Ouroboros: A Masonic Reflection

By Neil Zizelman, Past Master of Scioto Lodge No. 6 A couple of years ago, I was examining the masonic symbols on a pen my wife had given me. I spied a symbol  that I had not noticed connected to Freemasonry before. It was the image of a snake devouring its tail; its body in the form of a circle. My curiosity being exited, I decided to learn more about this strange symbol. I found out that it is called an ouroboros and is an ancient symbol, used by many different cultures throughout history. There are various meanings of the ouroboros symbol, many of which are cyclical in nature - death and rebirth, the perpetual creation and destruction, change of the seasons, day and night, infinity, etc. Where might we find a connection to the meanings of the ouroboros within Freemasonry? If we look for just a circle, it might be a bit less obvious, but if we put a dot in the center of the ouroboros symbol it should become more apparent. The circumpunct, or point within the circle. The most obvious place where we can see the ouroboros symbol is the visualization of the compasses. The compasses create the boundaries within which we are admonished to keep our passions. These boundaries are in perpetual existence. If we add two parallel lines to either side of Ouroboros we should be able to see another connection – a candidate taking his obligations. The point being the individual brother, the obligations we take are with us, perpetually, for the rest of our lives. Are there other meanings beyond just being perpetual? Where else might we see a reference to ouroboros? The legend of the Master Builder marks the new beginning of a Brother’s life as a Master Mason and repeats the theme of the ouroborus with the death of the old way and the symbolic life of a new Master Mason. If we consider the universality that our lodge room as a whole represents, we see the planetary revolutions of the sun and moon as viewed here on earth. We see the perpetual and cyclical - day and night. So the ouroboros surrounds the lodge room and the earth in a circular plane that is situated between east and west.  Where in the lodge room do all these individual events that involve the candidate take place? Between east and west. Coincidence?

Comments are closed.