The ouroboros is a mysterious symbol with exceptionally deep meaning. Many people of high esteem bear this symbol to express their beliefs of creation, life and death. If you've come across this symbol, then you might be wondering what it actually stands for? Where did it come from? And why is it so significant?
The Ouroboros meaning varies across countries, cultures, and regions. A few instances of how its symbolism is applied in various cultures include ouroboros jewelry, decorations, and flags.
There is a lot to learn about the ouroboros symbol. Given that the interpretations of the symbolism vary from culture to culture. So, you may find it difficult to properly understand its importance to the fullest. That is why here, we present a thorough explanation of its meaning, history, philosophy and much more.
What Is An Ouroboros?
The ouroboros is an ancient symbol that has been passed down through many generations, cultures and civilizations. It is a symbol depicting a snake eating itself from the tail end.
It represents the eternal connection between life and death, creation and destruction.
Is Ouroboros Real?
Both as a concept and also the depiction of a snake eating itself, is actually real. The whole universe moves forward in an eternal dance of destruction and creation. Stars exploding and releasing the basic building blocks to form new stars. Remnants of old stars fusing together to create new ones, new planets and so on.
Life sprouting, thriving and then diminishing. Then making way for new life to emerge. The ouroboros symbol represents exactly that.
And from a literal point of view, a snake eating itself is also common in nature. Snakes often bite on to their tail end and start devouring themselves when they fail to thermoregulate properly.
So, no matter which way you look at it, whether it be from a physical or literal point of view, the ouroboros symbol does exist.
Why Do Snakes Eat Themselves?
Snakes try to devour themselves for many reasons in nature. First of all, it most commonly occurs as a reaction to their inability to thermoregulate properly. This behavior takes place when they are held in captivity and cannot move freely. The outcome of their stress triggers is their attempt to eat themselves.
Snakes are cold-blooded animals. Regulating their body temperature is an important part of ensuring their proper physiological activities. But when they face unfavorable circumstances, they fail to do so.
During a high-heat environment, the metabolism of the snake faces spikes. So, the snake can think that it is hungry even if it isn't. It is believed that snakes try to devour themselves as a response to this hypermetabolism reaction.
Snakes also do it in high stress environments. For example, intense hunger or poor living conditions may throw it into a frenzy. Snakes use many senses to look for prey. And one of them is movement or vibrations. So, in a high stress environment it might confuse its own moving tail as a potential prey.
In such extremely unfavorable and stressful situations their primitive brains can't discern their own tail from food as they act only on instinct. And that is when you might see them trying to eat themselves.
What Happens If A Snake Eats Its Own Tail?
The most probable outcome of a snake eating its tail is death. This can happen from developing an infection in the wound, losing blood, and physiological shock resulting from it. Even if the snake survives for a while, it will die after some time, if left untreated.
A snake eating its tail means it is losing major body parts, flesh, and blood. It can act similarly to a severe wound in the body. As a result of that wound, the snake may die of blood loss. On the other hand, the wounded area can easily get infected and worsen the situation. All of these events adversely affect the snake. It results in the death of the snake.
Although in the ouroboros symbol, a snake devouring itself represents rebirth, in reality that does not take place. The aftermath of a snake eating its tail is imminent death.
Now, do all snakes have this habit of eating themselves in stressful conditions? Well, some are more prone to this than others.
Which Snake Is Documented Most As Eating Itself?
The most documented snake for eating itself is the North American rat snake. These snake breeds are well known for their self-cannibalism tendencies.
The North American rat snake is susceptible to stress and heat. So, they react more to temperature changes or stress factors than other snake breeds. As a result, they face thermoregulatory issues, hunger, hypermetabolism reaction, etc. effects. Stress-causing factors also impact them more severely. Hence, these snakes attempt to eat themselves the most.
What Culture Is Ouroboros From?
Some of the prominent cultures known for depicting the ouroboros symbol include the Amazonian, Indian, Nordic, Egyptian, and Greek cultures. The history of the ouroboros is most often found among indigenous people from Australia, Africa, India, South America, etc. countries.
According to archeologists, the ouroboros symbol dates back to 5000 BCE in the kingdoms of China. From other sources, the earliest known ouroboros symbol appears in a religious text from Egypt dating to the 14th century BCE that was discovered in King Tutankhamun's tomb. So, there is no specific answer to what culture the ouroboros come from.
The Ouroboros symbol can be found in artifacts from various cultures all over the world. This symbol can also be found depicted in historical artifacts from ancient Egypt, Greece, Scandinavia, etc. The cultures that have mythologies related to the ouroboros include South American, Indian, indigenous Australian, African cultures, and so on.
Who Uses Ouroboros As A Symbol?
In the modern world, the ouroboros symbol is used in a wide range of fields. From scholars, researchers, and archeologists, to pop culture references, and blockchain protocols, the ouroboros is seen in all these fields.
Scholars and academics use the ouroboros symbol to discuss ancient mythology, archeology, ancient history, cultural studies, and research, etc. It is also an impactful symbol seen in art, music, design, motif, and literature in both earlier eras and contemporary culture. Especially for tattoo lovers, the ouroboros symbol is a favorite one.
Additionally, modern cryptocurrency and blockchain protocols use the symbol of the ouroboros. In mathematics and writing, the ouroboros symbol can represent cyclicity, loop, or infinity. That is, the ouroboros is popularly used by people of all fields.
