Hook and flail logo – Why? - Nick Hudis

Hook and Flail ‚ÄčLogo - Why?

I chose to base my new logo around the ancient Egyptian symbol of the hook and flail.


If you Google this symbol, you will learn that it is associated with the god Osiris and was adopted as the mark of the authority of the Pharaohs.  You will read that the hook and flail represent the two sides of the Pharaohs' political authority: reward and punishment.

However, on a recent trip to Egypt, I learned of a deeper more esoteric meaning.  This is not unexpected. Potent symbols often have two meanings: an outer meaning and a secret inner meaning understood only by initiates.

My friend Annalies Gardet Peter who is an expert in the spirituality of ancient Egypt explained that the outer authority of the Pharaohs as kings stemmed from  inner self-mastery.  They were in effect masters of self-cultivation who through deep meditation, vision questing and energetic practices attained true wisdom and union with the divine.  Like the Chinese emperors, they ruled (in theory, at least!) having proved themselves worthy of the "Mandate of Heaven."

But what of the hook and flail?

At the  inward esoteric level, the hook represents odesire - the impulses that hook us and hold us in dependence or even addiction.   The flail represents  aversion - all the things we seek to push away and to deny.

We ordinary folk  are constantly tossed between attraction and aversion, constantly  pulled toward what we are attracted to and constantly running away from what we detest or fear.

The cultivated master rises above this. He/she masters both his/her desires and his/her aversions to attain a state of equanimity.  The crossed hook and flail. often shown held in front of the Pharaoh's heart represent the mastery of equanimity - or at the the aspiration toward mastery.

We are not far here from the Buddhist teaching on attraction, aversion and indifference. We are not far from the teachings of Epictetus. We are not far from Lao Tse. Whatever culture, whatever epoch the wise teachings of sages appear in, the message is the same.

I do not know to what extent the historical rulers of ancient Egypt cultivated true mastery.  I suspect, like Roman emperors, some were sages and the majority were despotic tyrants. That is the way of the world. However, for my own part. from the moment I first saw this symbol in Cairo museum and heard Annalies explanation, the crossed hook and flail spoke to me vividly of the aspirations of my own self-cultivation towards equanimity..

A statue of Osiris with crossed hook and flail now stands on my bedroom chest of drawers as a daily reminder when I rise, to embrace the path of equanimity and self-mastery..

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Who Am I?

I am Nicholas Hudis an author and mentor dedicated to the path of self-cultivation. After 25 years  as a therapist/coach, I see that the need is not for therapy but for cultivating the skill to live wisely, ethically and purposefully.  I am no "sage" but the wisdom of Confucius, the Buddha and the Stoic philosophers guides me on a daily basis. My desire is to share this inspiration, through my writings and personal mentoring, and make a difference to your life too.

Nicholas Hudis

  • January 16, 2020

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