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5 Ways of Contemplating Snake Dreams and Symbols to Reveal their Hidden Meaning

Many people have dreamed of snakes at one point in their lives.

They may have been scary dreams or simply intriguing.

However, many people don’t realize that their snake dreams can also be important messages about the health of your mind, body, and soul.

So in this article I’m going to share with you the many messages of snake dreams, and then if you still need more help finding the meaning of your particular dream, I’ll show you where you can get more help.

The Key to Understanding the Complexities of Snake Dreams

Master dreamers know that dreams are linked to ancient archetypes or universal themes that predate modern man by thousands of years. As a result, the imagery in your dreams may parallel ancient dramas you are not consciously aware of.

Yet snake dreams are also personal. Any attempt to explore their meaning must take into consideration the dreamer’s personal relationship with snakes.

If you love snakes, the meaning of your dream may be entirely different than the snake dreams of someone who is afraid of snakes.

Of course, all dreams have multiple layers of meaning, and the most obvious reaction, like fear or curiosity, is only a clue about what your snake dreams might mean.

Therefore, when you look beyond the obvious meaning and explore the mythic quality of your dream images, you connect with the unseen, deeper implications of your dreams. You can more easily access the many layers, plumbing the depths beyond the obvious layer or two you immediately grasp upon waking.

So without further ado, let’s get started.

The Healing Snake

Snakes appear throughout recorded history as a symbol of healing.

You are likely familiar with the caduceus, the medical symbol with two snakes wound around a staff.

Perhaps you also know of Asclepius, the Greek god of healing who was often depicted holding a rod with a snake wound around it. Healing temples erected in honor of Asclepius, called Asclepions, had floors covered in non-venomous snakes. These sacred centers drew crowds of people who sought to incubate dreams in order to heal.

Maybe you are even familiar with Nehushtan, the bronze snake staff Moses carried to heal Israelites of snake bites.

But did you know that the image of a snake wound around a rod first appeared circa 4000-3000 bc on a Sumerian vase dedicated to Ningishzida, the Lord of the Good Tree? Not only was Ningishzida the son of Ninazu, the Lord of Healing, Ningishzida was also depicted as a snake with a human head. He was one of two gatekeepers who protected Anu, God of Heaven, as well as a traveler through the netherworld (underworld.)1

How the healing snake relates to you

On some level, you know that snakes are related to healing. Whether you are the direct descendent of Ascelepius himself or have simply seen the modern emblem of medicine, your subconscious is aware that snakes and healing go hand-in-hand.

Considering this, ask yourself how your dream snake may be trying to help you heal.

Whether it bites you, swallows you, antagonizes you or hugs you, this snake is one part healer and it wants to help you find your way toward wholeness.

Life Calling and Initiation Dreams 

Dreams of being bitten and swallowed may have the added layer of being initiation dreams. In some indigenous cultures, surviving a waking-life rattlesnake bite, for instance, is evidence that the person is called the path of healer. Similarly, dismemberment is often viewed as an initiatory aspect of becoming a shaman. Being swallowed by a snake in a dream is a form of dismemberment.

The Fertile Snake

Snakes were worshipped in every corner of the ancient world as creatures who symbolized fertility, birth, death and resurrection.

One common image is of a snake wrapped around the earth. From the Nordic Jörmungandr to the Hindu Ananta, this image portrays the snake as responsible for holding the world together.

Similarly, The Cosmic Serpent winds itself around an egg, clearly a symbol of fertility and rebirth, as well as creation of the universe.

The Snake Goddess sculpture from Knossos, the famous gowned female figure holding two snakes, may be representative of the Mother Goddess.

Of course, we must include in this section the Freudian view that snakes are sexual, phallic objects.

How the fertile snake relates to you

When you dream of snake(s), reflect on how it may be a divine messenger coming to tell you about fertile possibilities. Where might you have unrecognized potential? What creation is waiting to be born?

