A Stellar Vaccination or A Spirituality for Unwanted Visitors
The Greeks called cold’s cousin, the flu—“the sweating sickness,” reported Hippocrates in 412 B.C. The “flu” is shorthand for the Italian “influenza,” since the dangerous influence of the stars was thought to cause that sickness. The stars, not germs or viruses, were the source of the fever, vomiting, headache and runny noise. For centuries the most common cure for the flu was bleeding the patient. The 1917-1918 deadly pandemic, when it also was known as “the Spanish Fever,” resulted worldwide in over 100 million deaths!
Today’s best protection isn’t being bled but being vaccinated with a flu shot…and frequently washing your hands. The influenza virus, like its cousin the cold, is spread through the air, and victims of it are easily contaminated by door handles, money, handrails and any surface touched by the public. Frequent hand washing with soap and water is strongly urged as the typical person touches their face up to 400 times each day, and through the eyes, nose, mouth and ears the virus easily enters the body. Along with the usual symptoms, the flu also can cause irritability, depression, crabbiness and impatience.
The French mystic Simone Weil held that real spiritual transformation can only begin when we relinquish our positions as the center of things! Yet any sickness, the flu’s miseries and even the common cold coerce us to the center of importance, pity and sympathy! When this happens, volunteer to enter the Winter Spiritual Boot Camp where with Marine Corp discipline you jerk the spotlight away from yourself to shine onto others and their needs.
If after strenuous efforts you are still grumpy and irritable, point your index finger skyward—and blame it on the stars!