Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Snake on a Gate

This beautiful snake is part of an art nouveau gate in Airfield Gardens near Dundrum, South Dublin. The gardens are open to the public and present quite a surprise in what is a fairly built-up area of the city - very close to the new Dundrum Shopping Centre. I recommend a visit. The snake is of course the subject of much symbolism in many cultures. But the way in which this snake intertwines with the ironwork suggest the uroboros which is a tail-devouring snake. This is often seen as symbolic of integration and assimilation in the human psyche. For Erich Neumann, the tail-eating act of the uroboros suggests a coming to consciousness and a falling back into unconsciousness. In the beginning says Neumann, consciousness rises like an island, then drops away. Modern man represents a development of ego consciousness, primarily through will. The stronger the consciousness, the more can be done with it - but in its weaker state, things "just happen". So the uroboros can be said to be "a borderline state".