Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Mercurial Thoughts?

Which Blogger hasn't had a few of those in their time?
Joking aside, Tess at Magpie Tales had snakes close to her heart this week, as you might say, when she published a picture of The Snake Charmer, Henri Rousseau, 1907 as a prompt.

Rather than my rushing to write a poem, I decided to take a photo of one of my favourite pieces of jewellery. For many weeks I ogled this pendant in a local shop window, and kept hoping it would still be there after I'd managed to earn the £16 it cost - a sum far too great for me to take it out of the housekeeping! It was, and I've been the proud owner of it ever since.

I'd find it hard to explain its attraction  for me, but Wikipedia goes a long way to do so in the following article - especially the sentence I've highlighted in red!

The caduceus (play /kəˈdjsəs/ or /kəˈdjʃəs/; from Greek κηρύκειον kērukeion "herald's staff"[2] ) is the staff carried by Hermes in Greek mythology. The same staff was also borne by heralds in general, for example by Iris, the messenger of Hera. It is a short staff entwined by two serpents, sometimes surmounted by wings. In Roman iconography it was often depicted being carried in the left hand of Mercury, the messenger of the gods, guide of the dead and protector of merchants, shepherds, gamblers, liars and thieves.[3]
As a symbolic object it represents Hermes (or the Roman Mercury), and by extension trades, occupations or undertakings associated with the god. In later Antiquity the caduceus provided the basis for the astrological symbol representing the planet Mercury. Thus, through its use in astrology and alchemy, it has come to denote the elemental metal of the same name.
By extension of its association with Mercury/Hermes, the caduceus is also a recognized symbol of commerce and negotiation, two realms in which balanced exchange and reciprocity are recognized as ideals.[4][5] This association is ancient, and consistent from the Classical period to modern times.[6] The caduceus is also used as a symbol representing printing, again by extension of the attributes of Mercury (in this case associated with writing and eloquence).
The caduceus is sometimes mistakenly used as a symbol of medicine and/or medical practice, especially in North America, because of widespread confusion with the traditional medical symbol, the rod of Asclepius, which has only a single snake and no wings.

18 comments:

  1. "associated with writing and eloquence" How perfect for you! Did you just find this out due to the Magpie?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Margaret - I knew some of the things associated with the symbol, bu not all! LOL Mercury, with his winged helmet, has long beenlinked with communication, and according to Chinese astrology I am a snake. 'Nuff said!

    ReplyDelete
  3. P.S. It's a pity Mercury doesn't help typists, too!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Absolutely right that it is confused in North America with the symbol for medicine, as that is exactly what I thought it was!

    Every day, I find I need more education. :-)

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ah well Pen, you teach me something new almost every time I come to your site.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I didn't know any of this. Thank you for the enlightenment!

    ReplyDelete
  7. "The caduceus is sometimes mistakenly used as a symbol of medicine and/or medical practice, especially in North America..."

    Count me as one who would make that error as well.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Caduceus--isn't that a wonderful word? I enjoyed your fact tidbits, particularly that North America, in particular, mistakes it for the rod of Asclepius. Grave error, indeed:)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Penny ... this is a wonderful post. I can visualize you wearing the caduceus ... glad you saved those 'pennies.' (well, it's what we call them in the US)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Nice piece (the jewelry and the write). And just fyi the veterinary symbol is the snakes wrapped around the letter 'V' :o)

    ReplyDelete
  11. How interesting. I did not know much about these symbols. I remember in France though it was just one serpent around a pole.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm in love with the pendant and what you did with this week's prompt :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. poetry in metal - I am sure this pendant could also be a prompt, especially given the wiki-wisdom

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you for your kind comment on my blog, Jinksy. Working in the medical area, I find it amusing that the caduceus of Hermes is used as the symbol of medical practitioners in the USA, even more so as Hermes was the god of commerce also...

    ReplyDelete
  15. I like your different take on the prompt, Pen. Beautiful pendant, love the story behind it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Love your educational take Jinksy. Thanks!

    Anna :o]

    ReplyDelete
  17. I didn't know this.
    I am so happy you were able to purchase it
    and that your writer part connects with it
    wear it with pride
    wear it for all of us
    nice magpie

    ReplyDelete
  18. Yes, I thought first up it was a nurse's badge but your explanation has added somewhat to my understanding of Greek/Roman mythology! nicely written too (as expected).

    ReplyDelete

Curiosity Cats can leave a whisker here...but not before noting, please, that I choose to have an award free, tag free, meme free blog. But by all means, talk to me by email - I love to 'chat'...