Hygeia: Reclaim Your Body

Hygeia by Peter Paul Rubens

Yesterday as the moon reached her peak, asteroid Hygeia merged with Luna in a tight conjunction at 9 ° Leo.

Hygeia, goddess of health is involved with maintaining good health through right living and connection to nature. Daughter of Asclepius, god of medicine, whose father and mother are Apollo and Coronis, Hygeia comes from a long line of healers associated with the serpent mysteries of renewal.

Robert Graves suggests that Coronis’ mythology represents the suppression of medical practice by women and its transference into the hands of the patriarchy which I feel is worthy of consideration in light of ongoing medical dispute.

Where, we might ask, is the voice of the wise woman in this wrangle?

Yesterday I had a conversation with my father who shared with me his experience of visiting his doctor who suggested that he start taking vitamin B12 supplement. My father informed her that he was already taking B12 and had been for some time. This apparently surprised her, and she wanted to know what had caused my father to do that.

My father’s exchange remined me of my own experience last year- I don’t often visit doctors but after a self-examination, I noticed something potentially concerning and decided to get it checked out. The female doctor asked me how I had come to know about the issue, and I told her I’d discovered it through self-examination. She was surprised… and almost cross; she demanded to know why I had carried out a self-examination as if I had no right to intimate access of my own body.

In that moment I collided with the shadow of entitlement at the core of allopathic medicine. The belief that we are ignorant to the workings, needs and spirit of our bodies is conditioned into us from early childhood, and before that in the womb where for the most part our mothers succumbed to often detrimental birthing practices.

It is this shadow of entitled authority that expects people to comply without question with procedures such as mass vaccination. These expectations are reinforced by government and other authorities who strongly advise consent. Whether the strong advice turns into enforced obligation is a very real question of our time.

In the myth of Coronis, when Coronis is pregnant she falls in love with a mortal man which enrages Apollo who ends up killing both her and her lover. As she lay burning on her funeral pyre, Apollo performs the first caesarean section by cutting baby Asclepius from her womb thus saving him from certain death. For Graves, the death of Coronis heralds a point when wisdom originally carried by the wise woman now passed only from father to son.

In the hands of the wise woman health is a holistic, multi-dimensional state of being, an interplay between body, mind, and spirit, with cause and effect reaching far beyond the temporal world. The wise woman knows that it is our vital spirit and care of it that nurtures health and wellbeing. Health is fostered by inter relational wellness and harmony with our family/community and environment, and of course ourselves. There is much that can be done to keep spirit alive and embodied which does not involve allopathic medicine. In the wise ways we know that we are connected to the web of life and understand the transformative processes of renewal. Ritual and observing the natural thresholds of life aid us in healthy development and the ability to integrate evolving consciousness. In preparing for death we are freed into life.

Recent events have highlighted more than ever how we have given too much power to the medical establishments in matters of health… we have been indoctrinated to believe that our bodies are the property and responsibility of medical experts. It appeared as if we had no choice in the matter and for the most part, we didn’t think to question it. We accepted as part of normal life, the routine check-ups, the inoculations, the prescription medicines, and the surgical procedures. We accepted the diagnoses of our doctor gods as incontrovertible. We were intimidated by remote science clad language and the superior detachment of many health professionals (please note, I am not implying that all health professions are remote and detached, and neither am I implying that all medical procedures and allopathic medicine are bad).

At school we were, after a very crude fashion, taught sex education. Wooden phalluses and copulating primates explained nothing of the exquisite sensitivity and confusion in our budding sexuality and changing bodies. There was no initiation or rites of passage except for the often-destructive self-initiation we put ourselves and each other through. We died of humiliation and shame. And maybe it is that shame of our bodies and our lack of connection to them that led to the slow but sure dissociation which primed the way for the professionals to take over.

So out of touch did we become from our bodies that we did not know what foods to eat to keep us healthy, what herbs to use to heal, or what practices to adopt to promote physical and spiritual integration… none of this was taught at school and rarely by our poor indoctrinated parents.

We forgot that dancing and singing and star gazing and belly laughing and river swimming and campfires and praying and dying and being reborn and truth and integrity and emotional release and forgiveness and nights without light and the wild, wild spirit and the contractions that gives way to the birthing of great art and touching the void and stepping out of time and space and holy pain and the heartbreak that leads to God and the spirit messengers of illness and discovering our true name and the changing of the seasons and ceremony and the swirling of the cosmos and our part in it are some of the wisdom keys to unlocking good health.

As Hygeia and Luna conspire to shed light onto the processes of renewal, an invitation this lunar cycle through Aquarius is to reflect on how in or out of touch we are with our spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health. It is also an invitation to review how and where we have given ourselves away at the most fundamental level of being.

In claiming sovereignty of our physical bodies we also claim sovereignty for our lives and our Selves on the most profound level.

As mystic and liberated soul William Blake reminds us,

“Enlightenment means taking full responsibility for your life”.

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