Day Ten: Offerings – historical and UPG
Many supplicants vowed gifts to the god before their incubation (night spent asleep in the Asclepion). The most common offering was a terracotta image of the part of the body for which they sought a cure. These images ranged from life-size to pocket-size. Other common offerings included the sandals in which the supplicant travelled to the temple, incense, leaves and branches, cakes, and animals, especially roosters. Votive relief plaques were made of wood, terracotta, stone, and even silver and gold. Wealthy supplicants dedicated statues, money, and even buildings for the sanctuary.
Modern offerings can include models of body parts, incense, flowers, prayers, and art. Asclepius traditionally had a special association with poetry, song, music, and drama, so writing and/or performing any of these in honor of the god would be appropriate offerings.
Activities that support medical care, such as volunteering at the Red Cross, a hospital or nursing home, or with a group to drive patient to appointments can be offerings to Asclepius. Artists can design a hospital gown. Donations to hospitals, Ward+Robes, the Red Cross, or to non-profit organizations that help needy people with medical bills (like Watsi) or with specific conditions would also be meanigful.
Image: Gifts to the temple of Asclepius. Image courtesy of the BBC.