Snake Symbolism – Meanings Of A Snake Sighting

When it comes to snake symbolism, there are various different interpretations. In some cultures, snakes or serpents are seen as helpful creatures that can guide us on our journey through life. In others, they’re considered to be evil and dangerous, signifying danger and death. So what does it mean if you see a snake in your path? Read on to find out!

What does a Snake Symbolize?

Snakes are seen as symbols of protection, fertility, luck, resurrection, and eternity in many cultures and religions. Their symbolism is often associated with healing, transformation, and power. In some cases, snakes can also be seen as symbols of death and destruction.

A snake often symbolizes fear, mysticism, and transformation. In many cultures, the snake is seen as a powerful animal that can take on different forms and meanings.

It represents change and new beginnings as it sheds its skin – suggesting rejuvenation and rebirth. In some cultures, snakes are also associated with mystery, a symbol of protection and healing. In some stories, snakes can be seen as protectors, guardians, and mentors to humans.

To others, a snake symbolizes wisdom and the knowledge of secrets. The snake can also represent evil or danger – often associated with deception and temptation, as in the story of Adam and Eve.

In many cultures, these powerful animals are believed to be connected to the divine, so their symbolism is more complex. No matter its representation, the snake remains an important symbol in many cultures throughout history.

Snake facts

  • Snakes have no eyelids, so they cannot blink.
  • Snakes come in many sizes and can range from 10 cm to over 10 meters in length.
  • There are more than 3,400 species of snakes found on every continent except Antarctica.
  • All snakes are carnivores, eating small animals such as insects, birds, eggs, or other reptiles like lizards and turtles.
  • Most snakes lay eggs, while there some species give birth to live young, which hatch out of the egg inside the mother’s body.
  • A snake has a set of hollow fangs at the front end of its upper jaw for delivering venom into their prey.
  • The scales covering a snake’s body help them move smoothly over rough surfaces and through water without much resistance or friction
  • Snakes will shed their skin several times per year throughout their life once they reach adulthood.
  • Venomous snakes use venom to kill prey or defend themselves against predators, while non-venomous snakes depend only on constriction to catch food or protect themselves.
  • The color patterning on a snake’s skin is related to camouflage so that it can blend with its environment.

What Does It Mean When You See a Snake?

Snakes are often seen as symbols of transformation, mystery, and regeneration. In some cultures, snakes are revered for their ability to shed their skin and represent renewal.

green snake

They can also be associated with power and wisdom, making them important figures in many spiritual traditions.

Different Color Meanings

Snakes are often associated with various colors that each have their own symbolism.

  • Black snakes, for example, typically represent bad luck and death in many cultures.
  • Green snakes are viewed as messengers of good fortune.
  • Red snakes are generally associated with fire, passion, and danger. They can also symbolize transformation and rebirth.
  • White snakes tend to represent purity and spiritual enlightenment. They are often seen as a sign of good luck or fortune in many cultures.
  • Brown snakes usually symbolize the earth element and are viewed as a symbol of protection and stability.
  • Yellow snakes are seen as a sign of wisdom and the power of knowledge. They can also represent wealth and prosperity.
  • In Chinese culture, black and white snakes together symbolize yin and yang—the two opposing forces of the universe —coming together in harmony.

Each color is believed to bring its own unique message or meaning, so it’s important to be aware of what these colors signify when encountering a snake in

What Does the Snake Spirit Animal Mean?

The snake spirit animal is a symbol of transformation and healing. It represents the ability to shed one’s skin or old ideas, beliefs, and behaviors — to make way for new ones. In many cultures, the snake is seen as a teacher of life lessons, guiding us through difficult times with courage and strength.

black snake head

It also symbolizes rebirth and regeneration because it sheds its skin and comes back stronger than ever before. The snake spirit animal can also be seen as a symbol of fertility, creativity, and the power of transformation.

What do Snakes Symbolize in Arts and Literature?

In literature and art, snakes are often associated with symbols of transformation, knowledge, and wisdom.

In the Bible, a snake entices Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, giving them a warning that their actions will have consequences.

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This story has popularized the idea that snakes represent knowledge in many cultures around the world.

The symbolism of the snake has been carried through to modern literature and art. Snakes appear in works by authors such as William Blake, Edgar Allen Poe, and J.R.R Tolkien, often representing wisdom or cunning.

