Ouroboros Picture

The Ouroboros (or Uroborus)[1] is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail. The name originates from within Greek language; οὐρά (oura) meaning "tail" and βόρος (boros) meaning "eating", thus "he who eats the tail".

The Ouroboros often represents self-reflexivity or cyclicality, especially in the sense of something constantly re-creating itself, the eternal return, and other things perceived as cycles that begin anew as soon as they end (the mythical phoenix has a similar symbolism). It can also represent the idea of primordial unity related to something existing in or persisting before any beginning with such force or qualities it cannot be extinguished. The ouroboros has been important in religious and mythological symbolism, but has also been frequently used in alchemical illustrations, where it symbolizes the circular nature of the alchemist's opus[citation needed]. It is also often associated with Gnosticism, and Hermeticism.

Carl Jung interpreted the Ouroboros as having an archetypal significance to the human psyche. The Jungian psychologist Erich Neumann writes of it as a representation of the pre-ego "dawn state", depicting the undifferentiated infancy experience of both mankind and the individual child.

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