They call me “Ol’ Snake-arms”

I like to consider myself a fairly responsible young male adult (whatever the fuck that means), generally speaking.  I mean, I graduated high school with top marks, went to a good university for computer science and engineering, got a respectable job with the federal government, and am progressing slowly in my quest for cosmic apotheosis and power.  I make a car payment and have finished paying the vast bulk of my nontrivial college loans in two years, and am generally doing well in the world.  Life is good, dear readers.

Of course, because I’ve been such a good student, son, colleague, and laborer, I’m taking a few more liberties with my life than I have before.  For instance, I got my first piercings (all three of them on my ears) about eleven months ago in late January last year, and got my first tattoo back in October.  Well, the thing about me is that I like balance, so I couldn’t just have the one tattoo on just my left arm, so I went ahead and got a second tattoo in a similar style done on my right.  A few weekends ago in November, I got the rod of the healer god Asclepius, the asclepian, on my right.

The caduceus (left forearm, two snakes with wings) is the wand of Hermes, and has its origins in the staves used by heralds in ancient Greece.  Mythologically, Hermes was given a golden wand as a magic implement and cowherding crook by Apollo as a symbol of their friendship, but was later merged with the symbol for heralds which was a staff with white ribbons tied on it.  Over time, the ribbons became snakes, wings were added to show Hermes’ divine nature, and the symbol eventually became the astronomical/astrological glyph for the planet Mercury.  The symbol generally refers to commerce, deception, trickery, language, trade, travel, and magic.

The asclepian (right forearm, one snake) is the staff of Asclepius, though its origins are debated.  Asclepius was the founder of medicine in Greek mythology, a son of Apollo, and had such skill that he was able to even revive the dead; since this was against the natural order of things, Zeus had him killed, but established him as the constellation Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer, placed near Libra and Scorpio.  A special breed of non-poisonous snake associated with the god and was used in healing rituals, and also were allowed to live and breed in temples to Asclepius.  A related symbol is the nechushtan from Hebrew mythology, the bronzed serpent on a staff that Moses made at the Lord’s direction to heal the Israelites from poison while walking in the desert.

I wanted the tattoos to have a kind of art nouveau, art deco, hieroglyphic look, with the caduceus looking more arcane or stylized and the asclepian more natural and earthy.  The two were always designed as a pair, the caduceus on the left forearm and the aslcepian on the right, and were designed by one of my college friends.  The only modifications I really made to the designs were the size of them so that they’d fit proportionally, but the sun disk (dotted circle with hexagram) on the asclepian was a last-minute change I added myself to the design, since the asclepian looked a little off without it.  The sun disk more closely associates the symbol with the sphere of the Sun, since Apollo is the father of Asclepius, and gives the staff a more ethereal look that I can dig.

In healing the tattoos, I used two balms I made from beeswax, olive oil, and miscellaneous herbs.  I used herbs associated with Mercury for the caduceus, and herbs associated with the Sun for the asclepian.  I rubbed the balms into the tattoo as it was healing (after the initial peeling phase finished) while reciting the Orphic hymns to Hermes and Asclepius, respectively, and holding my planetary talismans of Mercury and the Sun.  I had them introduced to the angels governing those spheres and the gods associated with the symbols, as well, and both Hermes and Asclepius were highly pleased with the work.  They’ve both left a good imprint on my aura and astral self, which I’m totally okay with.  The caduceus has already been gone over once, and shouldn’t need touching up again for a good few years; I’m headed back to Wild Style in a few weeks to get the asclepian touched up, and maybe get something else done (another tattoo? another piercing?).

Also, it’s annoyingly common for people to mix up the two symbols: the asclepian is the proper symbol of medicine, seen on many ambulances, hospitals, and professional health organization logos, though the caduceus is also seen on many commercial health logos and healthcare products.  The caduceus is also used for American military medics, which is more a symbol of their speed of service than the kind of service they do.  Having these tattoos on my forearms is kinda helpful for correcting people; whenever people get them mixed up, I can now clothesline them with the proper arm.

Advertisements

About polyphanes
I'm a software developer and Hermetic occultist living near Washington, DC, USA. I claim that I'm youthful, dashing, daring, and other things. I make things and chant stuff, and periodically write about them.

13 Responses to They call me “Ol’ Snake-arms”

  1. Aisling says:

    Beautiful tats!

