What Does It Mean When You Dream About Snakes?

Dreams, or "sleepy-time brain television," have long been a point of fascination. For all of humanity's cumulative scientific acumen, we're still sort of at a loss when it comes to what dreams actually do or mean. As Healthline points out, we know that a good night's sleep helps to regulate metabolism, blood pressure, and brain function, but there's no objective evidence of what role dreams play in the body's wellbeing.

Still, there are theories. Some come to us by way of acclaimed psychiatric professionals like Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. Others teeter on the precipice of existing in the same category as strip mall palm readings and Panda Express fortune cookies. One thing's for sure, though: almost all of them proffer some opinion on what it means when you dream about those ever-lurking toilet climbers and most acrimonious of airplane passengers, snakes. Let's take a look.

Ssssweet dreams

Freud seems like a solid enough starting point. Old Siggy was a vocal advocate for dream analysis, writing about the subject at great length. And speaking of great length, he's also the figure in psychiatry most easily dismissed by many as a pervy old Austrian who couldn't keep his mind out of the gutter. In the case of dreaming about snakes, however, he managed to subvert expectations, not interpreting the long, tube-like creatures as anything crass or obscene, but rather... no, nevermind. According to Psychology Today, he thought they represented the phallus. What were the odds?

Carl Jung, on the other hand, saw the slithering reptiles in multiple hues. On the one hand, he mentioned in The Red Book that they represented ancient wisdom, but he also called it "an adversary and a symbol of enmity." In other writings, he brought up the fact that snakes are naturally feared by human beings, going back to prehistory. And, yes, he also stated that "The daimon of sexuality approaches our soul as a serpent."

New Age interpretations of snake dreams, meanwhile, run the gamut from "there's something sinister sneaking up on you" to "you're undergoing a personal transformation like a snake shedding its skin" to, yes, more sex stuff.

Basically, dream interpretation is still a choose-your-own-adventure novel. It's just a highly erotic one.