Unveiling an Ancient Symbol
There is a symbol in our world that is so profound, it’s often overlooked.
Isn’t that the way with Ancient Wisdom? It’s buried right in front of our eyes, just waiting for us to see it. Tens of thousands of people notice it, and walk right past. They observe only an object, and nothing deeper.
But then one person comes along with eyes that are open. And that person pauses, and looks more carefully, and sees in front of them something that no one else noticed.
Often, the most profound things are hidden in broad daylight, carefully disguised behind a veil of normalcy.
“When the student is ready, the teacher appears” says an ancient Hermetic Axiom. Never a truer word was spoken. Because often that teacher was standing right in front of us, walking amongst us like an ordinary person, and we just didn’t see them until we were ready.
I liken this phenomenon to the “Lifting of the Veil”.
We walk through life, and we see what we believe is there. As our mindset shifts, what we see can also shift. So our spiritual evolution is a continual process of shifting mindsets and then shifting realities. Even after enlightenment, our reality doesn’t stand still. We are still discovering the truth, and expanding our viewpoints.
It reminds me of Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book, “You’ll see it when you believe it”.
So what is this symbol that I’m referring to - this ancient symbol that stares us in the face, and yet goes unnoticed by so many?
It’s the Caduceus. The whaaaaaattttt????
The earliest records of this mysterious symbol date back to 2,600 BC in Mesopotamia. It shows two serpents woven around a staff, and is sometimes depicted with wings on top. This very same symbol has been “accidentally” adopted by some branches of modern medicine as a symbol of healing….wow, is that a minefield of mistakes!
Let’s just go there for a moment, and clear up this first mystery…..The real symbol for medicine is the rod of Asclepius (or the Asklepian), which shows a thick club with one snake woven around it, and no wings on top.
Its inspiration came from Greek Mythology. Asclepius was a half-mortal. After killing a snake with his club, he then watched another snake stuff herbs into the dead snake’s mouth. And wouldn’t you know it? The dead snake revived and came to life again! After witnessing this miracle of healing, Asclepius then possessed the power to heal the dead.
So it makes sense that the Asklepian would be the symbol for medicine, both ancient and modern.
But the Asklepian is definitely not the Caduceus. They bare a resemblance in the same way that a butterfly resembles a bat. Both have a body and wings and feet…but that’s about where the similarity stops.
The Caduceus shows two pythons woven around a narrow staff. And in fact, the way that they so perfectly counterbalance each other makes them look remarkably like an infinity sign, or the double helix of our DNA!
The Caduceus is the symbol of Hermes Trismegistus, the “Scribe of the Gods” and the “Master of Masters”, who lived in Egypt long before the days of Moses. His name “Trismegistus” means “thrice great”, and it’s written in The Kybalion that Hermes lived 300 years in the flesh, until he eventually transcended and became revered as the Egyptian God “Thoth”.
Are you starting to feel like you’re in a fairy tale? Stay with me…let this sink in.
Do you not think that a symbol associated with such a revered Master would be important?
So how did it end up being associated with medicine? Well, somewhere along the line Hermes also became known as a God of Commerce and Trade, and hence his symbol (the Caduceus) was at times used by merchants such as printers. And some of the books they printed happened to be about Medicine, and probably displayed their symbol. It’s hypothesized that this is how the mix-up in symbols occurred, and the Caduceus started being used as a symbol of medicine in place of the Asklepian.
So now that we’ve cleared up that particular mystery, let’s lift the veil on the Caduceus, and see what it’s really showing us….
Firstly, let’s take a look at the two snakes. Snakes are a very complex symbol, and have many different meanings throughout history. Yet in the Caduceus they symbolise the serpentine nature of our Kundalini energy – our spiritual life force - as it rises up our spine.
Snakes also represent transformation, renewal and creation, due to their ability to shed their skin in much the same way that a woman magically sheds the lining of her womb each month.
But why two snakes? And why are they woven up the staff instead of just one on each side?
If you look at the shape of the snake, you’d almost think you were looking at a frequency curve. And when you have two opposing frequencies, you have the perfect centre point (this being the Staff).
This makes sense, because one of Hermes Trismegistus’ teachings is the Principle of Vibration, namely that “Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.”
But his teachings have even more relevance than that, because he also teaches about the Principle of Rhythm, namely that “Everything flows, out and in; everything has its tides; all things rise and fall; the pendulum-swing manifests in everything; the measure of the swing to the right is the measure of the swing to the left; rhythm compensates.”…..much like the movement of the two serpents.
The staff represents our spiritual journey, and the serpents represent the balance of light and dark, spirit and ego, yin and yang that we explore in our journey of self-discovery.
In our meditations, we have moments when the white noise of life, as represented by those opposing frequencies, suddenly fades, and we become the staff….still and centered.
No wonder the staff is often drawn with wings on top! Those wings represent our true nature – one that is born of the Light, and which is free like the bird; one that sees itself as part of a whole, and therefore protects others like an Angel’s wings.
In other variations of the Caduceus, instead of wings at the top, you will see the snakes’ heads that create the illusion of a pair of wings. The meaning is the same. It’s our experience when we take off from our mortal journey (the walk of the staff) and we fly free.
So although the Caduceus has been mistakenly adopted by some branches of modern medicine as its symbol, it is, in fact, the symbol of enlightenment, staring us in the face. Like the tarot, it’s rich with hidden messages for those who seek the truth. It’s the pathway to the Light.
Every cell of my body vibrates with light
My frequency aligns with love, and I am home
Life is not static, and I take the action that is right for me in this moment
I live life as a zigzag, always following my truth, even if that changes
As I journey along my spiritual path, I pause to smell the roses
I choose to be present in this moment, so I may see the many gifts being offered to me
I am given what I ask for, and I ask to know the truth