Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kali, Asklepieia!

Today is the festival of Asklepieia, Elaphebolion 8, dedicated to Asclepius, the Greek God of healing. In addition to the usual libations it is a good day to begin a "spring cleaning" of the body, such as a fast or detox.

Asclepius was a son of Apollo, and his father is honored with him on this day. Asclepius's daughters are Hygieia ("Health"), Iaso ("Medicine"), Aceso ("Healing"), Aglæa/Ægle ("Healthy Glow"), and Panacea ("Universal Remedy"). The rod of Asclepius, a snake-entwined staff, remains a symbol of medicine today, although sometimes the caduceus, or staff with two snakes, is mistakenly used instead.

This Asklepieia seems particularly auspicious as it comes on the heels of health care reform in the US.

Here is the Homeric Hymn to Asclepius (trans. Evelyn-White):
"I begin to sing of Asklepios, son of Apollon and healer of sicknesses. In the Dotian plain fair Koronis, daughter of King Phlegyas, bare him, a great joy to men, a soother of cruel pangs. and so hail to you, lord: in my song I make my prayer to thee!"


  1. This was really interesting! Thank you for this!

  2. I <3 Asklepios big time! What do you do to celebrate him?