Aurabogus Ouroborus



The ouroboros, also termed as Uroboros. The word Oura (Greekουρά) means tail, the word (βόρος) meaning eating depicting a dragon or a serpent that is ingesting and eating its own tail. Ouroboros may be further described as "that which eats its own tail". Representing self-reflexivity, cyclicality, and constant regeneration, the re-creation of the Ouroboros symbolizes the eternal return. 

This has been perceived also as the cycles that allow the commencement (beginning if you will) of something anew yet bringing a finale (ending if it must be defined in this fashion) to the same place and time. This means that the beginning and end of something exists at the same time, in the same space, which allows it to never end and yet again never begin. Primordial unity in relation existence or the persistence prior to the birth or such a source is inextinguishable. 

The fire that never goes out, the ouroboros also has appeared in religious and mythological symbolism, as well as made its frequent appearance in alchemical illustrations here symbolizing the circular nature of the alchemist's opus. Gnosticism and Hermeticism also associate the Ouroboros into their practice. Gnosticism perceived the serpent symbolized eternity and the soul of the world.

Jung (Carl, read a brief post about him in our photo section) described the ouroboros as an archetypal symbol with significance in relation to the human psyche. Erich Neumann, a Jungian psychologist, also interpreted the symbol as a representation fo the pre-ego. Neumann described this "dawn state" as the undifferentiated infancy experience of one mankind, and two the individual child. Somewhat of a linking of the innocent purity and mature wisdom.

Origins in Antiquity


The Book of the Netherworld, and Egyptian text held the Ouroboros as a representation which led to its popularity post the Amarna period. The current Graceco-Roman period presented the Book of the Dead with Atum, the sun god. The self-begetting Atum ascended from chaos-waters appearing with a silhouette of a snake animal which renewed itself with each sunrise, and deceased any and all wishes to turn into the Sato, sun of the earth, embodied through Atum.


The self-eating circular structure is described by Platon (Plato) as the primary living entity in the universe; an immortal yet mythological beast constructed through the source. 

"The living being had no need of eyes when there was nothing remaining outside him to be seen; nor of ears when there was nothing to be heard; and there was no surrounding atmosphere to be breathed; nor would there have been any use of organs by the help of which he might receive his food or get rid of what he had already digested, since there was nothing which went from him or came into him: for there was nothing beside him. Of design he was created thus, his own waste providing his own food, and all that he did or suffered taking place in and by himself. For the Creator conceived that a being which was self-sufficient would be far more excellent than one which lacked anything; and, as he had no need to take anything or defend himself against any one, the Creator did not think it necessary to bestow upon him hands: nor had he any need of feet, nor of the whole apparatus of walking; but the movement suited to his spherical form was assigned to him, being of all the seven that which is most appropriate to mind and intelligence; and he was made to move in the same manner and on the same spot, within his own limits revolving in a circle. All the other six motions were taken away from him, and he was made not to partake of their deviations. And as this circular movement required no feet, the universe was created without legs and without feet."


Kundalini energy has been linked to Ouroboros symbolism in Indian tradition. In the Upanishads, 2nd century text, Yoga Kundalini suggests:
"The divine power, Kundalini, shines like the stem of a young lotus; like a snake, coiled round upon herself she holds her tail in her mouth and lies resting half asleep as the base of the body (1.82)". Kundalini has also been equated with entwined serpents of the Caduceus, referenced in the movie Die Unendliche Geschicte (The Neverending Story). This interpretation presents the entwined serpents to represent human DNA structure.


Quetzalcoatl was depicted as a god often portrayed biting its tail on Axtec, Mayay, and Toltec ruins. The looping Quetzalcoatl is carved into the base of Pyramid structures throughout Mexico. The carving is that of a Feathered Serpent, and can be observed at Xochicalco, Mexico ()700-900 A.D.).

What we know as History

The middle ages brought the Ouroboros symbol around 14-15 century to appear as Albigensian watermarks, and also worked into cards (pip) of Tarot decks, and playing cards.The ace of cups in early playing card decks utilized in combination with the ouroboros symbol giving light to origins of urban legends and affiliations with secret societies. This may be especially true as the Albigenses, from Armania, were embedded in common Mithra worship as well as Zoroastrianism. 

The symbol could have emerged through iconography via ZoroastrianFaravahar, featuring the ouroboros on the waist center of the body, as opposed to the disc-shape. Mithram cults held the symbold of the reborn Mithra, which is at times surrounded with an ouroboros, indicative of the eternal and cyclic nature referencing a circular shape with symbolism of immortality of the soul and/or cyclic nature of Karma. This suggests the circle may retain meaning even past the instance where details of the image may seem obscured. 

