Gods and Goddesses of Healing

In many magical traditions, healing rituals are performed in tandem with a petition to the god or goddess of the pantheon who is representative of healing and wellness. If you or a loved one is ill or off-kilter, whether emotionally or physically or spiritually, you may want to investigate this list of deities. There are many, from a variety of cultures, who can be called upon in times of need for healing and wellness magic.

01
of 17

Asclepius (Greek)

Relief portraying Asclepius visiting youth.
DEA / G. NIMATALLAH / Getty Images

Asclepius was a Greek god who is honored by healers and physicians. He is known as the god of medicine, and his serpent-draped staff, The Rod of Asclepius, is still found as a symbol of medical practice today. Honored by doctors, nurses and scientists alike, Asclepius was a son of Apollo. In some traditions of Hellenic Paganism, he is honored as a god of the underworld - it was for his role in raising the dead Hippolytus (for payment) that Zeus killed Asclepius with a thunderbolt.

According to Theoi.com

"In the Homeric poems Aesculapius does not appear to be considered as a divinity, but merely as a human being, which is indicated by the adjective amumôn, which is never given to a god. No allusion is made to his descent, and he is merely mentioned as the iêtêr amumôn, and the father of Machaon and Podaleirius. (Il. ii. 731, iv. 194, xi. 518.) From the fact that Homer (Od. iv. 232) calls all those who practise the healing art descendants of Paeëon, and that Podaleirius and Machaon are called the sons of Aesculapius, it has been inferred, that Aesculapius and Paeëon are the same being, and consequently a divinity."

02
of 17

Airmed (Celtic)

Airmed is credited with the creation of the mysteries of herbalism.
TJ Drysdale Photography / Getty Images

Airmed was one of the Tuatha de Danaan in the Irish mythological cycles, ​and was known for her prowess in healing those who fell in battle. It is said that the world’s healing herbs sprouted from Airmed’s tears as she wept over her fallen brother’s body. She is known in Irish legend as the keeper of the mysteries of herbalism.

Priestess Brandi Auset says in The Goddess Guide: Exploring the Attributes and Correspondences of the Divine Feminine, "[Airmed] collects and organizes herbs for health and healing, and teaches her followers the craft of plant medicine. She guards the secret wells, springs, and rivers of healing, and is worshiped as a goddess of Witchcraft and magic."

03
of 17

Aja (Yoruba)

Many practitioners of Santeria make offerings to Aja for healing magic.
Tom Cockrem / Getty Images

Aja is a powerful healer in Yoruba legend and thus, in Santerian religious practice. It is said that she is the spirit who taught all other healers their craft. She is a mighty Orisha, and it is believed that if she carries you away but allows you to return after a few days, you will be blessed with her powerful magic. 

In 1894, A. B. Ellis wrote in Yoruba-Speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast of West Africa"Aja, whose name appears to mean a wild vine... carries off persons who meet her into the depths of the forest, and teaches them the medicinal properties of plants; but she never harms anyone. Aja is of human shape, but very diminutive, she being only from one to two feet high. The aja vine is used by women to cure enflamed breasts."

04
of 17

Apollo (Greek)

Apollo was a god of the sun and of healing magic.
Image by Valery Rizzo/Stockbyte/Getty Images

The son of Zeus by Leto, Apollo was a multi-faceted god. In addition to being the god of the sun, he also presided over music, medicine, and healing. He was at one point identified with Helios, the sun god. As the worship of him spread throughout the Roman empire into the British Isles, he took on many of the aspects of the Celtic deities and was seen as a god of the sun and of healing.

Theoi.com says, "Apollo, though one of the great gods of Olympus, is yet represented in some sort of dependence on Zeus, who is regarded as the source of the powers exercised by his son. The powers ascribed to Apollo are apparently of different kinds, but all are connected with one another."

05
of 17

Artemis (Greek)

Artemis is the goddess of the hunt, and represented by the bow and arrow.
John Weiss/Flickr/Creative Commons/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Artemis is a daughter of Zeus conceived during a romp with the Titan Leto, according to the Homeric Hymns. She was the Greek goddess of both hunting and childbirth. Her twin brother was Apollo, and like him, Artemis was associated with a wide variety of divine attributes, including powers of healing. 

Despite her own lack of children, Artemis was known as a goddess of childbirth, possibly because she assisted her own mother in the delivery of her twin, Apollo. She protected women in labor, but also brought them death and sickness. Numerous cults dedicated to Artemis sprouted up around the Greek world, most of which were connected to women's mysteries and transitional phases, such as childbirth, puberty, and motherhood.

06
of 17

Babalu Aye (Yoruba)

Some practitioners of Santeria make offerings to Babalu Aye.
Keith Goldstein / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images

Babalu Aye is an Orisha often associated with plague and pestilence in the Yoruba belief system and Santerian practice. However, just as he is connected with disease and illness, he is also tied to its cures. A patron of everything from smallpox to leprosy to AIDS, Babalu Aye is often invoked to heal epidemics and widespread illness.

Catherine Beyer says, "Babalu-Aye is equated with Lazarus, a Biblical beggar man mentioned in one of Jesus's parables. Lazarus' name was also used by an order in the Middle Ages that was established to care for those suffering from leprosy, a disfiguring skin disease."

07
of 17

Bona Dea (Roman)

Bona Dea is a goddess of fertility and women's health.
JTBaskinphoto / Getty Images

In ancient Rome, Bona Dea was a goddess of fertility. In an interesting paradox, she was also a goddess of chastity and virginity. Honored originally as an earth goddess, she was an agricultural deity and was often invoked to protect the area from earthquakes. When it comes to healing magic, she can be called upon to heal diseases and disorders relating to fertility and reproduction.