In Greek mythology, a snake is also associated with Medusa, who is known for her hair, that was made of snakes. This representation of power and transformation can be seen in many works of art as well, such as in the paintings by Hieronymus Bosch and sculptures by Auguste Rodin.

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In addition to symbolism related to knowledge, wisdom, and transformation, snakes are also associated with fertility. In some cultures, snake imagery is used to represent the cycles of nature and the cycle of life.

Snake Power Animal

The Snake Power Animal is an ancient symbol of transformation, healing, and initiation.

This powerful animal spirit guide can bring you the knowledge and power to move forward on the path of life.

Snakes represent wisdom, intuition, and primal energy.

They are associated with renewal – sloughing off the old skin to reveal a new one beneath – and with transformation.

Snakes represent the ability to shed old patterns, beliefs, and habits that no longer serve us to create a new self-image.

The Snake Power Animal can help you overcome fear so that you may journey deeper into yourself and embrace inner change.

what does it mean when you see a snake

Snake Totem Animal

The snake is an ancient totem animal thought to bring spiritual power and physical protection.

In some cultures, the snake represents fertility and abundance, while in others, it is a symbol of wisdom and knowledge.

small snake on a rock

In Native American traditions, the snake was seen as a guardian spirit who taught people about the power of transformation.

The symbolism of this creature has been passed down through many generations across different cultures and religions.

The snake is often seen as a messenger from the spirit world, linking us to a higher power or greater wisdom. People who have a connection with the snake totem animal may be highly intuitive and open to spiritual guidance.

They might also be deeply connected to their own inner power and will not be easily swayed by external influences.

Snake people are often called upon to guide and mentor others, leading them through difficult times with their wise counsel. They are comfortable in the darkness and can help others to face their inner shadows, bringing healing and transformation.

Snake Dream Meanings

Dreams involving snakes generally symbolize fear and uncertainty. Snakes represent a person’s inner fears and worries they are unaware of.

sleeping woman dreaming of a snake

For example, a dream about a snake may indicate that there is something in the person’s life that they are trying to suppress or ignore.

Alternatively, snakes can also symbolize transformation and growth as it sheds it’s skin and moves forward. In this sense, dreaming of a snake could signify that the dreamer is going through some period of change in their life.

It could also be a warning of danger and uncertainty or even an indication of untapped potential and power. Ultimately, the meaning of dreams involving snakes is highly dependent on the context surrounding the dream and its symbolism in relation to the dreamer’s life and experiences.

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Snake Meaning in Tarot

When it comes to Tarot readings, the snake can have a variety of interpretations depending on its context. It can generally represent wisdom and discernment but is also associated with knowledge and healing.

snake tarot card

The symbolism found in snakes often points towards transformation and understanding one’s true inner self.

In some decks, such as the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot, the snake is featured prominently as a major arcana card. In this case, it symbolizes spiritual growth and personal evolution.

There may be challenges or obstacles to overcome to reach a higher level of understanding.

Snakes can also appear in minor arcana cards related to physical and health-related issues. They can signify the need to take care of one’s body and be mindful of the consequences of one’s actions.

The snake might warn against making decisions hastily, as it is important to think things through carefully before taking action.

Snake Meaning in the Bible And Christianity

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In the Bible, snakes are often associated with evil and temptation. In the book of Genesis, a serpent tempts Eve to eat from the forbidden fruit of knowledge leading to Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Eden.

adam and eve and the forbidden fruit

The Snake is also seen in Jesus’ story of salvation, where it represents Satan tempting Jesus in the wilderness. In Christianity, there is a widespread belief that the snake symbolizes evil, sin, and temptation.

Snakes are sometimes used as symbols of healing and renewal in Christianity. The most common example is the story of Moses lifting up a bronze serpent on a pole to cure the Israelites of snakebite.

This represents Jesus’ death and resurrection, providing hope for new life and spiritual healing. Additionally, it is believed that when Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he used a serpent to demonstrate his authority over evil.

Snake Meaning in the Judaism

In the Jewish faith, snakes have traditionally been seen as a symbol of evil and destruction. In the Torah, God sends a plague of serpents to punish the Israelites for their disobedience.

The meaning of snakes in Judaism has also been associated with healing. According to Jewish tradition, when Moses raised his staff, it became a snake, this represented a miraculous power of transformation, representing God’s gift of healing.

This connection is depicted in the Book of Numbers, where snakes are used as a symbol for curing certain diseases such as leprosy.

