“God doesn’t truly hate serpents, despite what happened in the garden.” The old magician thumbed through his Bible. “Not all of them, anyway. Serpents that lead virtuous lives are allowed to serve as the scabbards of angels after death. Those that lead lives of sin, however, are hammered by demons into swords.”

“I tend to think that I would rather be a sword than a scabbard,” I added.

“Then you’d make a terrible serpent.”

“Well, do they have any other choices?”

“To not die, I suppose.” His eyes returned to the book. “They’re quite good at that. All they need to do is swallow their own tails, after which point they can sustain themselves on their own bodies for as long as they wish. No death, no heaven, no hell. Just more serpent.”

“Is that really possible? The head just keeps swallowing more and more of the tail forever?”

“Yes, yes, that’s exactly how an ouroboros works.”

“Well, what happens when the head arrives at itself?”

“Why, it keeps going, of course. The outer head passes the inner head, then moves on to the section of tail that the inner head was about to swallow.”

“But, well,” Something was missing. “Aren’t the outer and inner heads the same? Isn’t the section of the tail that the inner head was trying to swallow actually the outer head?”

“Of course not,” he squinted, thumbing forward more rapidly. “How could the inner head swallow the outer head? That wouldn’t make any sense at all. It has to be the other way around- the head doing the swallowing is always the outer head. Now if I could just find the page that explains it…”

By that point, it felt like my brain was trying to swallow itself.  “I have to confess, I can’t imagine it.”

“That’s because you’re not seeing it through the serpent’s eyes. Remember, it only has two.”

“But wouldn’t the outer and inner heads each have their own pair? That’s four.”

“Nope, only two. They’re the same head.”

“What? But you just got done saying-“

That’s when I saw the old man turn past the last page of the book. He pulled the front cover through the back cover, then continued his search. It seemed as though somehow, there were now two front covers, one inner and one outer, with a knot of paper trapped between them. “Ah, here we go. The Second Book of Genesis. ‘Now the serpent was more cunning than any of the other creatures that God had made…’”

A single serpent system is simple when compared with an ourobohedron.

Self-containment can provide humans with immortality, but not always in a pleasant manner.