Iatromante derives from the Greek word ιατρομάντης, which comes to mean “the seer-doctor” or “medicine-man”. The men who bore this title were a kind of shaman among the Greeks and their figure was linked to semi-mythical characters such as Abaris, Aristeas of Proconesus, Epimenides or Hermotimus of Clazomena.1 During the classical period, Aeschylus used this term to designate Apollo and his son Asclepius.
According to Peter Kingsley’s In the Dark Places of Wisdom,2 the figure of the iatromancer belongs to a wider shamanic tradition with its roots in Central Asia.
Static et meditative “incubation” (ἐγκοίμησις, enkoimesis) was one of their main practices and was carried out in one of their temples known as Asclepeion, being consecrated to the god Asclepius. In reality, rather than a medical practice, incubation supposedly allowed a man to access a supplementary state of consciousness during the REM sleep phase which Kingsley described as “self-awareness” and which he likened to the Turiya or Samadhi of Indian yoga. During this sleep phase he could have premonitory dreams of the future, dream of a cure for his ailment or even be cured. In any case, when the pilgrim woke up, he would share his dream with the Iatromantis priest who would interpret it for him.
Release Date: 22/12/2022
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