Embracing the Ouroboros, Snakes and Cycles in Witchcraft

For years I’ve felt like I’ve been going in circles. I always saw myself going round and round, making the same mistakes… but little did I realise, I’ve been getting stronger. With each turn, each twist, I’ve been getting more powerful. Like a snake, eating its own tail.

It all started when I was ‘sorted’ into Ravenclaw as a child and breathed a sigh of relief. Anything but Slytherin. Anything but the snake… the dark… the “evil”… I repelled any images of snakes I saw from there on, even sometimes avoiding dark green to not be mistaken for being in the wrong sort of character. When I was ‘sorted’ again into Slytherin when Pottermore refreshed its site when I was a teen, I went back and restored my old account just so I could go back to the safe and familiar blue and silver. Cleverness and wit but never ambition or pride.

I’ve never been a Christian, nor was I raised in a Christian family, but I was told the stories of the temptation of the snake and it’s no surprise that in her (lazy) writing, JK Rowling used them to symbolise evil. Snakes meant ‘not to be trusted.’ They had been grounded in my mind as something to avoid. I associated them with selfishness, cruelty, malice… hilariously now, all things I find synonymous with the hateful woman responsible for the aforementioned Harry Potter franchise. But I digress.

Many women have claimed images of Medusa and tattooed her onto their bodies as a way of showing their strength, survival and ability to overcome traumatic experiences. Snake symbology has been intertwined with femme deities and legendary figures like Medusa throughout history. Snakes have been said to be able to travel between the living world and the dead. (Don’t ask me how I know this… I’ve listened to a lot of feminist lectures and I cannot find the reference.)

I was born in you guessed it, the Year of the Snake which according to… some website… means I am a ‘great speaker and deep thinker‘. I apparently “ignore others’ opinion and only follow my own judgement, which is right most of the time.” This of course, is completely correct. (Also, apparently being born in the Year of the Snake means I am prone to overconfidence? But I don’t see it, myself.)

Recently I’ve started to embrace the images of the snake I see and encourage their presence (presensssssse) in my life. (That’s the lasssst time I’ll do that, I promissssse). They’ve been everywhere since I escaped my last relationship. They’re in the witchy spell components I buy, they’re printed on the shirts I’ve been drawn to. An Ouroboros ring I now wear on my wedding finger most of the time, as a sign for men to keep the hell away from me, I gifted myself while going on my first holiday alone following the break-up. Ouroboros are known as a symbol of ‘an eternal cycle of destruction and rebirth’. How fitting for someone like me. Always chasing my own tail. Always going in a circle.

Anyway – what am I trying to get at here? Well… I’m getting my thoughts out about what I wish to embody. I’ve been using the power of snake imagery in my witchy practices. They represent power. Rebirth. Creativity. They can shed their skin and refresh themselves; remake themselves and embrace a new self… In this way, they are immortal, cyclical and eternal. This to me is exactly what I want to embody as a witch. Snakes make me feel protected and powerful… And I’ll never shy away from them or my own power again.

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