In modern Judaism, snakes have come to be seen as a representation of resilience and renewal. This is due to the fact that after being near death, a snake sheds its skin and emerges with a new one.

This can be seen as an example of regrowth and hope in times of hardship or despair.

Snake Meaning in the Islam

In the Islamic religion, snakes symbolize protection from evil. The snake is also a symbol of vigilance and power in Islamic beliefs. In some cultures, it is believed that snakes can even provide insight into future events.

This belief is due to the fact that snakes have excellent eyesight, allowing them to detect danger before humans can.

In Islamic traditions, it is believed that snakes can bring both good and bad fortune. This can depend on the type of snake encountered and its behavior.

For example, if a snake appears in someone’s home, it is believed to be a sign of coming good fortune. On the other hand, if a person encounters a snake on the road or in their path, it can signify bad luck and danger.

Snake Mythology, Folklore, and Symbolism in Different Cultures


In African culture, snake symbolism is deeply intertwined with the spiritual realm.

To many cultures in Africa, snakes represent wisdom and divinity and can also serve as guardians or protectors of sacred places. In some communities, they are seen as a sign of fertility and health.

African style snake symbolism

In traditional beliefs, encountering a snake can be interpreted as an omen of good or bad luck. In some cultures, if a snake crosses your path, it is seen as a sign of divine protection and guidance, believing that you should accept the blessing and seek supreme knowledge from the spiritual realm.

Conversely, in other communities, if a snake appears, it could be interpreted as an omen of ill health or misfortune.

Ancient Egypt

The symbolism of snakes in Ancient Egypt is especially fascinating. Snakes were often associated with royalty and gods, as they were believed to possess a power greater than humans.

Ancient Egypt style snake wallpainting

The cobra was seen as a symbol of divine protection, being linked to the goddess Wadjet – the protector of Lower Egypt.

The Uraeus – a rearing cobra – was seen as a symbol of power and used to adorn the crowns of Pharaohs.

It was also believed that snakes were the guardians of hidden knowledge and wisdom, which made them incredibly high in status among Ancient Egyptians. In this way, they were often revered as gods and worshipped in temples throughout Egypt.


In Mesopotamian culture, snakes were both feared and respected. They were believed to be associated with gods of fertility, such as Ishtar, who was thought to transform into a snake in the underworld.

Mesopotamia style snake depiction

Snakes also symbolized immortality due to their ability to shed their skin and thus renew themselves.

To some Mesopotamians, snakes were seen as symbols of healing and protection due to the medicinal properties of their venom. In this way, they were both feared and respected in Ancient Mesopotamia.


In Babylonia, the snake was seen as a powerful symbol of protection and strength. It was believed that the gods favored those possessing this creature’s power and grace.

Babylonian style snake wall ornament

The Babylonian people used the snake in various ways to protect themselves from evil forces, and it is said that they even had a god, Adda, who was a giant snake.

The Babylonians also believed that snakes could be used to divine the future, as they had an almost supernatural ability to detect danger before humans could. This made them powerful protectors of both people and property in Babylonia.


In ancient times, they were regarded as a powerful symbol of fertility and protection. Snakes were associated with the region’s gods and goddesses, often seen as embodiments of their power or messengers sent by them to interact with mortals.

They were also thought to hold magical powers, giving them the ability to cure illnesses, predict the future, and ward off evil spirits.

As a result of their strong connection with divine forces, snakes were seen as powerful protectors that could guard against misfortune and bad luck.

They also served a symbolic role in the Assyrian religion, playing an important part in various rituals and ceremonies.


In Greek culture, snakes are often seen as symbols of transformation and rebirth. Snakes are associated with wisdom, fertility, and even immortality.

In Greek mythology, snakes represent the power of healing and can be found in many different stories associated with gods, goddesses, and heroes.

The most famous representation of a snake in Greek mythology is the Caduceus, a staff carried by Hermes. This staff has two intertwining snakes around it and is often used to symbolize medicine, healing, and protection. The Caduceus was also a sign of peace as it could be used to charm away hostility and dispel lies.


In Roman culture, the snake has been a symbol of wisdom and protection. It was often seen as a guardian spirit who would protect an area from harm or danger.

Roman snake ornament

Snakes were believed to be linked to many gods, such as Apollo and Mercury. They were also associated with healing and medicine, being used in medicinal rituals, ceremonies, and practices.

Snakes were also thought to possess oracular powers and were often consulted for advice by people looking for guidance.