The ouroboros has appeared as Jörmungandr, the serpent in NOrse mythology, who is one of three of the children of Loki and Angrboda. The Jörmungandr grew too large and eventually encircled teh world grasping its tail in its teeth. Ragnar Lodbrok legends, given Ragnarssona þáttr for one, there is a minute lindworm given to his daughter Þóra Town-Hart as a gift by her father, the Geatish king Herraud. This lindworm grows into a serpent encircling the girl's bower biting itself in the tail. In this tale the serpent is later slain by Ragnar Lodbrok taking Þóra's hand in marriage. Ragnar's son, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye with another woman later on, cannot excape the symbol as his son is born with an image of a white snake in one of his eyes. This snake encircles the iris by biting itself in the tail.

In Alchemy 

Alchemy describes the Ouroboros as a sigil. Again Jung, Carl, observed teh Ouroboros as an anarchetype as well as the Mandala of alchemy. This is how Jung defines the Alchemy - Ouroboros relationship:

"The alchemists, who in their own way knew more about the nature of the individuation process than we moderns do, expressed this paradox through the symbol of the Ouroboros, the snake that eats its own tail. The Ouroboros has been said to have a meaning of infinity or wholeness. In the age-old image of the Ouroboros lies the thought of devouring oneself and turning oneself into a circulatory process, for it was clear to the more astute alchemists that the prima materia of the art was man himself. The Ouroboros is a dramatic symbol for the integration and assimilation of the opposite, i.e. of the shadow. This 'feed-back' process is at the same time a symbol of immortality, since it is said of the Ouroboros that he slays himself and brings himself to life, fertilizes himself and gives birth to himself. He symbolizes the One, who proceeds from the clash of opposites, and he therefore constitutes the secret of the prima materia which [...] unquestionably stems from man's unconscious."

Early alchemical texts, such as The Chrysopoeia of Cleopatra (2nd century) has Alexandria enclosing words "hen to pan" with the meaning "one is the all", or One Truth. Gnostic duality of existence is represented in the black and white halves of the Ouroboros. This again is featured in the film, The Never Ending Story. Here the Ouroboros could be interpreted as the Western equivalent of the Taoist symbol Yin-Yang.

The oldest images of the Ouroboros is linked with the Chrysopoeia Ouroboros of Cleopatra, associated wtih the legendary opus of the Alchemists, the Philosopher's Stone. The symbol of eternal unity of all beings and all things in existance, as well as the cycle of birth and death from which the Alchemist seeks release and liberation through. Sir Thomas Browne, the alchemist and physician, wrote a letter to a friend. In this medical treatise, full cases of historical accounts and witty speculations sprinkled around the human condition. An excerpt:

"[...] that the first day should make the last, that the Tail of the Snake should return into its Mouth precisely at that time, and they should wind up upon the day of their Nativity, is indeed a remarkable Coincidence,"

It is possible in Browne's The Garden of Cyrus (1658) the a circular symbol of nature and Unity of the two Discources included or alluded to the Ouroboros:

"All things began in order so shall they end, so shall they begin again according to the Ordainer of Order and the mystical mathematicks of the City of Heaven."

In Freemasonry
The Freemasons displayed the ouroboros on multifarious Masonic seals, on frontispieces, and additional imagery in the 17th century.

In Haiti
Alexandre Pétion, the president of the Republic of Haiti in 1812, issued the original minted coinage featuring an image of a serpent biting its own tail (19th Century).

In Theosophy
The seal of Theosophy features the Ouroboros.


Folk-myths and Hindu traditions depict a snake knows as Adisesha circling the tortoise Kurma supporting eight elephants, which in turn support the world on their backs. The snake here calls itself into being, not biting its tail, instead through what literary theorists call the performative speech act. West African religions depict snakes as sacred, allowing the demi-god Aidophedo usage of the serpent image biting its own tail. The Ouroboros is incorporated into the Fon or Dahomean iconography in Yoruba imagery as Oshunmare. The belief amongst South American indigenous beings incorporate teh waters at teh edge of the world-disc with a snake, often the anaconda, which bites its own tail.

Modernity - In the NOW

August Kekulé, the organic chemist August claimed that a ring, in the shape of Oruoboros, envisioned in a dream, inspired and guided him through the discovery of the structure of benzene.