The Black Snake – A Dream and Symbolism

Last week, I had an ah-mazing dream. I haven’t been able to get the dream out of my head, which testifies I think to just how ah-mazing the dream was, but more than that, and after a dear cousin helped me analyze the dream, I can see the truth in it.

A week ago, to be exact, I woke up from the following: I was standing tall up in a tree. My hands were up straight, almost as if reaching for something, yet, I wasn’t touching anything. I don’t remember branches in my hands, or hanging on to anything for support. It was just me standing on a sturdy branch with my arms straight up.  As I surveyed my surroundings, a small and cute lizard/gecko started to crawl down my arm. I didn’t think anything of it even though it was ticking me as it moved. It disappeared below my left shoulder, just beyond that point where you can peer over.  Not thinking, or expecting anything, I kept look straight ahead with my hands above me.  After a minute or two, I felt my left hand and arm begin to go numb quickly. In shock, I looked over my left shoulder and staring me straight in the eye was a black snake.  It had bitten me (not sure if black snakes are known to bite humans) and something about that bite was causing a numbness.  As I stared at the snake in shock that it had bitten me and confusion as to where it came from, I then fell out of the tree and was tumbling down a wooden circular staircase, except I wasn’t me, I was the actress/comedian Anna Faris.

Weird, right?

My cousin and I only analyzed the lizard/gecko and black snake element because  I was me in that part of the dream.  While I am just as curious about Anna Faris, as me, falling down a wooden circular staircase bit, but only because seeing both a snake and a spiral staircase in a dream means growth, change, transition.  Upon initial research I got everything from Freud’s fallacy meaning for snake dreams, to change and transition. Falling down stairs, spiral stairs, can be growth and transition, by delving into past feelings and experience, but also fears attached with what I am experiencing.

My cousin’s analysis seemed spot on. She talked to me about an issue I’ve been facing and how the lizard/gecko and snake represent the “something” bothering me, and me believing the good in that something but that it is undergoing a transformation. According to her, the snake doesn’t necessarily represent anything bad, or me, but instead represents the other side of the something.  Or as she put it, “we have this tendency to believe that snakes are bad, but they are the only animal that sheds its skin- which is a symbol of transformation and growth, so believe in your connection and your growth and the connection and growth of the something.”

I am being a lot vague in this article because this over-sharer has learned to be quiet, a bit. Not too much, but a bit much and because as much as I believe my cousin was spot-on in her assessment, I also believe two more things about the “something.”

While I traveled around Japan, toward the end of my trip in January, a friend and I went to Kamakura and walked around. We ate, hiked, prayed, talked, bought souvenirs, snapped pictures, and enjoyed each others company.  As we meandered along taking in everything we could, we walked along this trail to a popular shrine, Zeniarai Benten Shrine,  where legend says if you wash your money with water from the spring located there, you will double the amount washed that year.

I’ve never been one for money wishing. I’ve never wished to win the lottery, although I do love scratch off tickets, but upon meeting the tunnel entrance to this shrine, I read on a plaque that “the Shrine was constructed after a god appeared in a dream to Minamoto Yoritomo, founder of the Kamakura government, and recommended him to build the shrine to bring peace to the country.  Because the dream occurred on the day of the snake, in the month of the snake of the year of the snake, the shrine was later dedicated to Benten, a Buddhist goddess associated with snakes.”  I loved the history, naturally, but what made me a further believer in this particular shrine was that my friend and I visited Kamakura on January 4th, which was during the week of the New Year 2013, which also happens to be the year of the snake. To be honest, I couldn’t believe my luck!

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The Japanese take their New Year seriously in the sense that they visit Shrines and pray for good health, well being, good fortune, and happiness for the entire year throughout the week.  At the point of our visit, I had already visited Meiji Shrine in Tokyo on New Year’s Day and had prayed plenty for myself and my loved ones at various Shrines, (to many, this may seem like overkill, but when you need help and are seeking, prayer is a miraculous action!), asking for strength as I wandered through the next few months of uncertainty.

Fast forward to now- last Tuesday night’s dream about a black snake that came from a gecko/lizard, I believe even more in the year of the snake, and the fact that my visit to Zeniarai Benten Shrine in Kamakura, Japan on January 4th is part of the larger picture of my year.  It also allows me to see that I have been standing in a tree, I’ve been standing with my arms up in a wild place. A place of uncertainty, although strong, and while that snake bite shocked me and made me feel numb, I believe he bit me to remind me to feel, to keep feeling all that I feel, but also to remember that even in this wild place I’ve found myself, life is amazing and though many things in my sphere and in the lives of my loved ones are changing, transformation is a beautiful thing. It’s why the snake started me straight in the eyes as I peered back at him in confusion.

That confusion and wild state is not just from having landed in New Jersey, but to my stationery business as well. As I’ve sat here adjusting to this new state and terrain I find myself in, I have not pushed myself as much as I should business wise. I’ve often times thought, “do I want this bad enough?” ,”Why am I allowing myself to not design?”  With each question, I’ve realized that I am working, I’m also just exhausted. I still want this, badly, but right now, I have to step back and survey the land before jumping right back into things. It is okay to stop every once in a while.  As an entrepreneur that is not the message I should be sharing, nor is it the common message you hear from entrepreneurs growing businesses and trying to attain success, but the fact remains, if you don’t stop every once in a while, you’re going to miss everything.

The black snake from my dreams represents the two things I want the most out there reminding me to live and believe; the tree- stability, strength, and the ability to balance; my arms in the air – my flexibility and openness; the gecko/lizard – something that I trust and should continue to trust; the falling down the stairs – my need to still keep resting my body and soul, while learning from hurt, pain, and anything else I’ve attempted to not delve into.

In other words, I have it all together, I just need some more time, but it will be all okay. I mean, hey, if I can stand in a tree, high up in the sky without hanging on to anything, I must be doing something right.

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s2 stationery & designs

A rule-breaking designer, artist & entrepreneur who's passionate about paper and handcrafting stationery. I also write, travel, and focus on eco + social good.

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