January 15, 2023
Snakes are a very common and universal element in dreams and most people who remember their dreams will probably remember having had one with a snake in it. But what do they symbolize?
Snakes are usually always a negative element and typically mean that the dreamer is being harassed by some kind of lie, accusation, distortion of truth or a deception. This interpretation is based on the passage in Genesis 3 where Satan appeared to Adam and Eve as a snake, filling their ears and hearts with all kinds of lies and distortions about their identity in and relationship with God. Indeed, Satan has always been called "The father of lies". In appearance, snakes look like one long tail and if we look at the word as a word play, we can change tail to tale. This means that there can be a "fabricated story" that the dreamer is currently being attacked with or is actually believing. So God in His goodness is letting the dreamer know what the problem is so that the person can be set free in whatever area of their life they are being kept in bondage through the lie.
Once we have the basic understanding of what a snake represents, the context of the dream will usually reveal where or how the snake is operating. Here are some of the questions that can help unpack the symbol:
What size was the snake? If it was a big snake, then the lie is a big one. If it was a thin snake then it could refer to a "little lie" or a lie that has not yet had much impact on the dreamer.
If it was a long snake, it could refer to the lie having an impact of long duration whereas a short snake could be a lie that lives only for a short time.
What colour was the snake? If it was blue for example, the lie would impact the dreamer's intimacy with the Lord which would then influence the amount of prophetic revelation the person could receive from the Lord. If the snake was green, it could have something to do with envy and jealousy and if it was orange, it could have to do with some kind of stubbornness. (Please go to our "Colours in Dreams" post to find out more about the symbolism of colours.)
Where was the snake? If you see it in someone else's house, then whoever owns the house is being impacted by some kind of deception. This may be a call to intercession on your part for that person and/or a call to protect yourself from any influence the lie would have on you through your interaction with that person.
However, if the snake was in your own home, was it there as an intruder or was it there because it was a pet? If you discover a snake in your home, it could point to the enemy trying to get at your personal life or your family members. If it's there as a pet, then the problem is more serious. This would be a warning from the Lord that you have accepted the lie and that you are feeding it, nurturing it and taking care of it, thereby keeping the deception alive and well.
The room in the house can make a difference. For example, if the snake is in the bedroom, then the lie is affecting your intimacy with the Lord. If it's in the living room, then it's having an impact on your daily life and if it's in the basement, then the lie has made its way into the foundation of your life.
We can see snakes in other places as well. For example, if you see snakes on a path or sidewalk that you are walking on, this can mean that you are walking on "a bed of lies". If you see a snake but it has nothing to do with you, this can point to lies that are in your environment for some reason or other but don't really have any influence on you. This can simply mean that the Lord is alerting you to something that may be going on at work, for example and He just wants you to be aware of the dynamics that are at play.
Another question to ask is if the snake bit you or not. If it hasn't, then the lie hasn't entered your heart with its poison. But if it has bit you, how serious was the bite? I remember a dream I had years ago where a woman opened up her purse and out popped 3 snakes. My left arm was next to the first snake and as I very slowly pulled my arm away, the snake bit me. The snake had been small and the bite was hardly noticeable so that I didn't feel any effects. When later I learned more about deciphering dreams, I realized that the Lord had wanted me to know that my calling in Him (my left arm) had been attacked but that I wouldn't suffer serious consequences from the bite. And that's the way it turned out to be.
However, if the bite is deep, then the lie is much more serious and can cause deep pain and have long term effects on your life. This is when getting a friend or someone you trust to pray with you can be of great help in getting rid of the poisonous lies.
Finally, the type of snake will reveal some of the enemy's tactics:
If it's a kind of python or boa constrictor then the dream is revealing that the enemy is trying to squeeze the life out of you. This means that there is an attack on your spiritual life or your life in the Holy Spirit so that you "run out of air" or are "suffocated".
If it's a poisonous snake, this means that the enemy is trying to get right into your heart to poison it with lies and deceptions either about yourself or about God. Some cobras for example are known to spit venom in the eyes of their prey so if this happens to you in a dream, then the Lord is revealing to you that the poisonous lie will affect your ability to see the truth about Him, about yourself, about others around you, etc.
All of these lies can come directly to you from the enemy or they may come from someone that you know. There is also the possibility that the lie originates in your own mind and heart. Again, it's the context of the dream that will reveal to you the source of the deception.
When God gives you a dream about a snake, He is revealing to you the enemy's snares so that you can recognize them and remain free in that amazing freedom granted us through Jesus' life, passion, death and resurrection. All we need do is to go to prayer, bring the lie to the Lord once its identity has been revealed, and then take authority over it, renounce it and cast it at the foot of the Cross. In this way, we will do as Genesis 3:15 says: we will crush its head with our heel!