The caduceus, the staff of the two snakes, is the staff of the Greek god Hermes, or Mercury to the Romans, who was the messenger of the gods. This traditional symbol features two snakes winding around an often winged staff. This two-snake caduceus design has ancient and consistent associations with trade, eloquence, negotiation, as well as wisdom and controversially thievery, lying arid the passage into the underworld.
The caduceus is an ancient symbol which is presents as early as 2600 B.C.E. in Sumeria. Its resemblance with the staff of Asclepius, who is the healer (a staff with only one snake), has resulted in a modern confusion of the two to the point where the caduceus, which is with wings for the swiftness of Hermes, has been adopted as a symbol of physicians and the healing arts.
The caduceus symbol usually carries themes of healing, homeopathy, nature, as well as holistic approaches to health. These are also illustrated by the two snakes. In ancient Greece, snakes, where this symbol originates, were symbolic of transformation.
The winds of this messenger of god tattoos usually symbolize higher thoughts, minds, high integrity, and the intent to serve others in a higher capacity.
The staff or the center rod in the caduceus symbol represents power, unification, as well as the relationship between the heaven and the Earth, and the point of focus between duality. The staff is also the connection between high and low and facilitates easy communication between the two.
Some of the meanings that the caduceus tattoo has are the following:
- Life and health;
- Magic and honor;
- Travel and wisdom;
- Fertility and vitality;
- Healing and renewal;
- Protection and transformation;
- Authority and fertility, and a lot more.
The caduceus is a symbol of messengers in myth, like the Greek Hermes, as the center staff conveys energy-transfer between the mind and the body, male and female, heaven and Earth, as well as shadow and light.