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Snake Symbolism & Meaning

Snake symbolism and meaning can evoke power or fear and all things in between.

Has it been tough for you to focus on moving forward? Are you searching for a connection to ancient, esoteric wisdom? Do you need help staying grounded? Snake, as a Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal, can help! Snake teaches you how to get in touch with the Earth Mother and to see things anew. Delve deeply in Snake symbolism and meaning to find out how this Animal Spirit Guide can inspire, illuminate, and move you.

Snake Table of Contents

Snake Symbolism & Meaning

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Having trouble grounding? Need to reconnect with the Earth?

The idea of Snake Spirit slithering into your life may not, at first, seem appealing. Many people have an aversion or fear of Snakes. Nonetheless, the ancients around the world thought of Snake as a symbol of life, change and longevity.

It is not unusual for folks to seek out Snake symbolism and meaning when you need to heal or transform your life in some manner that improves the overall quality of living.

Think of Greek tales of Asclepius, the God of medicine. His power tool is a staff with two Snakes entwined (the Caduceus). If you’re working on becoming a Light Healer (for people, animals or the earth) this is an excellent symbol to embrace for honoring Snake.

Even in modern societies, the medical community still uses the Caduceus as a universal sign of healing.

Because the Snake moves along the ground, many connect this creature to the Earth’s most primal energy and the force of creation itself. Additionally the Earth element aspect of Snake reminds us to keep one foot on the ground even when exploring Spiritual pursuits.

There are underlying themes in Snake Symbolism and Meaning and one is definitely personal growth.

Snakes shed their skin as they grow, so ask yourself – what do you need to shake off so you can expand your horizons.

Snake speaks heavily of old, outmoded ways of thinking and living that will hold you back until you’re ready for release. Once you do, the Snake’s metamorphosis process can begin within and without. The only caution is that the way in which you use your time and energy matters in this journey. Apply yourself to noble aspirations that provide balance and substance, and raise vibrational frequencies in your aura.

Snake Spirit is also a guide for Spiritual renewal. If you’re thinking of taking a new path but hesitate, Snake supports your efforts. Snake may also warn of moving too fast into something that may not be right for you. Move slowly. In nature, the Snake’s tongue is one of the most developed sensory organs. It gathers a great deal of information quickly so Snake stays out of harm’s way. Let that refined sense of “smell” direct you toward the best choice.

Snake Spirit Animal

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When Snake starts appearing as a Spirit Animal and Guide it is time to cast away illusions, unhealthy beliefs and unreasonable expectations be they emotional, physical or Spiritual. The only way to wholeness is by walking in truth and living each moment to its fullness.

You may need to give up the “would haves”, “could haves” and “should haves” and focus on NOW.

Several cultures including Celtic, Indian and Ancient Greeks felt the Snake embodied sexuality. It’s not surprising then that Snake Spirit may come to help you when you struggle with your passions and pleasures, and experiencing them wisely, without guilt.

The Snake Spirit Animal opens Chakras, particularly the Base Chakra so you can understand and embrace sacred sensuality in body and Spirit. This path to energetic opening is referred to as a “Kundalini Awakening”.

Kundalini Awakenings are described as powerful transformative experiences. The Chakras are intentionally activated, using a combination of Yogic and breathing techniques. As the Chakras become more efficient and moving energy through the body, the image of a Snake unfurling their body and moving up the spine helps to further this dramatic transformation process.

Though people seek Kundalini Awakening as a means to further evolve on their path, the journey is not all bliss and happiness. Such awakenings are associated with deep healing and purging of old traumas and wounds. Thus, Snake Spirit Animal symbolism and meaning can be associated with the growing pains and our deeper fears of really letting go of the past so we can experience rebirth and awakening.

One of the most potent lessons from Snake Spirit is that of the cycle of life, death and rebirth. Note this may not be literal (situations, relationships etc. have these elements). No matter the circumstance, let Snake Spirit Animal guide you through this mystery. Keep a journal of your journey toward transformation.