  2. Very nice. Congratulations on some beautiful work.

  3. DM says:

    Having these tattoos on my forearms is kinda helpful for correcting people; whenever people get them mixed up, I can now clothesline them with the proper arm

    BWHAHAHA!!! Win. I’m not one for tats tbh but those are really nice.

    Maybe this is off the subject, but I had a dream yesterday where someone handed me an ancient gold coin with the Asclepian staff and snake and told me to keep it for luck. I’ve been dealing with a lot of health issues lately, so maybe this is a sign. Dunno. Thoughts, seeing as you work with these sorts of entities quite a bit? Hmm…

    • polyphanes says:

      Hm, interesting dream! What did the person look like who gave the coin to you, and in what setting? What did you do with the coin? From this alone, it sounds like things will be better for you with health and doctors, so long as you keep yourself mindful of them and tend to your own medicine and regiment dutifully. You’ll have to work for your health, in other words, but it’ll pay you back more than what you put in.

  4. DM says:

    The guy looked like a bartender at Caesar’s Palace, actually. He was a waiter, carrying a tray with glasses and a bottle of wine, and carrying a long ebony staff capped with silver at both ends. The weird thing was when he came out, he was dressed in a toga like a Roman and when I looked up to get the coin, he was in a very sharp black suit. I was sitting outside in a garden cafe setting and the weather was nice, though a bit humid, and the walls in the courtyard where the tables were were covered in lush ivy. Hmm. Anyway, I told the guy thanks, examined the coin, and dropped it in my pocket where I could rub it from time to time. From the looks of it it was very old and solid gold. He refused a tip, too.

    Here’s the thing–I’m thyroid resistant and have been *trying* to get a doc to listen that the ‘normal’ lab ranges are a) NOT ex-cathedra Holy Writ and b) only guidelines as even stated by the companies who make the lab tests so YMMV. :/ Once they jack me up to where I need to be I’ll be home free–thing is my normal is somewhere between 200-300% of the maximum ‘normal’ lab range. *sigh* I also have other autoimmunes–Reader’s Digest version, I take my medicine twice a day every day, I’m fine and can basically do whatever the hell I want. I don’t, I’m dead in three weeks, so that’s the tradeoff. I don’t mind working towards it so long as the doc listens and is willing to work with me–I got in screaming matches with my old one, jacked up dosages on my own, and basically pissed his lazy fat ass off severely. Oh well, live and learn–this time around I’m a lot less patient. :/

    Once this is dealt with I can start actually living my life and moving forward. *sigh*

    Thoughts?

    • polyphanes says:

      Unfortunately, I can’t give much more advice than before. Dream interpretation (or dreams generally, for that matter) aren’t my strong suit, but it sounds like you just need to keep trying, maybe gather some credentials of your own problems that the doctor has to listen to, maybe past experience or history with treatment, something you can use as currency.

      • DM says:

        Hmm. I suck at dream interpretation, too, though I’ve found with mine, I can take mine at literal face value and they’re correct more often than not.

        She’s waiting on my records–still. Perhaps that’s the currency she needs to fix me. Dunno. I find out Monday…maybe this means she got them? Huh.

        Thanks for your help, though.

  5. lotusforest says:

    Hey, you guys,

    Came across this post looking for “nechashtan”. Nice ink, BTW! I may copy!

    As for the dreams, pls read Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. Bring given stuff to keep in dreams is mega important, s/a food to eat, tokens, and GOLD! Somebody up there loves you! Hope you get the medical care you need.

    Blessings to you both

    Elise

    • DM says:

      LOL, good to know! ;)

      Yeah, about that–a buddy of mine is a lawyer and suggested I call the Medical Board and file a complaint. I did so online–took me 10 minutes. They got back to me in 48 hours. Everyone moved so quickly you’d think I was shooting at them. My records got mailed, I should hear from my current doc tomorrow or Tuesday. Like she said, ‘you need more thyroxine. How much more I don’t know, but you’re going to need a hell of a lot more and I need to see your records to make sure you can tolerate the extremely high doses you’ll need.’

      So that’s done. <3

  6. Pingback: The Golden Chain of Homer « The Digital Ambler

  7. Pingback: Short Prayers in Service to Hermes | The Digital Ambler

  8. Pingback: Search Term Shoot Back, November 2013 | The Digital Ambler

Leave a Note

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: