We are Heard and Our Gods are So Very Present

I was at the physical therapy rehabilitation center today visiting my husband, who is recovering from sepsis. It’s a dismal place. The staff is overworked. They’re ok and do their best but with pain and illness comes miasma and left untreated it erodes hope and depresses the spirit. Hospitals and healing centers, rehabilitation centers and such are not clean spaces. They should be, but we have a long way to go. It’s not the fault of our medical teams, who are working under stressful circumstances, often with little time to rest, and always it seems understaffed. I pray for them often from the janitors who clean the trash, to maintenance men who fix the windows, to the nursing assistants, nurses, and all the various doctors and medical professionals as well as the administrators who are tasked with keeping such places up and running. I pray all the time for them and when I am there, in my husband’s room, I do small rites of purification and ask for blessings throughout the space. 

These places are dangerous spiritually. We have forgotten that with illness comes that which would feed upon illness and make it worse. I will speak as a spirit worker now and those who can hear and understand, let them. Those who cannot, well, I hope you will pray for our health care workers, and for those in their care that each receive what he or she needs to emerge whole and hale. I say as a spirit worker that in these places there are bottom feeding spirits-evil spirits, nasty wicked things that feed on the vulnerable and there are those who are even beset by such things, twisted evil entities who torment those suffering, adding to their misery and pain (1). I did chaplaincy work in my twenties (I was terrible at it – what does a twenty-year-old know about life and counseling those in pain? There is the will but not yet the experience. I look at medical residents who seem so painfully young and see the same terror at confronting patients in pain that I myself experienced when I was first sent up to the cancer ward as a volunteer chaplain) but hospitals and medical centers are so much worse now. The walls reek with misery, despair, loss, confusion, pain, anger, and exhaustion. It is a breeding ground for anything but healing. I cleanse before I walk in. I ward myself while I’m there including wearing the best piece of spiritual technology I was ever taught: the white headwrap. I cleanse and make offerings when I leave. Hell, sometimes I carry a spritzer bottle of khernips and cleanse everything I can. I bring cookies to the nurses and tell them how much I appreciate their work—it lifts their spirits and I do appreciate how hard they work. I do what I can to better the space. 

One of my allied spirits was a healer in life, long, long ago. He accompanies me sometimes and becomes furious when he sees what passes for Houses of healing. In the hospital, he looked around when we came in and hissed that this should be a House of Life and he blessed it all in fury at how dehumanizing to staff and residents alike the hospital was. One of the things that horrifies him is the lack of prayers, blessings, and purifications done on the space throughout the day. Then there is also the endless noise. How does one heal in such an environment? Only by the grace of the Gods. Even the staff are beaten down. It infuriates him to see men and women who don’t realize (or if they do realize it, are blocked from acting upon it by the demands of the modern medical apparatus) that they are there to restore and bring life and healing when they can, and a respectful holy space for death when they cannot. 

The rehabilitation space is better – the hospital was a trauma center so there was death and terrible injury, people being brought in by helicopter and that was a much more intense level of spiritual miasma than the hospital at which I once worked. Still, the nursing home/rehabilitation space is still not clean space. It is filled with suffering and despair. When I walk in to visit my husband, each day, I walk past a room where an elderly woman lies, screaming, face distorted in a rictus of pain. She is tormented both by the decay of her body, the confusion of her mind, but also by an attack upon her being by a wicked spirit. It roared as I passed, and the noise never abated. I wanted to go in and lay hands on her in blessing, to pray, to purify, to do whatever I could to bring her back to herself and free her of her torment. It is one thing to have dementia or whatever is bringing her confusion and another to have atop that a beast that feeds on and augments that. One of the nurses said she keeps a journal where she records the weird, “supernatural” things that she has seen since starting her job. Some of them have frightened her.  Going in to engage with that patient, however, was not my warrant, and I did not do it, but it physically hurt to do nothing, to see her in such anguish (and she was not the only one)(2). The spirit tormenting her writhed at the presence of a spirit worker and orpheotelest and shrieked taunts to me and my husband, yelling out things the woman herself could not know. Such is the way of these lowly, debased creatures (and by this, I mean the spirits not the women, who deserve compassion and care). 

