Snake ~totem of transmutation and creative power


Last night I had a short dream that has stayed with me. I dreamed I was in a building with other people, and a snake appeared, sending the people around me into a frantic panic. The snake, predictably, vanished under furniture and people continued to mill around panicking. Now I’ve never had the slightest fear or dread about snakes; I’ve handled wild snakes before, when we lived in Darkest Norfolk and I encountered grass snakes quite frequently. In the dream, after a short time, the snake emerged and I picked it up, holding it firmly but gently behind the head. It was a greyish colour verging on blue and have zigzags along its back. It was extremely beautiful and it didn’t struggle in my hands. I realise now it was actually an adder, Britain’s only indigenous venomous snake, one I have seen just once as a glimpse last year a few days before my dog died. I had no fear, even though I recognised in the dream that the snake might bite me. I carried the reptile outside and found a suitable spot and released it. It vanished with such speed.

Now at times in my life when change and transformation have been particularly active, I have often dreamed about snakes. I often used to see them in a hypnogogic state, curled up at the foot of my bed, or lying in my hands. I saw real living snakes a great deal when I worked in a small capacity as a healer when we lived in Norfolk. When we moved away, despite still working in that capacity in a more limited way, I never saw a single snake in the wild. In fact, from leaving Norfolk in 2003, I didn’t see a snake again until last summer.

I missed them. To me the snake is lovely creature; I once was privileged to watch grass snakes mating in the sun. But to dream about a snake again in such a capacity, makes me wonder now what this may bring. The snake is a symbol of so many things in so many cultures. Here is a brief summary from This Site of what snake may mean:

  • Elusiveness
  • Manipulates lightning
  • Transmutation
  • Exploration of the mysteries of life
  • Primitive or elemental energy
  • Protection from religious persecution
  • Goddess energy
  • Psychic energy
  • Creative power
  • Immortality
  • Connection to or forms the magic cord by which the shaman travels to the soul world
  • Messenger of the Rainbow Serpent

To me, this dream suggests that something misplaced is going to be restored to its rightful, natural environment. I’m not yet sure what that may be, but it does seem to herald powerful changes. I don’t imagine I will become a snake charmer, but perhaps my changing path will involve some element of snake power.

11 thoughts on “Snake ~totem of transmutation and creative power

  1. YESSSSssssssss!!!!! Oh yes, indeedy… I used to have a snake guide – he was wonderful. I too dream of snakes when transformation is at hand. Last year we had a huge grass snake living around our small pond – beautiful creature. used to see a lot of adders when we lived up on the moor – not now sadly. I am SO thrilled for you.
    Curiously, Adrian was sent a book on Adders just yesterday. He, however, hates snakes. How can one hate a snake?????


    • My father is TERRIFIED to death of snakes.
      Not at all sure what is going on; too many things in one week to cope with.
      I’d love to know more about adders.
      I’ve worked with Snake off and on for decades but have never felt I could call it one of my guides, as such. Maybe it is but likes to sneak away.


  2. The snake is a very ambivalent symbol; down through the ages and across cultures it can symbolise both good and bad, but then that, too is the nature of our life experience; the ‘gods’ (ie archetypes) are never all good or all bad, they are ambivalent.
    The list of symbols you provide are good ones and all ones I recognise. At its most elemental I think the snake is symbolic of the life force (serpent energy=kundalini in Indian belief systems). Of tranformation too. I happen to know a lot about shamanism having studied it in some depth via my work as an anthropologist of the Americas. Shamans there (especially in the Amazon) from way back in precolumbian times have had serpents (usually anacondas) as their tutelary spirit, believing that they (ie the shaman) change into this in a deep trance state (can also be a jaguar, harpy eagle etc).
    It is also related to the ‘World Tree’ a force that navigates the axis mundi, between levels of reality essentially (shamans enter states of alterred consciousness in order to do this).
    Although ambivalent, your snake is, I believe a positive symbol. In your dream, although potentially harmful (if not managed ‘well’, the life force can be!), you are able to handle it safely & release it (energy) back into its wild/native context. I would be encouraged by that!


    • Can I ask if you have ever yourself worked shamanically, Elizabeth? I suspect you have, but it would be curious to have this impression confirmed. I have done quite a few journeys of my own over the years, though never at the depth or range a true shaman would use.
      I have never personally had any negative feelings concerning snakes, even though my father is terrified of them. I have had dreams where snakes have bitten me and I have suffered(in the dream) no lasting ill effects.
      thank you.


  3. A recent acquaintance, from Texas, tells me she is a snake whisperer. She doesn’t want to encourage them to be around, but she has “whispered” them into leaving places where they are frightening human beings. (Church was one place!) She says she knows they are not there to harm her, but she does not touch them. She simply gets them to move.


    • I have done the same with many creatures, but as snakes are rare and shy in the UK, never with them. Spiders and wasps can be spoken to and reasoned with; hornets too. I know I have freaked out many of my students by speaking to a creature quite as if I were talking to a human and have had the creature then do as I bid. I also managed to freak out the warden at our Quaker meeting house by speaking to a frog in the garden pond there and have it then leap into my hand.
      Animals respond as humans do to loving. The ones we are socially least loving to often are quite shocked at being spoken to nicely (rats being a case in point)


  4. Great dream. I love how you managed to stay calm and treat the snake with gentleness and respect. Snake as you mention can stand for Goddess energy, feminine energy, kundalini, which is rising more and more these days as it is so needed. Snakes are able to shed their skin and go into a sort of trance, hence the reference of traveling to other realms. I too had a snake dream yesterday. Many blessings of healing. Namaste.


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