I dreamed of snakes last night. They coiled, hissed, and writhed in my dream; from their yellow tail, I knew – even in my dreams – that they were juvenile copperheads. One snake slithered out and reared back to strike. That’s when I woke. Obviously, this was a dream… but I started to wonder. Is dream interpretation a real thing? What do our dreams mean?
“In analyzing your dreams, you can learn about your deep secrets and hidden feelings,” one dream analysis site reads. While it warns that “no one is a better expert at interpreting your dreams than yourself,” the site offers interpretation for over 20,000 different symbols. When I looked up “snake,” the site offered me this: “To see a snake or be bitten by one in your dream signifies hidden fears and worries that are threatening you. Your dream may be alerting you to something in your waking life that you are not aware of or that has not yet surfaced.” Another site, PsychologyWorld, offered a similar theme. “To dream of snakes, is a foreboding of evil in its various forms and stages.”
While dream interpretation goes back to the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians, perhaps the greatest influence on modern-day dream interpretation is Sigmund Freud. Considered the “Father of Psychotherapy,” Freud wrote a book called the Interpretation of Dreams. The themes it espoused were incorporated into many therapies and, from there, into popular culture. Versions of his theories were incorporated into the movie Inception.
So while my Christmas holiday may be tainted with fear over a looming evil, at least I have a better idea of what’s going on in my mind. Turns out, it’s full of copperhead snakes. Next time, I want to dream of ice cream