Hygeia: The Greek Goddess of Health

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Hygeia: The Greek Goddess of Health

Join me on this Full Moon as we meet Hygeia, one of the five daughters of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and his wife Epione, who represented the care needed for recovery. She is the goddess of cleanliness or hygiene; hence we derive that word from her name. She was associated with the prevention of sickness and the continuation of good health.

Over the vast territory of Hellenistic Greece, around 300 Dream Temples have been identified, and they have remained popular centres of Healing for over 2,000 years. Some of the most prominent ancient physicians, including Hippocrates and Galen, are said to have trained as Asklepeion Therapeutae. Asklepios, his wife (or sometimes daughter) Hygieia — the personification of Health, and his divine children are still invoked today when doctors recite the Hippocratic Oath.

Hygeia was typically depicted as a young woman feeding a snake, often drinking from the bowl she held. Her bowl with the snake is one of the typical symbols of pharmacy, along with the Rod of Asclepius.

Hygiene cannot be equated with being sterile. Living under sanitary conditions is antithetical to life. Our bodies are a host to an ecosystem of other organisms without which we cannot live. That said, these very same organisms can also cause ill health if the body's overall state (health) is not in balance.

Hygiene is about finding the correct balance of cleanliness versus external influences for the optimal state of being. Tune in with me tonight as we visit a Dream Temple to commune with the spirits of good healthcare, cleanliness and health.