The Healing Goddesses reflect how the ancients viewed health, as you will notice in the list of Goddesses below, many of them are linked to water and herbs as in ancient times these were the mediums that enabled the physicians and healers of the time to cleanse and treat illness.
This can be seen in the Asclepeion in Kos where Hippocrates, considered to be the father of modern medicine, practiced and taught his students. This is a large, terraced site with thermal baths, herb gardens and temples to make offerings to gods and goddesses of healing. Here you will also find statues of Hygieia the Goddess of cleanliness and Epione, the wife and assistant of Asclepius the God of Healing. The Greeks had a very sophisticated ideas on healing, recognizing the importance of preventing illness, the natural healing process, and taking the necessary time to recuperate as well as providing training for physicians.
Many goddesses had the ability to both cause disease and to cure it, representing the dual aspects of the natural world. These also include the Goddesses associated with stings and poisons. With our modern medicine we might want to believe that this is no longer the case, but the reality is that many medicines have side effects and Doctor’s today still have to consider this before prescribing drugs.
Most of the healing goddesses are associated with protecting the body but there are a few who are also linked to mental health including the dream Goddesses. There are also Goddesses associated with women fertility and children’s health that are covered in another area of this site.
Acesco (Greek) – She is associated with the process of healing and wound repair. There is a statute dedicated to her and her sisters at the healing Sanctuary in Epidaurus.
Brigid (Celtic) – This goddess is linked to the healing waters of the sacred wells where strips of cloth known as “clooties,” filled with wishes for healing, were tied in hawthorn trees. In the UK, this custom is still practiced at some sacred sites. She also invented keening, to mourn the dead.
Brizo (Greek) – Although this Goddess was primarily associated with the sea, she was also the Goddess that interpreted prophetic and healing dreams. The ancient Greeks believed in the healing power of dreams with over 300 temples dedicated to their study.
Beiwe (Sami) – A sun Goddess whose energies were called upon to heal the increase in mental illness that result from the long hours of darkness in winter. Offerings of butter were smeared on doors in spring to encourage her warm rays to melt away the sadness of winter.
Carna (Roman) –This Goddess was the personification of the physical processes of survival of the body and important organs. A feast was celebrated in her honour on June 1st each year.
Eir (Nordic) – She is linked to the skill and knowledge of healing. This knowledge was held by women who even travelled with the soldier’s to attend their wounds on the battle fields. She was said to sit upon her hill granting healing to all woman who could climb to reach her.
Febris (Roman) – This Goddess had the power to both cause and cure a fever.
Hygieia (Greek) Is one of the most well known healing Goddesses she prevented ill-health by teaching the importance of cleanliness and sanitation. She is often shown with a snake a symbol that is associated with wisdom and health. Hygieia was the daughter and assistant of Asclepius the Greek God of medicine.
Isis ( Egyptian) – Isis has many aspects one of which is the power to heal and to defeat death. She was able to bring back her husband Osiris from the dead.
Panacea (Greek) – This Goddess represents the universal cure that can reverse all sickness and restore health and well-being. Her name is still used to reflect this concept.
Laso ( Greek) – Is another one of the Greek healing Goddesses. She is associated with the remedies and salves given to the sick. She was one of Hygieia’s sisters.
Ninhursag (Sumerian) - She had the ability to resurrect the Gods, but she was unwilling to save Enki directly when he ingested poisonous plants, instead she drew the poisons into her own body and created 8 new deities from them, they were given the ability to restore the health of Enki.
Sekhmet (Egyptian)- this powerful lion headed goddess had the power over life and death demonstrated by the ankh she carried. Her priest’s and priestess’s were also renowned healers and physicians in ancient Egypt.
Serket ( Egypt) – she had the power to cure a scorpion bite.
Sulis ( Roman) – She is the Goddess linked to the thermal, spring in Bath (UK). The waters were considered to have powerful healing qualities by both the ancient Britain’s and the Roman’s.
Ta- Bijet (Egyptian) – A scorpion goddess whose blood was a powerful antidote to all poisons.