Freud and Jung's snake dreams

Freud and Jung theories on snakes

Uncover Hidden Dream Meanings

Freud and Jung's snake dream interpretation

Freud and Jung's snake dream interpretation.

Sigmund Freud believed the snake is connected to our sexual energy. 

Feud identified that a person's dreams were connected to their subconscious mind. Every dream was supposed to have meaning but also Freud analysed dreams by analysing clients dreams - many of his clients had reoccurring dreams, that were rather frighteningly in nature. Freud believed that the dream of snakes was connected to our libido. He defined the snake as a “phallic symbol” that is connected to male figures in one’s life. It can be associated with a “male reproductive organ” and the way in which a male is attracted to a female in life.

What Freud says about the snake dream? Snake dreams are connected that to the male reproductive organ. According to Sigmund Freud, snake dreams are connected that to the male reproductive organ.  He believed people dream of snakes so they are connected to feeling sexual power and that a male holds a hidden fear of transformation. Sigmund Freud’s work is associated with psychoanalysis and he wrote famously on dreams and their meanings from a psychological viewpoint. Freud used “the psyche” model to describe one’s personality in life: this included id, ego and superego. These are conceptualisations of mental functions. A famous quote by Freud was “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” when he was interviewed about the fear of snakes. Freud believed that the snake was the most important symbol for the male as the snake is associated with a male powerful bond between himself and a female, and that it it suggests feelings of “sexual power” in a dream - a symbol of possible fertility.

Freud believed that the snake was the most important symbol for the male as the snake is associated with a male powerful bond between himself and a female, and that it is associated with feelings of “sexual power” in a dream - a symbol of possible fertility.

A psychologist known as McConnell challenged Freud’s theory that the snake dream is basically a “repressed male desire” he believed that Freud based his analysis on sex because it was associated with religion (Christianity) and the snake is associated with a sinful act. This was basically an anti-Freudian viewpoint. In Freud’s books (that I have read) he has never specifically discussed the actual the penis as a snake symbol. He did carry out some introductory lectures (Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis, SEXV page 155) - where he stated that male sexual symbols in dreams are snakes, reptiles and fish. This is the closest Freud got to the snake being connected to a sexual symbol.

Freud learned about dream meanings from his own patients. Most of his patients had many strange dreams and mental health issues. One in particular a patient known as Anna O. Anna had a dream about a snake that was attacking her. She looked at her fingers and they looked like snakes. The snakes bit her father in the dream, and we also learned in Freud’s writings that Anna’s father was actually extremely poorly in real life. Anna described the snake vanishing at the end of the dream. 

So how are dreams connected to universal symbols in life? Rather than interpreting dreams contextually Freud believed that dreams were associated with what we wish to happen in life, like a reproduction of time. In the case of his patient Anna it is not surprising to believe that the snake bite her father and consequently this will kill him. It was discussed that maybe secretly Anna wanted her father to die so that he was out of misery due to his poor health.  The snakebite was an association of how to take him out of his misery. This does lead one to believe where the idea that the snake symbol in dreams is connected to the penis!

What does Carl Jung say on dreams of snakes?

Carl Jung is a famous psychologist and an expert in dream analysis using symbols. He believed that we had three psyche (the ego, the personal unconscious and finally the collective unconscious) Surprisingly, the serpent was the most important symbols in his personal “spiritual” journey. The serpent was connected to his religion and Christ.

Jung believed that snakes appear in many different way consciously and subconsciously. In all his books it is not clear in the writings if he supported Freud’s interpretation of the phallic meaning of the snake. 

Jung believed that snakes were associated with our autonomic nervous system. This was based on brain research that there is a stem in our brain that is a reptilian. The serpent was associated with wisdom in his interpretations and he found the serpent a symbol of healing.

This can be supported and the serpent is engraved on the staff of Asclepius, which is representative of the physicians emblem. Jung also mentions in his book that the snake in dreams is connected to Christ and that the meanings of a snake dream can be plentiful. Again, like Freud, Jung used his patients dreams in order to define an interpretation. 

There is an account of a priest who had a dream where he went to the museum and could see a snake which was stuffed but then it came to life. He believed that the snake dream is associated with our consciousness mind and that our dreams are aligned to our instinct and spirit. Jung created a model and believed that psychic activity had two aspects. The instinct and the spirit. He believed that the snake symbol carries both. The instinct is the matter in life and this manifests as for example a snake crawling. If the snake was hanging from mid-air, (this is not real) and will therefore be a dream of spirit.

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