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The dragon in the form of Ouroboros, the dragon that bites his own tail. "Ouroboros is the Matter of the Stone when it is circulating the philosophical vase." This is the initial process of meditation, or any other form of working on yourself, when you constantly refine your energies, and then bring back those refined energies into your every day life.

The black birds are a symbol for the first stage of the Great Work: Blackness or Nigredo.

The person on the left is washing cloths. "Washing' is a term used by the alchemist to explain that the entire process is actually a cleansing of oneself.