Since ancient times, cultures around the world have had a unique fascination for the magnificent skin shedding reptiles- snakes. Not only is the snake a very important symbolic animal in ancient mythology, religion and folklore, they are also often said to possess powerful spiritual energies. Signifying life force, the snake is also a spirit animal in several cultures and is viewed as a symbol of power, fertility, rebirth and healing. Despite its spiritual significance, the snake or the serpent is associated with a lot of negative connotations. These include attribute such as evil, lies and temptation. Regardless of its cultural symbolism, these enigmatic creatures are considered legendary and are simultaneously revered and feared by many people.
To understand the spiritual meaning of snakes, it is best to examine the role and significance of the animal in cultures and myths around the globe.
What do snakes mean spiritually in Greek Mythology?
Snakes were a common feature in Greek mythology texts since olden times. Many Greeks associate both positive and negative meanings to serpents. They have respected these mysterious creatures as good luck charms but also feared them as demonic symbols.
For example, most Greeks thought of snakes as harbingers of luck and fortune. They were also a sign for eternity in Ancient Greece as the symbol Ouroboros depicts which has a snake devouring its own tail. The Greek god of medicine Asclepius and the Greek god of luck and fertility, Hermes also carried a rod featuring snakes coiled around it.
In a stark contrast, serpents were also a symbol of destruction and malevolence in Greek culture. One of the famous stories in ancient Greek mythologies is that of Medusa- the snake haired creature capable of turning people into stone.
What do snakes mean spiritually in Christianity?
In Christianity and their holy book Bible, the serpent is a recurring symbol of sin, doom and lies in the new and old testaments alike. Considered an evil figure, snakes are said to be cunning and deceitful in the Bible, created by demons to lead people astray. Snakes are also associated with temptation as it is Satan disguised as a serpent that lures Eve into eating forbidden fruit, causing the fall of mankind. However, they are also seen as a symbol for healing, wisdom and immunity in some texts of the Bible as well.
What do snakes mean spiritually in East Asian cultures?
Throughout East Asia, serpents have different symbolic significance attributed to it – often representing fertility, immortality and strength.
In Japan for example, snakes are symbols of eternity and renewal due to it shedding its old skin routinely. They are closely associated with dragons meaning wealth and also represent youth and seas while also earning the title of protectors.
Snakes are also heavily symbolic in Chinese cultures as most consider serpents as a creature of wisdom and refrain from harming it to prevent bad luck in their lives. In Chinese mythology, Nuwa is a popular goddess of fertility and revered as the creator of humankind. She is depicted as a mystic being with a human face and serpent body- associated with marriage and procreation.
What do snakes mean spiritually in Hinduism?
In India and in Hinduism, these creatures are worshiped actively as deities representing fertility and rebirth. They are said to represent the spiritual awakening of Kundalini. This is because in yoga a coiled up snake is the symbol of Kundalini, a form of primal energy. Snakes also adorn the neck of Lord Shiva while Lord Vishnu is shown reclining on the celestial snake – Ananta, the supreme Sheshanaga.
What do snakes mean spiritually in dreams?
Dreaming about snakes can be frightening but it doesn’t have to mean something negative all the time. In many cases, seeing snakes in a dream can even indicate new or positive beginnings and happenings in one’s life. If you have had recurring serpentine dreams, it is important to interpret them according to context to understand them.
· If you are dreaming about a snake shedding its outer layer of skin, the spiritual interpretation of the snake here is regeneration. This could be a sign for you to discard an old habit/old way of thinking and adopt a new one, moving forward.
· Dreaming about a snake biting you in your dream could be a warning. It could indicate danger- maybe an emotional wound or a potential health issue that might need your attention immediately. It could also mean you have an anxiety of being harmed and are avoiding facing your fears.
· If a snake is chasing you in your dream, this is a wake up call for you to thoroughly analyze all the relationships in your life. This could be your sign to solve any unresolved relationship issues that you have avoided addressing for long.
· Dreaming about different types of snakes has different meanings. For example, if the recurring serpent in your dream is a boa constrictor, this could mean someone is smothering you spiritually or emotionally. Similarly, dreaming about a rattlesnake is a sign for you to shed all the toxic people in your life that are hindering your personal growth.
· If you dream about a snake in your own home, this could mean that the malicious person bringing you down is someone close to you or living with you. A snakes’ presence in your bedroom represents your fear of personal safety.
· Seeing a poisonous snake in a dream could mean that things haven’t gone as you planned or could indicate someone close betraying you with their ‘poison’ i.e. treachery.
· Colors of snakes also have significant meanings. Dreaming about a black snake is considered a bad omen as it could be a warning of some hidden danger or negativity in life, ahead. If the snake you are seeing is red, it represents misfortune and could bring bad luck in your life. A dream about a green snake could be a positive sign- it is often linked to spiritual and physical healing.