What are the caduceus’ symbolism and history?
The staff with the two coiled serpents is very ancient. Depictions are found in Mesopotamia from about 3000 BC. It is also said to be used in Atlantis and ancient Egypt. The exact meaning of the snakes, the staff, and the wings is unknown.
In Greek mythology the caduceus is the Wand of Hermes, also called Staff of Hermes. It originated as a willow wand with entwined ribbons which later evolved into snakes. Hermes, the messenger, is the Greek deification of the Egyptian god Thoth, the bringer of writing and the sciences. In ancient Rome, he was known as Mercury. The teaching of Thoth, aka Hermes Trismegistos, formed the basics of Alchemy, or Hermeticism; therefore the appearance of the caduceus in alchemical texts.
The power of the caduceus stems from it’s symbology:
The two snakes are supposed to symbolize the opposing energies of yin and yang, male and female, or the two channels of the Kundalini energy – ida and pingala. Some go even further and associate the snakes with the double helix of our DNA.
The wings and the stone represent the connection with the higher consciousness.
Since the beginning of the nineteen-hundreds the caduceus is used as a logo for the U.S. Army Medical Corps, and from there was wrongly adopted by the healing profession as a symbol of the medical profession – used on uniforms, advertising, and signs.
Purists of the profession prefer the Staff of Asclepius – a staff with a single serpent – which originates from Greek mythology.
The caduceus pendant shown at the top is one of my bespoke designs of spiritual jewellery. Two copper snakes are coiled around a silver staff, topped with copper wings, and crowned with a dark blue lapis lazuli. Lapis lazuli is a gemstone much revered in ancient Egypt (which links this gem stone with Thoth aka Hermes and alchemy). Ground up to a fine powder it was used in ancient times to make ‘ultramarine’ blue for oil-paintings. It is regarded as the stone of friendship and truth. It is reputed to help its wearer being an authentic individual who may openly state his or her opinion. Lapis lazuli resonates to Archangel Michael, the Archangel of protection, courage, and truth.
This caduceus is designed according to sacred geometry, around seven centres, spread along the central staff according to the ratio of the square numbers of 1 to 7.
The number Seven is associated with the (seven) major chakras; the 7 days of the week; a 7 year cycle through the chakras, renewing itself every 7 times 7 years.