Serpents are a well-known symbol, but they can mean different things to everyone. Somebody who keeps a snake as a pet will have different ideas of what snakes ‘mean’ to people who don’t. And somebody who is religious will have different beliefs again.
Biblical representations of snakes relate to deceit, shame, faith, and evil. Outside the Bible, snakes with two heads are a common metaphor for indecision, and the snake eating itself symbolizes rebirth or infinity.
Your dream could relate to any of these examples. That’s the beauty of dream interpretation. The dream doesn’t have an objective ‘meaning,’ there’s only what you understand it to mean. So, let’s find out what your dream about snakes might have meant.
Understanding the Symbolism of a Serpent
Snakes are highly symbolic creatures. They’re ingrained in U.S. culture, in particular, because of our shared religious heritage. In the Bible, snakes take on many meanings.
The most obvious is the serpent that deceived Eve and tempted her to eat the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge. This snake is related to feelings of temptation and sex, questioned faith and something coming between you and your religion.
Throughout the Bible, serpents are used in negative imagery. In the Gospel of Matthew, John the Baptist calls the Pharisees a ‘brood of vipers.’ Jesus used similar terms in Matthew 23:33, saying to them: “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”
This same connection between snakes and dishonesty and low morals has continued until today. Call somebody a ‘snake,’ and you’d be calling them a deceitful, dishonest low life.
But that imagery isn’t all there is to snakes. If you dream about snakes, that’s just one possible meaning you could take. That explains why some people are scared of snakes and others aren’t worried about them at all.
What Do Snakes Symbolize in Dreams?
If your dream imagery contains snakes, you first have to look at the context of the dream. Did you feel happy? Did you feel sad? Were you worried and anxious, or did you think about your faith?
You can go on and identify the further meaning of your dream. Let’s take a look at what these additional meanings might be.
Biblical Meaning of Snakes in Dreams
The most well-known snake in the Bible is the serpent that tempted Eve. The Biblical meaning of snakes in dreams is likely related to this story. The snake is likely a sign that your faith in God is being tested in some way.
If you’re a Christian, you should explore what this story means to you and how it might relate to your everyday life. That’s likely what’s triggering your dream symbolism. Possible scenarios include:
- You’re questioning your beliefs because of hard times, e.g. illness, poverty, or issues at home.
- You’re at a bridging point between two distinct times of your life, e.g. starting a new job, about to have a child, etc. This relates to the fact that after Eve’s temptation, Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden and had to come to terms with a new reality.
- There’s somebody deceitful in your life who you’re wary of. They may be trying to tempt you in some way, or they may be lying to you for their advantage.
- You feel embarrassed or ashamed of something. This is related to how Adam and Eve were embarrassed at their nakedness once they tasted the fruit of the tree of knowledge.
- You feel that there are problems with the world that you don’t want to be drawn into. This could relate to anything from social problems to political issues.
Think about your own life and try to see how these ideas relate to you. It could be anything in the list above, or it could be completely unrelated—you have to look inside to find out.
Good Snakes in the Bible
The serpent in Genesis isn’t the only snake in the Bible, though. There are many more that you might or might not be familiar with. Other snakes in the Old Testament include:
- Moses’ staff. In Exodus 4:1-5, after God reveals himself to Moses, Moses questions how the people of Israel would recognize the call of God without proof. God asks Moses to cast his shepherd’s crook down to the ground, where it becomes a snake. When Moses runs away, God calls him back and asks him to pick the rod back up, after that it becomes a regular crook again.
- While Moses is in the wilderness, he mounts a bronze serpent on a pole that acts as an amulet, protecting the people from the bites of the ‘seraphim’ and the ‘burning ones.’ Later on, in 2 Kings 18:4, King Hezekiah orders it torn down because it became an idol—so there’s a mixed meaning here.
Based on this more positive snake imagery, your dreams could be symbolizing something good. Perhaps the snake is symbolic of your profound personal belief in God, i.e. the snake in your dream is your proof that God is real.
Alternatively, it could be symbolic of how you feel you should be redirecting your faith back into God, not into idols or symbols of Christ.
If you were unaware of these passages, then they can’t be what’s informing your dream imagery.
Two-Headed Snake Biblical Meaning
Another possible route for snake imagery in dreams is the two-headed snake. This could be a snake that has a head at each end, or it could be a snake with two heads at the same end—the meaning is much the same.
The two-headed snake is a classic sign of conflict. You aren’t sure which direction to take, much like a snake that’s pulling in two different directions. This could be related to:
- You’re at a point when you have to make a big decision. This could be that you’re just about to go to college, but you’re not sure which college to go to. Or, it could be that you’ve got a great job offer, but you aren’t sure whether to leave your current employer.
- You’re unsure of which ‘side’ you agree with politically, and you hear a lot of arguments on both sides.
Because the snake is also related to deceit, this ties in here too. Especially, you could be unsure whether to believe somebody—you’re being pulled in two different directions, but you feel like you might be being lied to.
Snake Eating Itself Dream Meaning
The snake eating its tail is an ancient symbol. It dates back to ancient Greek and Egyptian iconography, predating even Christianity.
The term for the symbol is an ouroboros, and you can find depictions of it in many places, from Tutankhamun’s tomb to medieval alchemical books. You can also find them in Norse mythology, as the serpent Jormungandr, which encircled the world. An ouroboros is almost always presented as a ring, with the head having bitten into or swallowed some of the tail.
As a symbol, the Ouroboros means rebirth. It can also symbolize infinity, wholeness, and independence. In your dreams, a snake eating itself might mean:
- You identify as or want to become self-reliant. The Ouroboros can eat itself, continually existing in a state of rebirth. In cultural depictions, it eats itself, kills itself, and can give birth to itself continually, without needing anybody else.
- Your partner or family doesn’t allow you enough independence.
- You may be feeling afraid of death, either because you’re ill or somebody you know is ill. The Ouroboros is eternal and undying, and might represent that you want to be like that too, or that you wish somebody else were.
- You’re plagued by a problem that won’t resolve. No matter how much you try and get rid of the problem, it keeps coming back, as if it’s going to bother you eternally.
Even if you don’t know what an ouroboros is, a snake that eats itself could still symbolize infinity or rebirth to you.
Spiritual Meaning of Snake in House
If you’re dreaming of a snake getting into your house, this could have a few meanings. It could signify that you’re worried about someone close to you lying to you. The snake, obviously symbolizing deceit, has come into your home and gotten close to you.
It could also more generally symbolize somebody that you don’t like forcing their way into your thoughts and your life, like somebody at work who annoys you or won’t leave you alone.
As for spiritual meaning, the snake could symbolize somebody close to you is forcing you to question your faith in God. This could be because of their actions, or through direct questioning or mocking your faith.
The meaning of your dream is unique to you. These are merely ideas that might help you get closer to the true meaning of the dream, which is yours and yours alone. Only you know what you’re going through, so only you can find these deeper, hidden meanings that you’re searching for.