Always remember, though, Snake sheds their entire skin, they re-emerge whole. Snake Spirit Animal’s meaning can help you glide gracefully through even the most harrowing experiences.

Snakes are terrifying to most folks. But why? Surely a ferocious, hungry Tiger pouncing on you or angry Scorpion hidden in your shoe is more likely to do damage, right? Snakes are primordial creatures and, so, stir ancient memories housed in our DNA. Snake energy causes us to consider life and death matters. This can rock your world.

When Snake slithers in as your Spirit Animal, things are about to get really “real”. Don’t be afraid. Snake medicine can help you. Snake Spirit Animal meaning may relate to an upcoming transformation or major rebirth in process. Snake Spirit Animal meaning can lead you past your fears and into greater connection with this creature.

Snake Totem Animal

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People born with a Snake Totem are constantly changing themselves or circumstances around them. In between those efforts they’re typically content to bask in the sunshine of life! The only time they strike out is when startled or feel they (or someone they know) is in danger.

With Snake as your Totem Animal, it’s vital you stay close to the earth. You may find yourself gardening, rock hunting or walking through the green forest with all your senses open. This is the perfect time to connect with your Higher Self, Devas, Angels and the Divine. These are all fantastic locations for healing meditations and honing your natural skills.

If Snake is your Totem, you can really hold a group’s attention with your charisma and poise. Like the Snake you are flexible and able to shift your path both verbally and physically as situations dictate.

When you choose Snake as your Totem Animal, messages from other worlds can become clear to you as each of your 6 senses become more finely attuned and powerful.

Snake Power Animal

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Shamans and Lightworkers often see Snake as a guide for Astral Travel and trance work. If you are considering exploring out of body experiences, Snake is a powerful ally. Snake can also guide you in other realms, so your Spirit doesn’t stray.

Snake meaning is highly spiritual and can correlate with journeys into the different realms. Snake meaning is also associated with change and transformation.

Invoke Snake as a Power Animal when you’re looking to grow wise. Snake is an ancient symbol of wisdom, growth, and working with the creature that will help you in expanding your mind. Snake is also an excellent aid when you’re looking to gain mastery of esoteric teachings.

Just remember when you open yourself to Snake Energies, you are also opening yourself to changes that eventually manifest in Spiritual renewal. The changes you’ll endure are not always simple or without emotional pain, but once you conquer the challenges you’ll face, that’s the moment true healing begins.

Snake Native American Symbolism

What do Snakes symbolize in Native culture?

Snake Spirit has divergent symbolism in Native American tribes ranging from a huge monster that swallowed people in one gulp to the far more positive meaning of fertility (Pueblos) and rebirth (Ojibwa).

The Hopi have a Snake Society. Snake meaning and symbolism is much more positive in this cultural tradition compared to other Native cultures. One story from the Hopi tribe tells us of a winged Snake that communicates with the Earth Element. To honor this Spirit they have an annual dance that offers Snakes to the serpent, making prayers for the health and well-being of the tribe. Here and in several other North American tribes, Sneak is a rain-bringer. In other Native communities, Snake is also associated with speed, lightning and transformation.

The Anishinabe Tribes view Snakes as both powerful but also dangerous. Though the association has less to do with seeing Snake as bad or evil and more as a reminder of the need to respect Snake’s power and not mistreat or take them for granted.

The Navajo people further associate specific types of Snakes with the Elements and Directions based on the Snake’s color. So in this tradition.

Modern Navajo people continue to practice their traditions, asserting their cultural beliefs in the present day. A Navajo Zoo in recent times removed a Snake exhibit because of beliefs that watching Snakes eat, shed or mate would bring negative consequences. School children are also advised not to touch Snakes, even as part of their science lesson, because of a belief that doing so will transfer an evil spirit to your body.

