Is there a defense against something you can’t see?

Today, we’re struggling through a pandemic, a deadly scourge that hasn’t been seen in the United States, or Europe, since the 1915 Spanish Flu. With a promising vaccine on the horizon, billions of people are relieved, excited, and eager to resume life.

We’re so lucky that we live in the future with modern medicine and brilliant scientists and researchers have found an answer to the Covid19 virus.

What would we do without them? What did people do in the past?

The roots of medicine are ancient, branching through the millennia to a time when people relied on local herbs and healing to treat ailments and wounds. At times, when these traditions failed, people turned to incantations and magic.

For example, a third-century CE treatment for malaria was to wear an amulet with the inscription “abracadabra” for nine days, then throw it over your shoulder into an eastward-running stream.

Do you wear talismans and charms? Do you have faith in rituals? In times of trouble, people turn to remedies and treatments that aren’t always recommended, but if they provide you comfort and don’t hurt anyone, then carry on. Just one request — wear a mask!

Abracadabra for protective magic

This “Cure for Memitertian Fever” is offered by Quintus Serenus Sammonicus (c. 370 CE–212 CE) in his manuscript Liber Medicinalis:

“Write several times on a piece of paper the word ‘Abracadabra,’ and repeat the words in the lines below but take away letters from the complete word and let the letters fall away one at a time in each succeeding line. Take these away ever, but keep the rest until the writing is reduced to a narrow cone. Remember to tie these papers with flax and bind them round the neck.”