Snake: Spiritual Meaning, Dream Meaning, Symbolism & More

There are few animals that humans are truly afraid of no matter the circumstance. While the largest creatures could attack and trample us, like Elephants or Moose, we recognize that these instances are rare, mostly due to our own actions, and are likely caused by us encroaching on their territory.

With smaller creatures the fear is due to their abilities, like venomous spiders or wasps, but we can also see that they use their fearsome weapons instinctually and are easy to deal with most of the time.

Yet, Snakes are held with a healthy measure of fear and respect in almost every circumstance we see them in. This is by no means the snake’s fault, they are just doing what they can to survive, but that doesn’t stop us fearing them, and it doesn’t stop them being any less dangerous.

Snake: Spiritual Meaning, Dream Meaning, Symbolism & More

This respect towards snakes has been a feature of human society for a long time, and even when the concept of civilization was nothing more than a whisper in the ears of tribal groups, the subtle hiss of a forked tongue was ever present in the background of our growth as a species.

However, the snake represents so much more than their presence in our lives as venomous predators, they are a conduit of mystical and spiritual energy whose apparent sinister nature belies a patient and transformative spirit that can do as much good as it does harm.

Snake: Symbolism And Meaning

Due to humanity’s long association with snakes, it is only natural that we attach many symbols and meanings to the creature. However, the most prominent are guardianship, healing, and venom. This may come as a surprise to some, as you would not normally associate a dangerous predator as a guardian or a healer, but the snake is considered both.

For guardianship, this comes about because of the snake’s behavior itself. A snake will frequently stand its ground, even against more ferocious creatures, rather than run away instead resorting to an intimidating display and then, when all else fails, fighting.

It has been believed by cultures and peoples for millennia that this nature has also been used by gods and spirits, who put snakes to work guarding sacred places and holy sites from those who seek to commit evil acts.

Venom and healing are odd ones when it comes to the snake as they are believed to be intertwined and deeply connected within the animal itself. The venom of a snake is frequently considered in the same context as the chemicals of fungi and plants, in that it has the power to harm, heal, or create a spiritual experience.

The snake’s knowledge of these things is thought of beyond humanities and being closer to powerful spirits or even gods, rather than a person. It is for this reason that people seek out the snake for consultations, as even if it has the power to destroy you, its vast wisdom and eclectic knowledge could also provide salvation you will find nowhere else.

Black Snake Symbolism

In general, the symbolism behind black snakes is the same as other snakes but taken to the extreme of positive and negative. In the positive, a black snake can be seen as shielding or containing, it is no longer just guarding, but actively taking steps to ensure the safety of whatever it protects.

Should you see a black snake in your life or dreams, and you feel a positive or protective energy from it, take heed, it is trying to protect you from something in your life. In the negative, a black snake can be seen as death, pain, or oppression, it is no longer healing or poisoning, only destroying.

Should you see a black snake in your life or dreams and feel negative or harmful energy, there may be a powerful or dangerous force threatening your life, and you should take steps to protect yourself.

Snake: Spiritual Meaning, Dream Meaning, Symbolism & More

Snake: Spirit Animal

If a snake appears before you as a spirit animal, then it is best to heed its advice for it is a deliberate animal and every action it takes is with a purpose in mind. It is an animal that lives by its observant nature and has a constant awareness of its surroundings.

Every slither of its body, every flick of its forked tongue, every coil of its tail, is an action that takes into account its surroundings and helps it decide which course should be taken. It will help you take the steady course through the obstacles you face, but always with a calm and collected mentality even in the face of complete chaos.

The snake also appears when transformation or change needs to happen. It’s ability to shed its skin and move forward with a new, more durable hide is something to be admired, as stripping away at bad habits, poor choices, unhealthy relationships, and unnecessary pain is something that humans find difficult to do.

Our empathy is a blessing and a curse, as sometimes it buries our self-worth under an avalanche of anxiety, trauma, and regret. A snake knows when to leave the things that cause us trouble behind, and it will guide you on the best course to do this, helping you achieve a happier and more fulfilled existence.

Its healing properties are defined in more ways than one, as it knows venom and venomous actions better than anyone, and it can help you let go of hate and bitterness if you follow its advice. 

Snake: Totem Animal

Those born under the snake totem are a boon to themselves and those who they choose to help. They are deeply in touch with the spirits around them and know about the mystic arts instinctively. The healing powers they possess are second to none and are unexplainable, being able to treat illness and disease as if they were born to do it.

A snake person may appear secretive and somewhat prickly, but it is because they see the world for what it truly is, a dangerous place, and seek to protect themselves from it. Nonetheless, when their love is given, it remains in the soul, and they will protect that person with their lives.

People of the snake totem are grounded and remain calm through the turbulent changes in their own lives and in the world around them, even if they must change a small or significant part of themselves, they will remain stoic and unfazed by it all, unflinching.

Finally, snake people are aware of people’s flaws and the necessity of moving forward. They understand true forgiveness and seek to hold no bitterness in their heart, yet they will not forget slights of great magnitude and once their trust is broken, it is very hard to get it back.

