60+ Mythical Ouroboros Tattoo Ideas – What Goes Around Comes Around

Some people choose tattoos simply because they see the design and fall in love with it. Others search for symbols and images that have a deeper meaning. The ouroboros tattoo is one of those designs that not only looks remarkable but is also packed with ancient significance.

And those who choose it will definitely be aware of what it symbolizes.

The ouroboros is an Ancient Greek symbol that shows a circular snake or dragon that is eating its own tail. This self-devouring figure first appeared around the 14th century BC and since then it has been adopted by many cultures and religions as a spiritual symbol.

It is regarded as positive and even used in mathematics to form the symbol of infinity.  The word ouroboros comes from the Greek word “oura” which means tail and “boros” which means eating. The ouroboros represents the cycle of life.

It shows how we live and die and is a symbol of rebirth. It is closely associated with the phoenix as both illustrate starting again once a cycle has ended.


Meanings of the Ouroboros Image

A client may get an ouroboros tattoo like this to remind them that they can always start over and make new beginnings for themselves. It can be used to signify the duality of life and how all the universe is cyclic, continuing on infinitely.

Some of the meanings associated with the ouroboros are:

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Self Reflection – The ability to reflect and search inside yourself is one of the most valuable life lessons you can learn. Being able to objectively view yourself, accepting your weakness and strengths, is the only way to change behavior and succeed.

This tattoo could serve as a reminder to regularly look inward and examine yourself.

Cyclicality – Life itself is a cycle, an endless repeat of life, death, and rebirth. We see examples of this everywhere – how everything feeds off something else until it too becomes consumed. This is a powerful reminder to live in the moment and know that a new cycle is always coming.

Dual Nature/ Balance – Much like the Yin and Yang symbol the ouroboros also represents duality. Duality is like light and dark – one needs the other in order to exist and in this context it signifies how this needs to be in balance.

Spirituality – For those who believe in another life or rebirth after death the ouroboros is a powerful totem. They may get a tattoo like this to remind them of their religious and spiritual responsibilities.

Infinity – For humans, the concept of infinity is almost incomprehensible given our limited understanding of time. That is why infinity is an idea that many people find fascinating and also comforting – reminding them of their part in this present time.

Instead of a simple infinity sign, some people may rather choose the ancient ouroboros for their tattoo. The symbol represents that time itself is not linear, as we perceive it to be, but rather circular.

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Common Ouroboros Designs

Circle – The most popular design for this tattoo is the simple circular ouroboros showing either a snake or dragon swallowing its tail.

Long – A long ouroboros tattoo design looks similar in shape to a pretzel; twisted around itself into an almost heart shape. This slightly more complex design usually includes more details like scales and wings.

Infinity Ouroboros – This design looks like a figure eight and could be drawn with one or two dragons or snakes. When there is only one the serpent will wrap over itself and when there are two they make be “hooked” or intertwined with each other.

These designs can range from simple to complex and sometimes show one scaled snake together with the skeleton of another. This is a strong cyclic rendering of life and death.

Dragon – The dragon itself is seen as a masculine creature and is associated with power and good fortune. In some tattoo designs, the dragon will be nothing more than a simple outline but the client can add striking details such as claws, wings, and color if they wish.

Snake –The snake inspires fear in many people and is often viewed in a negative light, but that doesn’t stop people from using snakes for their tattoos.

The snake possesses notable qualities like adaptation and stealth and can make a striking tattoo. Talented artists can capture the smooth belly and scales realistically and even add scary fangs to the design.

Designs within the circle – While some clients prefer to leave empty space within their ouroboros others choose to fill it. People may choose other symbols like Yin and Yang or have the name or date of birth of a family member inked inside.

This is quite special as it signifies that the person “lives on” in the client’s heart.

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Placement Ideas

This tattoo could be designed as a tiny piece or used to craft a full back piece. There is no special significance of having the ouroboros in a particular area of the body, it is up to the client to choose a placement they feel comfortable with.

This design can look amazing as a “wrap-around tattoo”; a snake or dragon that curls around the wrist or ankle, for example, possibly even the fingers. Other popular placements include the hand, back, upper arm, and bicep.

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Colors of the Tattoo

With simple designs and designs like the Aztec ouroboros, the best technique is a solid color or thick outlines. These look great in black but also red and even white for a subdued tattoo.

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Of course, clients may choose to have a full-color tattoo. The artist will usually use simple colors like blue, red, green and yellow and color the snake in one color although multicolored snakes look remarkable.

Full-color tattoos do take longer so keep this in mind when choosing a design.

In Short…

If you are looking for a trendy, fad tattoo the ouroboros is not for you. This symbol is classic and is more likely to be chosen by those who are knowledgeable about its origins and significance.

This tattoo signifies a person who seeks a better understanding of life and is conscious of their effect on the world. A design like this will remain timeless – just like the mythical symbol itself.

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