The other side of creation, though, is destruction. In this regard, how might your dream snake be a premonition about the need to shed an outmoded way of being or an outgrown relationship or object?

The Psychic and Spiritual Snake

19th Century Kundalini Illustration

19th Century Kundalini Illustration

One bite from a venomous snake, one entanglement with a boa constrictor, and most people die. Perhaps this is why snake is also viewed as evil in many parts of the world.

Medusa, for instance, was a Greek Gorgon, part snake, part women, whose gaze turned people to stone.2

Nidhogg, a Nordic snake, was an evil creature whose body wrapped around Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life, and tried to destroy it.3

How the destroyer snake relates to you 

Death in dreams is always a sign of transformation. If you feel your dream snake is attempting to destroy you, either by biting, constricting or swallowing you or any other means, consider how it might be an invitation to let go of a cherished aspect of life (e.g. belief, relationship, object) that is preventing you from living a healthier life. In other words, your dream snake may want you to relinquish something so you can receive something better.

Snakes can also foreshadow illness. If your dream snake is injured or looks unusual, it may be a sign that something is not working for you. Similarly, if the snake tries to bite you, it may be sending you a message of possible illness.

Note: only you will know what your snake dreams mean. Exploring these possible layers may reveal important information, or nothing at all. Not all dreams of being bitten foreshadow illness.

The Elemental Aspect of Snakes

The Rainbow Snake

Water

The Aboriginal Rainbow Serpent lives in a waterhold and is related to fertility and life-giving powers.4

Earth

The Snake Goddess is an earth goddess associated with earthly, household goods.5

Air

Quetzalcoatl is a Mesoamerican deity whose name means “feathered serpent.” This deity may represent fertility since wind or air was associated with fertility in this culture.6

Fire

Xiuhcoatl was a serpent associated with the Aztec fire deity, Xiuhtecuhtli.7

How the elemental snake relates to you 

There are aspects of each element that are experienced universally (although some cultures experience the elements differently – trust your intuition to lead you toward a meaning that fits you).

Water, for instance, is fluid therefore often equated with emotion and intuition. Earth is solid and grows our food so it is equated with nourishment and with being grounded and present. Air is associated with the breath or “pneuma” which links it to Spirit or Soul because we cannot live without air. Fire consumes nearly everything it touches and is therefore a destroying element as well as a creative element, encapsulating passion as well as destruction.

Notice the environment of your dream snake. How might the elements surrounding it be a reference to one of these universal or archetypal themes?

Share Your Snake Dreams Below

In order to create a community inspired resource for  dreams and symbols, we’d love it if you’d use the comments section below to share a brief description of your snake dreams and the meaning you’ve gleaned from the imagery.

Include any waking life life connections, like illness, recovery, initiation, transformation, anything you feel relates to your dream.

Sources:

1 http://www.gatewaystobabylon.com/gods/lords/lordninazu.html
2 http://www.pantheon.org/articles/m/medusa.html
3 http://www.pantheon.org/articles/n/nidhogg.html
4 http://www.aboriginalartonline.com/culture/rainbow.php
5 http://www.pantheon.org/articles/m/minoan_snake_goddess.html
6 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quetzalcoatl#cite_note-0
7 Fernández 1992, 1996, pp.107, 160.

About the Author:

Amy Brucker helps people heal their ancestral wounds so they can free their purpose, passion, and inner power. She offers a one-on-one, private healing/mentoring program Healing the Ancestral Wound. See link "Work with Me" on main menu for details.

Flower Essences to Activate Our Dream & Snake Powers

Snakes have big medicine.

Like creativity, intuition and spirituality.

So when snake visits your dreams, what can you do in waking life to support the development of your own snake abilities?

And if you’re not dreaming of snake, how can you consciously work on activating your own snake powers?

The good news is, whether or not you dream of snakes, there is a way to open up to her gifts and messages.

This post is one in a series of posts on snake dreams. You can read more about what your snake dreams mean here.

