As a theologian and historian, I have encountered various spiritual meanings of God’s creatures in different cultures. In ancient times, different cultures and religions ascribed spiritual meanings to animals, such as snakes, as a way of acknowledging their divine powers. Snakes in the house mean different things. Ancient beliefs hold the most accurate spiritual meanings of a snake in the house.
Different cultures and religions have varying spiritual meanings for a snake in the house. For example, Christians see it as a harbinger of sin or evil into the house, while Native Americans believe it signifies the promise of spiritual rebirth and healing.
In this article, I’m going to explore the spiritual and symbolic meanings of snakes across different cultures and religions, then present you with how they may relate to your personal experiences. Keep reading to discover the spiritual meanings behind a snake sighting in your home or dreams.
A snake has different spiritual symbolism in different cultures and religions. The most popular symbolism held across many religions is that a snake is a symbol of spiritual rebirth and healing because of its tendency to shed its skin.
Native American beliefs associate snakes with rebirth and healing, divine presence, and the protection of water bodies. In ancient Greek mythology, Asclepius cured diseases and resurrected the dead using snake venom. Ancient Celtic religions also associated snakes with deities of healing and fertility.
In other religions, a snake is a spiritual symbol of sin or vice. The Bible largely associates snakes with sin or anything that goes against holy teachings because the snake brought upon the first sin in the world. You should note, however, that Bible verses like Exodus 4:1–5, Numbers 21:4–9, and John 3:14–15 depict the snake as a symbol of divine presence, healing, and salvation.
Norse mythology depicts snakes as enforcers of destiny during the end of the world, and many ancient Eastern religions symbolize snakes as spiritual deities with divine powers.
Just as the spiritual symbolism of a snake varies across cultures and religions, so does its spiritual meaning. In most Native American, ancient Greek, and Celtic beliefs, a snake is a promise of spiritual rebirth and healing or an assurance of divine presence in your life.
In Christianity, a snake is mostly interpreted as a harbinger of sin or evil, but a few Bible verses provide contexts in which a snake is an assurance of divine presence and healing (Numbers 21:8-9).
There are many Native American communities that ascribe different symbolisms to different types of snakes. For example, garden or garter snakes symbolize dishonesty or jealousy in certain tribes and water in others. An Arapaho legend depicts the garter snake as a symbol of great comfort and as the Sacred Wheel that represents the water surrounding the earth.
Rattlesnakes symbolize divine punishment against sinful people in some cultures and agents of powerful and dangerous witches in others. A Pima legend has it that a rattlesnake’s bite caused the first death in the new world; hence, the Pima associates it with death.
Ancient Mexican and Central American cultures were both awed and terrified by snakes because they were symbols of rebirth, divinity, and spiritual power. Legends claim that their gods and goddesses could shift into snakes, and their traditional priests sourced power from the shed skins of snakes.
Ancient Greek mythology suggests that Asclepius, the God of medicine, could cure diseases and resurrect the dead using the venom of the snake he carried with him. This depicts the snake as a symbol of divine healing and rebirth.
An ancient Greek poem depicts Typhon, the greatest enemy of the Olympian gods, as a monstrous, deadly creature with one hundred heads of snakes on his shoulder that flashed fire and produced terrible sounds. Here, snakes are symbols of evil, death, and immense power. Throughout Greek mythology, snakes are also associated with other monstrous, vicious beasts like Medusa, Echidna, Python, Lernaean Hydra, and Chimera.
The most popular snake symbolism in Norse mythology is interpreted through Jörmungandr, the monstrous sea serpent who could surround Misgard (the Earth) and bite his own tail. Prophecies claimed that when Jörmungandr would rise onto the land during Ragnarok (the end-of-world battle), it would blow its venom into all the air and water, which would later kill Thor, the God of thunder. The Norse people believe that Jörmungandr symbolizes destiny, the end of the world, and rebirth or transformation.
Since snakes periodically shed their skin, Celtic beliefs depict them as symbols of rebirth, healing, immortality, and perpetual wisdom. Snakes are also associated with Celtic deities of healing and fertility like Sirona, Abilus, Damona, Cernunnos, and the Matres. Cults that worshiped these deities, therefore, viewed snakes as symbols of divine healing and fertility.