So, when I left, I walked down the hall praying to all the healing Gods I could. “Apollo, please bless these people.” “Jesus” – after all most patients are probably nominally Christian, “please keep them safe.” “Eir, please watch over those in need of healing.” “Hermes, please protect the staff.” “Asclepius, please bless each and every resident here.” And I lingered on my prayers to Asclepius because it seemed right to do so and He seemed particularly present. 

Just as I was approaching the doors to the ward, which were closed, a man appeared. He had not been there before. He was a tall, late middle aged, very distinguished black man, with the kindest eyes and the most elegant manner. He was carrying medical equipment and I just remember his eyes.  He radiated peace and such a tremendous sense of well-being it took my breath away. I believe this man was Asclepius, that I met a God upon Whom I had called in my need. We exchanged a few words and with those words He blessed me. As I walked to the elevator, having thanked him for his kindness, so much of the weight and miasma I’d been carrying disappeared and I felt that He had cleansed me of all the long term, never-ending miasma that seeps into one’s very skin in such places. His smile was like the warmth of a parent’s hug, a cool drink of water, the warmth of a wink of sun on a cold, overcast day. My words and poetry fail me. My prayers were heard, and I was given the gift of seeing a God take flesh. Later, my husband told me that where things were usually a battle with constant delays and problems, today was different. Things got done, and we had a particularly special nurse come in to tend him who really saw and understood one of his medical issues. I am so intensely grateful. When I got home, I immediately made an offering to all the Gods to which I had prayed and most especially to Asclepius in thanks (3). 

The Gods hear us. They hear our prayers and those prayers matter. I wish that I could share with all of you, the sense that is so deeply ingrained in my bones and heart and mind and spirit, born of experiences like this, born of the gift of theophany given unexpectedly and certainly without any merit of my own. I wish I could ingrain in all of you how deeply, deeply loved we are by our Gods, how They listen and hold our pain as Their own. They hear us and we matter so deeply to Them and it is good. If nothing else, I wish that I could share that heart to heart, mind to mind, soul to soul with each of you, my readers. 

I met a God today and other Gods protected me on my journey to and from the center. I was reminded again how very important our prayers are and I was reminded again that our Gods always walk with us because we are Theirs, carefully crafted by Their will and hands and our prayers matter more than I can express. So, pray for those you love. Pray in thanks to your Gods. Pray that those who work in healing remember that they are healers and that they be sustained in that knowledge. Pray for our health care workers, for those sick and injured in their care. Pray and say thank you and know that our capacity to reach out for our Gods is one of the greatest privileges and joys in our lives. 

I said to my husband when we spoke of this on the phone later (texted really, I not being much of a phone person). We are so very lucky. We are so blessed. We are living in a terrible time, and we have to sometimes face terrible things, but nonetheless we are so incredibly blessed. I pray myself, that I never forget to give thanks. 

Notes: 

  1. I wonder if being trapped in the body of someone already suffering isn’t a type of punishment for the evil spirit too. I heard one howl and cry out in utter anguish and what must it be like for a creature of spirit to be trapped in wounded flesh? I understand after this experience, so much better Origen’s idea of apokatastasis and wonder at the free will of such beings.  
  2. I am not saying every sick person or person with dementia is tormented by evil spirits. That is not the case at all. I am saying instead that there are bottom feeding spirits that take advantage sometimes, in some cases. I wonder if this old woman and a second one who was also tormented, had particularly rich and creative lives that attracted the attention of something hungry to augment pain, or if it was just being sick and fragile and having no one to protect them, and being vulnerable. What does it do to the staff to be in that environment all the time – because some of them sense it too? As we treat body and mind, I think there is a need to address the spiritual too and that starts with blessing and purification so that we may serve our Gods in peace and liberty, without interference, so that healing may occur without this other, unseen fight. 
  3. I don’t generally see this God as a man of color, but I think Gods can show Themselves however They wish and I am so grateful to Asclepius for today. I pray to all of our Healing Gods, especially Asclepius, Eir, and Apollo regularly yet I feel as though my heart has been turned open and inside out with a gratitude toward them so enormous it is painful. 
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About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at wyrdcuriosities.etsy.com.

