“You have noticed that everything that an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round….The Sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours….Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.”
The Ouroboros (or Uroboros) often represents self-reflexivity or cyclicality, especially in the sense of something constantly re-creating itself, the eternal return, and other things perceived as cycles that begin anew as soon as they end. It can also represent the idea of primordial unity related to something existing in or persisting from the beginning with such force or qualities it cannot be extinguished. The ouroboros has been important in religious and mythological symbolism, but has also been frequently used in alchemical illustrations, where it symbolizes the circular nature of the alchemist’s opus.
The Ouroboros serpent is a symbol of self-reflection — consciousness. After their encounter with the Serpent, Adam and Eve became self-conscious and began to cover their genitals with fig leaves. Thus, the Ouroboros (as well as a scorpion, stinging its own head) is a symbol of mankind itself.