Snake Eating Its Tail

Akron Rural Cemetery, Glendale, Ohio

On the massive bronze doors of the Bertram Work Neo-Classical Mausoleum in the Akron Rural Cemetery, in Glendale, Ohio, are several repeating images, one of which is the Ouroboros. This image is also found on the imposing Egyptian Revival mausoleum built for the Caleb Smith family constructed in the Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana

The Ouroboros is an ancient symbol depicting a snake eating its tail. The word, Ouroboros, is Greek—oura meaning tail; vora meaning eating, and ophis meaning serpent or snake. In ancient Egypt, the Ouroboros represented the daily passage of the sun.  However, the symbol was adopted by Western culture and came to represent the cycle of endless creation and destruction; for living creatures, the cycle of life and death.  The snake eating its tail in cemetery symbolism represents the cycle of life—birth and death—and eternity.

Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana

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