Etymology of Ouroboros, the Infinity Symbol:
Known as the oldest allegorical symbol in alchemy in ancient Egypt, Ouroboros expresses the unity of all things, material and spiritual, which never disappear but perpetually change form in an eternal cycle of destruction and re-creation. represents the concept of eternity and endless return as the lower part of the symbol showcases the destructive force of nature, night, earth and even Yin while the upper half represents the generation and creative force, day, heaven & yang.
The term ouroboros is derived from two words in ancient Greek language. The first word is “oura” which means “tail” and the second is “boros” which means “eating”. When we combine, these two words it gives the meaning “he that eats his own tail” or “tail eater”.
A serpent eating its own tail has been depicted in different versions of the infinity symbol throughout the history. The snake eating its own tail simply represents the recreation of life through death by the universe. It is interpreted as some kind of a rebirth of the dead reaching an immortality. Therefore, it is assumed that the infinity symbol was derived from the original symbol of ouroboros.
One of the earliest known ouroboros motifs is found in the Enigmatic Book of the Netherworld, an ancient Egyptian funerary text in KV62, the tomb of Tutankhamun, in the 14th century BC. The text concerns the actions of the god Ra and his union with Osiris in the underworld. The ouroboros is depicted twice on the figure: holding their tails in their mouths, one encircling the head and upper chest, the other surrounding the feet of a large figure, which may represent the unified Ra-Osiris “Osiris born again as Ra”. Both serpents are manifestations of the deity Mehen, who in other funerary texts protects Ra in his underworld journey. The whole divine figure represents the beginning and the end of time.
The ouroboros appears elsewhere in Egyptian sources, where, like many Egyptian serpent deities, it represents the formless disorder that surrounds the orderly world and is involved in that world’s periodic renewal.The symbol persisted in Egypt into Roman times, as it appeared on magical talismans & emblems. The ouroboros acts as the mathematical equivalent for infinity and a representation of the idea of primordial unity related to something existing or preexisting before any beginning by any sort of force. The symbol is featured in religion & mythology and can be associated with Gnosticism and hermeticism.