The Secret Origin Of
The Ancient Goddess Hygieia
HYGIEIAThe ancient Greek goddess Hygieia (sometimes known as Hygia or Hygea) is the daughter of Asclepius, the first physician. Like her father, healing was the domain of the Goddess. Her followers cured disease, healed the sick and those stricken by both physical and mental ailments, cleaned the land, and invented hygiene as a defense against illness. They often exhibited powers and abilities that seemed magical in nature when carrying out their sacred duty.
While popular history records that the cult of Hygieia died in ancient times, those few students of the secret history of the cleansing Goddess know better. In each generation a new representative is chosen to carry on the legacy, and take up the mantel of Hygieia. Her agents have come from all walks of life, and across the globe. Sometimes they are aware of their duties, while others remain unaware of the deity’s influence and merely respond to an inner calling to cleanse and heal the world.
All who respond to the call are women. Each saw at least a glimpse of the ravages and chaos caused by an unclean world. And her agents have always eventually taken up at least one of the artifacts of the ancient Goddess, symbols of the magical power to heal, to repair, and to cleanse the ailments of mankind.
The Artifacts of Hygieia
CaduceusHygieia possessed a number of artifacts, magical symbols of her power. She is typically depicted wearing a headband, and a necklace, and sometimes bracelets. She bears a cup or other container, and a snake wrapped around a staff or rod (the later of which eventually came to be symbolized as the Caduceus, symbol of physicians throughout the world) . She is almost always presented as wearing a cloak or long dress.
Known Agents of Hygieia Throughout History
Merit PtahMerit Ptah (c 2700 BC): Merit Ptah is the earliest known human representative of Hygieia. She was described as “the Chief Physician” by her son, who was a High Priest in ancient Egypt. Her picture can be seen on a tomb in the necropolis near the step pyramid of Saqqara, in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. In the carving, she is seen wearing the magical headband of Hygieia, with the curving head of a snake in the front.
Miriam HebraeaMiriam the Hebraea (also known as Mary the Prophetess) (100 AD): The key founding mother figure of Hellenistic or ancient Egyptian alchemy, in the city of Alexandria. Mary invented or improved all the basic equipment used in alchemical rituals, most used for healing.
The writings of other women alchemists at the time such as Cleopatra, Theosebeia, and Paphnoutia suggest a community of women was working in alchemy at this time, initially under the teachings of Miriam. Miriam wrote the important alchemy book called the Maria Practica, which continued in use for 1600 years after her death.
She is depicted here wearing the cloak of Hygieia, fastened by a medallion which later was incorporated into the necklace of the Goddess.
hypatia Hypatia of Alexandria (370 AD – 415 AD): A Greek philosopher, Hypatia taught at the school in the Library in Alexandria, Egypt. Letters written and addressed simply to” the philosopher” were delivered to her.
She was the daughter of the last head of the Museum at Alexandria, and therefore had access to a number of the relics of Hygieia, including those of Miriam who taught in her home city several hundred years earlier.
Her focus was on natural philosophy. She is seen here wearing a headband of the Goddess. She was sadly killed by a mob for her heretical teachings and beliefs; an early demonstration of the danger’s faced by the secret representatives of Hygieia.
Hildegard of BingenHildegard of Bingen (1098-1179): Born the tenth child to a noble family, Hildegard was dedicated at birth to the church, as was traditional in those times due to the difficulty in feeding and caring for such an extensive family. As a girl at the age of three, Hildegard started to have visions of luminous objects, which unknown to her was the first calling of Hygieia. She soon realized she was unique in this ability and hid this gift for many years.
As she grew older, Hildegard became known for her theories of natural history, medicinal uses of plants, animals, trees, and stones. She was consulted by and advised bishops, popes, and kings. She used the curative powers of natural objects for healing, and wrote an number of treatises on a variety of healing topics, including hygiene and philosophy. She is the first known author on the topic of boiling drinking water for sanitation.
She is seen here wearing the cloak of Hygieia, and bearing a representation of her cup (depicted as a mortar bowl).
Marie CurieMarie Curie (November 7, 1867- July 4, 1934): The first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize (Physics and later in Chemistry), Marie Curie was one of the first to discover the properties of certain radioactive elements, and promoted the use of radium to alleviate suffering of the injured. To this end she helped found the Radium Institute at the University of Paris, and the Pasteur Institute, both of which helped her fulfill her humanitarian wish.
She also led the fight against prejudices of her day, including sexism and hatred of foreigners. These prejudices initially prevented her from entering the Academy of Science. Despite these challenges, her discoveries in the healing arts remain crucial to the fight against diseases of today, such as cancer.
By the modern age, the followers of Hygieia had learned to hide their secret identity well, and relics of the Goddess were rarely seen in public. In this unusual photograph, Marie Curie is shown to be wearing what is believed to be a necklace of the healing deity.
HygenaHygena (Present Day): Hygena is the newest agent of the Goddess Hygieia. Once an orphan forced to live in the dirty streets, she clung to the only remnants of her heritage – a necklace and apron handed down from her mysterious grandmother.
Determined to bring order out of the chaos and grime that was her young life, she soon discovered that her necklace possessed magical powers. Not knowing of the ancient cult of Hygieia, but responding to her inner calling to cleanse and heal the world, Hygena tapped in to the powers of her necklace, and used it’s magic to help craft additional relics which reinterpreted the ancient artifacts of the Goddess in her own modern fashion.
Hygena first worked to fashion a new Caduceus, taking the form this time of a tool she knew well, a feather duster.
Caduceus Feather DusterDrawing on her predecessor Marie Curie, she infused a form of radiation (ionized) into the duster, enabling her to cleanse an area and immobilize an opponant of the cause at a range of up to 60 feet.
She then forged a new representation of the chalace, this time in the form of a sealed container whcih she dubbed her “clean bombs”. These cause foes to fall unconscious for 30 minutes, and which sanitize both people and an area.
Finally, she fashioned a cape and headband to round out her outfit; further symbols of the Goddess.
Hygena uses these tools to take the fight against grime and crime back to the streets. Hygena is still learning the powers of her necklace, and is aware that it will protect her with a form of a shield when she is directly attacked. Where it, and her calling, will take her in the future remains to be seen.
Known Enemies of Hygena
Minion of Mefitis (sometimes spelled mephitis, AKA “The Dirt Devil”). Hygieia is not the only ancient Goddess with active agents in modern times. The Roman Goddess Mefitis, originally worshipped by cults who resided near volcanic emissions and noxious swamps, has her own minion in each generation. Mefitis is associated with the domains of miasmas, putrefaction, sulphuric vapours, plagues and malarias. Throughout history she has opposed the agents of Hygieia, and this generation is no exception. Contrary to Hygieia’s followers, Mefitis usually chooses a male agent.
Hygena, ever cheeky even in the face of danger, jokingly refers to the current manifestation of Mefitis as “The Dirt Devil”. But Mefitis’s avatar is no joke, as he is capable of spreading disease with a touch, and blasts of poisonous gas (which Hygena affectionately refers to as the “Wall of Funk”, a description which causes a great deal of anger in Mefitis’s agent, and delight for Hygena).
The agent of Mefitis usually prefers to operate quietly, favoring small harms that have great long term ramifications, over direct confrontation. He knows that a city full of broken windows, grime, graffiti, litter, festering disease, and noxious fumes is more likely to spread chaos, depression, crime, and evil, than a direct assault on people.