In order to understand the meaning behind a dream of snakes, one must take into consideration the way he or she regards snakes in waking life. While some people have phobias toward snakes, others keep them as beloved pets. In Judeo-Christian faiths, snakes are considered the embodiment of evil, while other belief systems regard snakes as symbols of luck.
Since the snake has such varied symbolic representations, it is up to the dreamer to decide the meaning behind the dream. However, there are some archetypal associations people have with snakes, both positive and negative.
Snakes as positive dream symbols
*Rebirth and renewal
The shedding of a snake's skin to reveal the smooth and strong surface beneath is a natural phenomenon that many people associate with positive change. The old is replaced with the new - and improved. Dreaming of snakes might indicate the dreamer's desire to better him or herself by letting go of the past and embracing change. Though the process might seem repugnant, the end result is always desirable.
The most diminutive of snake species are sometimes the most dangerous. Their sharp teeth and venom make them formidable opponents to even the toughest members of the animal kingdom. Dreaming of snakes, therefore, might represent inner fortitude. Just as venom cannot be seen externally, one's own strengths often go unnoticed. If snakes take on a positive role in a dream, the dreamer should examine his or her own inner strengths in order to bring them to light.
Snakes represent fertility in some cultures, possibly because of their phallic shape. Also, some species of snake have a rather unusual manner of mating in which many males crowd around a few females in an effort to impregnate them, creating what is known as a "snake ball." Therefore, snakes in dreams might represent fertility among both sexes or male virility.
Snakes as negative dream symbols
*Temptation and guilt
The serpent of the Bible is the devil incarnate. Those who subscribe to Judeo-Christian beliefs might very likely associate snakes with evil. In this case, dreams of snakes might represent a bad influence in the dreamer's life, if not his or her own "bad side." Sometimes snakes will appear in dreams when one is feeling guilty as they represent temptation and deceit in this particular context.
*Stress and anxiety
Those who fear snakes and dream of them are probably experiencing some kind of stress or anxiety in waking life. In general, dreams of "critters" such as snakes, spiders, or insects, indicate that something is "bugging" the dreamer and that a problem must be confronted and resolved.
In order to accurately interpret a dream about snakes, the mood of the dream must be taken into account. The dreamer must also ask himself what personal meaning snakes have to him. Many dream symbols are universal, but applying them to waking life takes some degree of introspection.