Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Four:
Case File No. 15-171
(*this case comes with a phobia warning for snake content*)
AMBER LOVE 24-AUG-2020 Find out how all this began. Catch up on Year One, Year Two, and Year Three cases at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency. Thank you for all your financial and social support! Oliver and Gus are looking forward to bringing you more fascinating discoveries and investigations into the chipmunk mafia, the blue jay gang, the neighborhood critters, and cryptid sightings.
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Where We Left Off:
The local wolpertinger population is soaring in 2020. The Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency has had several opportunities to observe them.
In June, the Grumpy Old Man made a wonderful, weird discovery on his own! I bet Gus and Oliver wish they had been there to see it. He was up at his hangar doing whatever it is he does (probably working on that small truck that took three months to repair) when he noticed a tiny shape so small, he couldn’t believe it wasn’t just a piece of grass clippings. He told The Cook who told me and Gus. We couldn’t wait to see if this specimen was still there.
Gus and I found the corpse of the snake creature on the pavement. It was stiff and circular. I carefully picked it up for closer examination and could not believe what we had. It was an Ouroboros!
You might have seen them depicted in art from ancient Egypt or Greece. Both civilizations were really into snakes. It was noted in Egyptian art going back three thousand years on the papyrus of Dama Heroub. Scholars say in that depiction, the Ouroboros may represent the zodiac. The Ouroboros was a symbol used by intellects and alchemists alike. Whenever something is presented in a circle (like a wedding ring), you’ll hear about it representing unions/unity and the concept of time everlasting. It’s like a wheel representing cycles of changes and transformation while still maintaining its “self” however you want to define that. Key translations of this are: reincarnation, regeneration, and immortality; cycles of life and destruction.
The Chrysopoeia (“Gold-Making”) of Cleopatra is an ancient alchemical text from about 2000 years ago. Feel free to debate who Cleopatra was and what her ethnicity was. That’s a hot topic. Cleopatra was from a powerful family of colonizers. She was Greek-blooded though born in Egypt.
Originating in Egypt and written in Greek, the document is clearly Hellenistic, so the image is sometimes referred to as the Greco-Egyptian ouroboros or the Alexandrian ouroboros. — learnreligions.com
A fully complete Ouroboros has the head eating its own tail. What we had here was close, but the tail was not clutched inside the jaws of the head. We can also identify that this is not a cobra and therefore not the Egyptian uraeus. The uraeus is usually shown around the Sun and the head of the cobra is in a posture ready for striking to protect the Sun on its journey. It’s in headpieces for that reason too.
Revelations 9:11 They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer). — the Christian Bible
Barbara Walker’s notable The Woman’s Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Art has several mentions for Ouroboros. The first mention has to do with the Book of Revelations where the’s a comment about the Spirit of the Pit. In that reference, the Spirit of the Pit could be “perceived as Black Sun, serpent, Ouroboros, Saturn, or a solar hero as Lord of Death previous to his resurrection (Walker, 149).” Walker’s next entry noting this name is in the Hermes entry. Hermes was known by many names. When Hermes amalgamated with Aphrodite, he became her Wise Serpent. Walker states that Gnostics revered this Wise Serpent deity as Ouroboros or Ophis, a king of heaven and one who reveals mysteries (Walker, 204).
Each culture has its own legends of dragons like they do with ghost, spirits, shapeshifters, and vampires. When it comes to the dragons of the Brittany region, Ouroboros was the name of the Earth Serpent or “the dragon of the Bretons (Walker, 243).”
By page 268, Barbara Walker’s entry dedicated to Ouroboros can be found. She lists the multitude of synonymous cultural identities of this great World Serpent. One part that I found fascinating was the link to goddess worship and Judaism. There is a goddess named Nehushtah (possibly the same as the Hindu Nahusha) and she’s kind of mentioned in the following story:
In the Torah’s and the Bible’s Book of Numbers have the passage about the Bronze Serpent. Apparently, as Moses was leading the Israelites through the desert, they were bitching and moaning about the lack of food and water so God got pissed off and sent a small plague of snakes to teach them a lesson. It seems these weren’t ordinary snakes either. They were fucking dragons. The texts call them fiery serpents. God gave Moses instructions on how to handle this situation as they tended to do. Somehow in this desert, Moses forged some bronze and sculpted a serpent for the top of his staff. If anyone was bit by one of the dragons, all they had to do was look at this sculpture and they were allowed to live; there’s no indication if that was venomous to begin with or “OMG a dragon just ripped my hand off!” kind of wound. There’s also no indication that they were healed, per se, only that they could live. There might have been a bunch of Jews in the desert with oozing puncture wounds or missing limbs because of freaking dragons.
The people would burn incense to honor this bronze sculpture (but wasn’t there something about not worshiping false idols already?) and in that rite, the serpent was called Nehustan. It’s one letter different from the goddess Nehustah and as you should know, every time something is translated, something from the source is lost or misinterpreted.
This great serpent was also associated with surrounding the whole planet, coiling the underworld (which also represents the womb of the earth), or living in the seas. The sea variation of Ouroboros was called Oceanus (in Greek that’s Okeanos). Originally the life-giving and world-protecting snake was gendered as a female goddess. The world itself was seen as an egg to be fertilized. And then — PATRIARCHY!
Some of the names to research on your own are: Thoth, Taaut, Tuat, Leviathan, Vasuki, Hermes, Sata, Ophion, Nahash, Nehushtan, Midgard-Worm, Okeanos, Ananta the Infinite, Mehen, Uraeus, Ua Zit, Buto, Koshi, Koshchei the Deathless, Tiamat, and of course Satan.
The Snake Ouroboros is sometimes used as an alchemical symbol of the fusion of yin and yang.
“A Dictionary of Esoteric Terminology.” The Magician’s Companion: a Practical & Encyclopedic Guide to Magical & Religious Symbolism, by Bill Whitcomb, Llewellyn Publications, 2007, p. 541.
I could not find Ouroboros listed in The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology (1959).
This was a small specimen, not fully matured Ouroboros found in New Jersey. It was not kept in our collection at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency offices. We feel this specimen posed no threat to the beings of the estate. It was a message to all that life can be short, but energy is never destroyed.
Case Status: Closed