Inspired by last nights Alchemy lesson and subsequent radio show, I felt like presenting my take on the Caduceus staff and what it symbolizes. It is the staff held by Hermes the Thrice Great (Trismegistus) and- in my opinion- illustrates the paths our spirit takes on its way up to the Divine Source. As we are down here in physical form on Earth (The fully manifested realm of matter called "Malkhut" on the bottom of the Tree of Life) we can only ascend back upward, if we wish to find enlightenment. This is why we gaze up at the tree, follow the snake (snakes) upward.
A brief summary of the forward process of creation through the Tree of Life...
Before we became manifested, the process began at its source above Kether, from the Endless Light of Nothingness, "Ain Soph Aur" or "Ein Sof Ohr". Starting then from Kether, the crown of the Tree of Life, Wisdom has to get gathered (Chockmah), Understanding has to realize the potential of this wisdom (Binah) and through it formulate the source or foundational knowledge (Daath), perfectly unmanifested, pure and complete, prepared to become shaped, but still without form. Daath is the invisible Sephirah, because it doesn't represent any action. Consider it the empty milestone of creation right before the first steps of manifestations. This starts with Chesed, form is being conceptualized and in it is pure love for the revelations of shaped existence. Elements are being conceived, but nothing is yet differentiated for its intrinsic qualities. This happens in Gevurah or Geburah. The Sephirah of "Judgement" or rather differentiation or discrimination even. Here the coarse sorting of what belongs together is being performed and form begins to emerge. Then it goes on and on through several Sephirod until right before the bottom all aspects are being merged through the Sephirah called "Yesod" and transformed into physical existence at the very bottom, "Malkhut".
Now, each of the Sephirod has various attributes, while bundles of them have some in common and there's even a kind of dualistic separation between them grouped into two. The Caduceus illustrates that by having these two snakes. Some depictions show them to be black and white. In my interpretation this is meant to show the dualistic aspect of the lower section of the tree beneath the crowning triangle of Kether, Chokmah and Binah. All the later Sephirod exhibit differentiation. This also why these remaining Sephirod are counted as 7 and sometimes are being referred to by that number. In its coarsest form it is dualistic, such as active and passive, deciding and perceiving, making and keeping. But when the heads of the two snakes meet at the invisible Daath, the Divine Knowledge, this duality ceases to exist. The wings represent Binah and Chockmah, the two stages of creation that give flight to the Divine Source. It itself, Kether, is symbolized by the pinecone, the host of all seeds, the formulated or first condensation of the source of existence. Uhm, my illustration is a bit sloppy, because the pinecone itself also shows a spiral pattern going through it from cell to cell. This is of some significance, actually. Hmmm... anyway, just imagine it to be a spiral inside!
There you go. This is what I believe is roughly the idea behind the Caduceus. Correct me, please, if you know more or don't hesitate to reveal your own interpretation of it. Because at the end we share a wealth of sights at the truth, which cannot ever really be wrong, if we make a sincere effort of our presently available potential. The Kaballah teaches that any enlightened interpretation, conceived soulfully, becomes part of God's library of Truth, hehe. I liked that a lot.