A Weekly Ritual of Devotion to Asklepios

Amanda Aremisia Forrester

First, take a ritual shower or bath. Let all the worries of the day and the miasma of daily life wash away. Contemplate the God and His gifts. Clear your mind of everything else and prepare to meet Him.

When you are done, dress in clean, comfortable, loose-fitting clothes. I prefer white or light blues, but anything simple and utilitarian will do.

Make sure your ritual area has space to move, if you would like to incorporate some kind of physical activity as offering, such as yoga or tai chi.

The altar is simple. The altar cloth should remind you of purity and cleanliness. A such, white is the best color, but all pastels are acceptable. You will need a statue, framed picture, or other image of Asklepios. A snakeskin, clay snake figurine, or some other representation of the God’s animal companions would be very appropriate. Other then that, the only ritual tools you will need are a khernips bowl, some kind of incense or oil, clear water and white wine for libations, and a couple of bowls to pour them into.

Close your eyes and center yourself before coming before the altar. Raise your hands, palms up, your elbows close to your hips. When you feel calm and ready, open your eyes and walk towards the altar.

Stop, hands still held palms up, and say:

Hail Asklepios, Your devotee (or “supplicant”, if you prefer) comes before You in holy awe.

Pick up the incense or oil (a calm, healing scent such as lavender, or a mentally clearing one such as citrus, or frankincense, the traditional scent)
and say:

O Asklepios, I begin my rite with this holy incense/oil, my gift to You.

Light the incense, or pour the oil into the burner. Breathe in the scent deeply. Say:

O Asklepios, may the sweet smell of this incense please You and bring You to me. I welcome You to this home I have prepared for You. Hail Asklepios Iatros, Son of Apollo!

List all the epithets you can remember, creating a litany to draw the God near. It should look something like this:

O Asklepios, mortal-born son of Apollo
Divine Doctor, Holy Physician
Soother of pain, Healer of Disease
Father of blameless Hygeia
Holy Health, Who attends the best of men
Snaky God, Who dwells in the temples of Kos
Who visits the sick in the heat of fever-dreams
And reveals to them the cure of their ailments
Come to me now, and accept these offerings, given in love and devotion.

Pick up the white wine, and say:

O Asklepios, I bring You white wine, as clear as Your mind which diagnoses disease and finds a cure, As You have healed and comforted me in the past, may this sweet wine bring joy to Your heart.

Pour out the wine into a libation bowl.

Pick up the clear water, and say:

O Asklepios, I bring You clear water. As You offer the healing waters to all mankind, may this cool water sooth Your soul and quench Your thirst.

Pour the water into the libation bowl. Raise Yours hands to the sky, and say:

O Asklepios, Divine Healer, Father of Cures
Hear my heartfelt cry
Impart Your immortal knowledge to me
I seek Your guidance
As I tread the path of the Healer
Purify me for this path, Divine One
Clear my body of disease
Clear my mind of uncertainty
Clear my spirit of impurity
May my hands become Your hands
Infused with the healing powers of the Divine realm
May I practice the sacred arts of medicine
May I heal the sick-in-body
And the sick-in-spirit
May You walk with me in all of this
Blessed Asklepios, Epidaurian Physician
With Hippocrates as my brother, Hygeia as my sister
And You as my Father
I am reborn to the path of the healer.

This is your time to speak any personal words to Asklepios, to bring any problems before Him or to ask for healing for yourself or others. Don’t be in a hurry to end the rite. Bask in the presence of the God. Listen for any messages He might have for You, Now would be the time to practice some form of divination, if you would like to. Contemplate the subject of healing, in its many forms. If you are so inclined, you could read something on a form of healing – either medical tomes, herbal healing guides, or energy healing such as Reiki. You could even watch an anatomy video, or a nature documentary focusing on Asklepios’s animal, the snake. All of these would be wonderful ways to spend your time in the presence of Asklepios. If you have a snake, now would be a great time to get it out and hold him or her, being very aware that this is a
physical embodiment of Asklepios on earth.

You may choose to conclude the ritual at this time, but this is the point where I give Asklepios my immaterial offerings. My favorite methods are yoga and tai chi. Both of these methods are quite meditative, and have am emphasis on spiritual and mental health as well as physical. As such, I believe it is a fitting practice to associate with Asklepios. After an approximately 30 to 45 minute session, I feel invigorated and alive.

If You are going to do yoga or tai chi, bring it into sacred space by meditating on the form of Asklepios beforehand. Bow to your statue of Asklepios before you start. You can address him verbally if you wish, but I prefer a meaningful silence. Keep the image of the God in your mind as you got through the stretches and poses. You are offering these exercises to Him.

When You are finished, bow before the God again. Thank Him for His presence. Promise to perform the same ritual to Him keep week.

And so, our rite is now ended. Kharite.

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One Response to A Weekly Ritual of Devotion to Asklepios

  1. Pingback: Some of my writings « Temple of Athena the Savior

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