Gifts: Regeneration. Infinity. Endless circle of life. Integrating the dualities of existence. Recognizing your own existence as source material.
Challenges: Not knowing when it’s time to end. Going in circles and never moving forward.
Ouroboros is a “mythical” creature that appears as a snake or dragon consuming its own tail. Remember that in the world of spirit animals, there is no such thing as “mythical.” Beings such as Dragon, Unicorn, Griffin, Phoenix, and Ouroboros simply are, the same way that Eagle, Bear, and Snake simply are.
This is actually an added gift of all “mythical” creatures: Faith when others disagree or don’t believe, and imagination when others say it’s impossible and can’t be done.
Ouroboros is a sacred alchemical symbol of infinity—cyclicality, rebirth, and regeneration. Ouroboros is an excellent totem for facing your fears because it teaches the acceptance of the endless cycles of life. As Ouroboros consumes its own tail, so life consumes death, death consumes life, and on and on.
Ouroboros is the symbol of the duality of existence—light and shadow, masculine and feminine, Yin and Yang, all and nothing. You may mistake Ouroboros as showing you that light must consume dark or else dark will consume light. This is a misunderstanding, and a risk that comes with working with Ouroboros.
Head and tail are connected, as are beginning and end, good and bad, self and other. It is not one overpowering the other. It is the two meeting and joining, both persisting, both essential to the existence of the whole.
Working with Ouroboros can be challenging if you find the idea of “mythical” creatures unsettling or unbelievable. Perhaps the gift for you then is to recognize the mythical, unbelievable parts of yourself as your greatest gift. What do you view as a weakness in yourself? What would other people say they don’t like about you? Notice that Ouroboros doesn’t cut off its weak parts or its unlikable parts. It eats them, making them more fully part of the whole. You are what you eat, right?
As you reflect on your Self and recognize the duality that lies within you, you begin to consume your own being—accepting and exploring even the shadow side of yourself. You can then regenerate your being in the world based on the prima materia of your true self. In simpler terms, be You now. You are everything you need.
A challenge of working with Ouroboros is knowing when to quit—when to end a relationship, when to leave a job, when to abandon an idea. You may be tempted to stick with things until they cycle back around to love or fulfillment or growth. But that doesn’t always happen. There are times that you need to end the cycle and move on. Sometimes it’s not the situation that keeps repeating itself; it’s you who’s going around in circles. Ouroboros doesn't want you to be stuck on a merry-go-round. Hit stop and jump off.