Because mankind has a universal aversion or fear of snakes, the snake dream symbol is most often associated with negative feelings but it isn’t always so.
In some cultures, the snake can symbolize lethal protection and renewal (the shedding of old skin). The snake appears on the physician’s emblem as a sign of healing. This symbolism comes from the rod of Asclepius of the Bible in Numbers 21-6-9.
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.” (Numbers 21: 8-9.)
However, due to the collective understanding that snakes pose a threat to man, when snakes appear in dreams, they most commonly symbolize just that: threats, enemies and fears.
To dream of…
Pit of snakes. You fear you’re under attack by unscrupulous people.
Hidden or slithering snake. Beware of a hidden enemy.
Snake charmer. If you are the snake charmer, you will use your charm and wit to enchant your enemies. If you’re watching a snake charmer, beware of someone who is appearing to be pleasing and accommodating but is only saying what you want to hear.
Being bitten by a snake. You fear you’ll be hurt by enemies or dangerous or threatening emotions. Consider the type of snake to determine the level of danger it poses.
Snake in your bed. Sexuality.
Garden snake. An initial threat will prove to be harmless.
Poisonous snake. Potential harm.
Talking snake. You will be offered or tempted by someone who is convincing.
Snake shedding its skin. Renewal. Transformation. Shedding the old outer self.
To gaze upon a snake on a rod. This is a sign that healing is desired or possible.
Common sayings and idioms to consider
“Snake in the grass.” (enemy)
“He’s a snake.” (devious)
“She speaks with a forked tongue (reference to snake).” (liar)
“Snake oil.” (useless, fake product or information)
“He’s a snake charmer.” (convincing, persuasive but false)
Don’t forget to factor in the size, type, color, demeanor and numbers of the snake! Also consider where the snake is and what it is doing.
As always, be sure to interpret all the dream symbols in your dream in context with each other.