Symbols - What does heaven look like
A Dictionary of Symbols – J E Cirlot
The amphisbaena was a fabulous animal, keeper of the 'Great secret', according to a 16th century Italian manuscript which belonged to Count Pierre V. Piobb. It is a symbol which occurs with some frequency in heraldic images, marks and signs. It was known to the Greeks, and it owes its name to the belief that, having a head at both ends, it could move forward or backward with equal ease
The name "amphibaena" is now – rather confusingly, given to an actual legless lizard that can move either forward or backward, though this is a relatively modern use of the name.
The legendary and symbolic amphisbaena was mentioned by:
· Lucan [1st century CE] (Pharsalia, book 9, verse 843-844): "Dread Amphisbaena with his double head / Tapering...".
· Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 8, 35): The amphisbaena has a twin head, that is one at the tail-end as well, as though it were not enough for poison to be poured out of one mouth.
· Isidore of Seville [7th century CE] (Etymologies, Book 12, 4:20): The amphisbaena has two heads, one in the proper place and one in its tail. It can move in the direction of either head with a circular motion. Its eyes shine like lamps. Alone among snakes, the amphisbaena goes out in the cold.
There is speculation around the possibility that it could represent the constant battle between Light and Darkness, the battle between opposites , both of which are needed to effect any form of change.
Doctor John Dolittle is the central character of a series of children's books by Hugh Lofting starting with the 1920 The Story of Doctor Dolittle. He is a physician who shuns human patients in favour of animals, with whom he can speak in their own languages. He later becomes a naturalist, using his abilities to speak with animals to better understand nature and the history of the world. One of his animals is the pushmi-pullyu (pronounced "push-me—pull-you") and is a "gazelle/unicorn cross" with two heads (one of each) at opposite ends of its body. In The Story of Doctor Dolittle, the grateful monkeys in Africa persuade it to accompany Dr. Dolittle to England to earn money for him (in Doctor Dolittle's Circus and Doctor Dolittle's Caravan). The pushmi-pullyu usually only uses one of its heads to talk, reserving the other for eating (thus allowing it to eat while speaking without being rude) and claims that its great-grandfather was the last unicorn.