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The ouroboros, the concept of eternity and endless return


Known as the oldest allegorical symbol in alchemy, the ouroboros represents the concept of eternity and endless return.

Ouroboros is a Greek word meaning "tail devourer," and is one of the oldest mystical symbols in the world. It can be perceived as enveloping itself, where the past (the tail) appears to disappear but really moves into an inner domain or reality, vanishing from view but still existing.

The ouroboros has several meanings interwoven into it. Foremost is the symbolism of the serpent biting, devouring, or eating its own tail. This symbolizes the cyclic Nature of the Universe: creation out of destruction, Life out of Death. The ouroboros eats its own tail to sustain its life, in an eternal cycle of renewal. It is sometimes depicted in a lemniscate shape (figure eight) as well.

The Serpent biting its own tail is first seen as early as 1600 years BC in Egypt as a symbol of the sun, and represented the travels of the sun disk. From there it moved to the Phonecians and then to the Greeks, who gave it its current name.


Words by @stellarfolk

Image via chaosophia218.tumblr.com

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