Sunday, March 8, 2020

Ice Age origin and evolution of the Rx symbol

Medicine Lady,  her medicines, and her patients. Ice Age  inscription showing RX symbol.
Gönnersdorf, 12,500 BC. Translation: Duncan-Enzmann

For most people medicine is a part of life. Even if it is just the occasional aspirin or ibuprofen, being grateful for relief from a headache or sprain is a common human condition. Those who prefer to use herbal solutions to their minor ailments are also grateful for the existence of information about herbs that is attributed to our grandmothers “old fashioned’ remedies. But how old fashioned are they really? Translations of Ice Age inscriptions by Duncan-Enzmann tell an amazing story of the Medicine Lady who treated her patients and animals with: aspirin steeped from willow twigs, digitalis from foxglove, aromatic mints (for croup), maggots (for gangrene), antiseptic clays, poultices, and astringents from bark. Just as it is today, 14,000 years ago human discomfort was a motivating factor in studying natural science, and like today, the symbol for medicine was the Rx. Its evolution through history is recognizable.

12,500 BC               9000 BC                 7500 BC          5900 BC                      3000 BC                   350 BC               Today
Magdalenian          Taureg                       Iberian                 Berber                   Egyptian                  Phocaean

The graphic elements of the Rx symbol are an oval and a triangle. The eye (an oval) is the widow to the soul; it is where we see sparkles of health, or the dull reflection of disease. 9,000 BC in Taureg, the shapes of the medicine symbol were rearranged as an eye with a triangle, denoting healing and well being. The Iberian symbol from 7500 BC is much like the Gönnersdorf symbol. During the Atlantic period (5900 - 3750 BC) the Berber culture tattooed a line at the corner of the eye to symbolize health. The design of the Eye of Horus (3000 BC) strongly resembles the medicine symbol from Gönnersdorf. In 350 BC, Greek ships had an eye painted on the prow, symbolizing the travelers’ desires for health and safe passage. Today the familiar Rx symbol is evident where medicine’s are made and sold. The graphic elements of the Gönnersdorf symbol – the oval and triangle – are identifiable throughout this evolution.

Detail of Rx. 
Perhaps the most interesting revelation from tracing this symbol back to the Ice Age is not that it appears there, or that it has remained in use for thousands of years - many contemporary images are much older than the Rx symbol. Symbols for the division of time, for the sun, and for mother and child are much older. What is extraordinary is the fact that medicines we still use today were known and made 14,000 years ago, and that our prehistoric ancestors knew how to make them, and what to use them for!  

Michelle Paula Snyder
Michelle Snyder is a professor of mythology, and an author, publisher, speaker, and artist. She  did her post-graduate research at the University of Wales, decoding ancient and prehistoric symbolism, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales.  Her artwork has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.

Symbologist Michelle Snyder
Non-Fiction - Symbology:
Symbology: Decoding Symbols through History
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered
Symbology: Art and Symbols
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: ReVision
Symbology: World of Symbols

Michelle Paula Snyder
Fiction – Fantasy:
The Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time Lessons, First Book
Call of the Dragon and other Tales of Wonder
Tears of the Dragon and other Tales of Wonder
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book one: The Lost Unicorn
 A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book two The Lost Mermaid
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book three The Lost Dragon

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