The Ouroboros

This day marks the beginning of Spring in the northern hemisphere with an equal balance of day and night. In ancient times, when our ancestors paid close attention to nature and the heavens, Mean Earraigh also termed the Spring Equinox was celebrated with festivals and ritual.

In several texts the symbol of the Ouroboros is said to go back to 1690BC Egypt, the birth place of alchemy as well as perfumes used for medicine and consciousness. The serpentine later appears in Greece where we get the origins of the word “oura” meaning “tail” and “bόros” meaning “eating”.

The alchemical image depicts a serpent or dragon, or both, eating its own tail. I used it in my online course at both the beginning and end to represent “Circular Thinking”, since the symbol is the re creation of the self. The circular image reminds us of the cyclical nature, the “eternal return” and primordial unity.

The Ouroboros feels like a perfect symbol for todays Spring Equinox as it relates to the aspect of balancing duality and the union of opposites. Out of the chaos of formless disorder we are born into this infinite, repeating cycle of natures constant creation and destruction. In the great wheel of the earth, the Spring Equinox is the transition point as we move from the darker half of the year into the light here in the North. In the Southern hemisphere its the opposite, transitioning from the light to the dark.

The dualistic principle of this symbol is like two sides of the same coin the aspect of the chaotic state, where everything exists at one time. There is a perpetual motion, like that of consciousness and the cyclical, repeating nature in life. Depending on where we stand in our perception I have observed this state as the void. On one hand I am able to grasp the awarenesss of observing the duality, while on the other, not being a very “mental” body individual, I get confused and desire more concrete answers. In some ways this reminds me of the four processes. More on that in another post. In the meantime, if you are new to my work, check out my presentation at Bastyr University titled The Tree of Life.

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