Thanks for the links (I'm guessing the thread didn't come up for me because I did a "header" search as opposed to a "content" search?). Yes, the symbolism would seem to be most complex; however, it strikes me that this is most probably the case for inductive thinkers more so than those, like myself, who favor a deductive approach. I suppose it's a choice (the approach one takes); however, Paul Mallon's thread on autism has me re-evaluating that supposition for the time being.
(url=http://www.grahamhancock.com/phorum/read.php?f=4&i=41&t=41)Brilliant minds linked to autism(/url)
How to begin to chart the unknown . . .
We gotta have a known or fixed starting point or beginning. We gotta have an invariable direction of travel to keep our paths, for the most part, straight. Finally, we gotta have a rule by which to measure our progress.
1. Known or fixed starting point.
2. Perceptible, single object marking or encompassing the direction of travel.
3. Rule to chart progress.
Three things -- with the caveat that we must be able to return from whence we started, otherwise, for all intents and purposes, we are "lost."
Consider the Judeo-Christian tradition in which these three things are first lined out, chronologically, in the book of Moses, called Genesis:
Day 1-2: A division of the waters above and below on the vertical, bisected by a division of the waters by the dry land on the horizontal. "x" marks the spot. (Gen 1:6-12)
Day 3: A close examination of Genesis, Chapter 2, places the Adam formed of the dust and given the breath of God "eastward in Eden," and establishes the cardinal points with a river that "went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads . . . " (Gen 2:8-10).
Day 4: Finally, back to Chapter 1, the rule to chart progress is established with "the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night . . ." (Gen 1:16).
Day 5-6: It is only after this basis by which to chart the unkown -- this basis by which to KNOW -- does God create the variety of "moving creature that hath life" (Gen 1:20-31).
For me and my preference for deductive reasoning, this is the "global" or the "bigger picture" Paul Mallon refers to in his autism thread. It begins with God, and on this basis do I divide (divine?) the difference between truth and error.
Enter the serpent, who convinced Adam and Eve after the foundations were laid that their basis by which to chart the unknown -- their basis by which to KNOW things -- should be themselves. Perhaps a clue as to the symbolism of the dual serpent superimposed and intertwining the straight shaft?
Let's look at Hermes and the Caduceus:
"Being the herald (messenger of the gods), it was his duty to guide the souls of the dead down to the underworld, which is known as a psychopomp. He was also closely connected with bringing dreams to mortals. Hermes is usually depicted with a broad-brimmed hat or a winged cap, winged sandals and the heralds staff (kerykeion in Greek, or Caduceus in Latin). It was often shown as a shaft with two white ribbons, although later they were represented by serpents intertwined in a figure of eight shape, and the shaft often had wings attached. The clothes he donned were usually that of a traveler, or that of a workman or shepherd. Other symbols of Hermes are the cock, tortoise and purse or pouch."
Further, it is suggested Hermes was originally a phallic god, "being attached to fertility and good fortune, and," (not without significance to charting the unknown) "also a patron of roads and boundaries."
Note that in the foregoing the serpents and wings are suggested as being a later addition, which might help explain this image provided by Sparky of the Djed Pillar:
A rather thick, vertical shaft draped with white (albeit decorated) ribbon. No serpents.
I've hardly presented enough to go on as far as "evidence" is concerned, but it wouldn't suprise me if the prevalence of the serpent motif in traditions the world over hasn't always been consequent to an after-the-fact insinuation. If you build it, they will come . . .
Was the Yogic tradition always coterminous with the Hindu?