Mnemosyne [Archetypal Attunement]

At the healing sanctuaries of Asclepius, supplicants would make offerings to various gods in hopes of receiving divine guidance and healing in their dreams.

Mnemosyne, goddess of memory, might have been one of the deities invoked right before entering the abaton, where patients would spend the night. With Mnemosyne’s help, you were more likely to remember your dream and have the ability to translate it into a useful plan of action, thus effecting the cure you were seeking.

The following guided meditation takes you to the sanctuary of Asclepius at Epidaurus. You might want to look at some of the images below first, to help your psyche conjure more evocative details. And to really set the mood, light some frankincense, an ancient offering to Mnemosyne, before you begin!

You can download the meditation by clicking the three stacked dots on the right of the audio player.

I found a video that combines legit historical narration with somewhat fanciful imagery from Assassins Creed, and the effect is quite magical!

Here are some recreations of the sanctuary at Epidaurus:

Model of Asklepion at Epidaurus, after the reconstruction of Defrasse, made in London (1936) 1/66 scale.

Below you get a view of the giant theater. Enjoying art, including theater and music, was considered curative in itself, an attitude I wish was more prevalent today!

In the meditation, I guide you through entering the sanctuary via the columned building in the bottom right.

Below, the structures are more scrunched together than in life, but it’s a fun depiction of the sanctuary in action, clusters of people moseying about, enjoying the healing atmosphere.

In the first two images above, you may have noticed a circular building, the tholos. It’s unclear what this was used for, but there are strange, maze-like cavities hidden below the floor. Some believe they held water, others the snakes that were sacred to Asclepius, but ultimately, this building’s purpose is a mystery.

The long, narrow building toward the rear is the abaton or sleeping chamber. It’s labeled “D” in the diagram below.

You can see it clearly in the model, running along the rear of the image.

More goodies

Here’s a recipe for Greek honey cake. Honey cake was a traditional offerings to Greek gods.

In the meditation, I chant the following Hymn to Mnemosyne:



THE consort I invoke of Jove divine,
Source of the holy, sweetly-speaking Nine;

Free from th’ oblivion of the fallen mind,
By whom the soul with intellect is join’d:
Reason’s increase, and thought to thee belong, 5
All-powerful, pleasant, vigilant, and strong:
‘Tis thine, to waken from lethargic rest
All thoughts deposited within the breast;
And nought neglecting, vigorous to excite
The mental eye from dark oblivion’s night. 10
Come, blessed power, thy mystic’s mem’ry wake
To holy rites, and Lethe’s fetters break.

Here’s an article about Mnemosyne’s role at the Asklepios.

And here’s an excerpt from The Dialogues of Plato about Mnemosyne:

Sohkratis: I would have you imagine, then, that there exists in the mind of man a block of wax, which is of different sizes in different men; harder, moister, and having more or less of purity in one than another, and in some of an intermediate quality…Let us say that this table is a gift of Memory, the mother of the Muses; and that when we wish to remember anything which we have seen, or heard, or thought in our own minds, we hold the wax to the perceptions and thoughts, and in that material receive the impression of them as from the seal of a ring; and that we remember and know what is imprinted as long as the image lasts; but when the image is effaced, or cannot be taken, then we forget and do not know.