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A snake is a symbol of transformation.  Snakes can also symbolize oppression, feeling that life’s circumstances are “poisonous”, or the death of the soul.  Snakes can have multiple meanings in dreams because they have been associated with both highly sacred themes as well as evil intentions in various religions and cultures.  Figuratively, serpents have both the power to inflict death, and to be reborn.

The best way to determine the meaning of a snake is to pay attention to the emotions in the dream.  The actions that you take as well as those of the serpent are also very important.  What kind of snake is it?  Were you being entangled, bitten, or fearing impending death?  The snake could mean that you feel that life is holding you captive, menacing, or even betraying you.

The Giant Snake

One woman, who will be called Sharon, came to me with a dream that she had about a giant snake.  It was red, 5 feet wide, with evil eyes.  “The red was dark and fierce … scary.”  It flew through the air in stretches, following her.  “It would launch itself and then come back down, and launch itself again, and come back down as it chased me.”  Wherever Sharon tried to hide, it came.

Sharon was struggling with being the sole caregiver for her mother, who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease.  As the disease progressed, her mother began experiencing intense episodes of pain (notice the correlation to the flying stretches from the dream).  Sharon witnessed this every day, and felt helpless as to how to comfort her.  “I want this situation I’m in to be over, but it seems endless.  I guess the snake chasing me everywhere could be that.”

At the time of the dream she believed that whatever she did, she could not escape the effects of her mother’s disease.  Sharon later found hospice care for her mother, which she did not know was possible when she had her dream.  The doctor also changed her mother’s medication, which reduced the intensity of symptoms.

The Transforming Snake

If you feel calm during your dream, then the meaning of a serpent could be entirely different.  One girl, who will be called Marie, dreamed of a long, brown snake that was slithering on a dirt road toward her home.  The snake then suddenly stood up on the end of its tail and turned around and looked at her.  Then Marie noticed that it had begun to shed its skin.  Next, she followed the snake as it sauntered on its tail to her front porch, and stood erect by her front door.  It looked at her with excited eyes and began to transform into the form of a woman.  The snake swayed and stared at her with love as it continued its shedding process.  Then Marie woke up, greatly impacted by the stark imagery.

At the time of the dream, Marie was getting ready to move away from home and go to college.  Her first year of college brought major changes into her life.  During this time she began letting go of the identity that her parents had created for her, and discovering who she really was inside.  Each new day at college brought excitement as she discovered her talents.  Over time, she found that her true personality was actually very different than the person that she was molded to be.  She later realized that the snake in her dream was a symbol of her upcoming transformation, a shedding of the false, surface layer of her personality.

Take a look at this woman’s skin shedding!