Holy Scepters

Osiris (Ignati, commons.wikimedia.org)


Egyptian crook

Dosen’t look his crook like a „kotsu“, how is used in Zen Buddhism??? The Egyptian crook was a insingnia of pharaos and has symbolized kingship and the ruler as sheperd! The earliest known example of a crook is from the Gerzeh culture (ca. circa 3500 BC-3200 BC).

Wikipedia: Osiris: Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He was classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh’s beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and holding a symbolic crook and flail.

Dharmastab (Photo Barbara-Paraprem)

© Barbara-Paraprem

Bodhisattva Manjushri holding a ruyi (commons.wikimedia.org)
Bodhisattva Manjushri
holding a ruyi

Kotsu / Ruyi

A kotsu („Dharma stick“ / „teaching stick“) is a ritual object, used in Zen Buddhism for Dharma transmissions. Once said my friend, who is zen priest, that is for „attract the spirits to the dharma“. The Chinese name for this stick is „ruyi“. The Japanese „kotsu“.

Wikipedia: ruyi: In Buddhist usage, holding a ruyi when teaching gave the holder the right to talk. In Chinese art, ruyi scepters often appear as attributes of Buddhist saints. In some schools of Zen the ceremonial scepter of a rōshi is called kotsu. The scepter has a slight S-shaped curve, like a human spinal column. The rōshi uses the kotsu, for example, to emphasize a point in a teishō.

Illuminierte Seite aus dem Waldburg-Gebetbuch, WLB Stuttgart, Cod. brev. 12, fol. 68v (1486, commons.wikimedia.org)

Site from Waldburg prayer book

Eastern orthodox bishop staff (Hatchiko, commons.wikimedia.org)
Eastern orthodox bishop staff
Hatchiko – commons.wikimedia.org

Sheperd’s crook

Like the Egyptian and Buddhism ones, looks the so called „shepherd’s crooks“ in Christianity, even it’s usually more ornate and bigger.

Wikipedia: Crosier: A crosier is the stylized staff of office carried by high-ranking Christian prelates.
In Western Christianity, the crosier (known as the pastoral staff, from the Latin „pastor“ =shepherd) is shaped like a shepherd’s crook. A bishop or head of church bears this staff as „shepherd of the flock of God“.
The Eastern crosier is found in two common forms. The older form is tau-shaped, with arms curving down, surmounted by a small cross. The other has a top composed of a pair of sculptured serpents or dragons with their heads curled back to face each other, with a small cross between them, representing the bishop’s diligence in guarding his flock.

Merkur (Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, commons.wikimedia.org)Mercury


The Brazen Serpent (Providence Lithograph Company, 1907, commons.wikimedia.org)
The Brazen Serpent

Caduceus – Rod of AsklepiosThe newer form of the Eastern crosier above reminds me at the caduceus, which is usually pictured together with the gods Hermes and Mercury.Wikipedia: Hermes: Greek god, son of Zeus and the Maia, god of transitions and boundaries. He moved freely between the worlds of the mortal and divine, as messenger of the gods and conductor of souls into the afterlife. Main symbol: herald’s staff (Greek: kerykeion, Latin: caduceus) which consisted of two snakes wrapped around a winged staff.
Wikipedia: Mercury: Roman god, god of financial gain, commerce, messages, communication, poetry, travelers, boundaries. He is also the guide of souls to the underworld. Main symbol: caduceus.The caduceus is often used incorrectly as a symbol of healthcare organizations and medical practice, due to confusion with the traditional medical symbol, the rod of Asclepius, although this has only one snake and is never depicted with wings.Some have linked the symbol of this „rod of Asclepius“ to this scene in the bible:

And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” (Numbers 21, 8).

Shiva (commons.wikimedia.org)

Shiva with Trishula (Trident)


TrishulaShiva is often pictured with the trishula (trident), as many other deitys, p.e. Durga. The three points has various meanings, p.e. past, present and future and it is said, that Shiva would destroy the three worlds, and only non-duality remains. The trishula is a Buddhist symbol too (Tibetan: „rtse gsum“), which refers to the Trikaya (Three bodies). As fishing spear the trident is the main symbol of the Greek god Poseidon and the Roman god Neptune. In Middle Ages it was a symbol for the pitch fork of the devil. 
Farn (FERRAND at pixabay.com)

Fern – FERRAND – pixabay.com

NatureNatures „Sheperd’s crook“. What is she saying? Come, come and find peace in me. ;) 

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