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Author Topic: That's a Herald's Staff...  (Read 5414 times)
AIONIA
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« Topic Start: October 11, 2007, 10:25:03 am »

Lately I've been seeing this symbol every where online; the circle with the cresenct "moon" on top. And I can't wrap my mind around the fact that's a wiccan symbol, because that's the top of a Herald's Staff.

I was never exposed to Wicca before D'aulries got set in my lap. So the first real symbol of religion I learned was the Herald's Staff, which I used as an emblem for the Hellenic Pantheon because of Hermes' role as a messenger between man and the divine.

But until not even a month ago I'd never seen it used in Wiccan practices, was I just oblivious to this for the past four years?
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AIONIA
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« Reply #1: October 11, 2007, 10:26:00 am »


Could one of the mods move this for me I don't know why on this earth I put it in this folder....
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« Reply #2: October 11, 2007, 10:39:23 am »

Could one of the mods move this for me I don't know why on this earth I put it in this folder....

Moved.  I wasn't exactly sure where to put it myself, but thought Pagan Religions might suit...
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« Reply #3: October 11, 2007, 12:18:49 pm »

But until not even a month ago I'd never seen it used in Wiccan practices, was I just oblivious to this for the past four years?

*thinks back to my Wiccan days*

The Wiccan symbol supposedly represents the Horned God if I'm not mistaken.  A lot of the times I've seen the circle and crescent shape filled in.  If I'm not mistaken, the symbol that is on top of Hermes' wand is supposed to look like two S shapes that are intertwined to make it look like a broken figure-8.  Huh Let me get some more caffeine in me so I can think about this properly.
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« Reply #4: October 11, 2007, 12:24:18 pm »

If I'm not mistaken, the symbol that is on top of Hermes' wand is supposed to look like two S shapes that are intertwined to make it look like a broken figure-8. 

More specifically, two snakes, I believe.
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« Reply #5: October 11, 2007, 12:36:48 pm »

More specifically, two snakes, I believe.

Yes, but in many pictures they don't look remotely snakelike.  You really don't see the detail until the modern image of the caduceus came around (was it the Romans who came up with it?).
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« Reply #6: October 11, 2007, 01:02:30 pm »

Lately I've been seeing this symbol every where online; the circle with the cresenct "moon" on top. And I can't wrap my mind around the fact that's a wiccan symbol, because that's the top of a Herald's Staff.

I was never exposed to Wicca before D'aulries got set in my lap. So the first real symbol of religion I learned was the Herald's Staff, which I used as an emblem for the Hellenic Pantheon because of Hermes' role as a messenger between man and the divine.

But until not even a month ago I'd never seen it used in Wiccan practices, was I just oblivious to this for the past four years?

Well, the first thing that popped into my had was the Taurus astrological symbol.

You're talking about this, right?



I really often see it attributed to Taurus (although I've never heard of it on a staff).

... I never really actually made the connection until now!  Cheesy But yes, its used quite prolifically in the Wiccan (Neo-Wiccan, Wiccanesque, etc) religion to symbolize the God, especially in his "Horned God" aspect. Never knew it was connected with Hermes though. I guess I've always kinda assocatiated it with Dionysos, as some of his epithets are connected with Taurus (Tauropôn, Taurokeros..).
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« Reply #7: October 11, 2007, 02:20:00 pm »

caduceus came around (was it the Romans who came up with it?).

No, the caduceus was around in Ancient Greece, it was prominant with Aesclepius(sp?)
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« Reply #8: October 11, 2007, 02:34:33 pm »

No, the caduceus was around in Ancient Greece, it was prominant with Aesclepius(sp?)

Nope, the rod of Asclepius only has one snake, and is never winged. The Caduceus (gk. Kerykeion) may or may not be winged, and has two serpents.

Early kerykeia ressembled (as others have said) a broken figure-eight. Some had wings and ribbons; later ones, wings and snakes. Earliest forms were more a forked golden twig.

But serpent or serpent and wings rods/wands/staffs show up earlier and in other cultures throughout the Mediterranean/Near East.
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« Reply #9: October 11, 2007, 02:47:19 pm »



Oh ok, I had thought that Asclepius's symbol was what we know of as the cadecus, but it seems I am wrong heh.
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« Reply #10: October 11, 2007, 03:00:56 pm »

Oh ok, I had thought that Asclepius's symbol was what we know of as the cadecus, but it seems I am wrong heh.

It's a common mistake I'm sure.  What I don't get is how did the two snake staff became the modern symbol of medicine.
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« Reply #11: October 11, 2007, 03:55:14 pm »


  Okay, I understand the figure-8, and that's what is bringing my mind to recognize the "horned god symbol" as the Herald's Staff. But I've never heard of it with snakes...

On the Asclepius/Hermes Caedus issue...

   I know there's one with snakes, but I've always attributed the "snake staff" to Asclepius as it, at least modernly is a symol of healing of which he is the god.

Diyonisus...

   I don't know what to tell you on that one. I'm pretty sure I've seen the Taurus sign as well.
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« Reply #12: October 11, 2007, 05:41:33 pm »

I know there's one with snakes, but I've always attributed the "snake staff" to Asclepius as it, at least modernly is a symol of healing of which he is the god.

It's sometimes interpreted that the snake winding about Asclepius' staff (in addition to its renewal/regenerative symbolism)  is representative of his daughter Hygeia. Other stories attribute it to a connection to Medusa (and her potent poison/healing blood). More pragmatic thought points to the method of withdrawing parasitic worms by winding them about a stick. In any case snakes played a strong role in his cult.

Both symbols are used in modern organizations, but that's very recent, in the last century or so - the differences between the two symbols were much more clearly marked in earlier times. The confusion might have roots in the association of the kerykeion with Hermetic arts ---> alchemy ---> medicine. But there are other professions more closely connected with Hermes that use the symbol -- journalist and merchant orgs, for instance.
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« Reply #13: October 11, 2007, 07:10:35 pm »

Lately I've been seeing this symbol every where online; the circle with the cresenct "moon" on top. And I can't wrap my mind around the fact that's a wiccan symbol, because that's the top of a Herald's Staff.

I was never exposed to Wicca before D'aulries got set in my lap. So the first real symbol of religion I learned was the Herald's Staff, which I used as an emblem for the Hellenic Pantheon because of Hermes' role as a messenger between man and the divine.

But until not even a month ago I'd never seen it used in Wiccan practices, was I just oblivious to this for the past four years?
Used by Wiccans, sure.  But I wouldn't say it's a "Wiccan symbol" in an exclusive sense, and AFAIK it's nowhere near universal.

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« Reply #14: October 11, 2007, 07:42:24 pm »

Both symbols are used in modern organizations, but that's very recent, in the last century or so...

I was doing a little research on the difference between the Rod of Asclepius and the Caduceus a few months back.  The information I found on Wikipedia seems to be the prevailing opinion on the confusion:

Quote from: Wikipedia
The main reason for the modern confusion over the symbols occurred when the caduceus was adopted by the Medical Department of the United States Army in 1902. [3] This was brought about by one Captain Reynolds, who after having the idea rejected several times by the Surgeon General, persuaded the new incumbent (WH Forwood) to adopt it. The mistake was noticed several years later by the librarian to the surgeon general, but was not changed.[3]

Why it wasn't changed I couldn't say, I don't have access to the article referenced, but if I had to guess I would probably go with bureaucratic inertia...
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