The Celts also believed that snakes came from beneath the Earth, and this gave them ancient knowledge and wisdom about the workings of the world. When Christianity began gaining traction in the world, such Celtic beliefs led to Christians perceiving snakes as symbols of paganism.
Christians derive their snake’s symbolism from sacred verses in the Bible. Genesis 3:1 implies that the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made, and Satan used it to tempt Eve and Adam into sin. In Genesis 3:14, God cursed the snake above all animals, damning it to crawl on its belly and eat dust for the rest of its life. Since the snake brought upon the first sin in the world, Christians have always associated it with sin or anything that goes against holy teachings.
Isaiah 59:1–5 implies that the wicked who don’t seek God’s forgiveness will birth evil just like snakes’ eggs and continue spinning webs of lies. King Nebuchadnezzar is likened to a serpent who swallows us whole and then spews us out in Jeremiah 51:34 and Micah 7:17 prophecies that nations that turn away from God will lick dust like a snake. In Psalms 140:3, David asks the Lord to rescue him from evildoers who make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s, and in Proverbs 23:31–32, he warns that although wine sparkles red and goes down smoothly, in the end, it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. In Matthew 3:7, Jesus likens the Pharisees and Sadducees to a brood of vipers because of their hypocrisy.
These Bible verses and many more have firmly cemented the perception of snakes as symbols of sin in many Christian hearts and minds.
However, there are other Bible verses that depict a snake as a symbol of divine presence, healing, and salvation. In Exodus 4:1–5, the Lord turns Moses’ staff into a snake and back to a staff again so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you. In Numbers 21:4–9, the Lord sent venomous snakes to bite Israelites who spoke against Him, and then He asked Moses to make a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then, when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. In John 3:14–15, Jesus Christ implied that anyone who wishes to have eternal life in him must lift him up just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness.
The Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Hindu cultures and religions have varying symbolisms for snakes.
Serpents in ancient Iran cultures were sacred and powerful because they symbolized wealth, fertility, immortality, and guardians of water. Sadruddin Taheri, an assistant professor at Isfahan Art University, argues that Western religions have influenced modern Iran cultures to ascribe demonic symbolism to snakes, as opposed to their ancestors.
Chinese legends, myths, and religions depict snakes as creatures with magical abilities or human traits. The popular “Legend of the White Snake” depicts the snake as a spiritual creature capable of shifting to human form and pursuing love and friendship. Earlier versions of this tale symbolize the white snake as a disruption to the natural balance in the universe when she shifts to become human and falls in love with an unknowing man. Fuxi and Nuwa are snake-like deities that are revered by Chinese cultures for creating, then saving, humanity and inventing fishing, cooking, music, and writing.
Hindu cultures and religions revere half-human, half-serpent deities called nagas. They were relegated to the underground kingdom by Brahma, the God of creation, who also commanded them to bite truly evil people or those fated to die prematurely.
Depending on your cultural or religious beliefs about snakes, you can perceive any of the following spiritual meanings when you see a snake in your house:
First, a snake in your house can signify that you will experience spiritual rebirth or healing. Many Native American and Celtic beliefs consider a snake a symbol of rebirth, healing, and immortality because of its tendency to shed its skin. Ancient Greek mythology also suggests that Asclepius, the God of medicine, could cure diseases and resurrect the dead using the venom of the snake he carried with him. In Numbers 21:4–9, God healed the Israelites through a bronze snake that He instructed Moses to make. If you are experiencing spiritual challenges, you can perceive a snake in your house as a sign that you will receive spiritual healing or rebirth from divine beings.
A snake in your house can represent a divine or spiritual presence in your house or life. Some Native American cultures believe that rattlesnakes are agents of powerful and dangerous witches, and others claim that ancient gods and goddesses could shift into serpentine form. Ancient Celtic cults and Hindu religions also associated snakes with deities revered by their people.
