As far as grounding goes for myself I have learned to have several ways to ground. What works today may not work tomorrow so it is useful to have a lot of different techniques.
I am big fan of crystals. That may be something you can look into. I like breathing exercises, writing, reading helps me get into my own head and out of others. Daydreaming, singing, smudging, quiet sitting, solitude among other things are things I like to do.
I believe that things do not necessarily have a set place as good or evil. I believe that the snake analogy can also be good, your idea of shedding skin representing growth is one.
There is a symbol of a snake eating it's own tail, and just continuing to go around in an endless circle. It could be symbolic of a cycle destruction, or of an eternal truth.
I think it depends on what it means to you in the moment. From what you have said it sounds like you may be at a point where things that were once negatives for you may now be turning into positives.
I acknowledge that help and advice for the other things you mentioned could be welcomed, but I will concentrate on what snakes always represented for me and what i'd tell someone who is afraid of them. What you mentioned about the visions does not feel that heavy, or on the fear-phobia side (because I've met people who never touched or met snaked in real life and yet had a snake phobia), and might not really be related to what i'm going to say, but that is good.
I've had a lot of dreams that involved snakes in the past, but they were never scary. My dreams do take a lot of color from what I actively think and believe about things, and in my case, i find reptiles beautiful, and I touched and photographed snakes in the wild before. I also like drawing them. In dreams, what was scary was, maybe, the environment they were in.
They never appeared as indicating something bad themselves, but more like 'something happened that made them not be docile', or I was not sure how to approach them.
A very positive dream i had about them when i was younger, was where i woke up at the base of a tree on a small patch of land surrounded by water, like in a sunny, green, beautiful swamp or flooded forest. On that patch surrounding me there were a myriad of colorful snakes on the ground, so many I couldn't see the grass, but they created a path for me to walk forward without stepping on them and got into a boat and started rowing slowly. In another it was night and I was looking for a silvery, almost spirit-like milk-colored anaconda that i could picture in my mind but couldn't find. In another, I felt pain as me and many snakes got caught in big fires in a garage/parking... in another, very poisonous snakes were hanging still in a tree orchard in a desert, trying to keep their energy, and judging whether they could let me touch them/react to me or not... these dreams with them are calm, compared to others I have/had.
Animals that appeared in very intense dreams in the past, that I can remember: black dogs/wolves, lions (my earliest dream that i remember from early childhood, about 2 lions and roaring in the night, back when dad and mom were still sleeping with me sometimes because i was scared of the dark, and we still had a white/black tv) and then about a caged and angry lion, primates, an Orca, snowy/barn owl, dinosaur (carnivorous bipedal type), horses.
I wouldn't advise you or any person for that matter (and I've discussed this already with other people) to start fearing or associating and animal with something spiritually negative because you heard you should or someone had a bad experience (we are talking about animals). That never leads to good things, and that animal will then become for you a mere shadow, reflection, echo of something that comes from outside which you 'kindly' welcomed inside (fear) for no reason, in dreams, comparisons or passing illusions, in what you project when thinking or looking at it. You ought to have your own experience with animals and decide for yourself, or when not applicable, try to switch your focus to yourself and reflect upon it, don't just 'welcome it in'. Our role as human beings is definitely not to live in fear and on primal instincts, and everyone has different needs and callings...
updated by @kate: 04/07/18 04:56:45PM