Unlike many Roman goddesses, Bona Dea seems to have been particularly honored by the lower social classes. Slaves and plebian women who were trying to conceive a child might make offerings to her in hopes of being granted a fertile womb.

08
of 17

Brighid (Celtic)

Brighid is well known as a goddess of healing.
foxline / Getty Images

Brighid was a Celtic hearth goddess who is still celebrated today in many parts of Europe and the British Isles. She is honored primarily at Imbolc, and is a goddess who represents the home fires and domesticity of family life, as well as healing and wellness magic.

09
of 17

Eir (Norse)

In many Norse families, Eir is honored as a spirit of healing.
Don Landwehrle / Getty Images

Eir is one of the Valkyries who appears in the Norse poetic eddas, and is designated as a spirit of medicine. She is called upon often in women’s laments, but little is known about her other than her association with healing magic. Her name means help or mercy.

10
of 17

Febris (Roman)

Followers of Febris prayed to her for relief from fever and malaria.
Rebecca Nelson / Getty Images

In ancient Rome, if you or a loved one developed a fever - or worse yet, malaria - you called upon the goddess Febris for assistance. She was invoked to cure such diseases, even though she was associated with bringing them about in the first place. Cicero refers in his writings to her sacred temple on the Palatine ​Hilland called for the cult of Febris to be abolished.

Artist and writer Thalia Took says, "She is the fever personified and Her name means just that: "Fever" or "Attack of Fever". She may have been especially a Goddess of Malaria, which was notoriously prevalent in ancient Italy, especially in the swampy regions as the disease is transmitted by mosquito, and She was given offerings by Her worshippers in the hopes of being cured. The classic symptoms of malaria include periods of fever, lasting from four to six hours, which come in cycles of every two to three days, depending on the specific variety of parasite; this would explain the odd phrase "attack of fever", as it was something that came and went, and would support Febris's links with that specific disease."

11
of 17

Heka (Egyptian)

Heka is the ancient Egyptian god of health and medicine.
De Agostini Picture Library / Getty Images

Heka was an ancient Egyptian deity associated with health and wellness. The god Heka was incorporated by practitioners into medicine - for the Egyptians, healing was seen as the province of the gods. In other words, medicine was magic, and so to honor Heka was one of ​the several ways to bring about good health in someone who was ailing.

12
of 17

Hygieia (Greek)

Hygieia lends her name to the practice of hygiene.
Stephen Robson / Getty Images

This daughter of Asclepius lends her name to the practice of hygiene, something that comes in especially handy in healing and medicine even today. While Asclepius was concerned with curing illness, Hygieia’s focus was on preventing it from occurring in the first place. Call upon Hygieia when someone is facing a potential health crisis that may not have developed completely yet.

13
of 17

Isis (Egyptian)

Isis is a goddess of both magic and healing.
A. Dagli Orti / De Agostini Picture Library / Getty Images

Although Isis’ main focus is more magic than healing, she does have a strong connection to healing because of her ability to resurrect Osiris, her brother and husband, from the dead following his murder by Set. She is also a goddess of fertility and motherhood

After Set murdered and dismembered Osiris, Isis used her magic and power to bring her husband back to life. The realms of life and death are often associated with both Isis and her faithful sister Nephthys, who are depicted together on coffins and funerary texts. They are usually shown in their human form, with the addition of the wings that they used to shelter and protect Osiris.

14
of 17

Maponus (Celtic)

Maponus is associated with hot springs and sacred wells.
David Williams / Getty Images

Maponus was a Gaulish deity who found his way into Britain at some point. He was associated with the waters of a healing spring, and eventually was absorbed into the Roman worship of Apollo, as Apollo Maponus. In addition to healing, he is associated with youthful beauty, poetry, and song.

15
of 17

Panacaea (Greek)

Panacaea's magic potion was said to cure all the ailments of the world.
Yagi Studio / Getty Images

Daughter of Asclepius and sister of Hygieia, Panacea was a goddess of healing by way of curative medicine. Her name gives us the word panacea, which refers to a cure-all for disease. She was said to carry a magic potion, which she used to heal people with any illness at all.

16
of 17

Sirona (Celtic)

The goddess Sirona was often honored near hidden hot springs.
picturegarden / Getty Images

In eastern Gaul, Sirona was honored as a deity of healing springs and waters. Her likeness appears in carvings near sulfur springs in what is now Germany. Like the Greek goddess Hygieia, she is often shown with a serpent wrapped around her arms. Sirona’s temples were often constructed on or near thermal springs and healing wells.

17
of 17

Vejovis (Roman)

'Pestilence', one of the Seven Plagues of Egypt, 1866. Artist: Gustave Doré
Print Collector/Getty Images / Getty Images

This Roman god is similar to the Greek Asclepius, and a temple was erected to his healing abilities on the Capitoline Hill. While little is known about him, some scholars believe Vejovis was a guardian of slaves and fighters, and sacrifices were made in his honor to prevent plague and pestilence. There is some question as to whether those sacrifices were goats or human.

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Wigington, Patti. "Gods and Goddesses of Healing." ThoughtCo, Oct. 14, 2017, thoughtco.com/gods-and-goddesses-of-healing-2561980. Wigington, Patti. (2017, October 14). Gods and Goddesses of Healing. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/gods-and-goddesses-of-healing-2561980 Wigington, Patti. "Gods and Goddesses of Healing." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/gods-and-goddesses-of-healing-2561980 (accessed November 20, 2017).