In our last post about the Caduceus symbol, we learned that Asclepius, Hermes's disciple, was killed by Zeus, who opposed that a mortal should be taught eternal life. And that's how humanity was prevented from full disclosure of what lies beyond our earthly realms.
Corpus Hermeticum: first Latin edition, by Marsilio Ficino, 1471 AD
But Asclepius did pass on something to humanity before he died. If he did not teach us immortality, at least he showed us a pre-condition to it, healing. Asclepius is revered as the Greek God of Medicine. In greek, medos means "to think" about" or "to care for." This is also the root meaning of the word meditation.
Though we forgot about the healing properties of meditation for a long time in Western cultures, we did associate the word medos to what we call medicine. That explains the Asclepius staff being a widespread symbol for medicine.
Quick fun fact, Asclepius had many children, one of them is Hygeia, Goddess of Health. Her bowl, from which a snake drinks, is the symbol for Pharmacy. Also, Hygeia is the origin of the word hygiene.
By now, we can guess why the Asclepius Caduceus (staff in greek) has only one snake, and Hermes's two. The latter represents full redemption and the former just one aspect related to it, which is healing.
But how do we achieve redemption or enlightenment, as eastern philosophies call it? By digging on what we can from Hermes, of course! He did leave us with four sacred books, some of them are considered lost, and others argue that they are hidden by priests who think humanity is not ready for them.
" Separate thou the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross sweetly with great industry. It ascends from the earth to the heaven, and again it descends to the earth and receives the force of things superior and inferior".
The Emerald Tablet - Hermes Trismegistus (17th-century translation from Latin by Isaac Newton)
Still, he left us with a clue. It's known that the subdivisions of the four sacred books written by Hermes Trismegistus make 42 volumes. These numbers correspond precisely to those of the Vedas. Hence, it's believed that the oldest texts of Hinduism were brought to Egypt by the Yadavas people, in their first emigration from Hindustan.
Not surprisingly, the caduceus is also a widespread symbol in ancient India. In hatha yoga, the two spiraling snakes are referred to as the Nadis (subtle channels) Ida and Pingala. The spinal cord contains the Sushumna Nadi. When viewed from above the head, the spiraling of these channels looks like the yin yang symbol or even the ancient swastika symbol.
Kundalini, Ying and Yang, and the Swastika (not to be confused with the nazi symbol)
Now that you know how eastern and western philosophies are intrinsically connected, it's time to put your new holistic wisdom into practice. Grab your yoga mat and wake up that lazy Kundalini snake sleeping in your Muladhara now.
As an incentive for your new awakened self, consider wearing our stylish Kundalini Ring! You'll also have a great story to tell whenever you get a compliment for your super cool snake jewelry.
You'd also support us in providing the spread of juicy metaphysical geekiness and spiritual goodness. Shop now!
Be part of the Apollo Tarot tribe by signing up for our newsletter, and commenting on our posts. We're always amazed at the incredible contributions our community adds to our mystical discussions.
"Signs and symbols rule the world, not words nor laws"