When I first began studying and researching dreams, I was surprised how often snakes slither into the collective dreamscape.  All these years later it still amazes me how many snake dreams are reported to me daily, and the majority of them are rather frightening… with good reason.  Snakes evoke fear in most of us, even to the point of phobia!  They have sharp teeth, a demonic forked tongue.  They can strike at lightning speed and inject you with their poison.  Shudder.

Because of these widely-feared characteristics, the dreaming mind often uses a snake to represent the dangerous, venomous behavior of yourself, or more often of someone close to you who is typically male.  Yes, the phallic shape of the snake plays a big role in its meaning (the following is from my nationally syndicated newspaper column The Dream Zone)…

Dear Lauri,
I was on a boat tour in the jungle. It was a canal with trees hanging overhead. They told us about these really venomous snakes in the trees, and almost immediately, one fell on me and bit me. It happened two or three more times, and even though the boat was full they only bit ME. The bites turned into these giant cysts. I started squeezing one on my hand and squirting my dad with what was inside. After that I was in a really cold setting and kept jumping in this pool even though I could get hypothermia. But I swear it was helping the bites heal.   – Teresa 25, Fort Wayne, IN

Lauri:  Is there a man in your life that has been poisonous to you? Perhaps striking at you with biting criticism or other poisonous behavior? And is it someone in your family? Someone who is “above” you like an older brother or… your dad? I ask because trees in dreams tend to represent family and snakes tend to represent men with low down, poisonous behavior.  The cold setting tells us that things have become very icy between the two of you.  It seems that you have to continually keep yourself cold and uncaring towards him so that the emotional wounds he inflicts upon you don’t get too deeply under your skin.  It’s a shame that is the situation but your dream is letting you know that it is working for you.

Teresa replies:  This makes perfect sense, actually. My father is a condescending jerk and last night was being just that. I got into a little tizzy with him and finally just left the room because there’s no arguing with him. This isn’t anything new and the cold feelings have been there for quite a long time.

Our dreams have a really cool way of giving form to our deepest thoughts and feelings. Teresa feels her dad is a snake in the grass and has exhibited venomous behavior towards her for a long time. Giving form to our thoughts and feelings allows us to better understand ourselves and how we react to the people and world around us on a much deeper level. Having this deeper understanding also allows us to make better decisions, improve our relationships and improve our behavior. Teresa’s dream is also showing her that she is effectively dealing with her emotions regarding her father. She is not allowing his biting remarks to fester. Like the cysts in her dream, she releases what is inside.  Good job Teresa!

Your dreams are trying to help you with your difficult relationships too. In fact, every tough issue life throws at you, your dreams will assist you and advise you… you just need to be able to understand them. My book Dream on It will help you understand this magical language, easily! You don’t have to wonder what your dreams mean anymore!! Nor do your friends or family. Why not give them the gift of being able to understand their dreams this Christmas? They’ll think of you every time they get an “Aha! moment” from being able to figure out their dream. Dream books are the perfect gift because they keep on giving and giving and giving…

“Wonderful book. It answered all my questions and more. Great read!!!!
Helped me figure out my dreams. Share with friends and family.” 
  – Deborah Eldridge, verified Amazon purchase

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10 thoughts on “Getting bit by a snake in a dream

  1. Where can I get my copy? I'm in Kampala, Uganda.
    James

  2. Sally Miller Maccarone says:

    This seems right. I dreamed of a huge snake that ate my dog whole. I walk my dog daily, a very strange man is menacing in the neighborhood. Creepy!

  3. Sally Miller Maccarone says:

    Thank you ken. Yes I see your point in transformation an powerful totems. The dog to me has always represented god. Unconditional love. Loyalty etc. the snake is not always a negative, perhaps wisdom and intellect comes to mind? Yet this dream was a message. I'm sure. Thank you for your thoughts.

  4. Lauri Quinn Loewenberg says:

    This dream is from my newspaper column where I have a word limit of 350 so after a private interpretation with the dreamer I edit it down to fit the newspapers guidelines. Snakes, as any symbol can have many layers and it all depends on the dreamers personal life experiences and associations. Sometimes a snake can represent healing or transformation, etc. I cover this in much more detail in my latest book Dream On It.

  5. Lauri Quinn Loewenberg says:

    It could go deeper than the menacing guy in the neighborhood, unless he really bothers you and is top of mind. The snake represents something that has been consuming you and your thoughts, something that may be eating away at you… or at least at the time of the dream. In my research, a man with low down poisonous behavior seems to be the most common connection. Is there a situation in your life, or rather a relationship (even a friendship) in your life that is overwhelming to you?

  6. Ken Kaplan says:

    Thank you. As Lauri has noted above, snakes can represent healing power or transformation. One of her rules is events of the day of the dream triggers it. It is very difficult to interpret a dream without the context of the waking life as they are not "free floating" A snake swallowing the dog might portend huge change or shift in attitude or its possible that something _threatened_your bedrock spiritual orientation. Without working one on one it is very hard to know. Go back to the time of the dream and apply Laurie's principles. Try to see the dream as an "overlay" in powerful symbolic terms of what was happening. Then it will be clearer.

  7. Ken Kaplan says:

    Thank you. As Lauri has noted above, snakes can represent healing power or transformation. One of her rules is events of the day of the dream triggers it. It is very difficult to interpret a dream without the context of the waking life as they are not "free floating" A snake swallowing the dog might portend huge change or shift in attitude or its possible that something _threatened_your bedrock spiritual orientation. Without working one on one it is very hard to know. Go back to the time of the dream and apply Laurie's principles. Try to see the dream as an "overlay" in powerful symbolic terms of what was happening. Then it will be clearer.

  8. Ken Kaplan says:

    Lauri Quinn Loewenberg I'm reading it now. I like your insights a lot. I am currently writing a book on dream purpose and interpretation. There is much overlap but style and emphasis will be different. "There is an ear for every voice and a voice for every ear." Out of all current "popular" dream authors, I feel you and I are very close in understanding and application although the one's I know, Faraday, Delaney, Holloway and many fine others (like David Bedrick) imo have arrived at a consensus Two things struck me in your "rules". Most dream workers find the bridge to the daily life but I agree the day before triggers the dream most of the time and I don't see this emphasized enough. My first question always is "what was happening the day of the dream" or time period if they can't remember. Often it will hit them as we proceed. And you are one of the few who emphasizes the end of the dream which I have observed also having gotten it from some Jungians which was his theory (Lysis). I think this is incredibly important. It is ironic that in Freud;s "Irma dream" which sparkled his foray into interpretation, followed this pattern. The end gave him the clear message he was off the rails and why. If he had been able to interpret it properly history would have changed.

    I agree with all your "set points" (rules to remember). I know you are writing for a popular audience but I needed to respond because what we consider most often "Universal meanings" don't always apply and I think people don't understand the awesome depths dreams go to, even as they provide a commentary on waking life. This hit home for me recently as a friend's dream which ostensibly was about her career went deeper to the core of her issues with what accepting the nurturing male inside her might consider and how she had been affected by attitudes and survival mechanisms from childhood. Thanks for responding.

  9. Ken Kaplan says:

    Ken Kaplan P.S. The question about what was happening occurs after we narrate the dream and before any work on meaning begins. Everyone has a different way to bridge the dream to waking life. That is just my style. It immediately alerts the client to the fact that this association is critical.

  10. I've been called a "snake in the grass!" But I never lied to Gary or Jim Jimmy Dolan

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