It was believed that they had the power to predict the future or answer questions about life’s mysteries. People would perform elaborate rituals in order to commune with the snakes and receive their wisdom.


In the Celtic cultures, snake meaning and symbolism has been used for thousands of years to represent many different ideas.

Celtic style snake drawing

Snakes were seen as a symbol of life and death in these ancient societies, representing the renewal of life through their shedding skin and the potential danger they posed to their human predators.

The Celts believed that snakes had the power to both poison and heal, depending on how they were used.

They associated snakes with both positive and negative traits, such as wisdom, courage, cunning, creativity, fertility, and protection.

It was thought that when a snake appeared in a dream or vision, it could be interpreted as a sign of good luck or bad luck.


Norse cultures associated snakes with wisdom and knowledge, often seen as a symbol of the divine creative force.

Norse style snake drawing

They believed that snakes were connected to the gods and goddesses and acted as intermediaries between them and humans.

Snakes were also believed to be able to travel between worlds, making them powerful spirits in Norse mythology.

In Norse folklore, snakes were often seen as cunning, powerful shape-shifters and messengers of the Gods. They were believed to be able to take on human form and speak in human tongues, leading some scholars to believe that ancient Scandinavian cultures saw them as a sign of divine communication.

Native American

In many cultures, snakes are seen as wise and knowledgeable creatures. In Native American folklore, they were believed to be powerful healers and protectors of sacred places.

They have been used in medicine ceremonies and rituals for centuries, with the belief that their spirits could bring healing energy to those who needed it.

Native American style snake drawing

Snakes also symbolize transformation and spiritual growth. The shedding of their skin is a powerful metaphor for change, renewal, and rebirth. In many cultures, snakes are seen as messengers from the spirit world, bringing knowledge and guidance to those who seek it.

They also represent life force energy, creativity, and fertility.

In Native American mythologies, snakes are often seen as guardians of the underworld and keepers of secrets. They are seen as a connection between the physical and spiritual worlds, and their presence is a reminder that you should always be open to learning new things.

On another level, snakes represent power and strength.

Many Native American tribes saw them as symbols of courage and bravery, and they were often used in battle and hunting rituals. Snakes were also believed to be messengers of luck, fortune, and protection.

Meso and South American

In Meso and South American cultures, the snake has long been associated with powerful meanings, mythology, folklore, and symbolism.


In Aztec mythology, Quetzalcoatl is a feathered serpent god who represents knowledge and wisdom. Quetzalcoatl was also said to be both creator and destroyer of the world – in some aspects.

He was the god of cycles and duality. He was often depicted alongside his twin brother Tezcatlipoca, whose name means “Smoking Mirror” or “Owl Mirrored-Feather” – a symbol of transformation, darkness, and secrets.

Aztec style snake drawing

In Aztec folklore and mythology, snakes also represented fertility and new life. In some cases, they were even associated with the goddess Cihuacoatl – a fertility goddess said to protect women in childbirth.


In Mayan mythology, Kukulkan was a powerful feathered-serpent god closely associated with wisdom, knowledge, and creation.

He was also seen as an ancestor of the Mayans, believed to have arrived from a distant land and brought civilization and knowledge.

In folklore and mythology, snakes were also seen as symbols of protection for the Mayan people. They were used as amulets to protect against evil spirits, as well as to ward off illnesses and even predict the future.


In Incan mythology, the snake was venerated as a powerful symbol of goddess energy and fertility.

The Incans also believed snakes were messengers between the upper world (the realm of gods) and the lower world (the realm of men). As such, they were seen as spiritual guides who could provide wisdom and insight.

In folk and mythology, snakes were also seen as symbols of transformation. They represented shedding one’s skin or old habits in favor of a new beginning.

Inca style snake drawing

This could be interpreted both metaphorically and literally – as many snakes do actually shed their skin seasonally.


In Australia, the snake has a long-standing presence in mythology and folklore. The Rainbow Serpent is one of the most famous creatures in Australian Aboriginal mythology and is often depicted as a giant snake with multiple colors.

In many stories, it is seen as a creator deity who formed rivers, mountains, and other landforms across the continent. It is associated with fertility and life-giving rains but can also be seen as a destructive force that causes floods.

In some Aboriginal cultures, the snake is also thought to have spiritual powers or to be able to bring good luck. They are sometimes linked to healing rituals or shamans who use their power for health and protection.