Flower Essences

flower-essenceThere are many ways to consciously develop our own snake powers and abilities.  One of my favorite ways to work on activating and enhancing the qualities of snake is to use flower essences.

Flower essences are a form of energetic plant medicine developed by Dr. Edward Bach in the 1920’s.  Bach, who was both a physician and homeopath, was on a spiritual quest to discover a natural form of medicine that could heal the root cause of illness.

Bach lived in England during the industrial revolution, and he observed that the illness or disharmony that many people suffered was caused by mental, emotional and spiritual states of imbalance.  Bach was way ahead of his time in understanding significant concepts of health and healing that are now common tenets in mind-body-spirit medicine.

“Flower essences are able, like beautiful music or any glorious uplifting thing which gives us inspiration, to raise our very natures and bring us nearer to our souls, and by that very act to bring us peace and relieve our sufferings.”  (Edward Bach)

Bach left his successful homeopathic practice to devote his time to develop what we now call flower essence therapy.  Bach followed his own waking dream and passed all his time wandering around the English countryside communing with flowers.  He also studied and documented their healing properties with the rigor and discipline of a trained scientist.

In his work, Bach developed a repertory of 38 flower essences to address the many ways people can become out of balance.

Flower essences are made by infusing fresh blooming flowers in a bowl of water in sunlight.  This flower/sunlight infusion (like a sun tea) is then diluted down to a homeopathic level.

Nature’s tuning forks

Flower essences are a form of energetic medicine.  Like many forms of energy medicine (including homeopathy, acupuncture, and sound healing) they affect the vibrational field around us, what some call the aura or the  mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies.

Flower essences are nature’s tuning forks.  According to Bach, “they cure, not by attacking disease, but by flooding our bodies with the beautiful vibrations of our Higher Nature, in the presence of which, disease melts away like snow in the sunshine.”

I have been working with flower essences for 17 years now and have witnessed many miracles of healing and transformation with the people that I work with.  Flower essences have also been some of my own most powerful healing allies in my own path of healing and evolution.

Healing

In one way or another,like snake medicine, all flower essences help with our own healing process.  But the flower essence I use the most to align people on their healing path is Self Heal.

Self Heal flower essence helps us to attune to what we need to do to heal ourselves, physically, emotionally and/or spiritually. This might be the realization that one needs to eat a healthier diet, get more exercise, spend more time in nature, or leave a toxic relationship. 

Self Heal also supports us in taking the appropriate steps to take care of ourselves.  I often use Self Heal flower essence with my new clients who are at the beginning of their healing journeys, although it is helpful at any stage of the healing process.

Noni is a newer flower essence to me and comes from Jane Bell’s Hawaiian Flower Essence kit.  In Hawaiian herbal medicine, the fruit of Noni is a panacea for many physical illnesses. 

According to Bell, the flower essence of Noni: “Potentizes your will, motivation, and desire to be well. Stimulates awareness and understanding of the underlying causes of disease and disharmony. Brings acceptance of yourself and compassion for your healing journey.”

Creativity

Iris helps to connect us to the divine source of creative power.  Iris helps us to be creative in all that we do in our daily life and it is also helps us get creatively inspired.

Indian Paintbrush helps to activate and move the creative process.  It is an excellent essence to unblock writer’s block or any creative energy or project that is stagnant and stuck.

Spiritual opening

Lotus flower essence helps to open our crown chakra and our connection to divine energy and guidance. Lotus is helpful for meditation, dreamwork or anytime we want to attune more to spiritual energy.

The essence of Whale (not a flower, but an animal essence) is a powerful ally for these big times.  Carriers of the Akashic records, Whale helps us to open up to guidance and understanding about our personal and collective evolution.   Whale helps us to embody love and connect to big, deep, and timeless wisdom of the ancestors.

