Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital is one of the major hospitals in Greensboro, North Carolina. When heading into the hospital, whether it be on the walls, the scrubs, the name tags, the paperwork, or the charts, you will see the Caduceus; the medical symbol of two snakes intertwining up a shaft with a pair of wings at the top. The public has always seemed to accept the symbol as medical without so much as a question as to why this ambiguous symbol was chosen. If people were to find out that the symbol was being sold as a wand on a Pagan Occult website for 79 dollars and 99 cents, and that simular wands had been used in Mesopitamia around 2,600 BC, maybe it would begin to raise a few brows…
The Caduceus is the ancient astrological symbol of commerce and is the symbol of the Greek God of Hermes. As a matter of fact, if you type “Greek God Hermes” into Google Images, you may be shocked by what you find! Hermes is the messenger god, and the guide into the underworld. When the Romans conquered the Greeks, took their religion, and renamed their gods, Hermes became known as Mercury. The planet Mercury is named after Hermes, and his symbol, the Caduceus, actually became the inspiration for the astrological symbol of the planet. The two "horns" on top of the planet’s astrological symbol represent the wings of the Caduceus, the circle represents the winding snakes, and the cross at the bottom represents the sword or shaft being held. If you are thinking that none of this has anything to do with medicine, then you are correct. The medical field picked the Caduceus by mistake. They meant to choose the ancient medical symbol called the Rod of Asclepius.
In the 7th century, because of Hermes' association with the metal, mercury, and the planet Mercury named after his Roman name, the Caduceus became attached with the idea of healing the sick through magic, alchemy, and astrology. The healing obviously never worked, but because of this 7th century practice, the Caduceus, believed by the modern medicine field to be the symbol of medicine, was mistakenly chosen. The true ancient medical symbol was a Mesopitamian symbol of a rod with one snake climbing upwards. It was a renewal symbol showing the adversity of death by the snake that sheds its skin and still lives. By climbing upwards it was a reminder to pray to the gods. The Greeks stole the symbol, and renamed it the Rod of Asclepius after Asclepius, the god of healing. Emergency Medical Services have correctly adopted this as their symbol in what they call "The Star of Life". The Rod of Asclepius and its meaning was such a powerful ancient symbol of renewal, it even made it into the Bible.
In Exodus 7:8-12 Moses' rod was thrown down before the pharaoh, causing it to turn into a snake, in hopes of showing proof of God, and that his people were going to be saved from slavery and death. Furthermore, in Numbers 21: 4-7 God sends venomous snakes to kill the wandering Jews because they doubted his intentions. Moses eventually prays to God on behalf of the people, and God gives Moses a “medical remedy” for the venomous bites. “The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived,” (Numbers 21:8-9).
The Caduceus is a symbol of magic, death, astrology, theosophy, alchemy, and because of a misunderstanding, now modern medicine. So the next time you walk into Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital, or any other medical facility for that matter, chuckle to yourself when you see the Caduceus, and don’t forget to mention to the Chief of Medicine that the Rod of Asclepius would be more befitting.