Snakes get a bad rap in the western world. But in many other societies, they’re held up as a deity and a form of healing. And even in contemporary communities, scientists are leaning into the medicinal properties of venom. But what does a snake signify in the spirit world?
And what does it mean when it’s used as a totem, a spirit animal, or a message from the heavens? Let’s look into a few possibilities. We’ll talk about snakes’ spiritual meanings in general without going into specific species of snakes. For details on that, you could check some of our other articles.
Spiritual Meanings of Snake
1. You’re Transitioning to a New Stage
Even if you don’t know anything about snakes, you’re probably aware they shed their skin. This is sometimes called sloughing, and depending on its species, habitat, diet, and growth patterns, the shedding can happen once a month or every three months (for a total of four to twelve times every year). Shedding makes room for a snake’s expanding body as it matures.
This shedding can seem like a negative thing. If you find the discarded bits, they look like a scary grey ghostly thing. From a distance, you might mistake them for fishnets. But the snake underneath is fresh and shiny. So if you’re seeing snake sheddings, it means you’re moving to a new phase of life and that your angels support your transition. This is a positive signal.
2. You’re Still in the Process of Changing
The significance of snake symbolism is related. If you bump into a shed snakeskin, it means your transition is complete. You’ve already leveled up. But what if the snake is still in the middle of ecdysis? The skin comes out as a single unbroken piece, so what you might see looks like a living snake coming out of the mouth of a dead one. It can be shocking for newbies.
As the snake sloughs, its eyes cloud over and its skin turns blue. And because this process takes several weeks, the creature can look quite sickly. You might see the image or dream repetitively during that time. Don’t panic. It just means your upgrade is gradual and that your higher helpers are in control of the transition. They’ll be with you the entire time.
3. Take Your Time As You Elevate Yourself
During the sloughing process, snakes become temporarily blind as their dead skin covers their eye caps. Before it can see through those opaque eyes, the snake will have to rub against a rock, a harsh tree bark, or some abrasive surface. This doesn’t harm the snake – it just tears the shedding skin to form a small tear. This allows the snake to see its surroundings.
The snake will then gradually force its way through the tear, peeling off the dead skin as it goes. If the snake does this wrong or gets disrupted, it may stay blind forever. Sending this image is your angels’ way of telling you to ‘Let go and let God (or whoever your deity is). Don’t rush things. Your higher helpers are in control, so be patient and let them work on you.
4. It’s Time to Shed Toxic Tendencies
Yes, yes, you’ve heard about the cut-off cancelers. In some ways, it’s a good thing because you’re shedding – pun intended – souls that no longer serve you. Other times, it’s an excuse for emotional abuse. So before you ghost anyone or tell them off and judge them, ask your guardian angels to be sure it’s what they want – and that you’re dumping the right person.
When a snake ditches its old skin, it leaves behind potential parasites and infection and remains with a gorgeous, shiny, healthy body and a fresh new set of scales. This is why your angels might show you images of shedding snakes when they want you to drop a bad habit or distance yourself from someone that’s harming you. But be sure you’re hearing them correctly.
5. You’re Acquiring New Skills
As we mentioned earlier, we’re not going to say much about particular snake species. But it’s worth noting the rattlesnake in this interpretation, because every time it sheds its skin, it grows an extra rattle. The spiritual significance here is that you shouldn’t resist the loss that’s coming. Your angels might be ‘peeling off your skin’ but they’re ‘giving you new rattles’ too.
You may have heard this saying, “sometimes you waste so much time staring at a slammed door that you don’t notice the open ones nearby.” Your angels are saying yes, they’re taking away something you value. But they’re giving you something better in return! Plus they’ll comfort you while you grief and nobody could genuinely refuse their angel’s pampering …
6. You’ve Outgrown Your Current Space
Your guardian angels might keep placing shed snake skins along your path. Or you may be walking through a lobby and spot an ecdysis documentary on the skin. Think of this like a gangly tween or energetic toddler unconsciously outgrowing their clothes. The child may not notice, but as their parent, sibling, or caregiver, you’ll spot garments skimming their ankles.
This is what your higher helpers are saying. Picture yourself as the kid that loves that skirt or that pair of shorts. You insist on wearing it even as the buttons strain and the hem rises. The angels are saying you’re too big for the space you’re in, whether it’s a job or a social circle. You’re at a higher vibration so you need to let go of lower things and embody your new self.
7. You’re On the Verge of Healing
Okay, enough about shed skins. Let’s go on to other messages that might come from snakes. Here, we want to consider the caduceus, sometimes called the Staff of Hermes. It’s a rod with wings near the top and two snakes wrapped around the shaft. A controversial alternative is the Staff of Asclepius, which is a single stick that has one snake coiled around it vertically.
It turns out the one-snake version was the original medical logo because Asclepius was the Greek god of medicine. But American military medics adopted the two-snake version in 1902 and it stuck. Either way, you might this symbol in a photo, video, uniform, or even spot a live snake hugging a stick while you’re taking a stroll. These are all symbols of healing and peace.