Sin or Evil
Christianity warns that a snake in your house can be a harbinger of sin or evil, and you need to be careful not to fall into its trap. Genesis 3:1 implies that the snake led Eve into temptation, and this led to the fall of man. Old Testament prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, and David likened evil to snakes, and Matthew 3:7 implies that Jesus Christ called the Pharisees and Sadducees a brood of vipers because of their hypocrisy. Based on these biblical references, Christians view snakes as harbingers of sin or evil, and seeing one in your house can be a call for you to remain strong and vigilant in the Lord.
Ancient Greek mythology associated snakes with monstrous creatures that caused death, destruction, and doom, and seeing one in your house can be a warning of impending tragedy. The Norse prophecies also claimed that when the sea serpent Jörmungandr would rise onto the land during Ragnarok, it would blow its venom into all the air and water, which would later kill Thor, the God of thunder. Since a snake is a cursed creature (Genesis 3:14), Christians often associate its presence with impending doom or tragedy. Based on these spiritual interpretations, you can perceive a snake in your house as heralding tragedy in your life.
Fulfilment of Destiny
Fifth, a snake in your house can mean that, despite the path your life takes, you will eventually fulfill your fated purpose in life. This meaning is based on the Norse mythology that tells the story of Jörmungandr, one of Loki’s children who was fated to kill Thor during Ragnarok. In an attempt to prevent the prophecy from coming true, the God Odin threw Jörmungandr into the sea, and there he grew to become an enormous serpent that could surround the earth and bite its own tail. In the end, he rises on to the land and fulfils his fated purpose. Although Jörmungandr will never make his way into your house, you can take comfort in the message of his story when you see a snake in your house.
Celtic beliefs hold that snakes came from beneath the earth, and this gives them ancient knowledge and wisdom about the workings of the world. So when you see a snake in your house, it can be carrying a prophetic message of hope or a warning about the direction of your life. You can reflect on your thoughts and actions to try and understand what this message might be.
The Chinese Legend of the White Snake depicts the snake as a magical creature with a shapeshifting ability that could disrupt the natural order of life and cause unprecedented tragedy. Therefore, seeing a snake in your house can be a message that you might experience a spiritual transformation that may disrupt the natural balance of life as you know it. It is important to spiritually cleanse your house after spotting a snake in it to prevent the manifestation of its unnatural powers in your life.
Dream experts suggest that dreaming about a snake in your home can signify hidden dangers in your life.
Still, dreams about a snake in your home can mean different things depending on your cultural and religious beliefs. For example, it can signify temptation to sin, rebirth, healing, an impending tragedy, or divine presence.
These meanings also depend on what the snake is doing in your dreams. If the snake is shedding its skin, it can be a sign that you will experience spiritual rebirth. If the snake is attacking you in your home, it can mean that you’re experiencing internal conflict that may affect outward aspects of your life if you don’t resolve it.
To better decipher the meaning behind such dreams, you can journal detailed accounts of your dreams and consider your cultural and religious beliefs when interpreting them.
The spiritual meanings of different colors of snakes depend on what those snakes symbolize in your cultural or religious beliefs. Below, I’m going to explore the symbolism of different colors of snakes in different cultures and religions, then present you with what they could spiritually mean when you see one in your home.
The Yezidis of Iraq view a black snake as a symbol of salvation. One of their legends tells of a story where a black snake rescued mankind and animal kind from drowning in a flood after their boat got punctured by a rock. Another Yezidi legend also portrays a black snake as a spiritual guide. Sheikh Mend disguised himself as a black snake and guided the tribe of the Haweris back home after they’d left to become Muslims.
Based on this symbolism, a black snake in your home can be a warning about impending tragedy or a spiritual guide to steer you back in the right direction.
According to Louis Diène Faye, a Senegalese historian and theologian, the Serer communities of West Africa believe that the spirit of a dead person transforms into a black snake before it can reach its destination. They believe that the snake hides in a tree during this period, and killing it is taboo as you’ll have cut off its ascend to its fated resting place.
Using this symbolism, a black snake in your home can be a spiritual embodiment of someone passing on to the other side.
Due to its color, other cultures consider seeing a black snake a sign of impending darkness, danger, or difficult times.
