10 Snake Symbolism Facts & Meaning: A Totem, Spirit & Power Animal

Most people dislike snakes so much that they miss out on the helpfulness of the snake’s symbolism. Snakes could perhaps have the oldest mythological symbolism — even the Bible’s Humankind origin story included a snake. The snake’s representation here may be evil but not everyone sees the snake as such. In general, it is mostly representing infinity.

Snake Symbolism Facts & Meaning: A Totem, Spirit & Power Animal

Snake Symbolism & Meaning

The snake’s shedding of their skin have represented change, rebirth, and transformation since the ancient times. Because the snake is usually seen crawling on the ground, it is also linked to the earth and life itself with its toiling, dragging itself using its belly. It is also said that they symbolize the umbilical cord that joins all humans with Mother Earth. This great goddess has a couple of snakes as her familiar, entwining themselves around her sacred staff, much like the well-known Caduceus staff.

Another well-known symbol is the ouroboros. This symbol depicts a snake eating its own tail which represents eternity — the continual renewal of life. When it’s coiled upon itself, it is the sacred spiral symbolizing growth and spiritual healing.

Snake Spirit Animal

As a spirit animal, the snake slithers into your life to change your focus in life. It wants you to give up the past and focus on the present. As the snake sheds its skin, it invites you to give up your old perceptions of things. Since it also wants your spirituality to grow, the snake will watch over your journey towards better aspirations. Expect the snake to warn you when you’re moving too fast and to steer you to the right direction when you’re lost.

Snake Power Animal

As a power animal, the snake will guide you through your transformation. If you want to bring about significant changes in your life, do not be afraid to call out the snake for help. As the snake sheds its skin to get rid of all the bacteria and filth it has accumulated, so can you. You have the power to shed off your past and your guilt, for a fresh new you to be reborn. 

Snake Totem Animal

The snake as a totem animal represents the dualism of good and evil. People with the snake as their totem have the tendency of both the ends of the spectrum. For this reason, snake people should be wary of their decisions as it can always go both ways. An unplanned journey could be disastrous but could also be most unexpectedly fun. As long as you plan out contingencies, you’ll be out of harm’s way.

Your friends and family sees your presence as a warm hug. People born under the Snake totem are very flexible. They can adapt to their situations quickly and can very much strive in it. You are born with the ability to rid yourself of guilt.

Snake Native American Symbolism

Kingsnakes are revered in some California Indian cultures. In Anishinaabe tribes, medicine bags are made from snake skin. It was believed that the snake’s venom could cure diseases so it became the symbol of healing.

Some Indian tribes associate the snake with the lightning phallus symbol while other tribes associate it with fertility. This further supports the snake’s duality of symbolism: phallic symbol vs. fertility; good and evil; creation and death — in short, the snake wants balance.

Snake Celtic Symbolism

The adder can withstand the cold, which makes it the only kind of snake the ancient Celtics observed back in the day. These snakes burrows deeply unto the earth’s womb, so the Celts consider them forerunners of female power. However, since they have a phallic shape and are great hunters, they are also attributed male powers. This is said to lead to a mix of powers — coupling, if you may. This union results to an offspring that are not necessarily babies. Rather, a new energy is born, with which the triple Celtic symbols originates.

The Celtic “horned-god” Cernunnos holds a snake and this is said to indicate that he is the ruler of creation, fertility and cosmic balance. As a creature of mystical origins, the Celts view the snake as gatekeepers of the other side.

Snake Far Eastern Symbolism

The serpent is the most revered creature in Mayan symbolism. Its ability to swallow its prey whole is considered magic and a representation of metamorphosis. What we see as feeding, the Mayans saw as a transformation. These brings it closely similar to the Chinese culture, considering the snake also as a symbol of mystery. Moreover, the snake’s mouth is seen as a figure of the gaping void which connects the snake to the mystical.

Although Ixchel is a jaguar goddess, the serpent in her hair translates to the complete transformation of the mind, soul and body. This is said to encourage people to enter the unknown (serpent’s mouth), be consumed and come out deeply transformed.

Snake in Dreams

Since the snake can open chakras, it represents Kundalini energy, the snake is the energy coiled at your spine. The coiled serpent, which according to Kundalini yoga is where creativity and emotions are seated. Thus, snake dreams speak of your deepest desires and motivations.

The snake visits your dream when it is signaling you to shed your habits. It is inviting you to seek self-improvement. If your dream is of a headless snake, then it is warning you that danger is about and you are currently unawares. If the snake in your dream is eating its own tail or is devouring himself, much like the Ouroboros, it is reminding you that there is life after death, hope after failure.

Snake Encounters / Snake Omens

If you encounter the snake, it is telling you to wake up and see the world around you. It wants you to be conscious of your soul and its desires. It is reminding you of your connection to the universe and wants you to do something about it.

Snake Mythology and Folklore

All through history, human civilizations have both revered and reviled Snakes. They are a common emblem of change, healing, and rebirth due to their venomous fangs, crawling bodies, and capacity to shed their skin. At the same time, they have inspired superstition and fear due to their nocturnal habits, cunning maneuvers, and devastating bites.