Transformation

Sacred Datura is one of my favorite essences to support our personal transformation and evolution.  It gives support when we are in states of  profound transition.  It aids us when, in our own lives, we are in-between worlds; when something has ended, but the new hasn’t emerged yet.  Sacred Datura shines light in the darkness and give us guidance, support and faith to navigate all kinds of transition.

Banyan Tree is an excellent remedy to help ground us during times of great transformation, expansion and change.  It is very comforting when we feel overwhelmed or “up in the air.”

Intuition

Star Tulip helps to open and enhance our intuition.  This essence can help be helpful in healing work, meditation, dreamwork and creativity.

Cup of Gold connects us with joy to our own intuition and self guidance.  This essence helps you to joyfully navigate your own life path and purpose.

Shadow Work

Night Blooming Cereus helps us to to face and overcome our fear of shadow, both of our personal shadow and the collective shadow.  This essence helps us to connect to our divine essence, and heps us to understand the beauty and power of both the darkness and the light.

The waking dream:  messages from Gaia and the Great Spirit

Flower essences are medicines of the earth.  When we work with them, they connect us to the healing matrix of nature and of Gaia, our Mother Earth.

Once we are more consciously connected to the energy of Gaia and to nature’s guardians (devas, fairies, and other elemental beings) magic starts to occur in our lives.  Connecting to this magic is part of the healing process of flower essences.

I have observed that when people take flower essences, they start to become more cognizant of the waking dream.  The waking dream is the state of awareness when we start to notice synchronicities and magical occurrences in our lives.  We become awake and conscious of the sacredness of our lives and the world in which we live.

As flower essences help to attune us to the waking dream, we become much more open and receptive to the messages from the natural world, from Mother Earth, from the Ancestors, from the cosmos and the Great Spirit.

Flower Essence Therapy

I hope this article has inspired you to welcome flower essences into your life to assist with your dreamwork, your healing path and spiritual development. Many of these flower essences I talked about can be found at your local herb store or online.

I work with all of these flower essences discussed in this article.  I am available for Flower Essence Consultations in which I create a customized flower essence blend to support your healing intentions.  Please contact me at atava@ancestralapothecary.com for more information and to schedule an appointment.  I work in person, by phone or Skype.  Mention the Dream Tribe and receive $20 off.

About the Author:

Inspired and guided by her ancestors, Atava has been studying and practicing healing arts for over 20 years. Atava teaches across the country and sees clients in her healing practice Ancestral Apothecary in Oakland, CA. She also has a unique line of herbal products infused with prayer and magic. Her website is www.ancestralapothecary.com

Of tattoos and tribes: Dreaming of Snake

The lore of the snake. What is it about this creature that’s both attractive and yet so terrifying? And, even more importantly, why do we dream of snake?

Our relationship to snakes is as old as we are and just as rich and complex as the myths that revere them. But those myths have long disappeared and lay dormant in our daily subconsciousness.

Yet snake uncoils when we least expect it, coming out to play in our nightly adventures.

Perhaps the answer lies somewhere buried in what Jung calls our collective unconscious.

That Snake is calling her tribe! 

Are you from my tribe?

In June, I gave a talk on dreams of the bereaved at the annual IASD conference in Berkeley. Little did I realize Snake would be joining me there. The conference started with a reunion with JFKU dream students gathering together. I greeted one woman and fellow DTer Judith McEnroe who had a most fascinating tattoo on her wrist…it was a snake.

I was dumbstruck because only a week before I had dreamed of snakes, and Judith’s snake tattoo and my dream snakes had the exact intricate pattern!

I begged her to share the meaning of her tattoo which I later learned came from a dream.

This was Judith’s dream:

I was sitting across the table from an elderly Native American man. A fairly large snake was curled up on my lap. As I pushed away from the table to give the snake more room it began to slowly unfold and wrap itself around my body. Is it dangerous?, I ask the man. No, he says and tells me to raise my left arm above my head.

The snake coils itself around my arm and rests it’s head on the back of my hand. It has a wide red band around its neck that is at the level of my wrist. The snake has wide black and yellow bands on the rest of its body. I wake up hearing a voice (my own voice) telling me that I must get a tattoo of the snake so that my tribe will recognize me. ….I now have a tattoo of snake around my wrist.

I smiled, shook her hand and said. “I believe I am member of your tribe.”

Snake is awakening

Dreaming of snakes is a regular occurrence, but what made this encounter special was not only the shared dream with Judith but the continued snake encounters throughout the conference of people who were also asking…why am I dreaming of Snake?

It seemed my shared dream with Judith was shedding light on the mystery of these encounters.

I am walking in a forest and come across a natural enclosure. I suddenly see one very long snake resting in a tree, at first camouflaged. I see the body, the markings and head-it rises up becoming “awake.”

Then all the tree branches come alive with snakes, awakening! It’s like now that I “see” one, I can see them all. It’s also understood that the seasons were turning (weather warming) so the snakes were more animated, more visible.

I am then startled by a giant snakeskin dropped at my feet from a high branch. I look up and notice a Leopard in the trees. We lock eyes. I realize she has dropped it there and is a mother with two cubs. In the dream, I am telling this story to someone—it is liked I’ve walked this path many times-now the animals have awakened…were always here but now were becoming visible.

Like the snakes in my dreams, I was beginning to find others who were ‘snake people,’ too, at least drawn to its essence.

The snakes were becoming more visible. It was like finding my tribe.

Snake as Divine Feminine

During my presentation titled “When Orpheus Looked Back: Dreams of the Bereaved” I used the myth of Orpheus as a template for the stages of initiation for those who experience the death of a loved one. Orpheus who mourned the death of Eurydice, (who was bitten by a snake!) grieved her so profoundly that he followed her into the Underworld to get her back.

Because of his music and clear dedication to Eurydice, he was able to tame the three headed Cerberus and melt the heart of Persephone, Queen of the Underworld. Orpheus’ only task was to lead Eurydice out of the Underworld and not look back.

But Orpheus looked back.

One woman in the audience asked “Why isn’t there much information on Eurydice? And why was she bitten by a snake?”

Why indeed.

Talking with Jungian oriented psychoanalyst and professor, Lynne Ehlers after the presentation (who also happened to give her presentation on the archetype of Snake!), we both agreed that Snake’s connection to the Divine Feminine (Eurydice bitten by a snake) ‘went underground’ or “into the Underworld” as more patriarchal religions and politics took over and Snake has lay dormant ever since…until now.

I see the snake as very ancient and wise with its power held closely to the Great Mother. Perhaps the reemergence of Snake in our dreams is this energy awakening within us and leaving her mark so we may recognize our tribe.

The mark of Snake

 United States public domainAlso like Judith, I have had dreams of being marked by snake, namely from a bite or tattoo.

In one dream I was sitting with a mysterious elder woman who was tattooing a Giant Snake that wrapped around my entire body.  The intention of this ceremony was for my initiation and a healing for a woman who was raped. After the ritual, I looked at my reflection and was both terrified and in awe…I had completely transformed and somehow knew there was no turning back to ‘the old ways.’

I explored this dream over the years and found snake symbols associated with ancient mystery cults like the Orphic Egg and the Mithraic figure: That of a half human half lion with a snake wrapped around its body.

And Like Judith, other DT’ers in the article “Snake Dreams and Initiation” have shared similar snake dreams of being marked in some way that felt both initiatory and healing.

What might Snake mean as dream medicine?

  • Snakes and healing have been considered synonymous since ancient times, especially in exploring the caduceus, Pythian priestesses of Delphi and its connection to Aesculapian temples. Perhaps those who are drawn to Snake are natural healers.
  • Another characteristic is intuition. Many snake people sense things that others might not. They are literally tuned into the subtle worlds and energies around them.
  • Snake may be calling those who are drawn to the mysteries and secret knowledge as illustrated in many esoteric teachings and symbolism. Repelled by the injustices and inconsistencies in the world and being drawn to inner wisdom that can be found in dreams.
  • I also see Snake as consciousness and mindfulness of the Now. The snake’s steady gaze reminds me of being fully in the present moment and grounded in the earth. This awareness means carrying incredible focus and passion and when the moment is right, you strike!

