Uroboros

The Zodiac was thought of as a huge snake, a kind of Uroboros biting its own tail, and was represented as being covered with stars.  In a Gnostic treatise, the oldest representation of the Uroboros is that of a snake eating its own tail, the head part speckled with stars and the rest black, thus illustrating the double nature of the unconscious totality with a dark nefarious aspect and a light aspect characterized by the stars.  Exactly the same representation is to be found in the alchemical treatise of the so-called Codex Marcianus, in which there are drawings that characterize the “whole in one.” 

The tail of the Uroboros is the material and dangerous end and is very often the seat of the poison (quite in contrast to a real snake).  The head part is the light, spiritual aspect.  That was projected onto the sky because the Uroboros always appeared at the borders of human knowledge.  In antiquity, for instance, it was believed that the ball of the sky was this huge Uroboros snake; on it constellated the signs of the Zodiac.  In the flat form of the world the ocean circled the earth in the form of a round snake biting its own tail.  In old maps the Uroboros stood for the outermost circle, and whenever man reached the end of his field of consciousness, he projected that type of snake.  Whenever he came to the point where he could say that he did not know what was beyond, there would be the picture of the snake with the stars on it.  You see how much the star motif has to do with unconsciousness, especially with the collective unconscious.

In a Gnostic treatise, the oldest representation of the Uroboros is that of a snake eating its own tail, the head part speckled with stars and the rest black, thus illustrating the double nature of the unconscious totality with a dark, nefarious aspect and a light aspect characterized by the stars.  Exactly the same representation is to be found in the alchemical treatise of the so-called Codex Marcianus, in which there are drawings that characterize the “whole in one.” 

The tail of the Uroboros is the material and dangerous end and is very often the seat of the poison (quite in contrast to a real snake).  The head part is the light, spiritual aspect.  That was projected onto the sky because the Uroboros always appeared at the borders of human knowledge.  In antiquity, for instance, it was believed that the ball of the sky was this huge Uroboros snake; on it constellated the signs of the Zodiac.  In the flat form of the world the ocean circled the earth in the form of a round snake biting its own tail.  In old maps the Uroboros stood for the outermost circle, and whenever man reached the end of his field of consciousness, he projected that type of snake.  Whenever he came to the point where he could say that he did not know what was beyond, there would be the picture of the snake with the stars on it.  You see how much the star motif has to do with unconsciousness, especially with the collective unconscious.  TAoPA 141