Cirlot on the Ouroboros
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
J E Cirlot – A Dictionary of Symbols
The connection of the snake with the wheel is expressed in graphic form in the Gnostic symbol of the Ouroboros, or serpent biting its own tail; half of this mythic being is dark and the other half light – as in the Chinese Yang Yin symbol, which clearly illustrates the essential ambivalence of the snake in that it pertains to both aspects of the cycle – the active and passive, the affirmative and the negative, the constructive and the destructive.
Wirth comments that the ancient serpent is the prop of the world, providing it with both materials and energy, unfolding as reason and imagination and also as a force of darkness. The snake was an important symbol for the Gnostics and especially for the so called Naassene sect – from naas - snake