What can Snake tell us of our true Natures?

Is she something to fear like we learned from western biblical teachings or should we look deeper beyond our limited view of what she represents for us?

Considering the history of the many deaths and persecutions of those who are on the Snake path, it is understanding that there is fear tied to these practices. From witch burnings to ethnic cleansing of indigenous cultures to our own politics today that control certain populations, namely women’s bodies: Snake has a lot to be afraid of.

But paradoxically, those who try to control or repress Snake are the ones who are truly afraid.

Snake is not only divine she is the divine power in us all. This is what is feared the most. Snake is the gateway to healing and awakening ourselves to possibilities if we can face it with courage.

Let’s continue sharing Snake together, let’s find our tribe!

About the Author:

Linda believes dreams can transform individuals & bring communities together. Her research, art & therapeutic work run the gamut from spiritual alchemy to ancestral knowledge to altered states of consciousness. SF Dream Research Examiner SF Examiner and Empact Institute

Are Snake Dreams Messages From Gaia?

When you dream of snakes, you may be receiving an unusual message you can use to help heal the planet.

I realized this when Dream Triber Amy Brucker recently wrote two posts about snake dreams:

Snake Dreams and Initiation and

5 Ways of Contemplating Snake Dreams

and then invited you to share your snake dreams with us.

While reading through the comments I came across Mike Austin’s beautiful perspective. He said “snakes … provide a deep but fluid connection with Earth, with Gaia. … They remind me that consciousness never stops at the boundaries of my skin. I am because we are.”

Right then it hit me: it’s pretty likely that snake dreams are often Earth dreams that show us our profound connection with everything around us.

After all, one of the most ancient symbols out there is the spiral, a symbol connected with the shape of our galaxy, the curve of our DNA, and the ancient mystery that animates our world. Snakes are often drawn or seen in this shape, curled up next to a rock in the sun or side-winding through sand.

So my mind naturally put all this together and I had an a-ha moment: snakes in dreams are one way that Gaia speaks to us.

She may be speaking of healing, death, rebirth, or an awakening, all of which is happening on our planet right now. Could snake dreams, if viewed through this lens, give us clues for how to navigate this time of accelerating energy and rapid destruction of our environment?

Then I remembered a dream I had recently.

I’m hiking along a ridge in the Bay Area. I notice the thick smog as I look out over the Bay and it depresses me.

Next I see a strip mining operation: men are tearing down the rock into hoodoos. I think the shapes are beautiful, but the cost is too high.

After seeing the hoodoos, I look down and see a skin a snake had shed. Next to it is a red and orange snake in the process of shedding its skin.

The snake is calm, but I am afraid. I also note how vulnerable it seems.

Here is an example of Gaia speaking through snake. I see the erosion of the Bay Area environment, both as the smog clogging the air, and the hoodoos, which are normally formed through natural erosion, but here are being created by men and industry.

Contrasted with this is the image of the snake. One has already shed its skin and another is in the process of shedding. Releasing old ways, old skins, can be scary … my emotions in the dream reflect this. And it is also a vulnerable state, another emotion from the dream.

If I were to guess what Gaia is communicating to us through this dream, I’d say she’s shedding light (pun intended) on the current state of the planet while also showing us that there is another way. We can get rid of our old ways to create something new and beautiful.

I was struck by the colors of the snake as well: red and orange. Red for our root issues, our connections with money, the physical world, ancestry, and survival. Kundalini energy rises from the root chakra; it is said the snake that represents Kundalini energy is coiled here until it awakens.

