What Is a White Snake Symbolic For?

by Mark Burridge

A white snake can be taken in very different manners. To people who do not pay attention to symbols very much, the sight of a snake in a book or a dream can mean only negative. But the white snake needs to be looked at differently than other snakes in these same environments.

What a White Snake Symbolizes

The most common view of the white snake is a positive one. In the Japanese culture, if someone encounters a white snake in their life, they are considered to be lucky and will continue to have luck. For this reason, people will carry a photo of a white snake with them or hang a photo of one on their wall.

European and American view of the snake symbol

The Bible depicted the devil in the form of a snake, and because of that, a snake is considered a generally bad symbol. In European and American literature, a snake is a common symbol to represent unrest or evil. There isn't a classic white snake symbol in Western literature, so a white snake would likely be viewed from either the Asian perspective, or as evil regardless of the color.

Chinese View

In China, a snake is more than often a positive symbol. It is said that a snake in your house means peace as long as it is not killed. A snake in the bed is good luck. However, it is considered bad luck for a snake to be on the beams or eves of your house.

Other Perspectives

The snake represents bravery of men and beauty of women in both Japanese and Chinese cultures, and sometimes, the snake can mean riches. The Japanese are very straight forward about the snake symbolizing money, and because of that will carry a snake skin with them for good luck. The Chinese believe that fairies and demons will present themselves as snakes. There are many different ways of viewing the snake, but the view of the white snake is consistently positive.

About the Author

Mark Burridge started writing professionally in 2008. He holds a B.A. in English/communications from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, where he graduated magna cum laude. He was the editor-in-chief for his student newspaper and interned at Current Publishing based in Westbrook, Maine.

Photo Credits

  • Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images