The Ouroboros symbol is one of the oldest ancient Egyptian symbols in history. The symbol was assimilated into several beliefs and cultures. It was in the shape of a serpent or often dragon biting its own tail. It represented the ideas of rebirth, perpetuity immortality, repetition, and cycles. The name ouroboros means “devouring its own tail” or “all is one” since 1600 BC. It is symbolic of the cyclic nature of time & the universe when creation begins after destruction and life from death.
The Ouroboros Symbol History
The symbol first appeared in the tomb of Tutankhamun as part of the book of the netherworld in the 14 century BC. In the book of dead lie images of a serpent related to the creator god Atum who rose from the waters of creation. The snake is believed to renew itself every morning. The ouroboros symbol is depicted holding its tails in its mouths, one encircling the head and upper chest while the other surrounding the feet of a large figure, which may represent the unified Ra-Osiris. the double loop of the snake eating its tail depiction became common in fantasy art & literature.
The lower part of the symbol showcases the destructive force of nature, night, earth & even Yin while the upper half represents the generation and creative force, day, heaven & yang. The ouroboros symbol was featured a lot in the field of Alchemy like Cleopatra the Alchemist who was the first to feature the symbol for the first time in the 10th century which became linked to alchemist’s opus the philosopher’s stone.
The symbol was very popular during the Roman times as it appeared on magical talismans & emblems. the ouroboros acts as the mathematical equivalent for infinity and a representation of the idea of primordial unity related to something existing or preexisting before any beginning by any sort of force. The symbol is featured in religion & mythology and can be associated with Gnosticism and hermeticism.
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