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So much of the lives of our ancestors revolved around the harvests and seasons, which is why so many of our deities are patrons of the harvest. Though most of us no longer have a crop or livestock we need help protecting and looking over, there are still ancient deities we can honor who have a direct impact on our day-to-day. These are gods and goddesses of health, healing, and medicine. Health was important to our ancestors as well – one could not perform vital daily duties if one wasn’t in good health. In fact, it is believed that many of the accused witches of the witch trials were healers using herbal and spiritual remedies from pagan worship.

Asclepius (Greek)

As with many aspects of ancient cultures, their influence can still be seen in modern society. In medicine, one of its most common symbols comes from the Greek god Asclepius. You likely recognize his serpent-draped staff, The Rod of Asclepius, because it is still found as a symbol of medical practice today. The son of Apollo, Asclepius is a god of medicine, specifically of the healing aspect. He is married to Epione, the goddess of the soothing of pain. Their gift is familial – their daughters are all goddesses of different aspects of healing and medicine.

Hygieia, Iaso, Aceso, Aegle, Panacea – Daughters of Asclepius and Epione (Greek)

The daughters of Asclepius took after their father and mother and were patrons of different aspects of healing, medicine and health. Hygieia (the root of the word hygiene) is the goddess of cleanliness. She is great for rituals dealing with the prevention of illness and continuation of good health. Iaso is the goddess of recuperation from illness. Aceso is the goddess of the healing process, representing the act of curing. Aegle is the goddess of good health. Lastly, Panacea is the goddess of universal remedy. She represents the cure, often carrying a potion or poultice. Having goddesses that are tied to different aspects of healing and medicine means you can do spells and offerings based on your specific situation if you like.

Airmed (Celtic)

Airmed (sometimes Airmid) is one of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Along with her father and brother, she healed those injured in battle. Her brother Miach was murdered by their jealous father. Inconsolable, Airmed wept over her brother’s grave. Her tears watered the ground and all the healing herbs of the world sprung from the earth. There were 365, to match in number Miach’s joints and veins. Airmed collected and cataloged the herbs, organizing and transporting them all on her cloak. His jealousy not satiated by Miach’s death, Airmed’s father once again attacked, causing the herbs gathered on her cloak to scatter. Now only Airmed knows the entirety of the secrets of herbalism. In many Wiccan practices, she is seen as one of the mothers of all magick, because of her association with herbs and herbalism.

Aja (Yoruban, Santeria)

A mighty Orisha, Aja is a powerful goddess of healing. Revered both by the Yoruba and in Santerian practice, she holds the secrets of botany and herbs. She passes her skill to those of her people who wish to learn the art of healing. Those who meet her you may be blessed, for it is believed that if she carries you away but allows you to return after a few days, you will bring with you the knowledge of her healing magick. Diminutive in stature, Aja still resembles a human woman.

Heka (Egyptian)

Magick and medicine were closely tied in ancient Egypt, so it is no surprise then that Heka is a god of both. His name is identical to the ancient Egyptian word for magic and the hieroglyphic spelling includes the symbol that represents the ancient Egyptian concept of the vital life force. Heka was incorporated into healing rituals by medical practitioners, because medicine and magick were so closely tied.

Eeyeekalduk (Inuit)

So tiny that he fits in a pebble, Eeyeealduk is the Inuit god of medicine and good health. Looking into his eyes allows him to draw sickness from you, healing whatever ails you. However, you must avoid his eyes if you are healthy – the process works in reverse if you are not sick. Looking into his eyes as a healthy person would make you gravely ill.

Kamrušepa (Hittite)

A Hittite goddess of healing, medicine, and magic, Kamrušepa came to be known for healing because of her role in the story of the angry god Telepinu. Telepinu had been stung by a bee and his fury put the earth in turmoil. After healing the bee sting, she performs a ritual using cedar essence, sap, chaff, grain, sesame, figs, olives, grapes, ointment, malt, honey, cream and oil to heal him of his anger and remove his wrath. She sends his anger to the underworld.

Anahita (Persian)

Also known as Ardvi Sura Anahita, Anahid, Anahit, and Anaitis, Anahita is a goddess of fertility, water, health and healing, and wisdom. Because she is considered life-giving and healing, she became a patron god of soldiers, who prayed to her before battle in hopes of securing their survival. Her depictions also show her connection to good health and healing. Though her physical form varies (she’s regularly shown to be a beautiful woman, donning a gold-embroidered white gown, adorned with gold earrings and crown, with a gold necklace), she always carries the barsom twigs of life in one hand. These twigs represent the bounty of the earth, the spark of life, and fertility. Four horses representing wind, rain, cloud and sleet pull her chariot.

Ixchel (Mayan)

An aged jaguar goddess of midwifery and medicine, Ixchel (pronounced ee shell) corresponds to the Aztec goddess Toci Yoalticitl, “Our Grandmother the Nocturnal Physician.” Though much is not known about Ixchel, her correspondence to Toci gives a clue to her domain. Her mythology likely focused on the sweatbath, a place where Mayan mothers went before and after giving birth. This was done in the name of good health for the mother, hence her association with midwifery and medicine.

Offering for Good Health

This offering for good health should be done if you are already in good health – it is not a healing offering, but one to protect and continue your current state of health. Remember that this is an offering, so you are thanking the deities for their protection, not just asking for it. It is important that something of yourself is given when performing an offering. Think about why you are performing this ritual, what you hope to gain from it, and really focus your intentions on that

For this offering ritual you will need:

  • A red candle
  • A green candle
  • A bowl large enough to submerge your hands in, filled with water
  • Lemon essential oil or juice
  • Lemon zest
  • Honeysuckle incense
  • Dried lavender 
  • Paper and a gold pen
  • A fireproof bowl or plate

Set your altar, starting with earth. Place the dried lavender in the north position. Place the incense in the east position, but do not light it yet. Both candles go in the south position, again unlit. Place the bowl of water in the west position. 

Light the candle and incense, reciting this incantation:

God of fire, strong protector

You are invited here

Come to my home and be welcome

God of air, wise guide

You are invited here

Come to my home and be welcome

Next, add a few drops of essential oil or juice to the bowl of water and add zest to the dried lavender, reciting this incantation:

Goddess of water, pure and kind

You are invited here

Come to my home and be welcome

Goddess of earth, giver of life

You are invited here

Come to my home and be welcome

Once you have invoked the god and goddess, meditate on those reasons you are performing the ritual and what you have to offer in return. Focus your intention, and think about how you’ll dedicate yourself to good health. Have you been particularly happy lately and looking to continue strong mental health? Have you been feeling strong and vibrant and wish to continue physical good health?

Use the paper and pen/pencil to write out your gratitude to the god and goddess, as well as the way(s) you will honor their protection (perhaps daily gratitude walks in nature).

Loosely fold the paper and pass it through the smoke of the incense, focusing your intention on honoring the god. Recite this incantation:

God of air, wise guide

Thank you for clarity of mind and ease of breath

Place the paper in the cauldron. Take some of the dried herb and sprinkle it over the paper. Recite this incantation:

Goddess of earth, giver of life

Thank you for stability

Fully submerge your hands in the bowl and wash them. Recite this incantation:

Goddess of water, pure and kind

Thank you for protecting against illness

Set the paper alight in the flame of one of the candles, quickly setting it back in the cauldron to burn. Recite this incantation:

God of fire, strong protector

Thank you for strength and energy

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