The green snake mythology is popular in Chinese cultures and beliefs, and it often symbolizes rebirth, friendship, loyalty, and bravery. Xiaoqing, a green snake, shifted into human form and became a close friend and sworn sister of Madame White Snake. When the white snake was captured by a spiritual Buddhist monk, Xiaoqing practiced Daoist magic for 12 years until she had enough skill and power to rescue her friend and exert revenge on the monk.
Given this representation, a green snake in your home can be an indication that you’ll experience spiritual rebirth or a message of hope about friendship and loyalty.
Due to its vibrant green color, other cultures believe that a green snake is a spiritual message of growth, healing, fertility, and good health.
Although red snakes are not explicitly specified in ancient beliefs, seeing a red snake in your home can be a warning about impending bad luck or betrayal from someone close to you.
Other cultures believe that seeing a red snake in your home can be an assurance that your life is full of vitality, passion, and power, or a call for you to fill your life with these qualities.
Just like the green snake, the white snake mythology is popular in Chinese cultures and religions. Here, a white snake has mixed symbolism of rebirth, disruption of natural order, immortality, unnatural powers, love, friendship, and unintentional danger. The Chinese observe the Duonwu festival to rid themselves of Madame White Snake and other evil spirits.
Based on this symbolism, a white snake in your home can signify that you’re about to experience spiritual transformation that can disrupt the natural balance of things around you. It can also mean that a loyal friendship or romantic relationship in your life can cause unintentional danger to other people. Just like the Chinese, you should spiritually cleanse and guard your home against its unnatural powers.
You should also note, however, that due to its white color, some cultures view it as a spiritual message of purity and innocence.
Corn snakes are small, orange snakes native to southern, eastern, and central North America. Most people who keep snakes as pets consider them harmless, attractive, and docile snakes that can live for up to 15 to 20 years.
You can perceive the spiritual meaning of an orange snake in your home based on such known physical traits and behaviours. For example, they can spiritually represent beauty, longevity, and safety. Since they are native to some areas occupied by Native Americans, an orange snake in your home can also signify rebirth, divinity, and spiritual power.
There are a variety of blue snakes in different cultures and religions that signify different spiritual meanings.
A blue-striped garter snake symbolizes dishonesty, jealousy, comfort, or a guardian of water bodies in Native American beliefs. Therefore, seeing one in your home can be a spiritual warning against dishonest or jealous people in your life or a spiritual message of comfort and protection.
In other cultures, seeing a snake with a vibrant blue colour in your home is an inspiring message of wisdom and creativity.
Due to its vibrant colour, seeing a yellow snake in your home is usually linked to positive spiritual messages like rebirth, healing, and divine powers. Some ancient beliefs associate a yellow snake’s colour with the sun, and seeing it in your home can be a promise of life and longevity for you and your family. You can also assign spiritual meaning to a yellow snake based on your general beliefs about snakes.
With scarce references to a black and white snake in ancient beliefs, you can perceive its spiritual meaning based on your general cultural or religious beliefs about snakes. For example, seeing a black and white snake in your home can be a promise of spiritual rebirth or healing, an assurance of divine presence in your life, or a warning about an impending tragedy. Some cultures believe that its black and white colors signify the gnostic duality of the workings of the world.
A brown snake is also a rare reference in ancient beliefs, and most cultures and religions apply their general beliefs about snakes when interpreting their meaning. The Native Americans believe a brown snake is a symbol of rebirth, healing, and divine presence, and seeing one in your home can signify any of these qualities. On the other hand, Christians believe a brown snake is a harbinger of sin or evil because many biblical verses associate snakes with evil.
The spiritual meaning of a dead snake in your house also depends on your cultural and religious beliefs about snakes. For Christians, a dead snake in the house can signify triumph over sin or evil or be a sign of a bad omen. In other cultures, a dead snake in your house can signify the spiritual end of a certain period in your life and the beginning of a new one. Ultimately, the spiritual meaning of a dead snake in your house is open to personal interpretation, and you can apply your own experiences and beliefs to decipher the hidden meaning.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.