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Old 2004-06-01, 01:34   Link #1
Guido
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Meaning of Ouroboros

At this rate, surely I know what's the seal of Ouroboros. I mean, all seven Homunculi possess each one, carved on different parts of their bodies.

What I don't know is what does the seal means?

Likely I'm asking too much because maybe Ouroboros makes sense to some meaning with a) the preconception of the Philosopher's Stone or b) how do Homunculi are really born from beyond transmutation.

So I think this question is spoilerish to a sense and might not be answered until later both anime or manga.

However, I'll do appreciate if anyone whose acquainted with the latter installments of the manga could please give a few non-spoiler clues or hints about the meaning of Ouroboros, and the role it plays in FullMetal Alchemist.
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Old 2004-06-01, 01:54   Link #2
NoSanninWa
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I can't answer this question from the anime since they haven't said much about it there and I haven't read the manga, but I can tell you something about it in mythology.

Ouroboros is depicted as a dragon or snake biting its own tail. It is symbolic of eternity, perfection and the cycle of life. The symbol dates back at least to the ancient egyptians.

To understand Ouroboros the one thing you need to realize is that by biting its own tail it forms a perfect circle without beginning or ending. It can also be viewed as devouring itself, but this is not the most common interpretation.
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Old 2004-06-01, 04:22   Link #3
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In addition, in Alchemy itself the Ouroborus symbol can mean 'completion' usually pertaining to a process (of alchemy) or cycle (of material invention)...

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Old 2004-06-01, 09:29   Link #4
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*throws in obligatory disney idea*

the circle of life!
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Old 2004-06-01, 15:59   Link #5
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Not exactly. The Ouroboros gives birth to and devours itself. It is complete in and of itself without needing anything else. That isn't exactly the Disney Circle of Life, but it is a related concept.
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Old 2004-06-02, 18:53   Link #6
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I dont mean to be thread jacking but what about the cross with the snake?

It resembles the Demacus (that medical cross with the snake). So maybe it is used for the same reason in FMA?


Please enlighten me to the exact meaning and spelling :P
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Old 2004-06-04, 07:00   Link #7
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I found this info on a FMA site:


The Elric Brothers' Alchemical Symbol

Ed's alchemical symbol is actually a little unusual. See, in real alchemy, they almost always use a PAIR of serpents. The two serpents represent sulphur (the male principle) and mercury (the female principle). The alchemists thought that since creation happens through reproduction, true transmutation could only be accomplished through the unification of the male and female elements. The other symbol commonly employed by the alchemists was the phoenix. Since transmutation destroyed one thing to make another, they likened it to the phoenix's rebirth (with the unification of sulphur and mercury counting as "conception"). Sometimes they used lions instead of serpents. And sometimes salt is in there too, as a neutral element. But that's besides the point.

A single serpent is usually only seen when it's eating its own tail. Then it's Oroborus - the circle of eternity. But in Ed's symbol there's no tail-eating to speak of. Although the wings beside the crown may be representative of the transmutation phoenix. It's often depicted in similar ways in real life alchemical literature.

Either the author decided to use the symbol because it was Biblical, or he just didn't do a lot of research on alchemy! Although I'm rather impressed that they included Red Tincture in the series, which real alchemists also thought was equivalent to the Philosopher's Stone.

An addendum to the phoenix thing: The phoenix also represented the Philosopher's Stone. That's why the Philosopher's Stone and the Red Tincture were theorized to be, well, red. Red was the color of the phoenix. Many theorists thought that the Philosopher's Stone could be created by a four step process, which they represented with birds. It went from crow, to swan, to peacock, to the phoenix finished product. Diagrams of this process almost always show the "monarch" phoenix at the top.
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Old 2004-06-04, 08:46   Link #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guido
At this rate, surely I know what's the seal of Ouroboros. I mean, all seven Homunculi possess each one, carved on different parts of their bodies.

What I don't know is what does the seal means?

Likely I'm asking too much because maybe Ouroboros makes sense to some meaning with a) the preconception of the Philosopher's Stone or b) how do Homunculi are really born from beyond transmutation.

So I think this question is spoilerish to a sense and might not be answered until later both anime or manga.

However, I'll do appreciate if anyone whose acquainted with the latter installments of the manga could please give a few non-spoiler clues or hints about the meaning of Ouroboros, and the role it plays in FullMetal Alchemist.
well i am not sure if it makes any diffrence but it seems that each seal is on a part of thier body that is related to thier name lust it is on her chest greed on his hand gluttony it is on his tounge wrath it is on his foot?? i think this is where my idea begins to break down

then we have yet to see pride and where it is on him and sloth as well as envy also havent showed thier symbols wich personaly i think would be thier weak point like al
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Old 2004-06-04, 11:08   Link #9
Guido
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Other interesting facts about Ouroboros are:
1) In gnosticism signifies the eternity and the world's soul

2) For alchemy, it represents Mercury which symbolizes the renewal of continuity

3) A more interesting fact of alchemy is that two Ouroboros swallowing
their tails one another signify 'volatily'; could a perfect 8 means a
double Ouroboros?

Volatility likely refers to poisonous element within the world of alchemy.

I could not stop fixing the eye upon a detail about Al.
The shoulder pads of his armor have both a crucified serpent engraved to it.
Izumi has the same tattoo above her left chest.

The meaning for the crucified serpent in alchemy refers to 'fixing of the volatile' or making the elixir of Mercury, by removing the 'volatile'.

But in Izumi's case, I could have misinterpreted her tattoo, and, in fact, it could be the 'Asclepius Wand', true symbol of medical profession.


Bibliography
http://altreligion.about.com/library/glossary/symbols/bldefsouroboros.htm
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