What Does Ouroboros Mean & Symbolism?
The Ouroboros is an alchemical symbol and is also associated with Gnosticism. It means the unity of all things, both material and spiritual. Ouroboros symbolizes so many things, including endlessness, eternity, unity, infinity, rebirth, protection, etc.
The meaning of ouroboros is associated with the constantly changing shape of an endless cycle of destruction and creation. Since ancient times, in different cultures, ouroboros has been a symbol of rebirth and continuity. The loop of a serpent devouring its tail shows self-reliance in many cultures. Similarly, it also represents infinity, protection, and unity as a whole.
In terms of snake jewelry, the ouroboros is impactful across countries and cultures. Since this symbol is related to protection, people believed that wearing the ouroboros symbol in jewelry would ward off danger. The Egyptians, for instance, decorated their kings with ouroboros to provide a sense of protection and ensure the rebirth of the monarchs.
And many people who understand the philosophical value of the ouroboros symbol wear jewelries depicting the famous self-cannibalizing snake. So, let's talk about some modern iterations of ouroboros jewelries that you might consider to decorate yourself with.
Ouroboros Jewelry Ideas
There are all sorts of ouroboros jewelry out there. From rings to keychains, whatever might be your preference, you can find a jewelry item made to depict the ouroboros symbol. Here are some popular ouroboros jewelry ideas that you can consider.
Ouroboros rings are the most popular jewelry item when it comes to this design for its obvious shape. If you love fashioning your fingers with rings and resonate with the philosophy of death and creation expressed by the ouroboros symbol, then the ouroboros rings are the best jewelry for you.
What makes the ouroboros ring so striking is the attention to detail. From the largest center scales to layered transitions, polished inner walls for comfort, and fine-tuned wearing design, you can catch the full experience with these rings. The handcrafted ouroboros rings fully illustrate the embodiment of infinity and elegance all at once.
The ring is available in two different finishes: silver and brass. The snake's body has been aged and oxidized to make the entire ring appear more layered. The ring in brass has a vacuum-plated face with black eyes and a black finish. It could be the ideal gift for your friends and family.
Our second ouroboros snake piece is the ouroboros earring. Ouroboros is a symbol of rebirth and reflection, drawing its inspiration from nature and various cultural interpretations. We used this idea of infinity in our design. So, whenever you wear the Ouroboros earrings, you embody and communicate hope.
The earring depicts the symbol of Ouroboros. The Snake Hoop Earrings are handcrafted from high-quality 925 sterling silver or brass. These two materials lack nickel alloys, which protect wearers. A perfect 1.7 cm length that can provide you with a fashionable style that is perfectly comfortable for everyday wear.
In the earring, the viper's head with its gleaming two-grown horns is depicted on one end. Nevertheless, the two-horned head is large enough to grab attraction immediately. Additionally, the 0.9 mm wide black zirconia eyes give the earrings a flawless appearance. Make sure to spruce up your look with the shiny snake scales of the ouroboros earring.
The ouroboros bracelets are one of the best ways to carry the power of the ouroboros symbol with you. This unique brass bracelet illustrates the beauty and significance of the ouroboros symbol boldly. We meticulously recreated the mythical creature, by giving it a more realistic look by handcrafting the scale outlines.
Bracelets are much easier to see than small rings or earrings. So, these bracelets are the best way to express your ideas to the world. You are not afraid of failures or eventual failures. You know that you will always rise up again from the ashes.
Ouroboros bracelets come in brass and silver and have four diameter sizes: 58mm for small wrists and 60mm, 65mm and 70mm for larger ones. The users must press down on the end of the tail to release it from the serpent's mouth, then click it back in once it's settled on the wrist. This can make a beautiful accessory with a special meaning for you.
The ouroboros pendant is a powerful piece of jewelry with a distinct design and aesthetic appeal. What sets this pendant apart is the careful and clever use of the Wuivre knot. It creates a solid symbol of unity that seeks to unite the wearer with all that surrounds him or her.
Moreover, the two intertwined Celtic snakes represent the earth's strength, and whoever carries this symbol believes in love and power. It is also known as the guardian of all the world's treasures. The pendant and chain of this jewelry piece are fully handcrafted and are made of 925 sterling silver. This minimalist yet powerful pendant can elevate your outlook admiringly.
The ouroboros keychain keeps your keys organized with fashion. It perfectly captures the gravity of the ouroboros symbol and showcases elegance. With two loops interlocked together, the ouroboros keychains can give you one of the most unique designs in the keychain series.
The simple yet luxurious design is perfect for use in your daily affairs while also representing your unwavering forward facing personality.
Binding the keys to your most valuable assets to the ouroboros symbol is also a personal statement. You are not afraid of taking risks or doing what needs to be done. You understand that for achieving something great, sacrifices must be made.
Ouroboros keychains come in brass and oxidized versions for you to choose from. The perfectly crafted snake scales, zircon eyes, and easy-to-handle options are some must-have features for you.
If you were looking at the ouroboros meaning, then hopefully this article was able to put an end to your curiosities. This symbol has so much historical and philosophical value. Surely by now you understand and appreciate its significance.
And the best way to express that appreciation is by decorating yourself with ouroboros jewelry and expressing to the world your superior understanding of the self and creation itself.