the rod of asclepuis
The Rod of Asclepius is an ancient Greek symbol associated
with astrology and healing the sick with medicine. It consists of a serpent entwined around a staff. Asclepius, the son of
Apollo. was practitioner of medicine in ancient Greek mythology. He was instructed in medicine by the centaur Chiron
also connected to the constellation Ophiuchus.
The Rod of Asclepius symbolizes the healing arts by combining
the serpent, which in shedding its skin is a symbol of rebirth and fertility, with the staff, a symbol of authority, befitting
the god of Medicine. The snake wrapped around the staff is widely claimed to be a species of Rat snake, Elaphe longissima,
also known as the Aesculapian (Asclepian) snake. It is native to southeastern Europe, Asia Minor, and
some central European spa regions, apparently brought there by Romans for their healing properties.
Some scholars have suggested that the symbol once represented
a worm wrapped around a rod; parasitic worms such as the "guinea worm" (Dracunculus medinensis) were common in ancient times,
and were extracted from beneath the skin by winding them slowly around a stick. Physicians may have advertised this common
service by posting a sign depicting a worm on a rod.
Asclepius was said to have learned the art of healing from Chiron,
and is shown holding a stick with a serpent coiled around it. Serving as a surgeon on the ship, the Argo, Asclepius was so
skilled in the medical arts, that he was reputed to have brought patients back from the dead. For this, he was punished, according
to Greek mythology, and placed in the heavens as the constellation Ophiuchus. This symbol is now used as the symbol of western
Asclepius himself, in traditional Greek mythology, was reputed
to have the blood of Medusa in his veins. The blood that flowed on Medusa's left side was said to be fatal poison. The blood
from her right side was beneficial. Asclepius was also known as Ophiuchus, the son of Apollo, to the ancient Greeks. In early
Christianity, the constellation Ophiuchus was associated with Saint Paul holding the Maltese Viper.
In Astrology, some systems include a thirteenth sign of the
zodiac. which is the constellation Ophiuchus, and is known as Ophiuchus Serpentarius (the "serpent holder"). This constellation
lies between Sagittarius and Libra.
In Hebrew mythology, a similar symbol, Nehushtan, is mentioned
in the Bible in Numbers 21:4–9. Attacked by a plague of snakes in the wilderness, Moses holds up a serpent coiled around
a staff, both made from bronze, so that the Israelites might recover from the bites. However, the serpent itself was not seen
as a powerful healing tool, rather the action of looking upwards, towards God, was what healed those afflicted.
the rod of Aaron
Aaron's rod refers to any of the staffs
carried by Moses' brother, Aaron, in the Old Testament. Along with Moses' rod, Aaron's rod was endowed with miraculous power during the Plagues
of Egypt which preceded the Exodus. Upon two occasions, however, the singular virtue of
spontaneous power when not in the grasp of its possessor was exhibited by Aaron's rod.
The Haggadah goes a step further, and entirely identifies
the Rod of Aaron with that of Moses. Thus the Midrash Yelamdenu states that:
- "the staff with which Jacob crossed the Jordan is
identical with that which Judah gave to his daughter-in-law, Tamar (Genesis 32:10, 38:18). It is likewise the holy rod with which Moses worked (Exodus 4:20,
21), with which Aaron performed wonders before Pharaoh (Exodus 7:10), and with which, finally, David slew the giant Goliath
17:40). David left it to his descendants, and the Davidic kings used it as a scepter until the destruction of the Temple,
when it miraculously disappeared. When the Messiah comes it will be given to him for a scepter in token of his authority over
Legend has still more to say concerning this rod.
God created it in the twilight of the sixth day of Creation (Pirkei Avoth 5:9, and Mekhilta, Beshalla, ed. Weiss, iv. 60),
and delivered it to Adam when the latter was driven from paradise. After it had passed through the hands of Shem, Enoch, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob successively, it came into the possession of Joseph. On Joseph's death the Egyptian nobles stole some of
his belongings, and, among them, Jethro appropriated the staff. Jethro planted the staff in his garden, when its marvelous virtue was
revealed by the fact that nobody could withdraw it from the ground; even to touch it was fraught with danger to life. This
was because the Ineffable Name of God was engraved upon it. When Moses entered Jethro's household he read the Name, and by
means of it was able to draw up the rod,
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
is an international humanitarian
movement whose stated mission is to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for the human being, and to prevent and
alleviate human suffering, without any discrimination based on nationality, race, religious
beliefs, class or political opinions. The often-heard term International Red Cross is actually a misnomer,
as no official organization as such exists bearing that name. In reality, the movement consists of several distinct organizations
that are legally independent from each other, but are united within the Movement through common basic principles, objectives,
symbols, statutes, and governing organs. The Movement has several parts:
- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a private humanitarian institution founded in 1863 in Geneva, Switzerland.
Its 25-member committee has a unique authority under international
humanitarian law to protect the life and dignity of
the victims of international and internal armed conflicts.
- The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies (IFRC) was founded in 1919 and today it coordinates activities between the 185 National Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies within the Movement. On an international level, the Federation leads and organizes, in close cooperation with the
National Societies, relief assistance missions responding to large-scale emergencies. The International Federation Secretariat
is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
- National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies exist in nearly every country in the world. Currently 185 National
Societies are recognized by the ICRC and admitted as full members of the Federation. Each entity works in its home country
according to the principles of international humanitarian law and the statutes of the international Movement. Depending
on their specific circumstances and capacities, National Societies can take on additional humanitarian tasks that are not
directly defined by international humanitarian law or the mandates of the international Movement.