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The Caduceus

The Caduceus

The Caduceus

The caduceus or "Kerykeion", today's symbol of medicine, used to be known as the magic rod of Hermes, the Greek messenger of the gods. He wore winged sandals and hat, and bore a golden caduceus. His caduceus was a rod entwined by two snakes, decorated with wings at the top. According to Greek mythology, Hermes came across two fighting snakes. Throwing his magic wand at them, they became entwined, and stopped fighting. This is the explanation for the appearance of two entwined snakes on the caduceus. The Caduceus can be seen in other cultures as well, in Roman days it was carried by the god of communication, Mercury. In biblical days when Moses was in the desert with his people escaping slavery and looking for their promised land, they became ill. Moses spoke with God about the sickness and was given a huge caduceus by God that when touched would heal.

Snakes are referred to, and even revered, in many cultures, religions, and myths. In some modern African tribes, as was the case in some ancient Indian tribes, snakes are worshipped in ritualistic ceremonies. The Ancient Celts also worshipped the snake, by having entwined snakes tattooed on to their forearms. Why is the snake so revered? The snake sheds its skin, and, according to tribal beliefs, this shedding enables the snake to renew its youthfulness and strength. Thus they believe that the snake lives forever. In origin the Caduceus's intent was to protect the heralds from the dangers during their trip in foreign territories, in time it became a generic sign of peace.

Another possible origin for this symbols connection to medicine and healing, comes from an old practice by early physicians treating people infected by parasitic worms using a stick and knife. A slit would be cut in the patient's skin in front of the worm, and as the parasite crawled out of the incision, the worm would be wound around a stick until totally removed. The medical treatment of parasitic worm infection by knife and stick is believed to be the inspiration for the original caduceus, which was depicted as a stick entwined by worms. It was used as a promotional sign for physicians of that period.

In modern times the caduceus symbol is widely used as a symbol of health and communication. The Caduceus is a symbol to which manifold values were attributed, from fecundity-fertility to medicine, ranging from practice to pharmaceutical activity.

The two snakeheads of the Caduceus symbolise the conscious and unconscious mind that need to be brought together to communicate their differences from the battles of old. The rational mind (modern medicine), does not listen to what the intuitive mind is saying, and so a full picture of the problem leading to ill health, is not seen. It is well known that there are within the human psyche manifold possibilities; some of these, when opportunely cultivated, allows us to see the health condition of our own being as well as others, with more accuracy than modern medical devices. Our work is directed to making the two minds of the Caduceus (rational and intuitive) communicate with one another, being sure that from this dialogue will come the information necessary to help those which have sickness that have been diagnosed as "incurable".

Caduceus pendants are available on this site please Click Here to buy one!

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