May 02, 2005

Snake dream

I have always dreamed of snakes.

Not the kind of snakes I see in real life. The snakes that live in my part of the world are small and innocuous: garter snakes, ribbon snakes, common water snakes. Nothing poisonous. Nothing harmful. At camp, watersnakes sun themselves on our dock, swim near when we are splashing in the water. They are a normal part of a sunny afternoon in the marsh.

The snakes in my dreams are bright coloured and frightening. They live in darkness. When I was a little kid, I would dream that the floor was covered with snakes of all kinds, curling and dangerous. I would wake up terrified, screaming, afraid to step out of the bed.

Even after I had grown up, moved out, and had kids of my own, the snake dreams continued. Often in the dreams I was living again at my parents' house. I'd be sleeping in a small room with the slanted ceilings that Cape Cod houses have, and snakes would slither out from the cracks at the floor board. They were long snakes, thick long snakes, often green or grey in colour. I would wake up, terrified. Sometimes Spouse would wake up, hearing me scream.

"What is the matter?" he'd ask.

"Remember how my parents used to have trouble with snakes in their house?" I would say. It would take me several minutes of talking, always with the light switched on, before I would realize that the dream was a dream and not the past.

My friend PoetShaman told me that dream snakes are powerful, and that I needed to learn to accept the snakes, learn to welcome them into my dreams instead of being afraid of them. She was working at a science museum at the time, and once when we met for lunch, we went to the cage where the boa constrictor was kept. She pulled this long thick snake out of the cage and placed the snake on me, on my arms and shoulders, around the back of my head. She told me I should learn to like snakes. She herself often gave snake demos and did not flinch as the snake slithered under her long hair or down all around her legs. I stood absolutely still, afraid to breathe even, while the heavy coils of the snake moved and twisted against my hair and against the bare skin of my arms.

The snake dreams have changed over the years. I am not as terrified by the dream snakes as I used to be. Sometimes I have dreams in which I am walking through a garden or greenhouse. I will notice snakes everywhere, green snakes, long and harmless. And I am not frightened. Somehow in those dreams, they are connected to plants and growing things.

Last night I dreamed I was in an old mansion, a huge crazy place with hundreds of empty rooms. I was with a friend and we were looking for snakes. It was a game sort of like hide and seek. We stayed together, but kept running around, finding snakes in different rooms, but the snakes were not frightening. We were happy and excited to find them. In the dream, I was a kid again and so was my friend, but we were grownups, too, if that makes sense, and the snakes were no more frightening than the snakes at the end of our dock in the summer. And yet ... when I woke up, I could feel that same sort of energy, the kind of power a snake dream has. I could feel the adrenaline, the sense of excitement and adventure of discovering snakes.

I stood at my window, staring out at the moon, the dark trees, the night sky, and wondered what the snake dream meant for me right now, at this point in my life.


PPB said...

I have no idea what the snakes mean. I do know that you make even snakes sound beautiful.

Cleis said...

I dream of snakes, too! I think dream symbols often correspond to cultural archetypes. I interpret the snakes in my dreams as messengers from ancient memory and/or the divine. I've always liked the idea that the Garden of Eden creation story is an appropriation of symbols from ancient Goddess religions; thus the snake in that story represents not Satan, but the Goddess leading the woman to moral knowledge.

Last night I dreamt that I was on retreat at a center I go to regularly (and will visit in two weeks). I was in the shower, which was open to the rest of the bathroom. Since I was in the shower, I wasn't wearing my glasses, so my vision was blurry. I saw something move on the floor in the center of the room. "Is that a mouse?" I thought. I moved closer, and my vision sharpened. I saw a snake moving across the floor with a large lump near its tail, as if it has swallowed a mouse whole (and as if its stomach was closer to the tail than a snake's stomach really is). Behind the snake were three more mice, following without fear that they, too, would be eaten. The snake was colorful. I thought I should tell someone about the snake and mice in the bathroom, since they probably didn't want that at their retreat center. I wasn't afraid.

I have no idea what the dream means.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

When I was a kid I was terrified of snakes and regularly dreamed of being attacked by snakes. Even awake, I would lie in bed convinced I could hear a snake slithering under my bedroom door...b/c of course all dangerous snakes wanted to do was figure out how to break into my house AND climb the stairs, of course. :-P It began when I found out that copperheads were native to where I grew up.

But those dreams have stopped, so there doesn't seem to have been any deeper meaning in my case. Not that I love snakes now or anything...

KathyR said...

I don't regularly dream of snakes, but I know what my shrink would say.

Sometimes a snake is just a snake.

~profgrrrrl~ said...

Not that this is of any use:

In some cultures snakes are highly regarded and symbolise the ability to transcend into higher levels of consciousness or into areas of knowledge that exist outside perceived time and space. In the pre-Christian days, snakes were considered symbols of fertility, healing, and nurturing (the healing serpent representing a god). Post Eden, snakes are often considered symbols of temptation and evil, anger, and envy. Snakes emerging out of the ground may represent your unconscious or repressed materials coming to your conscious mind. Most snake dreams seem to be disturbing and they leave the dreamer feeling anxious and afraid. There are no simple interpretations to the snake dreams. Sometimes snakes may be phallic symbols and other times they represent negativity in our lives that hampers our progress and constantly threatens us. In the long run the snake may be a positive symbol; it may represent difficulties that lead us to the centre of personality and result in feelings of completeness.


