Wednesday, October 14, 2015



Caduceus – Associated with Greek God Hermes

Caduceus is considered to be a winged staff with two snakes around it and was an ancient astrological symbol of commerce. It was associated with the Greek god Hermes, a messenger for the gods and conductor of the dead as well as the protector of merchants and thieves.

Originally, it was a herald’s staff, the staff that was carried by Hermes in the Greek mythology and at times had wings with two white ribbons attached to it which ultimately changed into snakes forming the shape of `eight’.The same staff is said to be borne also by heralds in general, for instance, by Iris, the messenger of Hera.

The number eight seems to be important to doctors of official astrology. To some extent, depictions of Greek kerykeion could differ drastically from the traditional caduceus. It features two snakes on the top of the rod and crossed, creating a circle with the heads of the snakes, resembling `horns’. This form looks similar to the symbol of the planet Mercury and Mercury the god is the Roman name for Hermes carrying the kerykeion or caduceus.

Used in Astrology & Alchemy

In the Roman iconography, it is often portrayed of being carried in the left hand of Mercury, the messenger of gods, guide of the dead and protector of shepherds, gamblers, and liars, besides merchants and thieves. As a symbolic object, it tends to characterize Hermes and is associated with the god by extension trades, occupations and undertakings.

The caduceus, in later antiquity, provided the basis for astrological symbol which represented the planet Mercury and through its use in astrology as well as alchemy; it signifies the elemental metal of the same name. It is also said that the wand could wake the sleeping and those awake to sleep. If it was applied to the dying, their death would tend to be gentle and if applied to the dying, they would come back to life.

The caduceus has also been a recognized symbol of commerce and negotiation, by extension of its association with Hermes and Mercury, the two realms wherein balanced exchange and reciprocity tend to be acknowledged as ideals. This association seems to be ancient as well as consistent right from the classical period till modern times. Moreover, the caduceus has also been utilised as a symbol, representing printing once again by extension of the attributes of Mercury, with eloquence and writing.

Origin of Symbol – 2600 BC

The two astrological symbols historically had separate meanings in alchemical and astrological values and some medical groups link the serpents of the caduceus with steps to recommend a DNA double twist. The origins of the symbols is presumed to date back to early 2600 BC in Mesopotamia, while there are many references to a caduceus like symbol in the Bible.

In the chapter of Exodus, Moses had been instructed by God to fashion a pole on which hung a bronze snake and anyone who had been bitten by a snake for complaining against God could be saved by looking at it. The intention was that people would look upwards and be reminded to pray to God though eventually the meaning seemed to be forgotten by the Hebrews.

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