30 Days of Hermes: Titles and Epithets

Day 7: Names and Epithets

7. Instead of listing each and every epithet known to be associated with Hermes, I have decided to choose a few which resonated with me. As I am learning more about Him throughout this process in detail, it is equally important to explore what instinct tells me as well.

Let me first begin with (Ανγελος Αθανατων) Angelos Athanatôn, the title “Messenger of the Gods”; the role of Hermes as speeding angel through heavens and earth. I keep saying I do not believe in angels...if I DID, they would probably more resemble Hermes than the winged and delicate creatures commonly associated with Christianity. Hermes speaks all the languages, talks to all Gods regardless of pantheon, and in His persuasive cunning can even bend their ear for suppliants. Although primarily He councils and works for Daddy Zeus as Diaktoros, (Διακτορος), Hermes is a minister and friend to all. Ever wise from seeing all the world, he is also the runner of messages, receiver of gossip and formless wonderboy of the internet. He is the Dôtor Eaôn , “Giver of Good Things”, a prosperity bestow-er.

Then there is the darker side of Hermes as Polytropos (Πολυτροπος ), wily trickster and shapeshifter. Hermes Psychopompos and Chthonios are both epithets shared with Hekate, as guide of souls to other worlds, primarily revolving around the work in the underworld; a.k.a. Athanatos Diaktoros. Whilst Hekate guides the lost Dead out of Hades and into new realms of the soul, Hermes leads them to Charon, the ferryman who ushers them to underworld destinies. In this role, Hermes is the great caretaker of souls and graves.

Souls on the Banks of the Acheron, painted by Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl in 1898.

Souls on the Banks of the Acheron, painted by Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl in 1898.