Posted on November 14, 2022, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Thank you for sharing this encounter – it literally moved me to tears. I’ve been working with Apollo, Kheiron, Asklepios, and his family all through my cancer experience; they are dear to me, I cannot imagine how much harder it would have been without Their presence. All of this echoes my experience, and the thoughts I have had. I hope your husband recovers swiftly and completely.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This post inspires me. I don’t know if you had heard but I started taking a course in Chinese Medicine. My goal is to be a clinician and I’ll be training at a clinic here in Florida that focuses on that kind of medicine in addition to other folk practices. While I acknowledge that I won’t be dealing with the really crazy intense miasma that comes from sudden injury, the clinic does get cancer patients from time to time and others suffering from serious disease. My plan thus far is to spend more time with healing deities like Asklepios and Apollo and to up my purification practices as well as to say prayers over my patients. I’ve heard many times that contemporary hospitals are nowhere near as pure as they should be and now I’m emboldened to at least provide some kind of care that is more pure.

    Do you have any advice to give me on this? What’s something as a Polytheist folk healer I should do to help my patients and be as clean as possible? Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    • pray. pray over your tools, pray over any herbs you’re mixing. pray. all the time. pray and bless when you’re working even if silently to yourself. pray pray pray pray and keep yourself cleansed spiritually at all times. and if you can, prescribe cleansing baths and other cleansing for them too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I had to look up apokatastasis. What a fascinating post. I did not expect Asklepios to guide me through the cancer experience (I kept nagging ancestors who swatted me away) but it was one of the most intense divine interactions I’ve ever had. Thanks for bringing more awareness to how important it is to involve Them in healing, not just for ourselves but to these places so terribly in need of Their presence.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for share this. You have the gift of Word-Craft, a sacred calling in itself.

    Best wishes to you.
    Healing and wholeness to Sannion
    Strength and insight to his medical team.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing this. It’s fortifying, for me at least. Thank you.

    If it isn’t presumptuous of me, would it be alright by y’all if I prayed for your husband’s health? Sepsis is an awful thing– I’ve had it once myself. It was an awful thing and hospitals– of all stripes– are so often such terribly *ill* places. I hope he is able to heal well and return home sooner rather than later.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I also think such places need living plants.

    Not only is it better for the air we breathe, but studies show people are less stressed when surrounded by real greenery. As a house of life, it needs that too. If you cant have it every room, then atriums, views of it out windows. We want to smell petrichor, not bleach. Plants long tied to healing from medicines and more.

    And yes, its hard to rest when you have people coming in all hours, non stop.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Great post, and a reminder of something I ought to already know, intuitively do, but tend to forget in my very busy life. I pray for animals which have been killed by cars whenever I see them. Pray for their release from the trauma and for a gentle passing to the next life. Had an experience when driving on the autobahn. In the opposite direction, I saw the devastation of a horrendous accident involving semi trucks and other cars. I felt it instantly that there was death there, that someone, maybe more than one, had died traumatically. It lingered with me, even as I was passed the scene of the accident, until it occurred to me to pray for those who died. Then I felt it release me. This might sound strange, but I don’t automatically think of humans in the same way I do animals. With animals, it’s an instant reaction to pray and feel compassion. Not so with humans, unless I already have a bond. That takes a bit more conscious effort.
    I have a question. You mentioned the white head wrap. As a Yogi, I know that Kundalini yogis wear a white head wrap, but I don’t understand the purpose. Could you explain it from your understanding? Why do you wear it, what is the symbolic reason and how does it help?
    I haven’t been on here in a while, and just by chance stumbled across your post, and chose to read it, because I remembered how much you always impressed me.

    Like

  8. Thank you for sharing this experience Galina. I had worried when hearing of what happened to Sannion that sepsis had set in, I pray for his healing and recovery and know all too well how excruciating sepsis can be.

    This reminds me of how changed the local medical system has become, once there was a hospital that felt clean, warm, and like a place of healing. Though there were many secular staff members, that hospital was run largely by nuns, the chapels, though I only ever saw the doors of one, were beautiful places from what I saw, plants were all around and in places there were even water features.

    The nuns no longer run the hospital, and the difference is appalling, unclean in so many ways. Even with them being from a monotheistic tradition, I think you are quite correct, the consistency of prayer and no doubt spiritual purifications make a large difference in a place of healing.

    Like

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