Ritual to the Asklepiadae

In addition to the recommended precautions like hygiene, social distancing, self-quarantine, and so on, it’s also a good idea to strengthen your immune system by keeping well hydrated, taking plenty of vitamins and herbal supplements. It’s also important to maintain your regular spiritual practice, in order to keep your spirits up, as much as anything else. Magical and spiritual interventions can also be helpful here. So here is a ritual to Asklepios and his family, the Asklepiadae.

If you do not already have a relationship with these deities, begin the process of working with them by introducing yourself, and by pouring libations for them.

Get a picture of them and add it to your personal altar or shrine. Learn how to pronounce their names; learn their mythology, and learn about the Asklepiadae (the family of health deities).

Asclepius represents the healing aspect of the medical arts; his daughters are Hygieia (“Hygiene”, the goddess of cleanliness), Iaso (the goddess of recuperation from illness), Aceso (the goddess of the healing process), Aegle (the goddess of good health), Panacea (the goddess of universal remedy), and several sons. He was associated with the Roman/Etruscan god Vediovis and the Egyptian Imhotep. He shared with Apollo the epithet Paean (“the Healer”). The rod of Asclepius, a snake-entwined staff, remains a symbol of medicine today.

If you have a relationship with a different deity or deities of health, work with them instead.

(Statue of Asklepios from Greek Artifact Store; painting of Hygieia by Gustav Klimt (Public Domain, Wikipedia)

If you are in the habit of calling quarters for your rituals, you could associate the sacred animals of Asklepios with the directions:

  • the snake for Earth (the python is sacred to Apollo, father of Asklepios); the Aesculapian snake is a distinct species.
  • the rooster for the East (the rooster wakes us from sleep, and the sun rises in the East).
  • the dog for Water (dogs are sacred to the Moon).

If you are in Turtle Island (North America), South America, Aotearoa (New Zealand), or Australia, it’s best to include a land acknowledgement at the start of your ritual.

Be ye far from us, all miasma and uncleanness.
We banish all infection, all decay, and all illness.
And we ask the kindly spirits of cleanliness
To inhabit and protect this place.

(asperge the temple with cleansing herbs and consecrated water)

Hail, kindly Asklepios
Whose shrine is established on the island of Kos,
Where you established the oath of Hippocrates,
Under the sacred plane tree.
Many sought healing in your pleasant sanctuary
At the holy shrine of Epidaurus.
May your sacred serpents surround your people with their protection
May your sacred hounds guard the way against infection,
May your rooster keep us alert to the danger.
We offer this libation to you, skilful healer,
That you may heal the people and protect the sick and the weak.

(pour a libation to Asklepios)

Hail Hygieia, goddess of cleanliness,
By your wisdom, humanity learned the arts of hygiene,
Of antiseptic, and antiviral, and antibacterial.
Many are the herbs and tinctures that we learned
From your gifts to humankind, gracious goddess.
Stern are your commands, great is your wisdom.
We offer this libation to you, fragrant goddess,
That you may teach us your wisdom and banish all miasma.

(pour a libation to Hygieia)

Hail Aceso, goddess of healing,
Sender of healing dreams and sweet airs,
Goddess of nurses, lady of medicine.
In your tender care, the healing process begins.
We offer this libation to you, kindly goddess,
That you may strengthen the healers, doctors and nurses,
As they battle the pandemic.

(pour a libation to Aceso)

Hail Panacea, lady of remedies,
in your laboratory the healing potions are mixed,
you gather the sacred herbs of healing,
and the healers and witches learned your sacred arts.
You inspired the creation of vaccines and medicines.
We offer this libation to you, great healer,
That a vaccine for the virus may be found.

(pour a libation to Panacea)

Hail Iaso, goddess of recovery from illness,
you bestow the sweet feeling of relief,
when good health is restored,
the sense of renewed vitality.
We offer this libation to you, great goddess,
That the recovery rate from this virus may be high,
That the curve may be flattened,
And that we may learn the lessons offered by this pandemic.

(pour a libation to Iaso)

Hail Aegle, goddess of good health,
Ruddy-cheeked one, loose-limbed,
smooth of hair and bright of eye,
we ask for your protection on all those we love,
and on all beings.
We offer this libation to you, fair goddess,
That good health may be restored,
Both for humanity and for the planet,
And that we may learn the lessons from this pandemic,
That in harming the Earth, we harm ourselves.

(pour a libation to Aegle)

All hail to the Asklepiadae,
kindly deities of medicine and the healing arts,
bestow your wisdom upon suffering humanity,
that we and the Earth may flourish.
So mote it be!

(cakes and wine, ritual feast, etc)

Further resources

Asclepius (center) arrives in Kos and is greeted by Hippocrates (left) and a citizen (right), mosaic, 2nd–3rd century CE

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