Snake: Power Animal

When you call on the snake as your power animal, there is only one thing on your mind. Your goals will only be achieved by a singular focus and the snake can provide that focus for you. No matter what that goal is, the snake will help you achieve it.

It is patient, willing to lay down plans that can take years to come to fruition, it is mindful, incorporating most everything into what it has planned, and it is calm, no matter what issues or upheavals may come, the snake is unemotional in the face of it, only thinking what needs to be changed for your plan to progress.

This focus, this drive can be passed onto you, its power becoming your power, its focus becoming your focus, this unrelenting march forward towards a singular goal becoming yours.

Snake: Spiritual Meaning, Dream Meaning, Symbolism & More

Snake: Native American Symbolism

The cultures of the native people of America have a special relationship with the snake, many of these cultures have snakes in their mythologies as beings of great power or as rivals to the gods themselves. A notable example is Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent god of the Aztec peoples of Mexico.

Quetzalcoatl was the patron god of the priesthood and the god of learning and knowledge, it occupied one of the most important positions of the Aztec pantheon, with its name having an allegorical meaning beyond the literal one that meant ‘the wisest of men’. In fact, snakes were often thought of as a bridge between worlds in Mesoamerican culture, and they were adored on many temples and city’s buildings in reverence to them.

In tribes further north, like the Hopi or the Natchez, the rattlesnake was worshiped, being considered a king of all snakes and able to affect storms as it saw fit.

Snake: Christian Symbolism

The snake has a mixed reputation in the Christian world, even in the same testaments its reputation and actions change from positive to negative. A snake’s first action in the Bible is to convince Eve to eat an apple from the tree of knowledge, despite God’s warning.

Although this is stated to be Satan as a snake in Revelations, in the original Book of Genesis the snake is only a snake that is somewhat of a trickster, seeking deception for unknown purposes.

When the bible reaches the book of Exodus, the snake has gained a more positive reputation. In this book, Moses transforms his staff into a snake and back again to symbolize his and his people’s defiance of the Pharaoh and their gods.

Later on, Moses was said to have made a copper snake that he placed on a pole, any person who was bitten by this snake when they perceived it as brass would be healed. As such, the snake becomes a symbol for healing and salvation, which is later referenced by Jesus in the New Testament when he speaks of Moses.

Snake: Spiritual Meaning, Dream Meaning, Symbolism & More

Far Eastern Snake Symbolic Meaning

Many far eastern cultures and peoples have a deep and appreciative respect for snakes. In Han Chinese culture, snakes often appear as incredible beings that are unlike any real snake, instead they regularly have human body parts as well as snake ones or have magical abilities beyond the realm of human comprehension, like shape-shifting.

Two important figures that stand out among the thousands of snakes or snake-like beings in Chinese mythology are Fuxi and Nuwa. These two gods are brother and sister and are responsible for the creation of humanity, after Pangu, the primordial giant who slept in the egg of chaos before the world, awoke and stood up accidentally separating heaven and earth and dying in the process.

His death created the world around us – his blood, bones, and body, becoming mountains and rivers – which many years after his death was filled with people by these two gods. Both Fuxi and Nuwa have the torsos of a human, but their lower halves are the tails of snakes, and they are frequently depicted as intertwined. Their story is one of the oldest in Chinese lore, making it one of earth’s oldest stories.

Snake: Greek Myth And Symbolic Meaning

Serpents and snakes appear regularly in Greek legends, commonly being portrayed as great monsters for demigods and heroes to overcome, or unfortunate people afflicted by terrible curses or who have received the god’s ire. There are many examples from the multi-headed hydra that would grow a second head for every one lost to the monstrous Typhon, an enemy even the gods themselves feared. However, the most well-known of the Greek myths around serpents was that of Medusa.

One of three sisters born to primordial sea gods, Medusa was sometimes shown as a winged creature or as a beautiful woman, but in every depiction she has snakes for hair and is beheaded by the hero Perseus.

The story is very telling of how the Greeks viewed snakes, as Medusa was either portrayed as a creature forced into hiding by the gods rise to power or as a servant of the gods punished for crimes committed against her, making her a tragic but deadly figure, much like a lot of the snakes or snake like creatures shown in Greek lore. 

Snake: Spiritual Meaning, Dream Meaning, Symbolism & More

Snake: African Symbolism

Africa is a vast continent with a lot of different peoples and a lot of different snakes. This means that there is a vast and expansive collection of stories, folklore, mythologies, and symbolism relating to snakes, however the area of the most prominent worship or reverence of snakes or snake-like beings is in West Africa.

The Dahomey kingdom, now located in southern Benin, was an area of intense snake worship, with the cult of the python being based in this kingdom. They adopted this cult from the Whydah, whom they conquered, but quickly made it their own.

Every python was considered sacred and needed to be treated with respect, these pythons resided in a serpent temple that could have up to 50 other snakes inside. The Ashanti from Ghana, close to Benin, also believed that snakes were sacred, and their rainbow god was said to have the form of a boa constrictor.

