Thursday, December 02, 2004

Diana the Huntress Posted by Hello

1 comment:

Kelley Bell said...

Our ancestors had a powerful working knowledge of the medicinal uses of local flora. Archaeological evidence shows that in hunter/gatherer societies, women were considered skilled herbalists and healers. Many of these ancient techniques can still be seen in use today in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Auruveda, and throughout many of the disciplines of Western Medicine. In fact, the word “Medicine” comes from the Sanskrit word “Medha” which means Feminine Wisdom. Names for healers have arisen from many cultures and customs: Old Crones, Hags, Witches, Medicine Women, Shamans, Doulas and Saints. Every culture in the world has, in one form or another, the archetype of woman as healer.

In early societies, women were traditionally placed in the role of nurturer and healer. Professional healers were rarely available or affordable to common people, so the role of healer fell to the women. They would grow herbs, prepare poultices and tonics, and nurture the sick. This art was not taught in schools, but rather was passed from generation to generation within the family, through oral customs and experience. The tradition of women healers has always been based on the role of nurturer that defines the feminine spirit. Even the simple instincts to hold, massage, nourish and comfort, are in fact part of the healing arts.

In Egypt, Greece and Rome, women were an integral part of the medical profession. Homer’s Iliad refers to “Agamede of the golden hair” who was quite skilled in medicine and herbal lore. Philista taught medicine in Greece, and Agnodice was a physician who trained with the famous Alexandrian Herophilus. Other writings that have survived include the manuscripts of Hildegarde of Bingen who wrote texts on plant, animal and mineral medicines and on the physiology and nature of disease.

Roman mythology honors the spirit of Diana, the Huntress. Healer of ills, Goddess of the Hunt, protector of animals and small children. She roamed the wild mountain sides with her nymphs, hunting Lions, panthers and stags, with her bow and arrows. Although she often hunted and killed man, beast and gods, she was worshiped as a healer and protector of beasts.
In the city of Ephesus, a great temple was built in her honor that became one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. The testes of bulls were sacrificed to her with prayers for her blessing during rituals and celebrations. Also know as Artemis, in Greek mythology, she was twin sister to Apollo, God of the Sun. She symbolized the moon, (the yin compliment to the sun). She was “The heavenly light that illuminates the darkness”, and was oft depicted as the torch bearer, who lit the way for others. Just like Diana, it is the role of modern women to carry the torch, and lead the way, to illuminate the knowledge of healing and energy.