Many Native tribes are wary of Snake, with few exceptions such as the Pueblo. For other Tribes, Snake is associated with violence and not to be trusted.

In Aztec tradition, various Gods and Goddesses have Snake forms. This includes Quetzalcoatl, the great feathered Serpent. Quetzalcoatl was the God of the evening star who gave books, corn, and the calendar to humankind.

Some Native Tribes believe Snake symbolism points to hidden enemies, and dreaming of Snake can be a sign that an adversary is working against you.

Snake Christianity Symbolism

What does a Snake symbolize in Christianity?

Snake symbolism in Christianity is less flattering, at least as far as the Snake is concerned. Though the Old Testament story of Adam and Eve is known to those beyond the Judeo-Christian cultures, it nevertheless has made a huge impact on how Snake is perceived in many cultures.

In Genesis, Snake is symbolic of the Devil. It also crawls on legs, according to this story, a privilege the creature loses as penalty for tempting Eve to eat the apple from the Tree of Knowledge and disrupt the order God created in the Garden of Eden.

But we can examine this myth in a few ways. Of course, we have the surface level narrative in which the Snake represents evil, vice and temptation. But considering each element of the story, Snake takes on a different connotation.

According to some, especially to modern Feminists, the Garden of Eden is emblematic of Patriarchy and of the authoritarian view of religious doctrine being intertwined with social norms and power structures.

In other words, God is portrayed as the authoritative figure who allows Adam to be His delegate on Earth and the structures and “rules” of Eden promote “peace” at the cost of personal expression. Especially at the cost of personal expression of women, as symbolized by the story of Lilith who was Adam’s first wife, cast out of Eden for her refusal to obey and be subservient to him.

When viewed in this light, Snake is not evil. Snake encourages Eve to eat the forbidden Apple because it will grant her wisdom. Snake, therefore, becomes a symbol of empowerment and liberation. Yet there is a price to pay. As Gloria Steinem said, “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off…”

Thus, the penalty of Adam and Eve being banished from the Garden of Eden and forced into a life of mortality and mundane struggle can be said to be symbolic. The life of ease in the Garden corresponds to the belief that “ignorance is bliss.”

By serving as a catalyst for the “downfall” of humanity (if you consider the Garden to be a place of protection and abundance) the Snake is also a catalyst for the “awakening” of humanity (by helping Eve and Adam to open their eyes and gain wisdom and autonomy).

As a consequence, God takes away Snake’s legs and their progeny will be “condemned” to slither on the ground, biting at the heels of humans, thus ensuring that a bond of solidarity between Humankind and Snake is discouraged.

Thus, here again there is a link between Snake and awakening and initiation, though the initiation can be liberating, it also thrusts us forth from our comfort zone.

By this lens, when Snake crosses your path you may be called to leave behind the comforts of a life in which your needs are met but your freedoms are few and to embark on a journey where you may have to struggle but where you will also be able to cast off blinders that kept you from seeing things as they are.

In modern slang, we could say Eve was “Red Pilled” by the Snake.

That being said, most direct Biblical references to Snake associate this animal with deceit, trickery and treachery. The venom is symbolic of temptation that “poisons” the mind or leads people astray.

Jeremiah refers to adversarial people and even nations as Snakes, intent on leading the children of God astray. Moses also saw Snake Charmers and perceiving this as an evil practice, used God’s blessing to protect Israelites from being bitten by Snakes.

Another story tells of Moses putting a Snake on a pole so that those bitten by a Snake could look at the creature and survive the Snake bite.

This aspect of Snake’s nature is also symbolic. A small amount of the poison can sometimes be the cure, or all things in moderation.

Are you confronting authority or claiming your independence? Do you need to break away from a relationship that was comfortable but is also stifling? Are you being called to an awakening that is tumultuous and bitter sweet? If so Snake may appear to help tempt you to challenge yourself outside of your comfort zone.

