The Caduceus of Hermes
The Greek Hermes found his analogue in Egypt as the ancient Wisdom god
Thoth, as Taaut of the Phoenicians and in Rome as the god Mercury (all
linked with a magic rod with twin snakes).
The mythical origin of his magic twin serpent caduceus is described in
the story of Tiresias. Poulenc, in "Les Mamelles de Tiresias" (The
Breasts of Tiresias) tells how Tiresias--the seer who was so unhelpful
to Oepidus and Family- found two snakes copulating, and to separate
them stuck his staff between them. Immediately he was turned into a
woman, and remained so for seven years, until he was able to repeat his
action, and change back to male. The transformative power in this
story, strong enough to completely reverse even physical polarities of
male and female, comes from the union of the two serpents, passed on by
the wand. Tiresias' staff, complete with serpents, was later passed on
Occult Hermetic Connection: An occult description of the Caduceus of
Hermes (Mercury) is that the serpents may represent positive and
negative kundalini as it moves through the chakras and around the spine
(the staff) to the head where it communicates with MIND by
intellection, the domain of Mercury [wings].
Caduceus Power Wand sold at occult, new age & witchcraft stores
such as Abaxion with descriptions such as "It's central phallic rod
represents the potentiality of the masculine, and is intimately
surrounded by the writhing, woven shakti energies of two coupling
serpents. The rod also represents the spine [sushumna] while the
serpents conduct spiritual currents [pranas] along the ida and pingala
channels in a double helix pattern from the chakra at the base of the
spine up to the pineal gland".
According to occultists, there are three principal nadis (Sanskrit for
channel) in the human body. The sushumna (the spinal column through
which the life-forces flow), by which means we enter and leave the
body, the Ida (refreshment and stimulation of spirit), which is
associated with the higher mind or manas and the Pingala,
(reddish-brown), associated with kama or the force of desire. (G. de
Purucker "Man in Evolution" ch. 15 & 16; and "Fountain-Source of
Occultism", pp. 458-63).
Hermetic: There are few names to which more diverse persons and
disciplines lay claim than the term "Hermetic". Alchemists have applied
the adjective "Hermetic" to their art, while magicians (not the
entertaining type) attach the name to their ceremonies of evocation and
invocation. Followers of Meister Eckhart, Raymond Lull, Paracelsus,
Jacob Boehme, and most recently Valentin Tomberg are joined by academic
scholars of esoterica, all of whom attach the word "Hermetic" to their
The most abiding impact of Hermeticism on Western culture came about by
way of the heterodox mystical, or occult, tradition. Renaissance
occultism, with its alchemy, astrology, ceremonial magic, and occult
medicine, became saturated with the teachings of the Hermetic books.
This content has remained a permanent part of the occult transmissions
of the West, and, along with Gnosticism and Neoplatonism, represents
the foundation of all the major Western occult currents. Hermetic
elements are demonstrably present in the Rosicrucian and Theosophical
The caduceus in pseudo-science: There are amazing claims that a
Caduceus Power Wand has zero impedance and infinite resonance!
The caduceus as a Medical symbol: The link between Hermes and his
caduceus and medicine seems to have arisen by Hermes links with
alchemy. Alchemists were referred to as the sons of Hermes, as
Hermetists or Hermeticists and as "practitioners of the hermetic arts".
By the end of the sixteenth century, the study of alchemy included not
only medicine and pharmaceuticals but chemistry, mining and metallurgy.
Despite learned opinion that it is the single snake staff of Asclepius
that is the proper symbol of medicine, many medical groups have adopted
the twin serpent caduceus of Hermes or Mercury as a medical symbol
during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Like the staff of Asclepius, the caduceus became associated with
medicine through its use as a printer’s mark, as printers saw
themselves as messengers of the printed word and diffusers of knowledge
(hence the choice of the symbol of the messenger of the ancient gods).
A major reason for the current popularity of the caduceus as a medical
symbol was its ill informed official adoption as the insignia for the
Medical Department of the United States Army in 1902.