You can read an introduction to the light & shadow series and find links to its other installments >> here! If you aren’t yet familiar with my interpretation of the card you might want to read up on its meanings before you continue with this article.
The Snake is one of the cards for which Lenormand tradition seems to have only negative interpretations in store – probably because it regards the Snake almost exclusively as the “other” woman, a seductress, a manipulator. And how could those be good? I, on the other hand, have always seen the Snake as a representative of desire, single-mindedness, self-will, and cunning. And those are, in and by themselves, neutral: they can be productive or unproductive, depending on the context.
The Snake suggests productive, positive, issues and goings-on if we interpret the card on the assumption that the querent is generally an honest, compassionate person, someone with no addictive personality, someone who tends to put other people’s wishes before their own – or someone who lacks drive.
For someone like that, following their desires can be very freeing. Someone like that might need to hear that it is okay to strive for what they want; that they don’t have to put other people’s wishes before their own.
If the querent lacks drive, lacks ambition, the Snake is prodding them to finally go for it, stop tarrying, to finally believe in their own power, to finally find out what they are capable of if they actually really try.
If the querent is a person who is easily distracted, or all too easily swayed by others to change their mind, the Snake probably says that it would be a good thing to show more single-mindedness, to nourish one’s self-will, to be more obstinate even if others don’t like it.
If you are honest and well-intentioned, “cunning” means using your diplomatic and rhetorical skills to openly steer – not manipulate – other people in a direction everyone profits from.
On the other hand, the Snake suggests unproductive, negative issues and goings-on if we assume that the querent has an addictive personality, doesn’t care much for other people’s well-being, or is already hyper-ambitious.
For someone like that, the Snake has probably to be read as a warning. It might be saying that they are following their desires in ways that are harmful to themselves or others. It might be saying that their ambitiousness is ruining their health, alienating other people, even hurting other people.
Single-mindedness can be a good thing, but if it is practised to its extreme it can mean that we overlook everything else, even things that are truly important.
And yes, we need a good dose of self-will if we want to make our way in adverse situations. But if it is not tempered by a regard for other people’s well-being, strong self-will can get out of hand and turn into selfishness. You then end up with the traditionally evil snake in the grass, a person who will think nothing of harming others if that furthers their own concerns. If you are such a person and also possess the diplomatic and rhetorical skills mentioned above you will use these to manipulate others into doing what is best only for yourself.