Ouroboros with Leather Chain
Originating in ancient Egyptian iconography, the ouroboros entered western tradition via Greek magical tradition and was adopted as a symbol in Gnosticism and Hermeticism and most notably in alchemy. The term derives from Ancient Greek: οὐροβόρος, from οὐρά (oura), "tail" + βορά (bora), "food", from βιβρώσκω (bibrōskō), "I eat". The ouroboros is often interpreted as a symbol for eternal cyclic renewal or a cycle of life, death and rebirth. The skin-sloughing process of snakes symbolizes the transmigration of souls, the snake biting its own tail is a fertility symbol. The tail of the snake is a phallic symbol, the mouth is a yonic or womb-like symbol.
- Ouroboros is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail.