Dear Friends, just want to share our latest piece on the use of symbols to filter out of the public discourse any dissenting views. > The Serpent and the Staff: Symbols of Safety and Security in the Propaganda of a Global Medical Tyranny - Propaganda In Focus
Thank you. The caduceus is featured satirically in several of Jordan Henderson’s paintings eg
I don’t have any specific links to offer (browsing on a phone during lunch break) but the use of animal totems by tribal people, essentially as empowerments, might be a precursor to their cooption by powerful groups, who constrain their meaning to suit particular purposes. As with language, which is just another symbolic system, capable of corruption likewise.
The staff they show is that of Hermes “the messenger”… not Asclepius “the physician”
P.S Have you read Graham Hancock (sorry “Phillips” see below), on; “The Staff of Moses”?
I barely made it thru Fingerprints Of The Gods. Is it any good Gerard?
EDIT: The Moses Legacy, Graham Phillips? Can’t see any likely candidates on Hancock’s website.
@GKH, yes that’s right. I’ll ask the webmaster to swap out the image. Thanks for calling attention to that discrepancy.
I’ll check out Hancock’s book. Sounds really interesting.
Graham is always well worth attention. Probably one of those innovative thinkers to whom the guardians of current orthodoxy - the gocos - always react with angry hostility, but who is judged by history eventually as a pathfinder towards enhanced truth.
Sorry Phillips…you are right! Yes…and read it…remarkable…
I think the misreading is symptomatic (as they say), …started with the U.S military I believe…
I found a hooky free copy via ZLib
I’m unsure when the symbol of Hermes was integrated into medicine to double for Asclepius’ staff. In contemporary usage, though, the connotations for both now appear to be interchangeable.
The quite widespread aversion to snakes in myth and legend makes it an interesting symbol though, no? We’re familiar with the serpent in Eden. In Buddhist symbology, e.g. bhavachakra illustrations, the snake represents aversion/hostility, one of the “three poisons”. (ignorance - a pig - and greed - a rooster - are the other two).
The sutras use common-place language and metaphors extensively and the snake comes up an awful lot. No doubt older Brahmin/Jain symbology fed into this.
Cross-pollination of ideas, symbols, myths, between Asia and the Hellenic and Roman worlds is very likely.
Not forgetting Egypt and other civilisations.
As for Hermes there’s the articulation with Thoth as Hermes Trismegistus: thrice great.
"Using the Caduceus instead is seen mainly (and irregularly) in the United States. Why? Well, have you heard the expression “There’s the right way, the wrong way, and the army way”?
Okay, that’s not quite fair. There are reasons for the link between the medical corps and the Caduceus.
The Caduceus has been used as an emblem of peace, borne by an envoy or ambassador with a message or peace or demand for surrender, documented as early as 168 BC, and this meaning was clearly known in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Around the time of the US Civil War, a caduceus would be worn by hospital stewards to indicate their non-combatant status:
The Caduceus also has a long history as a symbol of commerce, and the US Public Health Service adopted an emblem incorporating a caduceus, presumably in connection to merchant seamen (the same anchor-and-caduceus emblem is used by the US Surgeon General):
The the perception of it as a symbol of medicine seems to have solidified when it was adopted by the Medical Corps (shown above), by the US Surgeon General in 1902, at the insistence of a Capt. Frederick P. Reynolds (or possibly Col. John R. van Hoff), citing it’s use by the Hospital Corps, as well as being used by the English (it wasn’t, they used the staff of Asclepius).
I think it’s reasonable to leave off there, say the rest is history. There is certainly more to the whole story, but I’m not trying to write a book here. For more, see:
- The Golden Wand of Medicine: A History of the Caduceus Symbol in Medicine, by Walter J. Friedlander
- The Use of Mercury’s Caduceus as a Medical Emblem, by Bernice S. Engle, in “The Classical Journal”" https://mythology.stackexchange.com/questions/1855/why-is-the-staff-of-medicine-symbolised-by-hermess-staff-caduceus