Australian Snake Symbolism

In Aboriginal Australian cultures, the snake represents one of their most important gods and figures, that of the Rainbow Serpent. Without the Rainbow Serpent, the world would not exist, food would not grow, and the rain would not fall over the land.

The serpent is a gentle protector of its people and a ruthless punisher of lawbreakers, it is closely linked to the land, water, community, fertility, and life itself. The importance of the Rainbow Serpent is so great, it is linked to almost all native Australian creation myths and holds a special place in their hearts.

Snake: Dreams

When people dream of snakes, the animals often leave a strong impression on the dreamer. This is due to the fact that snakes are all about change and transformation, so whether the outcome is positive or negative, you can be sure a snake will appear in your dream before a major change will occur in your life.

In the positive, a snake may appear in your dreams, cautioning you to look at all the facts and relationships that are affecting your life and how they too will be affected by change. In the negative, a snake may appear to direct you to heed a warning, as you may not be noticing the signs of something or someone in your life causing the personal struggles that are altering your day to day.

Either way, should a snake appear, pay attention, as you will no doubt have vast upheaval coming your way and only your actions can determine the result.

Snake: Tattoo Meaning

The snake tattoo has multiple different meanings that can be interpreted in various ways depending on the place that you live in and the lifestyle you subscribe to. Nevertheless, there are four distinct meanings that most people attach to the snake tattoo: rebirth, unpredictability, mysteriousness, and sin.

Snakes are seen as keystone animals that transform themselves when they shed their skin, changing their lives in the process. They are also important predators that hold ecosystems together but can also be prey themselves, they take lives, bring new life, and then are eaten themselves creating a cycle of life that continues on through the eons.

People will get the snake tattoo to signify their rebirth into a new life as a survivor, much like the snake.

Although snakes have motives we know all too well – eat, sleep, live, survive – when confronted they can be unpredictable, sometimes they strike, sometimes they rear up, sometimes they do nothing.

This unpredictability in our knowledge of their actions can be translated well into a tattoo for someone who lives life outside the norm and chooses their path based on their own judgment, rather than societal roles or rules.

Snakes have an air of mystery about them, appearing in the open and disappearing into the undergrowth seemingly at whim. This is further compounded by the beliefs of our ancestors, who considered snakes to move between the mortal and the spirit realm.

In essence, a person with a snake tattoo could be an unknown quantity who keeps a low profile at all times and only appears when they decide, as does the snake.

The connotation that is mostly used in the western world is that of the snake’s relation to sin. Many people who have done time or who actively take part in criminal activity will attach this meaning to the snake tattoo. Snakes can lead to dark thoughts and a single-minded focus, which can be used for positive or negative results, and having this tattoo can solidify a person’s dark side.

Snake: Spiritual Meaning

As mentioned previously, the snake’s key meaning if you are touched by its spirit is change and transformation. It is not asking whether you want to change, but letting you know change is coming and has come to guide you through it. Whether you accept that guidance is up to you, but if you feel positive about the snake, you should take the advice.

They are patient planners who will focus on a single goal with a calm, calculating look, and should your goal become theirs you will achieve it. A lot of the time, snakes define healing, and it is most commonly the person touched by the spiritual sign in need of the most help. Find the trauma in your life and let the snake advise you on the best course of action. You’ll find yourself in a better place afterwards.

Snake In Astrology & Zodiac Signs

Snakes are one of the 12 animals that define the Chinese zodiac and are thought of as the precursor to the dragon, frequently being referred to as ‘the little dragon’. In the race of the zodiacs, the snake came 6th, due to hiding in the horse’s hoof, which shows the best characteristics of those born in the year of the snake: wise, enigmatic, and intuitive.

They are people who learn from their own mistakes and become talented easily, thanks to constantly learning from their own shortcomings. They can be sympathetic people, who can charm a group easily and are generally well thought of by those around them, as both a good acquaintance and a successful person.

Yet, those born in the year of the snake can be manipulative and duplicitous, using others for their own ends and focussing on their own goals. Snakes don’t trust easily and when they do, they form intense relationships that can become possessive if not held in check.

This also is a problem in forgiveness, as snake people don’t forgive easily and rarely forget a slight if ever.

But these issues can be solved by talking with someone they trust, as snake people can be hard to read, so they must reach out first, and they may be surprised by the compassion they receive back.

Snake: Symbolic meanings

–        Transformation and change.

–        Rebirth and renewal.

–        Guardianship and protector.

–        Healing and life.

–        Poison and death.

–        Patience and planning.

Final Thoughts

Our respect, admiration, fear, and love of snakes is all well-earned in equal doses. These animals have been around since before we stepped on this earth and a lot of our tales about the world’s creation involve them in some way. If you see a snake in your path it is best to avoid it, for it will probably stand its ground, but if you sense a snake spiritually, inquire after it with caution, it could have something life changing to say.

Gloria White