I begin by worshipping the gods, and try to conduct myself in such a way that in answer to my prayers I may have health and physical strength, esteem in the city, the affection of my friends, safety with honour in war, and wealth increased by honest means – Ischomachus, in the Oikonomikos, 11.8
In the modern western world, when we are faced with health problems that we can’t explain, we simply say it is undiagnosed. If it relates to emotions, or we cannot observe any physical symptoms, we call it mental illness.
However, in the ancient and medieval world, there was a spiritual dimension to health. In many parts of the world, there still is. Yoga, for instance, is not just about stretching, but for many has a spiritual goal. And the word hygiene comes from Hygieia, who, according to the Open University, was health personified, worshipped in the 4th century BC. Continue reading “Whatever happened to spiritual health?”