Below we identify certain incredible myths, folktales, and legends about Snakes from throughout the world. From the ancient Greek tale of Medusa to the Aboriginal Dreamtime epic of the Rainbow Serpent, these tales demonstrate the tremendous historic value that Snakes have preserved for countless years.

Snakes have historically been linked with origin and the beginning of existence in many cultures. For example, the Aztecs believed that their god Quetzalcoatl was a winged Snake who created the cosmos and everything in it. This feathered serpent, who is in a multitude of mythological stories, is also often associated as a symbol of death and resurrection. Quetzalcoatl was a member of the four Tezcatlipocas, or cosmic forces, in Aztec mythology and was linked with the cultural skills they needed.

In Hindu mythology, Snakes are also usually associated with creativity and the divine feminine. The coiled Snake known as Kundalini is believed to represent the cosmic essence dormant at the spinal column’s bottom, ready to awaken and ascend through the chakras for enlightenment. In this sense, the Snake symbolizes both the strength of transformation as well as the potential for personal development and self-realization.

In many civilizations, Snakes have also been tied to healing and medicine. For instance, the ancient Greek god Asclepius was often shown with a serpent-entwined staff, resulting in the emblem of modern medicine. According to legend, Asclepius learned the mysteries of healing from a Snake and was capable of healing even the most difficult diseases with his wisdom. Snakes are frequently used as a source of medicinal ingredients in traditional Chinese medicine, such as Snake venom, known for its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, the ouroboros, an ancient symbol of the serpent, is said to inspire the endless knot. Also referred to as the Chinese Snake knot, it is said to be a representation of good luck.

Snakes, on the other hand, have been associated with danger, deception, and maliciousness. The Snake is pictured in the Bible as the tempter who convinced Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, bringing in the fall of humanity. Other than Eve’s serpent, the Bible also mentioned Snakes in other stories, like with the illustration showing Aaron’s display of miracles, turning a rod into a Snake. When the sorcerers’ staffs became Snakes as well, Aaron’s rod devoured all of them, which according to some sources corresponds to death and affliction.

Jörmungandr, the giant sea Snake in Norse mythology, is a malevolent power that encircles the earth, ready to inflict disaster during Ragnarok, the final battle between both the gods and the giants.

Snakes are typically portrayed in African mythology as deceivers and shape-shifters, susceptible to taking human form and tricking the naive. The Yoruba people of Nigeria, for example, revere Oshunmare, a Snake deity associated with the rainbow and transformation. According to mythology, Oshunmare may have the appearance of a human or a Snake, and depending on his mood, he can use his abilities to bring good fortune or disaster.

Below are some instances of Snake mythology, folklore, and legendary stories from many cultures throughout the world:

Quetzalcoatl (ket-sul-kuh-waa-tl)
Jörmungandr (your-moon-gahn-dr)
The Rainbow Serpent
Mami Wata
The Garden of Eden

In conclusion, Snake myths, folklore, and legends are as varied and unique as the nations from which they emerged. From the creation tales of the ancient Aztec and Hindu cultures to the shape-shifting tricksters of African folklore, Snakes have played a significant role in shaping the popular mind and the way in how we perceive the world around us. Whether they’re considered interpretations of change, healing, or evil, Snakes manage to capture our interest and encourage us to dig deeper into the secrets of the natural environment.

6 thoughts on “10 Snake Symbolism Facts & Meaning: A Totem, Spirit & Power Animal”

  1. b says:

    The snake was nice

  2. Jennifer Bower says:

    Does excessive skin shedding, and I mean excessive, mean anything spiritually. If someone is constantly shedding but not peeling does it mean anything or symbolize or foretell prophecies?

  3. Lisifianna Kessel says:

    What would the meaning of a dream be where you are drawn to a blue and green snake, picking it up it wraps around your arm and squeezes it. This leaves a deep imprint on your arm with some spots bleeding. Would you know what this dream might be trying to tell me?
    Thank you.

    1. Reverend John says:

      It means your screwed

  4. Taliese says:

    I had a dream where I seen a snake in the distance head in the air slithering away so I was aware. But I get in my semi truck and my wife is sitting in back on the bed I’m fusing at my step daughter on the passenger side warning her get in close the door there are snakes out she gets in the truck closes door I then remember my door or window is open when I turn to my window my heart drops. Either my side mirror has a long extension or it was a branch with a cobra black an yellow diamond back sitting coiled in a tight slithering position next to my window. It quickly came at me through the window mouth open an bit my hand it moves across my lap looked at my wife then it left.I instantly said in my head cobra I begged her to take me to a hospital quickly instead someone came to me. He asked was I in pain he pressed on my shoulders which felt tender an swollen I told him yes but only a little he said you won’t die you will be alright I was worried he was wrong and why didn’t it bite my wife it just looked at her then I woke up. What is the meaning of this dream.

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