The Caduceus

What are the caduceus’ symbolism and history?

The Caduceus - Symbol of Power and Balance

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.

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Caduceus - the Design

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.

Chakra Power

Some teaching promotes the idea that Chakras are energy centres of the body that connect the physical with the spiritual. They are allegedly linked to the energy channels of the spine. The seven major chakras are said to be related to hormonal glands of the body.
The Sanskrit word ‘chakra’ means wheel or disk, referring to the visual appearance of the chakras seen by clairvoyants.

The seven main chakras and their influence are believed to be:
hand painted silk chakra symbols rainbow wallhanger fionastolze silkandart
Crown chakra; Sahasrara:
location: top of the head;
representation: 1000 lotus petals;
colour: purple or white;
gemstone: diamond, quartz or amethyst;
element: thought;
gland(s): pituitary;
area of influence: consciousness.

Third eye chakra; Ajna:
location: between eyebrows, slightly up;
representation: two lotus petals;
colour: indigo;
gemstone: sapphire, lapis lazuli;
element: light;
gland(s): pineal;
area of influence: (psychic) vision.

Troat chakra; Vishuddha:
location: throat;
representation: sixteen lotus petals;
colour: blue;
gemstone: turquois, aquamarine;
element: ether;
gland(s): thyroid;
area of influence: sound, communication.

Heart chakra; Anahata:
location: in the middle of the chest at heart level;
representation: 12 lotus petals;
colour: green with pink;
gemstone: malachite, green jade, rose quartz;
element: air;
gland(s): thymus;
area of influence: love, balance.

Solar plexus chakra; Manipura:
location: solar plexus;
representation: 10 lotus petals;
colour: yellow;
gemstone: citrine, amber;
element: fire;
gland(s): adrenal, pancreas;
area of influence: will, transformation.

Sacral chakra; Svadhisthana:
location: top of pubic bone;
representation: 6 lotus petals;
colour: orange;
gemstone: carnelian;
element: water;
gland(s): ovaries, testicles;
area of influence: creativity.

Root chakra; Mulhadra:
location: between anus and genitals;
representation: 4 lotus petals;
colour: red;
gemstone: hematite, ruby, garnet;
element: earth;
gland(s): adrenal;
area of influence: survival, manifestation.

The goal of some spiritual practices is to open and energize all chakras to allow a full integration of the physical and spiritual body. One way to achieve this is supposed to meditate on the individual chakras and visualize them as opened flower blossoms glowing with their respective colors. The use of the corresponding gemstones are said to enhace this process.
The depicted image is showing graphic representations of the chakras painted in vibrant colors on silk in form of a beautiful flowing wall hanger by Silk & Art.

General advice for all spiritual practices is to set-up a sacred space or temple where you can display the objects that represent the desired goals for you. In this space you are believed to be safe and undisturbed during meditation.

The Guru and the Puzzle of Life

Imagine – the whole life is a gigantic puzzle, where we have all the pieces, but no clue how to put them together. There is no template or picture with the puzzle. And to make things even worse, most parts are so similar that is easily possible to match them in a wrong way.
Just sit back and think of it.
So we grow up and trust others more than our own intuition, and we put pieces together in a way we get told – from parents, teachers, friends, employers, the media, religion, social conventions, and so on. The list of our advisers is endless.
And once we put the pieces together we tend to believe this is the one and only way that they will fit, and that this is the right way.

We do not dare taking things apart, because we still have no clue how the finished puzzle will look like.
Now- sometimes we encounter a guru, or a teacher, who succeeded in solving a part of the puzzle for himself, and who is enthusiastic and willing to share the picture of this part with us.
If we trust this teacher, we can allow ourselves to undo a few small bits of our puzzle, and to put them together in a new way that will open up a greater vision towards the whole.
Each one of us has a different puzzle to solve – no two puzzles are exactly the same. However, they have large areas in common.
Remember – the guru cannot solve the puzzle for you, he can only hold up small picture details like bits of a collage, or actually he can only describe these details of the puzzle with his own words.

And it comes even harder: the puzzle of our life is not two dimensional – it is multi-dimensional.
And there are way too many bits to put together in a lifetime …

So – go ahead and look for your guru – a man with a vision greater than yours; a man whose language you understand; a man who inspires you to keep working on your puzzle.

“If the student is ready – the guru will appear.”

(For the politically correct: If you are female just substitute he with she, man with woman etc. Thank you.)

See you in class …

PS:
The guy in the picture is the Indian yogi and mystic Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev (www.sadhguru.org). He is featured in the book ‘Midnight with the Mystic’ by Cheryl Simoni and Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, 2008.
But be aware – gurus come in all forms and disguises.
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PPS: It is all in our language:
“I am picking up the pieces as I go along.” – “I didn’t see it this way before.” – “Everything seems to be falling into place.” – “Everything is fallen to pieces.” – “I have got a greater vision.” – “This is a real eye-opener.” – “I can see much clearer now.”