Great Esculapius [Asklepios], skill’d to heal mankind,
all-ruling Pæan, and physician kind;
Whose arts medic’nal, can alone assuage
diseases dire, and stop their dreadful rage:
Strong lenient God, regard my suppliant pray’r,
bring gentle Health, adorn’d with lovely hair;
Convey the means of mitigating pain,
and raging, deadly pestilence restrain.
O pow’r all-flourishing, abundant, bright,
Apollo’s honor’d offspring, God of light;
Husband of blameless Health [Hygeia], the constant foe
of dread Disease the minister of woe:
Come, blessed saviour, and my health defend,
and to my life afford a prosp’rous end.
Yesterday, I didn’t post because I was busy much of the day with an offering to Asclepios and Apollo. But, it was not an ancient ritual, but something very modern and personal — I gave blood. Admittedly, this is not at all something that the ancients did, but I can certainly envisage them doing so had they had the technology available to do it.
It is things like this that I look at as MODERN interpretations of how we can worship the Gods. Do I think that this is appropriate for everyone? Probably not. And the reason that I say it is not (even though I would like it to be) is that there are people in the world, and probably people within the Hellenic community who cannot give blood for any number of valid reasons. These reasons will vary, but still are important to the person who cannot give to the Gods in that fashion. HOWEVER, I would like to emphasize that this is a very personal gift that can be given by some of us — and I would encourage the people who CAN give blood to at least consider it as it is a way to honor the Gods with a literal part of yourself.
The gifts we give the Gods are intended to honor them in one way or another. The offering of time and effort is one of the ways that we can do so without costing a lot of money in the process. Whether it is donating time at a food bank in honor of Demeter or reading to children in the library in honor of Athena — or donating blood in honor of the Healing Gods — we can all work to make our communities stronger.