Day 1: A Basic Introduction of the Deity; or Who is this God I have taken an Oath to?
(ll. 1-29) “Muse, sing of Hermes, the son of Zeus and Maia, lord of Cyllene and Arcadia rich in flocks, the luck-bringing messenger of the immortals whom Maia bare, the rich-tressed nymph, when she was joined in love with Zeus, — a shy goddess, for she avoided the company of the blessed gods, and lived within a deep, shady cave. There the son of Cronos used to lie with the rich-tressed nymph, unseen by deathless gods and mortal men, at dead of night while sweet sleep should hold white-armed Hera fast. And when the purpose of great Zeus was fixed in heaven, she was delivered and a notable thing was come to pass. For then she bare a son, of many shifts, blandly cunning, a robber, a cattle driver, a bringer of dreams, a watcher by night, a thief at the gates, one who was soon to show forth wonderful deeds among the deathless gods. Born with the dawning, at mid-day he played on the lyre, and in the evening he stole the cattle of far-shooting Apollo on the fourth day of the month; for on that day queenly Maia bare him.” (This translation, by Evelyn-White, is in the public domain.)
This last year, I took an Oath of Dedication to the God Hermes. As part of this fulfillment, I am to immerse myself in the lore, praxis and philosophy of Hermes; interestingly, this also includes vows not to lie, steal or cheat (except in acts of war). I have taken this oath very, very seriously as I know nothing short of insanity awaits should I break it. I thought I knew Hermes until I began doing devotionals. According to Theoi.com (a most excellent resource) , “HERMES was the great Olympian God of animal husbandry, roads, travel, hospitality, heralds, diplomacy, trade, thievery, language, writing, persuasion, cunning wiles, athletic contests, gymnasiums, astronomy, and astrology. He was also the personal agent and herald ofZeus, the king of the gods. Hermes was depicted as either a handsome and athletic, beardless youth, or as an older bearded man. His attributes included the herald’s wand orkerykeion (Latin caduceus), winged boots, and sometimes a winged travellers cap and chlamys cloak.”
Hermes is the quintessence Ideas. During my undergraduate work I overcame a test-anxiety which developed early in my college education. A witch taught me a great spell: “By the Wings of Mercury and the Wisdom of Athena”, and I would eat a piece of chocolate, sitting there savoring it whilst my classmates dove into their tests. I sat with it melting in my mouth, gently recalling rituals of the night before as I studied…imagining my Self wearing a helmet of silver, wings like an eagle flanking either side, and all the information at my fingertips…recalling easily through my mind what I needed, sleeping on books with them literally under my head to absorb through osmosis. Any and all methodologies I tried and succeeded against many odds (graduate with a double major in Religious Studies and Humanities, with honors).
Classically Greek, Hermetically Egyptian, sometimes old and at other times a youth, Hermes is a trickster and catalyst. He is swift, a patron of travelers as Hermes also travels the expanse of the Multiverse…sometimes with wings on feet, to fly Him quickly. He is a mover and a shaker, this One…surviving amongst the ceremonial magicians and evolving into a modern Deity. In a flash, He sparks like neurotransmitters, at the crossroads of information; I bet Hermes inspired the internet. He is sometimes the consort to Hekate…in chthonic mode, Hermes guides the Dead to their respective place in the afterlife, in opposition to my Lady who leads the Dead out of Hades. They are the only two who can do this; even almighty Zeus cannot travel through ALL the realms with such ease. His task of shepherding juxtaposes with Hekate’s reaping. They are two sides of the same coin in many ways. It is through Her I am getting to know Him.