On the other hand, if you need to recover from an addiction, if you need to see illusions for what they are, by embodying the symbolism of temptation, Snake is still helping you. Snake is showing up to serve as a reminder that following temptation and pursuing instant gratification may not get you where you want to go.

Snake Celtic Symbolism

The Celts were a Shamanic culture who studied animals as few cultures through history have and Snakes were among their favorite animal symbols. We see this in their elaborate Celtic Knotwork, their myths and legends, etc.

Snakes represented graceful travel over any terrain, transformative healing, and a deep connection to the underworld as well as the heavens. Snake’s behavior helped teach the ancient Celts how to live in sync with nature and, in particular, the seasons.

Because a Snake’s eyes “glaze over” as they shed their skin, the Celtic Snake has become a symbol of altered states and it is believed that while in that state Snakes are tapping into all the knowledge there ever has been or will ever be.

In some Celtic lore, Snake, like Dragons, are associated with guarding treasure. The Celtic people viewed Snake more as an archetypal energy or symbol rather than as the actual animal.
Mystery and labyrinthine secrets are emblematic of Snake energy. So is fertility and creation, because of Snake’s phallic appearance. The myth of Conchobar includes his mother’s impregnation by a Snake, who is also described as a “Worm” which she swallows, leading her to conceive a child.

While there were no actual Snakes in Ireland, there are plenty of associations between Snake and Sea-Serpents or Dragons in Celtic Lore. Also, in later antiquity, the association between St. Patrick and the Snake and the Christian associations with Snake and evil permeated cultures that emerged from older Celtic cultures.

Snake Dreams

What do Snakes symbolize in dreams?

Snakes in dreams often deal with our subconscious mind that houses a lot of dynamic information that we often hide from ourselves. During your dream Snake may reveal issues or struggles that you’ve overlooked and need to see in the light of day in order to move forward. There are other meanings for Snake in dreams that are more situational – like being bitten, which could mean you’re exposing yourself to a toxic situation.

There are many facets to interpreting dreams about Snake. If your cultural view associates Snake with negativity, the dream may connote enemies or temptation as a warning as well.
For instance, some people believe a dream of a Black Snake on your left hand side is an ill omen, portending tragedy.

Learn more about Snake Spirit by reading What Does It Mean When You Dream About Snakes? on WhatIsMySpiritAnimal.com!

Snake in Astrology & Zodiac Signs

In the Chinese Animal Zodiac, Snake is like a little brother or cousin to the Dragon. It symbolizes working with herbs, insightfulness, and shrewdness. When the Spring festival arrives it’s not uncommon to see a Snake around a rabbit on people’s home and business as a charm for prosperity.

People born under the sign of the Snake have charm, wisdom and clever tongues. If this is your sign you are likely good with finances, have a keen empathy for others and a serious drive for success. On the down side Snake people can prove jealous, distrustful and a tad overbearing. Snake people do well in positions where they use their keen minds for problem solving or philosophy.

Snake Far Eastern Symbolism

What does a Snake symbolize in Eastern cultures?

Snake symbolism in the Far East varies. In Hindu culture, Lord Shiva is depicted with a Black Cobra around His neck. As a result, Hindu people revere the Black Cobra as a sacred animal.

They are associated with treasure and it is believed that finding a Black Cobra signals a treasure is nearby. Other associations of Snake symbolism include fertility, protection, healing and regeneration.

Snakes are also associated with the Goddess Kali and her nature as both powerful and also not one to be trifled with. She is associated with destructive elements but also with awakening, female empowerment and dramatic transformation.

In some areas of Japan, Snake is associated with Ryujin. Snakes are highly symbolic and it is considered unwise and even taboo to harm or kill a Snake. In Japanese culture, some see Snakes as minor Dragons and Snake is revered by people who follow Shintoism.

