, but loud enough to bump you up a level of consciousness. 

– Sleep in a car or train, bumps in the road will do this and organically keep you on a Phasic REM level of sleep.

If you’re trying to lucid dream but can’t quite grasp the unconscious consciousness, you need to take advantage of restlessness. Let’s set a simple scene when you aren’t in an armchair or car, or prepared at all: when you half wake up in the middle of the night and you aren’t sure if you’re awake or not, it’s dark and disorientating, but you’re tired enough to roll over and close your eyes again and drift back off to sleep. This is a prime time to try lucid dreaming, as you’re already halfway there.

For example, science journalist Jeff Warren came up with his own steps for ‘the big night’. He thinks that lucid dreams are more achievable in the early hours of the morning—on the other side of REM sleep, after deep sleep, as your body is waking up and you’ve had your rest. His steps were:

– To set his alarm four to five hours after he went to bed, with the aim of waking himself up.

– As soon as he woke up, he wrote down his dream, if he was in one, with meticulous detail.

– He then recited to himself ‘The next time I am dreaming, I will recognise that I am dreaming’ he also pictured himself back in his dream, and recited it again. Over and over, until he fell back asleep, expecting the best.

The dream, especially the lucid dream, is an enigma in its right. So our real piece of advice is: try not to become obsessed with the idea of it, and then losing too much sleep in order to tap into a fantasy, at the end of the day reality is far more important. You can also find more information on how to make yourself have a lucid dream on Sleep Advisor.