Orange connects with the second chakra, the seat of our creativity, sexuality, and emotions.

With a blend of these two energies, the snake in this dream shows us how we can move through our current money- and survival-based society into one that is more creative and fluid, one more in balance with the natural world.

In this one dream, Gaia brings a message of healing and transformation. A simple, elegant message communicated through one of her most earthy and sacred animals.

So what about you?

Do you think snake dreams have a connection with the psyche and essence of the planet?

What snake dreams have you had that might be a message from Gaia?

 

About the Author:

Katrina's work involves illuminating the soul and reconnecting with nature through her artistry with a camera, talent with words, expertise in dreamwork, compassionate teaching style, and ability as a clairvoyant. Visit her here: KatrinaDreamer.com

When are snake dreams actually dream medicine?

There are dreams with snakes in them …

… and then there are Snake Dreams.

These dreams can signal a major life shift.

They can help you transform negative traits into positive power.

In fact, some snake dreams are so powerful they can affect you for weeks, months or even years.

Well, in this post I’m going to talk about the potency of snake dreams …

… and then I’m going to show you how to work with your own snake dream medicine.

Snake Medicine: Understanding the Potency of Snake Dreams

Most people have frustrating emotional patterns they don’t like, for instance anger, depression, bitterness, or low self-esteem.

But lying dormant in these negative emotions are great gifts. Working with your dream medicine is one way to transform those energies into helpful allies who can give your life more meaning.

According to Christina Pratt, shaman and founder of the Last Mask Center,

Our medicine is first a poison — like emotional oversensitivity or a hot, righteous temper that ends relationships and loses jobs.

As we mature spiritually and psychologically in response to our suffering, we are actually being transmuted by the poison. In that inner transmutation, we become able then—and only then—to transmute the poison in the outer world and bring it as medicine to others. The anger that once lost you friends, lovers, and jobs can become the medicine that makes you a potent, astute and trusted negotiator on an international stage.

What upsets us the most in every day life and drives us to ask for help is the dormant energy of our unique genius and the key to our soul’s purpose.

Source: http://www.pr.com/press-release/359673

Your dreams can help you access this powerful process.

I’m Being Swallowed by a Boa Constrictor

In 2004, I was going through a particularly difficult and emotional time, and I needed to find a new channel for my emotions.  I was about to be ordained as an interfaith minister when something unexpected happened that sent me into deep resentment. That’s when I had the snake dream of all snake dreams.

In the dream I am standing ankle-deep in a river. I see a giant egg that is about 2 feet long and 1.5 feet wide. The egg is resting on top of a giant snake head.

The snake body is immersed in the water, but I can’t see it.

I feel a moment of panic because I know I have to let the snake eat me.

Now I am inside the belly of the snake. I can feel the humid moisture of the tight muscles as the enormous snake swallows me alive.

I am uncomfortable, to say the least, and deeply afraid as the muscles pull me through the snake’s digestive tract.

It was a terrifying, but soulful experience. One I am likely to remember forever.

Snake Dreams and (Shamanic) Initiation Ceremonies

Although snakes fulfill many roles in mythology, the Rainbow Serpent, an Aboriginal mythic deity, views this particular snake as initiator and teacher:

“The Rainbow Serpent is a gigantic serpent which has its home in deep and permanent waterholes and represents the element of water … In some tribes it is the object of … the cult of the initiation ceremonies. In a considerable number of tribes it is the chief source or one of the chief sources of the magical powers possessed by the medicine-men.”

Source: The Rainbow Serpent: A Chromatic Piece edited by Ira R. Buchler, Kenneth Maddock, page 126

During such ceremonies, dismemberment and death are common steps of the initiation process.

“The male snake-group … swallows the initiates into the ritually pure masculine age grade: from mystification through ingestion to intelligibility in defecation is the path that we are set upon.”

Source: The Rainbow Serpent: A Chromatic Piece edited by Ira R. Buchler, Kenneth Maddock, page 126

Although my dream snake was not rainbow-colored, it certainly shared many similarities with the Rainbow Serpent: it was enormous, lived in a waterhole, and swallowed me.

Without realizing it, I’d been initiated into snake medicine. At the time, I didn’t know what that meant, but years later I had another powerful dream experience that helped me understand.

This time it happened while I was meditating.

As I sat on my floor in a trance state, I suddenly felt a tangible presence behind me. I turned to look, thinking it was my cat, but with my inner vision I saw a very large snake slither by me. It was about the same size as the snake I saw in my dream and I wondered if it was the same one.

This snake had a distinct feminine presence. I asked her what her name was and she said, “Bethesda.”

My mind immediately thought of Bethesda, Maryland, but that seemed an unlikely link!

My deeper intuition, however, made a connection with the Pool of Bethesda. Admittedly, I didn’t know anything about it, other than to know the name, so I quickly researched it.

I’m glad I did …

The Pool of Bethesda is in Jerusalem and it is the healing pool referred to in the Gospel of John:

“Now in Jerusalem next to the Sheep Pool there is a pool called Bethesda in Hebrew, which has five porticoes; and under these were crowds of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed waiting for the water to move; for at intervals the angel of the Lord came down into the pool, and the water was disturbed, and the first person to enter the water after this disturbance was cured of any ailment from which he was suffering.” (John 5 2-4)

I continued my research and found something even more intriguing and relevant. In the 1st century BC, natural caves to the east of the pool of Bethesda were turned into small baths as part of an asclepieion.

Source: Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, The Holy Land, (2008), page 29

An asclepieion was a temple where people went to be healed. Snakes were sacred to Asclepius, the god of healing, and he often was depicted as carrying a staff with a snake coiled around it. The temple floor was graced with the presence of snakes that were allowed to roam freely through the rooms where the sick and injured people came to heal. Non-venomous, of course.

Perhaps Bethesda, my snake friend, was from this place.

Working with Snake Medicine

I didn’t realize it then, but these two events – my dream of being swallowed by a snake and my introduction to Bethesda – were initiations into my role as healer.

Not only did the experience help me understand the potency of my emotions, I am now able to call upon snake medicine to help transform my anger into healing energy.

Today, Bethesda is one of my main spiritual guides. She is more than a snake. She feels infinitely wise, loving and gentle despite her enormous size.

In my personal life and while doing healing sessions, I ask her for guidance and receive useful help from her in times of need. I even send her to help my clients when they need extra and ongoing healing help; they tell me they can perceive her presence.

Embracing dream medicine, whether it is from a snake dream or any other dream, is a process of integrating sleeping and waking dream information. It requires paying attention to outer and inner senses, which are often underdeveloped in Western cultures. But anyone who wishes to can learn how to develop these senses.

Developing Your Dream Medicine

1. Pay attention to your dreams, especially Big Dreams that capture your attention for long periods of time.

2. Notice waking dreams from shamanic journeying, meditation, or imagery that pops into your mind and acknowledge what happens.

3. Research your experiences to find out if there is a history that is foreign to you.

4. Work with your dream medicine. Ask your snake or other images how you might work with them to get guidance and help.

5. Then stay open to their visitations and dream guidance. You might be surprised. Even though you can call on them for assistance, they may show up when you least expect it. Just remember to pay attention to your inner senses. If you’re new to this, you may start seeing things you’ve never seen before.

Have you ever been swallowed by a snake or other creature in a dream? If so, share your experience below.

Also share if you’ve ever had an initiation dream that helped you on your lifework journey.

P.S. Please respect other people’s wishes and refrain from interpreting their dreams unless they specifically ask for your assistance.

About the Author:

Amy Brucker helps people heal their ancestral wounds so they can free their purpose, passion, and inner power. She offers a one-on-one, private healing/mentoring program Healing the Ancestral Wound. See link "Work with Me" on main menu for details.