The Healing Art
Art as a healing presence continues to move towards the mainstream and grow in popularity, whether it is Sophocles with war vets, Shakespeare in prison, the need for less anesthesia with music in the operating room, or harp music in hospice care. The Greeks seemed to be in touch with this same arts – healing connection that we are only lately discovering.
Drama in Ancient Greece was a public, multi-sensory, multi-arts experience, filled with music and dance, poetry and stories, and masks and costumes. It was meant to stimulate catharsis- a purging or release of emotions and performed to honor the god Dionysus.
At the center of Epidaurus – the most famous healing shrine in Ancient Greece -lay a great open air theater. Was it more like TV in a hospital room – a mere distraction- or intensive therapy – powerful and potentiality life altering ?
Imagine healer and healed alike swept up and transformed by the spectacle of Ancient drama. The power and magic of the ritual raises the crowd to a soaring level of intensity, unleashing spiritual energies, transforming minds and souls, and even bodies in some mysterious way, contributing to the healing forces at the shrine.
Our ability to respond to the presence of art in so many ways creates a wide open field in our new understanding of health, illness and art. How this arts and healing connection will impact and compliment 21st century medicine is still an open question. But lots of people are giving it a look. (See Links below)