The Magick and History of Medical Alert Identification Part 2: History of the Caduceus and it’s connections to Hermes and Iris.

By Masery

Part one explained the importance of having medical identification and that there are three symbols recognized by emergency and medical services.
Star of Life (red or blue)
Rod Staff of Asclepius
Caduceus

There is more information about the Star of Life and the Rod/Staff of Asclepius in part one.

www.patheos.com/community/paganswithdisabilities/2010/09/08/33/

This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Rama

Image of a Caduceus: Orb and wing topped staff entwined by snakes. This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Rama

The caduceus kə-DEW-see-əs, is the staff used by Hermes herald for the Greek God Zeus and the herald Iris for Zeus’ wife the Goddess Hera. In Rome, it represented Mercury, messenger of the gods, so in astrology it also represents the planet Mercury.

The Goddess Iris is often depicted as a cup- bearer, serving nectar to the gods, and she is a goddess of the rainbow. Her name can mean messenger, eiris, or rainbow, iris. The rainbow represented her sending messages from the gods to humanity. Little is known about Iris. She was the daughter of a marine god, Thaumas, and a cloud-nymph, Elektra.

The caduceus wasn’t always a medical symbol. Because Mercury and Hermes were also gods of commerce, the symbol was commonly used in antiquity by merchants. The Oxford Illustrated Companion To Medicine explains that “Though the caduceus has long been accepted as a device to represent medicine, it is the staff and serpent of Asklepios which have the more ancient and authentic claim to be the emblem of medicine”

The caduceus is also used in Hermeticism. Hermes Trismegistus is a combination of the Egyption God Thoth and the Greek God Hermes. They were both gods of magick and writing. Hermes Trismegistus was a patron of astrology and alchemy. “Hermeticism or the Western Hermetic Tradition is a set of philosophical and religious beliefs or gnosis based primarily upon the Hellenistic Egyptian pseudepigraphical writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus” Wikipedia

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caduceus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermes_Trismegistus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermeticism
http://www.theoi.com/Pontios/Iris.html

Part 2 will explore magickal uses for each symbol, choosing the right symbol for a medical alert ID, and how to enchant the jewelry.

About Tara Miller

Tara "Masery" Miller is a panentheist Gaian mage living in the Ozarks with her husband and pets. She's also a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church. She writes the Staff of Asclepius blog. She's also a new author and editor with Megalithica Books. If you would like to be notified when Rooted in the Body, Seeking the Soul: Magic Practitioners Living with Disabilities, Addiction, and Illness will be available please email her at tara.miller21 (at) gmail.com Donations for the blog can also be sent through PayPal to the same email.

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