Linda mentioned this yesterday: Ouroboros, “that eateth his own tail,” an ancient symbol of sorcery.
Hi! Mr. Nature here, and welcome to the world of folklore and real stuff. The Worm Ouroboros, in addition to being the title of a really cool fantasy by E.R. Eddison, is folklore. Just like those stories of the Hoop Snake, down South, which supposedly takes its tail in its mouth and rolls down a hill.
But there’s also the armadillo lizard of South Africa, and here he is:
Why does he grip his tail in his mouth? Is it some kind of lizard yoga exercise? No–it’s a defense against being swallowed by a snake. Who wants to swallow a ball of spikes?
I used to have a couple of armadillo lizards. In the total absence of anything to be afraid of, mine never bit their tails. They were spunky little lizards, with a lot of go to them.
But of no use whatsoever in any kind of magic. (Not that I tried!)