Felix Helix said...

Ride the snake. Ride the snake. To the lake. The ancient lake. He's old. And his skin is cold.

Snakes are totally beautiful. They are the perfect embodiment of an idea. Or a nest of ideas, slithering around like animate seaweed, blue synapses crackling between them.

Ticks, on the other hand: ticks fill me with top-to-bottom loathing. Is there anything more repulsive than a tick?

Friday Mom said...

Blogger doesn't seem to like me today. I'm trying for the third time to leave a comment. Hopefully this time it will work.

I'm intrigued with the idea of "welcoming the snakes." That would be hard for me. I was nearly bitten by a rattlesnake while hiking a few years ago. I've been very afraid since then, even though I played with garter snakes a kid.

I'm curious what you will discover about the meaning of the snakes at this point in your life.

Rob Helpy-Chalk said...

A while back my daughter (age 2) woke up in the middle of the night yelling "No like-a dragon! No like-a dragon!"

The few dragons that have appeared in her picture books have all been friendly, which made me wonder where the hostile dream dragon came from. Up to that point, she hadn't even clearly distinguished dragons, dinosaurs and alligators.

Still, her bad dream probably came from very primal fear of snakey looking things.

Fortunately we were able to convince her that the dragon was all gone.

Anonymous said...

it has just turned four o clock in the am, about fifteen minutes ago i had, what i would consider, one of the strangest moments in my life... no one is going to believe me, not even i would believe me... it's simply, not possible.

i was laying, in the only way i can describe it as, in a lucid dream state... that mid between place of reality and REM mode... i was awake, i'm certain of it... when suddenly to the right of my head, caught by the corner of my eye, was what can only be identified as a snake, or something snake like... it coiled, slithered, it's colors changed, and it's shape varied from moment to moment... i was stunned with fear... and suddenly it seems as though it grabbed me, in some manner, indescribable… it began whispering something in my ear, which i could not make out at the time and i cannot make out now either… they weren’t words, they were a language this is for certain, and they seemed aggressive, forced, unwanted by my being… i some how managed to free myself of this snake like creature, and it scurried, or slithered, or something of this method, away… but then it returned once more… this time, to attack… and it struck, so suddenly, and with no remorse… it grabbed a hold of my body, and began wrapping itself around my right side, my arm and left body were tangle for a brief period, during that period, i felt completely paralyzed, though, aware, and for what seem like forever, i couldn’t move, until i was able to free myself of it, almost as suddenly as it had grabbed me … although, i’m uncertain as to whether it had been biting me or not… i did untangle myself for certain, and suddenly my hands and body were flailing about, the snake creature was fumbling about, and dodging my actual grasp of it… until it finally freed itself of our entanglement and darted away… as it rushed off, my eyes were entranced, and boldly staring… when suddenly it vanished into thin air…

after it had gone, my body began convulsing in a peculiar behavior… i’m not sure if i can describe this, but i will try… it, my body, began sparking off all over, so to speak, not actual sparks, but within my body, i could feel little explosions occurring, sparks, and then an almost stream like feeling began flowing all around me, wrapping itself about me, from within side of my body… and my body felt very alive in this moment… i felt very alive… and the spark like feeling left a tingly residue, inside of me… my body feels extremely active right at this moment… i am filled with an immense amount of energy… i can’t explain it in any other manner…

i know this sounds crazy… i know it does… but it seem so real, so very real… i don’t know what to make of it… am i to believe that my imagination would simply conjure up this on its own… sure, it makes the most sense… i must rationalize this… although, right at this moment, there is a feeling in the area, where it was tangled, it feels the same way, as when you are left bruised by an object, or having been punched, or something of that nature… it doesn’t feel made up.

Alitalia said...

I have ever dreamed of snakes too, in last night. It's Viperidae or Malayan Pit Viper. I feld of the rancour of the snakes and I feld of the wickedness too. I ran and jump to a tree but it not fast enough to safe me one of them bit my leg.I screamed too lound. And then my boyfriend waked me up.

In Thailand, People have chronicle about "Snake" in dreams also relate to symbolic of "Male".

Anonymous said...

This is the second time in three weeks I have had this dream...
I am trying desperately to find someone, all the while asking everyone I see on my way "Can you help me get this snake out of my ear?” I keep showing people my ear and not one person seems to see or hear me. Then, in the dream last night, I find what I kind of remember as a dental hygienist or some odd type of medical person completely unrelated to my problem. She immediately pulls the snake out and as I try and try to look at the snake, it seems to be Red, White and Blue.
When I think about it, I can still feel the inner ear where the snake had been.
I think it means I have been taking bad advice or having to listen to a person or people who I secretly believe to be evil/bad.