Sunday, August 30, 2015

Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox paints

Cosmic Ouroboros

Oil on linen 120 x 150 cm


  1. The ouroboros is an ancient symbol depicting a snake (or dragon) eating its own tail. Like the yin and yang,of Chinese cosmology, it refers to cyclicality, wholeness, self-re-creation, eternity, immortality, divine balance, a primordial unity that persists throughout eternity, nature's annual cycle (creation/destruction, death/birth, love/hate, spring/winter),primal energy (kundalini), the formless chaos that envelops the orderly world, the comic unity of all things, Its earliest appearance is a funerary text from the tomb of Tutankhamon ("King Tut") from the 14th century BCE; it depicts two serpents holding the other's tail in their mouths and depicting the beginning and the end of time. Carl Jung saw it as an archetype, "a dramatic symbol for the integration and assimilation of the opposite, i.e, of the shadow.... [The Ouroboros] slays himself and brings himself to life, fertilizes himself and giives birth to himself. He symbolizes the One, who proceeds from the clah of opposites...." Jung's disciple Erich Neumann saw it as a representation of the pre-ego "dawn state" or infancy experience of an individual human and of mankind as a whole.

  2. Thanks Duane. My 'Cosmic Ouroboros' was inspired by the way scientists have used the ouroboros as a visual descriptor of the relationship between the cosmic and quantum worlds. I find it interesting that ancient beliefs about unity of the world etc link with contemporary science in a symbol that obviously 'speaks' across eons. In my 'Cosmic Ouroboros' I also use another age-old symbol that crosses cultures and religions ie: the tree of life. The body of the snake is a tree.

    1. In 1865 August Kekulé, the scientist who was chiefly responsible for the theory of chemical structure, discovered the structure of benzene, leading to a new understanding of aromatics. As he recalled his flash of insight that led to this important discovery, "I was sitting, writing at my text-book; but the work did not progress; my thoughts were elsewhere. I turned my chair to the fire and dozed. Again the atoms were gamboling before my eyes. This time the smaller groups kept modestly in the background. My mental eye, rendered more acute by the repeated visions of the kind, could now distinguish larger structures of manifold conformation: long rows, sometimes more closely fitted together; all twining and twisting in snake-like motion. But look! What was that? One of the snakes had seized hold of its own tail, and the form whirled mockingly before my eyes. As if by a flash of lightning I awoke; and this time also I spent the rest of the night in working out the consequences of the hypothesis."


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