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Exploring Pagan Traditions in Rockford, IL

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Hellenic

Hermes The Multi-faceted

Born in a cave of Mount Cyllene, Arcadia to Zeus and Maia, the daughter of Atlas, Hermes is an old God whose existence is recorded as early as Linear B tablets of the Mycenaean civilization from the 15th to 13th century BCE.  The second youngest of the 12 Olympians. So cunning was the child that just shortly after his birth, he escaped from his cradle, went to Pieiria, and stole the oxen of Apollo. 

The multi-faceted Hermes is known as the Olympian god of herds and flocks, travelers and hospitality, roads and trade, thievery and cunning, heralds and diplomacy, language and writing, athletic contests and gymnasiums, astronomy and astrology. He was the herald and personal messenger of Zeus, King of the Gods, and also the guide of the dead who led souls down into the underworld.

Aesop featured him in several of his fables, as ruler of the gate of prophetic dreams, as the god of athletes, of edible roots, and of hospitality. He also said that Hermes had assigned each person his share of intelligence.

PERSONALITY

Hermes’ character is believed to be disarmingly charming, and friendly towards all. In working with this God your unique personal gnosis may show him in many different ages throughout his life.  While one person may view him as the energetic and mischievous child, another may experience him in later years as a wisened traveler.  Hermes can be a trickster, with a penchant for fraud, perjury, and the inclination to steal.  It has often been said that he is friend to everyone, which can make him difficult to work with in unexpected ways.  The idea of his being the herald and messenger of the gods, of his travelling from place to place and concluding treaties, necessarily implied the notion that he was the promoter of social intercourse and of commerce among men.

ASSOCIATIONS

  • Herma – Piles of stones to mark roadsides.
  • Hare
  • Cattle Herds
  • Dove Killer Hawk
  • Tortise
  • The Number Four
  • Crocus
  • Strawberry Tree
  • Palm Trees
  • Golden Short Sword
  • Shepard’s Pipe – Invented by Hermes and traded to Apollon
  • Ram – As the God seen most to care for and increase flocks
  • Winged Boots – Gave him swift flight through the air.
  • Winged Hats & Travelers Hat – His wide-brimmed felt cap was the hat of Aidoneus was said to render its wearer invisible.
  • Heralds Rod – which could lull mortals to sleep, or cause them to wake.
  • Hermes is said to have invented the alphabet, numbers, astronomy, music, the art of fighting, gymnastics, the cultivation of the olive tree, measures, weights, and many other things.
  • Sacrifices offered to him consisted of incense, honey, cakes, pigs, and especially lambs and young goats.

DAY OF HERMES

Hermes is associated with the number four as he was born on the fourth day of the month.  The fourth day of the week (Wednesday) was named after him.  The Greeks called it Hermes’ day, in Latin Mercurius’ day, and in Germanic it was Woden’s day–the Norse god Woden-Odin being identified with Hermes-Mercurius. 

Ancient Hymns To Hermes


“To Hermes, Fumigation from Frankincense.

Hermes, draw near, and to my prayer incline,

messenger of Zeus, and Maia’s son divine;

prefect of contests, ruler of mankind,

with heart almighty, and a prudent mind.

Celestial messenger of various skill,

whose powerful arts could watchful Argos kill.

With winged feet ’tis thine through air to course,

O friend of man, and prophet of discourse;

great life-supporter, to rejoice is thine in arts gymnastic, and in fraud divine.

With power endued all language to explain,

of care the loosener, and the source of gain.

Whose hand contains of blameless peace the rod,

Korykion (Corycion), blessed, profitable God.

 Of various speech, whose aid in works we find,

and in necessities to mortal kind.

Dire weapon of the tongue, which men revere,

be present, Hermes, and thy suppliant hear;

assist my works, conclude my life with peace,

give graceful speech, and memory’s increase.”

Orphic Hymn 28 to Hermes (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :

Hestia Comes First

Hestia, was the daughter of Cronus, Titan of the Harvest, and Rhea, Mother of Gods. Part of the first generation of Olympians, she was the sister to Zeus, Hera, Demeter, Hades, Poseidon. Hestia is the first and last, oldest and youngest, of the children of Cronus. First born of the siblings, she was the first to be swallowed by Cronus in his attempt to circumvent prophecy and not have his throne usurped by his children. A Homeric Hymn from 700BC tells us that as the first to be devoured by Cronus, she was also the last to be yielded up again.

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Aphrodite: Goddess of Love

Aphrodite has two birth stories, with the most commonly believed story is that from Hesiod’s Theogony, that she was born when Cronus cut off Ouranus’s genitals and threw them into the sea. So potent was the sky father that a great sea foam arose and from the sea foam Aphrodite was born and was carried to shore a on a scallop shell, fully formed and radiating beauty. In the Illiad however, Homer it is mentions that Aphrodite’s parents were Zeus and Dione.

Aphrodite-sea-foam-birth.jpg

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Celebrating The Poseidea

Modern American pagans often consider Poseidon in the summer, when they make their way to beaches across the land.  However – in ancient Attica the month of Poseidon feel in mid-winter.

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Zeus Pinterest Board

 

The Purpose of Hellenic Prayer and Ritual

In ancient Greece, praying to the Gods is a sacred act – whether it be thanksgiving, praise, or simple conversation.   The purpose of prayer and ritual is that of humans out to be closer to a God in love and respect. The act of trying to become closer to the Gods also draws the Gods closer to you.

Check out the class notes from a White Oak Grove previous discussion.

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