Askelpian Dream Healing

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS is usually considered a functional disorder, not a disease. The cause of IBS is unknown and there is no known cure.  A case is cited whereby the patient a 50 year old diagnosed with IBS, had had meningitis and kidney infection both in adulthood and there was a family history of chronic digestive and eliminative disorders for two generations. In despair, the man made himself a suppliant and prayed for a transpersonal intervention into his condition. 

After praying he experienced a dream whereby he was shown how to prepare an enema that would resolve his condition.  He followed the prescription and two years following his epiphany, experiences excellent digestion and elimination.


From approximately 1300 BCE to 500CE, in Asklepian temples, physician guided patient with seemingly intractable health problems through intensive holistic retreats. In them, a wide range of therapies was invoked: exercise, nutrition, hydrotherapy, touch, astrological readings, and attendance at tragic theatre.

The capstone of these efforts was incubation, a period during which the suppliant fasted, prayed, and slept in an enclosed chamber called an abaton. The patient remained in the abaton until he or she received a dream or vision in which Asklepios, the Greek god of healing, or one of his helpers, appeared. In Greece, the dream typically involved instantaneous healing by the god.


During the later Roman era, the god most commonly prescribed an intervention or remedy during the dream, which the supplicant took in order to obtain healing over time. Although contemporary, this man’s dream followed ancient Asklepian principles.

He had reached the limits of conventional medicine and could not find the resources within for healing. He studied archetypal healing traditions, humbled himself, and prayed as a suppliant. In his bedroom, his modern-day abaton, an archetypal Aslepian figure appeared in a dream and gave him specific instructions, which he would discover, would radically correct his health issues.


Western medicine was established by the followers of Asklepios who was both a mythical and historical figure. While ruler of Thessaly around 1300 BCE, he becam known as a compassionate and wise healer. Homer says in his Iliad that Asklepios taught his sons medicine and that they served the Greek army during the Trojan War as both warriors and physicians. 

Asklepios, like Jesus, was said to have been born of both a god and a mortal. His father was Apollo, the god of medicine and music, reason and prophecy; his mother was the mortal woman Coronis.


Apollo tore the infant from Coronis’ womb as her body burned on the funeral pyre and gave him to Chiron, the most learned of the centaurs and a great healer who used herbs and incantations. Asklepios combined the medical theory of Apollo with the natural methods of Chiron. 

To these he added the human element of words, thus forming the origins of western medicine and psychiatry. He spent his life travelling the ancient world healing and instructing his disciples, the Asklepiads. These physician-priests became the founders of Western medicine.


Asklepian medicine does not respond to a medical problem as if it were a discrete physical condition resulting from a cascade of prior physical and psychological factors. Rather, it attempt to alter the ecology of soul by defining, realigning, and harmonizing the subtle, complex relationships between body and mind. 

This case illustrates one of the most profound differences between modern and Asklepian approaches to healing – asking, supplicating, requesting, inviting, pleading or praying for a cure instead of attempting to force its occurrence.


This is an edited extract from Asklepian Dream Healing of Irritable Bowel Syndrome by Edward Tick, PhD which appeared in Explore, July 2005, Vol 1, No 4


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