Continuing in the amplification of the healing snake in Amy Hardie’s The Edge of Dreaming…
(… Snakes on a plane, snakes on a woman, snakes on a stick — snakes everywhere….)
The woman with the snake coiled around her looks particularly unhappy; I suspect this picture was not her idea…. More on men’s projection about snakes and women in the next post….
The rod of Asclepius (sometimes also spelled Asklepios or Aesculapius), also known as the asklepian, is an ancient symbol associated with astrology, the Greek god Asclepius, and with medicine and healing.
It consists of a serpent entwined around a staff. The name of the symbol derives from its early and widespread association with Asclepius, the son of Apollo, who was a practitioner of medicine in ancient Greek mythology. His attributes, the snake and the staff, sometimes depicted separately in antiquity, are combined in this symbol…
The serpent and the staff appear to have been separate symbols that were combined at some point in the development of the Asclepian cult.
The significance of the serpent has been interpreted in many ways; sometimes the shedding of skin and renewal is emphasized as symbolizing rejuvenation, while other assessments center on the serpent as a symbol that unites and expresses the dual nature of the work of the physician, who deals with life and death, sickness and health.
The ambiguity of the serpent as a symbol, and the contradictions it is thought to represent, reflect the ambiguity of the use of drugs, which can help or harm, as reflected in the meaning of the term pharmakon, which meant “drug”, “medicine” and “poison” in ancient Greek; we know that today antidotes and vaccines are often compounded from precisely the thing that caused the poisoning or illness.
Products deriving from the bodies of snakes were known to have medicinal properties in ancient times, and in ancient Greece, at least some were aware that snake venom that might be fatal if it entered the bloodstream could often be imbibed. Snake venom appears to have been ‘prescribed’ in some cases as a form of therapy.
Snakes on a Plane (wikipedia)
Snakes on a Plane: Youtube