In China, Snake is considered a positive talisman against disease such as heart disease. To the Chinese, Snake is a symbol of longevity and good fortune. Snake’s power and the allegoric warning not to underestimate this animal is exemplified in a Chinese legend about a Snake who devours an Elephant.

For some Martial Arts practitioners, Snake symbolism coincides with initiation, power and strength.

Snake Tattoo Meaning

What does a Snake symbolize when you see a Snake tattoo?

You may see Snake tattoos on a broad array of people from all walks of life. What does a Snake tattoo mean? This can vary.

One of the great ironies is that Snake is often seen as a symbol of masculinity and someone who wants to convey an edgy, dangerous image. Yet Snake has a predominant association with Femininity and Women’s power.

You may see a Snake tattoo on someone who is awakening to Her own power and aligning with the symbolic healing and protective powers of Medusa, the Gorgon with Snakes for hair. You may also see Snake tattooed on someone who is draws on the prophetic energy of Snake. This stems from the associations between Snakes and the God Apollo who was given the gift of prophecy when Snakes whispered in his ears.

A Snake tattoo can mark an important transformation or ceremony that marks an initiation of some kind. When someone gets a Snake tattoo, it may be a sign of respect for their own healthy fears of that which can tempt or distract them, or a symbol of having faced significant fears and experienced a symbolic rebirth.

Snake Spiritual Meaning

Snake symbolism is prevalent across many cultures. Though cultures vary in assigning positive or negative associations to Snake, a few constant themes prevail.

Snakes are associated with healing, but healing can cause discomfort. Spiritually speaking, Snake comes to you when it’s time to rip the bandaid off or go through a transformative process that may be painful at first but which leads to greater healing.

Snake can denote your path as a healer who must undergo trials and tribulations first. Perhaps your Wounded Healer energy is signaled by the appearance of Snake.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and so Snake may also be associated with trial by fire and ordeals that shape you and mold you into the strong person you were destined to be.

When Snake appears, you may have to shed your skin completely and start fresh. Spiritually, Snake is associated with renewal, rebirth, transformation and infinity. The Greek Ouroboros symbol of a Snake eating its tail can signify infinity and rebirth. Connectivity and continuity of life is also signified by Snake.

Some people associate Snake with witchcraft and witches, and it is said the Ukrainian word for “witch” is similar to the word for Snake.

In some African stories, there are tales of a Snake who can reform after being cut into pieces, thus reaffirming the association between Snakes and rebirth and regeneration.

Since Snake resembles a phallus, the association with sexuality, temptation, fertility and seduction can also be part of Snake’s spiritual meaning. Sacred sexuality such as Kundalini and Tantra can be associated with Snake as well.

When you are called to face your fears, to think of power in a new way, and to conjure up your own deeper reserves of power, you are following a spiritual path related to Snake. This is also true when you are called to embark on a path of transformation and initiation.

123 thoughts on “Snake Symbolism & Meaning

  1. Graham says:

    Yesterday in a Royal Park, my partner spotted a small (grass?) snake lying still just off the path we were on. As we looked at it, it started to move towards me. I stayed still while it glided over my left foot, crossed the path and went off into the grass. This seemed rather unusual, so I searched for it’s symbology and this page was the top result. Incidentally, my understanding is that the Asclepius staff has a single snake, whereas the Caduceus with two snakes is to do with Mercury the messenger God. Thanks for this.

  2. Nani says:

    Had a very intense dream of handling and being bitten by a black mamba snake. Begun a little research and was reminded of two other visits by native serpents in my waking life. Now I understand the message more clearly. Thank you for this. It is very useful information. Blessings.

  3. Betty Jones says:

    I have had so many snakes and different types this year i don’t like them and wish they would just go away!

  4. As says:

    Thanks so much for this article. Explains a lot of my life. Feel like i wasted half of it suffering due to to resisting the beauty of it all..which eventually always did force itself through…this moment on…thanks to this article being so cvery close to truth…i an gng to enjoy the process as thoroughly as i can.

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