Day 10: Offerings; Historical and UPG“Histia, in the high dwellings of all, both deathless gods and men who walk on earth, you have gained an everlasting abode and highest honor; glorious is your portion and your right. For without you mortals hold no banquet—where one does not duly pour sweet wine in offering to Histia both first and last. And you, Slayer of Argos (Argus), son of Zeus and Maia, messenger of the blessed gods, bearer of the golden rod, giver of good, be favorable and help us, you and Histia, the worshipful and dear. Come and dwell in this glorious house in friendship together; for you two, well knowing the noble actions of men, aid on their wisdom and their strength. Hail, Daughter of Kronos (Cronos), and you also, Hermes, bearer of the golden rod! Now I will remember you and another song also.” (Hymn to Histia/Hestia XXIX)
Traditional offerings to pretty much all the Greek Gods usually includes olive oil and fumigation of some kind, in the case of Hermes it was historically camphor, styrax, or myrrh mixed with frankincense. Honey-comb and honey, clean water, figs, pork, eggs, garlic and onions were all offerings made for Hermes in His chthonic aspect, as these are foods connected with the Dead. Coins and devotional or votive offerings were also acceptable offerings.
In our Hermetikoi, we give Lord Hermes fig newton cookies. He actually really does prefer them, being a diverse God who does not mind modern conveniences but rather encourages them. Compact and ready for travel, these “cakes of the road” bring together the figs and something well known amongst the ancient people: grains, which had real value and were at one point currency. In my own praxis, I like to offer Hermes barley, rice, sunflower seeds, dried fruit…all thing which traders would have carried on ships to different ports.
We burn specifically copal resin, with nothing else mixed, and I gotta say how clean the smoke is…a very pungent smell to be sure, but it does not linger for too long and carries with it a golden energy. I actually prefer this to the old recipes as they remind me too much of Catholic services, although camphor seems it would be exciting to try with a lamp.
Libations are, and always have been, a large part of offerings to the deities, and throughout several different cultures too. As our priest often says: the difference between a spilled drink and a libation, is intention (or prayer). In our practice we offer a drink to Hermes and then share in the toast as sponde. In my own private praxis the relationship is more chthonic, as I receive both Hermes and Hekate as being of the Underworld, the Kthonios and Khthonia…psychopomps who are happy to accept libations and offerings poured into a pit or onto the earth directly (or into a bowl to be emptied in such a manner) as choe.
Beer is especially a favourite of Hermes, especially due to the alchemy of fermentation and the grains involved…liquid gold. The cheerful friendliness associated around drinking beer seem to be an environment Hermes would very much enjoy; biergartens, pubs, casinos especially as gambling and gaming are realms of luck He favors.