8. Someone Around You is Being Dishonest
The significance of your snake symbols is largely dependent on your history and background. If you grew up in the church, you see snakes as the devil, the one who tricked Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. So if you’re seeing snakes or dreaming about them it means someone nearby is lying to you or betraying you. Later, snakes show up under the power of Moses.
God gives Moses (and Aaron) a miraculous staff that – among other things – can turn into a snake. In the desert, the Israelites insult Moses so God sends snakes to bite them. When they repent, Moses makes a snake statue on a stick and when they look at it, they heal. In all these cases, the snakes are not what they appear to be. It’s why snake symbols indicate deception.
9. TriggerWarning – You Might Be in Sexual Danger
Ask a typical group of five-year-olds about the difference between boys and girls. Many will talk about the ‘tail’ or ‘snake’ that boys have between their legs. This could be entirely benign if they grew up with siblings and saw each other in the bath. But it can be frightening if the kids haven’t been exposed to nudity as far as you know. Either way, snakes can be phallic.
Victims of sexual abuse often have nightmares about snakes. Especially if the crime itself happened in childhood and/or was repressed because they couldn’t understand what was happening. So if you’re seeing snake symbols, it could be a warning from your angels that someone has a nasty unsolicited sexual intent towards you. Ask your angels how to stay safe.
10. You Might Be Receiving Career Advice
Because the staffs of Asclepius and Hermes are associated with medicine and healing, seeing a snake (with or without a stick) could be a crucial clue to your career path. Maybe you’re deciding where to volunteer for the summer or what courses to take in college. If you’re seeing a lot of snake imagery, it could mean your guides are calling you into the healing arts.
This could range from becoming a doctor, surgeon, nurse, lab tech, physical therapist, paramedic, or even a counseling psychologist. Some of these professions take 14 years or more to complete training. Others could simply be a CPR course that might later come in handy during family emergencies. Ask your angels for further guidance and specificity.
11. Get Ready For The Changes That Are Coming
Most humans are terrified of uncertainty and change, even though they’re as constant as death and taxes. So if you happen to be walking somewhere and a snake crosses the street in front of you, it means a drastic shift is about to take place in your life. How did you react to the snake? You were probably be scared of the snake at first. Maybe you froze on the spot.
This lessened the chances of the snake seeing you. Or maybe you went into defense mode. A part of you may have noted the snake’s (pretty) colors and tried to figure out what type of snake it was. Similarly, this new occurrence might frighten you, or you could be distracted by its shiny bits and bobs. In the end, this event will create an overall switch in your lifestyle.
12. You’re Going to Live a Long Time
Some kinds of snakes live for a few years while others can survive for decades. But because they shed their skin consistently and are ‘reborn’ each time, many cultures use snakes as a sign of fertility and immortality. So if you’re elderly or you’re feeling unwell and you start to see snakes everywhere, you’ll probably interpret it as an omen and start writing your will.
But it’s more likely the snake is bringing you a different message. It’s saying you will recover from this illness and that you have many happy years ahead of you. Assuming the snake doesn’t bite you of course, in which case you should probably call 911. Hopefully, the EMTs that show up will have some anti-venom. Otherwise, snakes are generally a positive sign.
13. You’re Feeling Overwhelmed
There’s one scenario where seeing snakes could be a bad thing, and that’s when they’re swarming. Ordinarily, snakes are solitary so you’ll bump into one slithering along on its own. If the region is a natural snake sanctuary – spiritual meaning it’s a safe, healthy spot for them with good weather and plentiful food, you may bump into more than one. But each snake is solo.
During breeding season though – or in a freak snake storm – you might stumble on hundreds of snakes writhing together in a wriggly mating mass. Physically, you’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time. But the spiritual message here is you feel overwhelmed and out of control. Ask your loved ones (and your spiritual guides too!) to help lighten your load.
14. You Need Some Private Time
We assume the fear of snakes is built into our DNA. But often, kids are happier handling snakes than adults are, so it seems to be a learned fear that we acquire as we grow older. It could be something to do with those slit eyes that seem to follow your every move, and the idea the snake could strike at any moment. So what does it mean when you see snake eyes?
We’re not talking about rolling two ones on a dice. The context here is the eyes of a snake watching you, whether it’s in a dream, a terrarium, or the branches of a tree. On a spiritual level, it means you’re feeling overpowered and overcrowded. Too many people are poking their noses in your space and your business. You need alone-time and psychological privacy.
15. You Badly Need to Get Grounded
As far as spiritual symbols go, birds might represent the heavens, the air, elevation, and rising spiritual levels. They can carry messages to the gods. In contrast, snakes live in the grass, in holes, in water, or trees. These are material, natural elements, so in some ways, the snake symbol is the opposite of the bird symbol. What’s the significance in this context?
In some scenarios, snakes represent life force or vital energy. But if you see a snake juxtaposed against a bird, it could mean you’ve been spending too much time in your spiritual practice. You need to get grounded. You should plan some meaningful physical pursuits to restore your earthly links. Hang out with loved ones and be present with them.
When was the last time you saw a snake symbol? Tell us about it in the comments section!