The Motherlines of Asclepius: Ancestral Female Healers in the Origins of Medicine
There is a need to retrieve subsumed women’s stories and traditions from Western patriarchal overlays and to recentre empowered matristic ways of knowing in present-day consciousness. This paper is an organic inquiry examining symbols in the myth of the Greek healer god Asclepius and tracing these to earlier sources, while relating its origins to this critical moment in time when species loss, climate change, and widespread violence devastate our planet. I approach the power of the secret accompanying the underground dream temples this god is known for, and discover ancestral female healers personifying the union of microcosm and macrocosm. Honouring the natural and cyclic processes of birth, life, death, and regeneration, I illuminate the deep origins of the caduceus symbol. Considering how medical care and the process of attending to dreams are fields that have been dominated by androcentric worldviews, I ask what dreams may come when empowered women and mothers create definitions of health and wellbeing for themselves and unite in the creation of interdependent futures that may still have a chance to come into being.
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