In some Aboriginal communities, a snake figure is placed at the entrance of a village to ward off bad luck and protect its inhabitants.


In Asia, snakes have been seen as a symbol of power and divine protection.


In China, snakes symbolize good fortune and longevity. The Chinese dragon is often associated with the snake and can represent wisdom, strength, and power.

black and white snake forming a yin yang

The Chinese Year of the Snake is said to bring good luck and success in business ventures. It is also believed that the snake brings with it good luck in money matters. Snakes have been depicted in many pieces of Chinese art and literature, including on coins.

The image of a snake wrapped around a staff is used to symbolize medicine and healing. In folklore, snakes are often portrayed as wise and powerful creatures who can offer protection or guidance.

They can also be seen as a symbol of fertility and rebirth. In some cases, they can even represent death and destruction. It is believed that snakes can bring both good luck and bad luck depending on how they are viewed or treated. Snakes have been revered in Chinese culture for centuries and continue to be respected today.


In Japan, the snake is a symbol of wisdom and protection. The Japanese Snake God, Fudo Myoo, is seen as a powerful deity who dispels evil and brings good luck. Snakes are also associated with dragons in Japan and can be viewed as symbols of power and strength.

The image of a snake wrapped around a staff is a common symbol in Japanese culture, and it is said to represent healing, fertility, and luck.

In some cases, snakes are seen as bad omens of death or destruction. Legends in Japan tell stories of snakes that bring both good luck and bad luck depending on their behavior or how they are treated.


In Indian mythology, snakes are associated with Lord Shiva and can be found in many Hindu temples. Snakes also appear in many Hindu folktales and stories, as it is believed that they possess the power to heal, protect, and bring luck.

hindu temple snake decoration

They are frequently seen as protectors of Lord Vishnu’s temple and gardens. Snakes are also seen as symbols of fertility, resurrection, and eternity.

Some Hindus wear jewelry in the shape of a snake to protect themselves from harm and bad luck. The cobra is one of the most revered snakes in Hinduism, as it is believed to bring good luck and prosperity.


In Buddhism, the snake is seen as a symbol of transformation, rebirth, and spiritual power. It is believed that those who interact with snakes will receive positive energy and insight into their life path.

Snakes are also viewed as protectors of the dharma and often appear in Buddhist art to represent wisdom and awakening.

In some cases, they can be seen as symbols of death and destruction, while in other cases, they can be seen as protectors of the faithful. Snakes have been revered in Buddhist culture for centuries and continue to be respected today.

No matter what religious or cultural background one comes from, it is clear that snakes are seen as powerful symbols of protection, transformation, and luck.

They can be seen as both good and bad omens, but they are almost always respected and revered.


Why is the snake a symbol of healing?

The snake is associated with healing and medicine due to its ancient roots in Greek mythology. The god Asklepios, the god of healing and medicine, was often depicted with a staff entwined by a single or double serpent. This image has since been adopted as the symbol for modern-day healthcare organizations such as the American Medical Association.

Do snakes remember you?

Snakes have a keen memory and can recognize familiar faces and voices. They may even remember the scent of someone they’ve interacted with before. However, it is important to note that snakes may only recognize familiar people or environments if they come into contact with them regularly.

Can snakes sense your feelings?

Snakes do not possess the same emotional abilities as humans, and so they cannot sense your feelings. They may be able to detect changes in body language or scent that could indicate fear or excitement, but these are more likely instinctual responses than emotional understanding.

Final Words – Snake Symbolism 

No matter where you look, animal symbolism is an important part of many cultures worldwide. The snake is no exception and can be seen as a powerful symbol in many different cultures.

From protection to transformation, snakes have been revered for centuries, and their symbolic meanings remain relevant today.

The symbolism of snakes can offer insight and lessons that we can use better to understand our own lives and the world around us.

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Christina Johnson

About the Author

My name is Christina, and I am the founder of centerspirited. Being a physiotherapist for several years I have found that many people, including myself, don’t achieve well-being only from a physical point of view. I’ve always viewed a person’s body, soul, and emotions as a whole construct of beauty. Always being a yoga enthusiast, I finally became an instructor myself. On a secret mission to capture spirituality in all of her beautiful shapes, I found myself being guided on a way through ayurvedic nutrition and lifestyle. Through this platform, I will hopefully be able to help other beautiful souls out there find their inner peace and bond with their spiritual selves.

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