Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ouroboros


“The Ouroboros is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon swallowing its own tail and forming a circle. It has been used to represent many things over the ages, but it most generally symbolizes ideas of cyclicality, unity or infinity. The ouroboros has been important in religious and mythological symbolism, but has also been frequently used in alchemical illustrations. More recently, it has been interpreted by psychologists, such as Carl Jung, as having an archetypal significance to the human psyche.” (Source: Wikipedia)

The first time I heard about Ouroboros was when it appeared in the fifteenth episode of one of my all-time favorite comic books “Thorgal: Le Maître des Montagnes.” For the last ten years, this particular symbol has intrigued and fascinated me. Why? Maybe due to the evidence that it is a strange – even scary -- ring; or perhaps because you can approach it from a thousand different directions... Some believe “RENEWAL”, others opt more for “DESTRUCTION.” Either way, the one thing I knew with certainty is that I had an aroused curiosity for the emblem of Ouroboros. I sincerely still consider it to be one of the most appealing theories I’ve ever dealt with. But it has always left me on my toes, for I never got why it was so relevant to me… until just recently.

Although, as stated above, this token more commonly stands for a sense of unity, I, like Thorgal, Vlana and Tarik in the comic book, couldn’t help but look at its power in a more fatalistic way. You might think the pessimistic side just kicked in, but the mere fact that it is a snake which bites its own tail brings up ideas such as “vicious circle”, “going round and round” and more importantly, could it also simply embody this specific argument: “there is no action without consequences?” The snake, after all, also is the one who leads Adam and Even to sin in the Bible.

Cliché has taught us that the result of our deeds – good and bad -- will eventually come back at us. The follow through can happen within a minute, but all know that it can also take a lifetime to come into effect. Some, I believe, will probably experience it in the after life. Something called KARMA? Definitely. The proof that it is still around and about it repeatedly calls for attention with, for instance, famous artists like Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake interpreting karma in their songs. Of course, it depends on the person not to think it through or even not give “karma” too much energy and effort… But when consequences hit you like…

“You might not hear thunder… but you always see the lightning coming.” – Milka liebt Erdbeer

The Ouroboros is a perfect symbol that no faulty action goes unpunished. And it is absolutely no excuse to say you followed your heart, that you got out of your box/way. But it happens to lose your head and hurt someone, even the one you truly love... Even the strongest and wisest of us can and will bite his own tail. "Who ever said karma is a b*tch?" The Ouroboros will forever amaze me because truth is: it does not represent only renewal or the other, destruction. It implies both. It -- everything, everyday, life, the pursue of... -- is an infinite cycle. The knees might hurt when we fall, but that's the reason why someone was wise enough to come up with a perfect invention: band-aids.

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