Psychoanalysis > Papers

Snake Symbolism and
a Precognition Dream

By Jean Chiriac

One of our readers, named Paul, is sending us a material about a dream he recently had, a dream with a snake. The author of the dream thinks the snake is connected to the energy centers, with Kundalini - the vital energy - or prana for the Hindus. But even more, it seems this dream would have another virtue: "It is a precognitive dream, Paul writes us, though it is not related to important events. I woke up from this dream at approximately 2 AM just to realize that the electric power was off and I could not turn on the light."

As expected, Paul made the connection between the snake symbol in dream - vital energy, prana - and the shutting down of the electric power, in the waking state. Vital energy = electric power.

Unfortunately we only know the following about his dream: "It was about a big snake which I had to keep somehow closed, at a distance, in a recipient or a sack, so that it would not have any contact with us, in order not to attack us… The idea o the dream is very vague…"

We do not have any other associations about the snake - as we used to have in dream's interpretations - other than the ones related to the vital energy. We can only suggest the missing associations ourselves.

The snake is generally speaking a symbol of the libido (so, again, energy! but sexual). It is thus possible that the dream indicates the "performance" of isolating the sensuality (what we generally call repression) to which the dreamer aspires. Why did I say „performance"? Because for the modern civilization refraining, ignoring the instinct, keeping the instinct "closed" (such as in a sack or a recipient - see the dream) it is an encouraged performance. Certainly the gratification of this sacrifice comes from the Superego and it refers to a seemingly relaxation of the conflict between Superego and Id, mediated by the Self/Ego. From an economic point of view this relaxation is characterized by the disappearance of the moral anxiety. 

But what about the precognitive aspect of the dream? Here we have several ideas. Precognitive or telepathic phenomena regarding commonplace subject are very often met in the literature on this subject matter. In other words, not all precognitive phenomena are directly connected to very important happenings, such as death of a closed person, a cataclysm etc. Many of them have, indeed, a commonplace subject - as it is the case here.

Secondly, we know from Freud's research that telepathic stimulus can be present in dreams, that they can participate to the dream work, and can be isolated when we make the final analysis (of the dream).

Of course, this final conclusion does not eliminate the suggestion that we are dealing with a precognitive dream, but at the same time it does not exclude the basic definition of the dream, which, as defined by Freud, is the disguised accomplishment of a repressed desire.

The lack of associations has forced us to use in this analysis the well known symbolism of the snake. But maybe this snake is not the generic snake, but a symbol of something or somebody familiar to the dreamer. In this case, the dream's interpretation would get an even more personal character.

Finally, we should not oversee the dream's significance from a Jungian perspective. But we will talk about this aspect on another time, in the site dedicated to Jung.

Further resources:

    - A paper on the snake symbolism in dreams and fantasies is available through our paperstore here.


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