The Ouroboros Contemplation


The Ouroboros

The Ouroboros, the snake which eats its tail, is one the most ancient of mys­ti­cal sym­bols. There is evi­dence of its exis­tence for 1600 years before the time of Christ – espe­cial­ly in Egypt­ian cul­ture. The name “Ouroboros” comes from the Greek and means “tail eater.” Since we don’t live in these ear­ly cul­tures, the mean­ing of this snake sym­bol today remains obscure to all but those who study the eso­ter­i­cal sym­bols.

What is the mean­ing of this curi­ous sign? Like many of the cir­cu­lar sym­bols, it rep­re­sents whole­ness, com­plete­ness, the cycle of life, death and renew­al, and infin­i­ty. We would like to offer this par­tic­u­lar inter­pre­ta­tion of the Ouroboros for your con­sid­er­a­tion.

Interpretation of the Ouroboros

In ancient mythol­o­gy, there are any num­ber of inter­pre­ta­tions for the mean­ing of ser­pents. The snake shed­ding its skins rep­re­sents new begin­nings and plac­ing the past behind you. It also sym­bol­izes the ener­getic human forces known as kun­dali­ni. Yogi describe kun­dali­ni as a coiled snake that resides in each of us at the bot­tom of the spine. When this ener­gy becomes acti­vat­ed, the kun­dali­ni ener­gies rise in an upward motion through the spine acti­vat­ing each of the sev­en major chakras – ener­gy cen­ters.

Notice that the head of the ser­pent bites its tail. This rep­re­sents the union of the ener­getic forces from the red root Mulad­hara chakra to the Vio­let crown Sahas­rara chakra. Sim­ply stat­ed, the Divine is com­posed of all ener­gies, from the very dense to the most refined. The Divine rep­re­sents all pow­ers in har­mon­ic bal­ance.

The Ouroboros Represents Harmony of Energies

Often in mys­ti­cal work, there is a ten­den­cy to rebuke the val­ue of low­er ener­gies. Some spir­i­tu­al lead­ers encour­age their fol­low­ers to have lit­tle or noth­ing to do with the ener­gies of our pas­sions and sex­u­al­i­ty. Instead, they encour­age their fol­low­ers to focus on the chakras of the heart and above. This may work for some, but for most, life is not that sim­ple. Sub­li­mat­ing our ener­getic forces comes with a big price tag for most peo­ple.

Peo­ple who sub­li­mate their sex­u­al ener­gies and pas­sions will find they emerge in oth­er ways. Wit­ness that most all reli­gious sects have their fair share of sto­ries involv­ing sex­u­al indis­cre­tions as well as the mis­di­rec­tion of pas­sions such as mon­ey. The ener­getic forces of nature are here for a rea­son, and they deserve our high­est respect.

Reminders from the Ouroboros

The Ouroboros Cycle

As the Ouroboros reminds us, life fol­lows a nat­ur­al cycle of birth, death, and renew­al. When we face the hard times, we often want to quit or give up. Instead, we must remem­ber that “This too shall pass.” Bad times do not last for­ev­er. The same could be said about good times. When life goes as we believe it should, many of us for­get that it too does not last for­ev­er. Youth and beau­ty fade. Good jobs come to an end. Friend­ships don’t always last. We need to live mind­ful­ly in the good times and savor the moments as they hap­pen. The say­ing, “All good things must come to an end,” is true. Final­ly, whether things be good or ill, we should look for­ward to the process of renew­al. Some­times, new nor­mals force them­selves upon us. For instance, we may dis­cov­er we are dia­bet­ic or lose the sight in one of our eyes. Renew­al reminds us that things may not be what they once were, but there is always a pos­si­bil­i­ty of mak­ing things bet­ter.

Life as a Game

Under­stand­ing the cycles of life helps us bet­ter under­stand how to “play the game of life.” The Greek philoso­pher Her­a­cli­tus is cred­it­ed as say­ing, “The only thing that is con­stant is change!” That state­ment could just as well be the mot­to for the phi­los­o­phy of the Ouroboros. Many peo­ple let life come to them as it will and make adjust­ments the best way they can as it does. Some­times this is the only course avail­able to us. And, in many sit­u­a­tions, a wait and see approach is a wor­thy strat­e­gy. But fore­warned is fore­armed! When we accept that change is com­ing, many things in life can be man­aged. Learn­ing to view our lives through the wis­dom of the Ouroboros helps us do this.

We have the capa­bil­i­ty of birthing new ideas using the pow­er of our spir­i­tu­al imag­i­na­tion and cre­ativ­i­ty. We can learn new things, study new truths, and pur­sue new skills. A spir­i­tu­al per­son is an explor­ing per­son. Our seek­ing of new pos­si­bil­i­ties makes it pos­si­ble for us to desire change instead of being fear­ful of it. When we are excit­ed about some new thing, our fear quick­ly evap­o­rates.

Nothing is Permanent

The Ouroboros reminds us that noth­ing is per­ma­nent. It is pos­si­ble to train our­selves to antic­i­pate those aspects of our lives that have prob­a­bil­i­ties of end­ing soon. We can con­tin­gency plan for these kinds of end­ings. Instead of being sur­prised when you are fired or sud­den­ly let go, antic­i­pate that this is a pos­si­bil­i­ty and work on cre­at­ing excit­ing ideas your might pur­sue should this hap­pen.

We may also cre­ate cycles of renew­al with­out wait­ing for nature to do it for us. We can build in peri­ods of respite and refresh­ment through­out our day. So many peo­ple do so lit­tle to care for the hunger of their body, mind, and souls. Each of these vital aspects of our being deserves focus and atten­tion. We don’t have to do over-the-top kind of things. It can be as sim­ple as tak­ing the time each day to look to view the clouds, flow­ers,  and trees of nature. We can eat more mind­ful­ly, or learn some­thing new. We can play our favorite music in the back­ground as we work.

The Ouroborous Contemplation

  1. Set aside about thir­ty min­utes of time when you will not be dis­turbed for con­tem­pla­tion. Gath­er some­thing to write with and paper.
  2. Know­ing that the Ouroboros rep­re­sents the cycle of birth, death, and renew­al, take a sheet of paper and make three columns on it. Col­umn one rep­re­sents “Birth,” two rep­re­sents “Death,” and col­umn three rep­re­sents “Renew­al.” You may down­load our spe­cial­ly cre­at­ed work­sheet at the end of this con­tem­pla­tion or cre­ate a page of your own.
  3. Con­tem­plate those times in your life when the Ouroborous sequence took place in your life.  Per­haps you accept­ed a job that worked well for a peri­od of time before it end­ed.  Or, maybe you mar­ried your best friend only to see the rela­tion­ship end in divorce years lat­er.
  4. On your sheet of paper, do your best to record at least five instances this cycle vis­it­ed your life. Fol­low­ing your heart­break, what renew­al, if any, took place?
  5. Now, think about your present cir­cum­stances. How many events can you place in the birth col­umn? How many life events do you fore­see end­ing? Are any of these end­ings immi­nent?
  6. How might your under­stand­ing of Ouroboros cre­ate a feel­ing of peace in your heart and help you pre­pare for what is ahead?
  7. Might you be think­ing of poten­tial renewals that you could put into place once the antic­i­pat­ed end­ings occur?
  8. List five things you learned from doing this con­tem­pla­tion.
  9. In your med­i­ta­tion time, vis­it with your angels, spir­its, and guides about things you learned through this con­tem­pla­tive exer­cise.

The Ouroboros Con­tem­pla­tion


The Ouroboros graph­ic was used by per­mis­sion from cre­ative com­mons.