Ouroboros (Infinitysnake)

Ouroboros is a greek word, and means “tail swallower.” The ouroboros is usually depicted in the form of a snake swallowing its tail, and is usually circular, although it is sometimes depicted in a lemniscate shape. It originated in Egypt as a symbol of the sun, and represented the travels of the sun disk. In Gnosticism, it was related to the solar God Abraxas, and signified eternity and the soul of the world.

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In alchemy, the ouroboros represents the spirit of Mercury (the substance that permeates all matter), and symbolizes continuous renewal (a snake is often a symbol of resurrection, as it appears to be continually reborn as it sheds its skin.), the cycle of life and death, and harmony of opposites. A double ouroboros (two creatures swallowing one another) in alchemy signifies volatility. Spiritually, it signifies the balance of the upper and lower natures.

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The Ouroboros appears in many other cultures and settings as well…the Serpent Jormungandr of Norse legend, who encircled the world, and guarded Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life, is often depicted as an ouroboros. The Aztec serpent God Queztacoatl was depicted similarly, and Chinese alchemical dragons have both similar shapes and meaning.

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Related Symbols:
Asclepius wandUraeus

{ 2 trackbacks }

Religious Symbol Dictionary | symboldictionary.net
November 30, 2009 at 1:05 pm
OUROBOROS: new drawings, paintings, and sculptures « ANTHONY CARRIERE
January 23, 2011 at 7:13 pm

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Flannery Deterding November 24, 2014 at 6:33 pm

Hello, I’m really interested in this symbol. It’s one of my two favorited symbols, the other being the star hexagram, and I’m wondering if any one could tell me about a picture I found on the internet of a hexagram encircled by the ouroboros. I think it’s really fantastic but I’m not sure what it is used for, where it came from, or what it means, and I don’t want to guess wrong. This is the image: http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/ee/32/e3/ee32e3a5a955c5d0e6d3a7fde59ecdb2.jpg
Thank you, have a nice day.

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Flannery Deterding November 24, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Also, I know this is also part of the Theosophical Society’s seal.

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Flannery Deterding November 24, 2014 at 7:04 pm

Ok, I’m getting that it’s alchemical, but that is really all that I know now.

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Dre August 16, 2015 at 12:56 pm

appears to be a symbol for the age of aquarius when the march equinox moves out of pisces and into aquaris Draco is infinite meaning star seen through out the year and its several bi-nary stars which is why you see the reference to male and female symbols. These appears to be a chart to plant vegetation and is based on the alignment of the stars. The sixth pointed star has also been referred to as the star of david or shield of David which also has a masculine and feminine reference . If you look at the carbon atom this is displayed again as 6 protons, 6 electrons, 6 neutrons and is the chemical basis of life.

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Free Man October 16, 2012 at 6:12 pm

For a while i had a Ouroboros ring that was silver, turned to gold.. It wasn’t til one day when i was in an area that had people practicing magic i never approved of, that i realized it protects as well as bind. When progress is the goal, the ouroboros inhibits and keeps the status quo at all costs; it’s existence depends on it.

It protected me that day when i wanted to shun off the magic being practiced but it also would not allow my life to move forward. The way i was able to shake the chains off was by cutting the head of the snake off from the body of the ring, leaving an opening in the circle that wraps around the finger which was the body of the snake.

For anyone attempting to do the same, keep the body and head seperate at all times. Discard of the body, even… But, guard the head.

I hid the head one day so that i wouldn’t even find it and til this day, i don’t know what i did with it.

If given the chance, it would regenrate itself like any lizard grows a tail.. There’s even a story of a snake attending to an injured one and restoring it to health.

This is a symbol of infiniti and regeneration to those bound but not a symbol for free man.

Look to the man struggling with the snake for answers.

He’s your redemption.

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robin July 11, 2012 at 7:45 pm

i always think… eternal recurrence of the same?

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Albert April 24, 2012 at 3:35 am

The conjunction of the Mouth and Tail of the Ouroboros are the transformative points in Time. In the lunar Time cycle it is the New/Dark Moon and on the Solar annum it is the ‘Winter Solstice’, December 22nd.

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John Morgan July 10, 2014 at 1:39 pm

What would the symbol be for the autumn equinox? (Sept. 22?)

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