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Asclepian Healing: Part 1

ShipboardLecture

A group of twenty individuals participated in the first Project X research seminar and field expedition to Greece from May 20 to June 3, 2009. Project X: The Search for the Secrets of Immortality is a program of research and study into the mystic arts and sciences of ancient solar cultures around the world. Through cultural, anthropological and metaphysical research of the solar teachings of antiquity, Project X research reveals connections between the many Holy Orders of antiquity who practiced similar systems of transformation and regeneration of spirit and soul through a sacred process of spiritual rebirth, by which they reclaimed their divine heritage and immortality. 

 A series of six lectures was delivered by Project X Director Gene Savoy, Jr. during the course of our trip, three of which dealt with Asclepius and dream incubation techniques.  The entire series of lectures on the Mysteries of Ancient Greece is being published in book form as the first two volumes of the Project X series on the Solar Teachings of Greece and the Mediterranean.

The first of the three lectures dealing with Asclepian healing was delivered aboard ship early in our trip while our group was criss-crossing the Aegean Sea. A synopsis of Mr. Savoy’s lecture follows.

Asclepian Healing: An Introduction

Project X research over the past several decades has shown that at various times and in various cultures around the world there existed a High Religion from which all low religions developed. This High Religion was sacred and, as such, embraced the divine science of the sun, the first true science that gave birth to the lesser philosophic disciplines, which later branched out into the various scientific disciplines.

 We see an example of this in the doctrines of the healer Asclepius, where we find so much of the Christian doctrines pre-dating the birth of Christianity itself. Asclepius was said to have been wondrously born. He healed the sick and raised the dead; and following his passing from the world, he continued to exercise his healing powers through the priests at his temples, sanctuaries and healing centers spread throughout the ancient world which were known as asclepieia, two hundred and sixty-three of whicch were known to have existed.

At the Asclepian healing centers, ritual purification would be followed by the supplicant spending the night in holy chambers, the abatons, where dreams and visions would be experienced and later reported to a priest. The abaton, the most sacred part of the temple, was the natural place for what is referred to as “dream incubation” because, being the sanctuary, it was where the god or gods would make their appearance. When executing their functions, the priests, clad in white, would perform daily temple services at sunrise and sunset. The singing of hymns was a central feature of these rites. The “Word” was considered remedy of the soul, and the “Logos” was named supreme physician.

In his two-fold capacity as healer of diseases and the giver of health, Asclepias was also thought to be in charge of the health of the universe, a truly cosmic role of great significance. He was the one whom Plato referred to as “the soul of the universe.”

The priest-physicians of the Asclepian schools served without payment, for making business of the divine healing arts was forbidden. All citizens were welcomed into the healing temples, the only requirement being that those who entered must be virtuous. The words inscribed on the Temple of Asclepius at Epidaurus bear this out:”Pure must be he who enters the fragrant temple; purity means to think nothing but holy thoughts.”

The association of Asclepius with the Eleusinian Mysteries gave his School a significance far beyond mere physical healing. In sickness, individuals first took recourse to secular physicians. When human competence failed, it was the right of anyone to ask for divine assistance. The cures at the temple were considered to be religious ceremonies; and after the individual was healed or regained health, he was bound to offer a thanksgiving and fulfill whatever promises he had. Asclepius was a speedy healer, and dreams and visions instructed the supplicant what to do in order to heal themselves. The “divine kiss” was one means by which the ailment was removed immediately.

We stated earlier that Asclepius continued to exercise his healing powers from the Abode of Heaven. He was known to have revealed himself to those who sought his aid. The Alexandrian theologian Origen declared that a great multitude among the Greeks and other peoples continued to see Asclepius himself even in his day. We may also remember that in the early days of the True Church, Christians continued to see the face of Jesus in the same way.

We have touched on the ancient religious doctrines and practices of the Asclepian School, but the contents of these teachings show that spiritual rebirth was a regeneration from above brought about by means of God’s Word or Logos. Asclepius taught a living tradition, a spiritual Process of Transformation, in which the individual was able to transcend the mortal nature to the immortal state of the gods. According to the Trismegistic literature, Asclepius spoke a language and taught a language of the gods – a language of symbols – a magical tongue that enabled the communicant to commune with the Godhead. The same language was known to the Essenes and the Therapeutae and other mystical Orders.

Asclepius, like Jesus, was not a simple god of healing of the body. He was a healer of the soul. So let us for a moment put aside the healing of the body and turn our attention to the idea of the healing of the soul, which is not only outside the realm of medicine as we understand it today but also outside the realm of psychology, which only deals with the mind and the layers of the psyche or the Unconscious.

It should be acknowledged that in the ancient world, a good deal of possession existed—psychic possession by demons, entities and other spirits foreign to the normal personality. This also exists today. And it was thought that these entities and demons produced not only mental disease but physical disease as well.

There also existed cases or conditions known as spiritual diseases, which were and are separate from the psyche. And these also exist today. But in ancient times, these spiritual diseases were known and categorized and could be diagnosed and treated by the priest-physicians living at the temples who lived and operated under certain rules and disciplines.

We know from our studies that possession or “attachment” is real and that possession, or attachment, occurs when a spirit or entity, Light or Dark, impregnates the human psyche or the human spirit. So in this sense the healing temples of Asclepius were actually medical schools on a higher plane of the spirit. And these priests dealt with the diagnosis and cure of these diseases of spirit. They were hospitals or clinics of the soul.

Our diagnosis of the condition of modern man is that the physical body and mind has been over-stressed to the point where the spirit has been put out of touch with half of its being. And this condition does not long continue without a resultant spiritual breakdown, which has led to psychic illness and mental aberration on a global scale.

Western civilization has made great contributions to the physical welfare of the human race, but it is now time to go beyond the physical, to go on beyond the limitations of this small planet, and reach out to the universe through the stars and to the realms of spirit. In Cosolargy, we understand how this can be achieved and how liturgics, as a therapy or a therapeutic, helps us to commune with that part of our nature that, to large degree, is silent to our consciousness.

Part 2 of this series will report on the remaining two Asclepian lectures delivered in Greece, both of which expand upon some of the concepts and techniques related to dream incubation as taught in the Asclepian School.

This article also appeared in the Dream Network magazine, Summer/Autum, 2009.

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