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Snake Totem


Although the snake is a reptile that is looked upon with a certain repugnance is some cultures, native peoples treat it with respect and, indeed, regard it as possessing many special powers. In particular, the snake represents the power of transformation and renewal through its ability to shed its skin frequently.

Like the snake, people born in the Frost Time are inclined to make dramatic changes in their lives, frequently shedding past attachments and ties, and appearing to start anew.

Snake people make these changes for the best possible reasons, but sometimes at inopportune times, thus bringing unnecessary trauma and suffering upon themselves. An important purpose in their lives is learning the art of timing.

Kenneth Meadows

In India the goddess Vinata was the mother of snakes and a symbol of water and the underworld. Also in India there were demigods, Nagas and their beautiful wives, Naginis, who were usually depicted as half cobra an half deity. The god Vishnu is often depicted sleeping on the serpent of eternity called Ananta. Shiva wears snakes for bracelets and necklaces, representing sexuality.

In Chinese astrology those born in [the year of the snake] are believed to have the qualities of compassion, clarivoyance and charm. They usually need to learn lessons associated with forgiveness, superstitiousness and possessiveness as well.

Anytime a snake shows up as a totem, you can expect death and rebirth to occur in some area of your life. This rarely reflects an actual death, but rather a transition of some kind. It can also reflect that your own creative forces are awakening.

Ted Andrews

Snake medicine people are very rare. Their initiation involves experiencing and living through multiple snake bits, which allows them to transmute all poisons.

This medicine teaches you on a personal level that you are a universal being. Through accepting all aspects of your life, you can bring about the transmutation of the fire medicine [eventually achieving] wholeness and connection to the Great Spirit.

Jamie Sams

If all symbols are really function and signs of things imbued with energy, then the serpent or snake is, by analogy, symbolic of energy itself of force pure and simple.

Psychologically, the snake is a symptom of anguish expressive of abnormal stirrings in the unconscious, that is, of a reactivation of its destructive potentiality.

The connection of the snake with the wheel is expressed in graphic form in the Gnostic symbol of the Ouroboros, or serpent biting its own tail.


Feeling informs us of the value to us, of the object.

E. A. Bennett

While the serpent is a sign of evil in the Old World, the rattle or rattle string of our viper was and still is the most propitious amulet of good luck among Mayans and other indigenous peoples of North, Central and South America.

Jose Diaz-Bolio

Just as snakes evoke powerful emotional responses from us, we relate to the world through the feeling function. Whether we like something or not is one of our most powerful decision-making tools. We can transform our lives through decision. We can become the fulfillment of our individual creative potential through decision. For feeling types such judgements are crucial.

I feel that the essential point is to take charge of your own decisions. As children we are taught to obey the directives of our parents, but as adults we need to make decisions based upon our own feelings, no longer doing what we believe someone else would want us to do. I do not suggest acting without conscience. Rather, I suggest examining the facts and then determining which path best suits our own present needs.


Andrews, Ted, Animal Speak. St. Paul, Llewellyn 1995.

Diaz-Bolio, Jose. Why the Rattlesnake in Mayan Civilization.Merida, Mexico, Area Maya, 1988.

Clement, Stephanie and Terry Rosen, Dreams: Working Interactive. St. Paul, Llewellyn, 2000.

Meadows, Kenneth, Earth Medicine,. Rockport, Element, 1991.

Sams, Jamie and David Carson, Medicine Cards. Santa Fe, Bear & Company, 1988.


                                        2013 stephanie clement