“Ourovore” comes from the Greek οραβóρος designating a snake devouring (βοράω “devour”) its own tail (ορά). Under the ouroboros is also used in French and in English as uroboros German.

According to Erich Neumann, a disciple of Jung, the ouroboros “is found in all ages and in all cultures” (Neumann 1954: 49). In support of this contention, he cites certificates that “celestial serpent” in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Africa, Mexico and India, among the Phoenicians, among Gnostics and Roman syncretistic in the sand paintings Navajo and the work of Giotto as in alchemical texts as amulet among Gypsies. He added that manifests itself in the form of Leviathan or Oceanus, and it is the “Primal Serpent, the oldest deity of the prehistoric world” (Ibid. 29).

Nowadays say that this “archetype” is universal has become a common saying. Include: a philosopher (Raynald Valois, who was dean of the University Laval): “The great round, it appeared as ouroboros […] as lotus, as a cosmic egg or other circular or spherical, is a universal symbol of the original state of the universe “(Valois 1994: 396), an ethnologist (Anna Shtarbanova, Institute of Folklore Sofia): horo dance” is a local variant of the universal symbol ouroboros “(Shtarbanova 2001: 234), a sociologist (Celso Sanchez Capdequi, Public University of Navarre): “The symbols such as the serpent (ouroboros) […] appear as archetypes, the universality of their actions / form / Meaning, each model of society refreshes differentiated way “(Capdequi 2003: 78), a iconologist (Christian Bougoux, specialist Romanesque iconography):” polysemy as a universal symbol not to be missed claimed by a multitude of currents to want list currents of any kind that have reused the emblem of the ouroboros in history, we would be condemned to blacken entire volumes “(Bougoux 2006: 710). In addition, such statements have been widely popularized by symbol dictionaries such as that of Jean Prieur, significantly entitled universal symbol … one of which is, as of course, the ouroboros (Prior 1989: 79). Or, more recently, such as Mark Foster and Simon Cox, who claim that “the ouroboros is a symbol that is in the world” (Forster & Cox 2008: 172).

This view encourages those who adopt to find the ouroboros about everything. This is the case of an archaeologist as Giulia Battili Sorlini who, in his study of the temples of Malta, suggests that their plan was built on the model of the “Great Goddess”, while evoking the ourovore about that All these lines are curved constructions - which led to the quote from Neumann (Neumann 1963: 42) “the circular snake, the ouroboros that as Grand Rond, or sphere, is everything still undifferentiated the great arch and the ship in the world, which contains in itself the whole existence of the first man and woman becomes the archetypal “(Battiti Sorlini 1986: 143). Studying the religions of the Roman Empire, John Ferguson meanwhile believes that the ouroboros is primal image which were born during prehistory, the feminine archetype and images of the Great Mother and the Great Father (Ferguson 1985: 14).

This is also the case for many anthropologists, as Pierre Erny for whom “the archetype of the ouroboros […] so often depicted since ancient times, is the first experience of every man in his early life when he lived in the relative lack of distinction between what is and what it is not him, and he could not precisely locate the limits of his own body “(Erny 2001: 253) - or as Richard Gray, which holds that “the archetype of the ouroboros” would be one of the key explanatory of human behavior (Gray 1996: 28-29). Implicitly or explicitly, these authors draw Jung, speaking in 1930 at a seminar on the dreams of children presented to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, was the ourovore a “sex symbol” because ” the ouroboros is fertilizes itself “(Jung 2008: 37) - and he added that this glyph also expresses” the whole of the human being “(Ibid: 229)..

In a book - now classic - on the forms and artistic styles, the art historian Thomas Munro said that Jung and his followers “have amply demonstrated that the number of symbols have been used with some meanings from time immemorial and a number of places and times. This is for example the case of the ouroboros or serpent biting its tail, a variant of the mandala or circular image that is deemed to symbolize eternal destruction and rebirth “(Munro 1970: 50). And expanding the content considering the ouroboros as a “variant” of the mandala or even circle, lead to talk about places or documents which it is yet invisible, like pecked circles appearing on a thirty monuments Mesoamerican ceremonial and rock art sites (Mansfield 1981, with a commentary by Balaji Mundkur, p. 279-280). The ability to read a banal “circular image” as an evocation of the ourovore seems to allow those who adopt find it everywhere, and thus ultimately to prove that the symbol would be universal. But who does not see the circularity here is mainly that of a reasoning that bites its tail turning around a fallacy: 1 /the ourovore is a variant of the circle or mandala, 2 / gold circles found (= mandala) everywhere and at any time, 3 / ourovore is therefore the universal symbol.

from The Ourovore and “universal symbols”, Jean-Loïc Le Quellec

The page of the ouroboros, in Hieroglyphica of Horapollo (Horapollo 1599: 8).

(Also) In the fifth century, in his praise of Stilicho, Claudian has described the cave of the universe as that of eternity that “a snake embraces its contours, its teeth while gnawing silence eternal blue embellishes its scales; devouring its tail bent his head, and in a circular motion, turns on itself forever ”(Deonna 1952: 164). Around the same time, the Alexandrian philosopher Horapollo (ραπόλλων) added that if ourovore represents the universe, then the scales are the stars (Horapollo 1599: 8), the book arrived in Florence in 1419 (Gagnon 2001: 68 - 70) and published in Paris in 1543, includes an engraving depicting the ouroboros (fig. 13) and will have a profound influence on many emblemata (collections of emblems) that will ensure the ourovore great popularity, that expanding the it was already in the occult circles and among medieval alchemists (Kuehn, 2011: 147-149) -the latter representing willingly ourovore salamander, symbol of calcination, but they also saw the figure of the androgynous oneness of mercurial spirit and dynamics of opposites.