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.