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Ways of Worship: Hermes

Hellenic Witch/Wiccan Worship of Hermes

Hermes is the messenger to the Gods and very widely seen as the trickster God. But he also rules over animal husbandry, roads/travel, hospitality, diplomacy, trade, coins, thievery, language, writing, luck, athletic contests, astronomy/astrology, boundaries, trade, heraldry, merchants, commerce, gambling, magic, and a guide to the dead. His Roman form is Mercury. He is the son of Zeus and Maia. Maia was one of the Pleiads, daughters of the titan Atlas who traveled with Artemis. Hermes was one of 12 Olympians and the second youngest of the group. Though he has no wife, he has many possible consorts Merope, Aphrodite, Dryope, Peitho, and even Hecate. With this, it is said he has had many children, though their actual lineage is disputed in the lore. These children are Pan, Hermaphroditus, Tyche, Abderus, Autolycus, Eudorus, Angelia, and Myrtilus.

In classic tales, he is said to enjoy gambling and drinking with the humans and then fair their souls to the Underworld to ensure they make it there safe. Hermes often stole from the rich and gave to the poor, making him the original Robin Hood. Possibly my favorite and best-known lore of Hermes is that of when he was first born in Homeric Hymn to Hermes. When Hermes was just a small baby, he got bored and hungry one day. To cure his boredom, he went outside and found a big, beautiful herd of cattle. He decided to lure the cattle away from their grazing and fashioned a lyre to do this. When he got many of the cattle away, he thought and thought, and eventually created fire (not stole it like Prometheus, but created it himself). He then cut the cattle into 12 pieces and offered the best meat and hide to his father.

When baby Hermes had finished his feast, he fashioned a pair of large sandals to confuse all those who may be after him for the theft as he snuck back into his cradle. The cattle happened to be Apollo's sacred cows and when he found them missing he was furious. He ran to Zeus in a fit of rage, demanding something be done. Zeus went to his newborn son to question him, but found nothing but a cooing baby laying in his bed. Zeus found that a baby could not have done this and moved on, but Apollo wasn't convinced. Apollo had heard the beautiful music that lured away his precious cattle and decided to offer Hermes a trade. In exchange for the lyre, Hermes would get all of Apollo's herd. Hermes agreed to the trade and happily gave his older half-brother the instrument.

Altar, Offerings, Symbols

General: Honey, wine, milk, turtle shells/turtle-shaped objects, money, written messages/mail/stories, feathers, dive, lyre, Talaria (winged sandals), caduceus (staff), and Petasos (winged helmet).

Plants: Strawberry trees, crocus, hydrangea, chrysanthemum, olives/olive oil, and strawberries.

Animals: Cattle/oxen, turtles/tortoise, hawks, roster, rams, birds of omen, hares, snakes, and guard dogs.

Colors: Red, purple, silver, gold, copper, and black.

Scents: Lavender, strawberries, frankincense, and ink on parchment.

Gemstones/Metals: Marble, amethyst, eisenkiesel quartz, smoky quartz, copper, silver, and gold.

Prayers

There is a very long list of things to pray for: Creativity in writing, safety in traveling, the ability to travel, an idea of where to travel to, help practicing magic, luck, good fortune in bets, ability/help to play sports, connecting with your ancestors, choosing a new language to learn/help to learn a new language, finding the right place to volunteer, confidence in public speaking, backing you up in fighting for the "underdog," diplomacy, choosing the right way to honor the dead, strength to work out, reminder to give to the homeless, help learning/listening to astronomy/astrology, and the list goes on and on. 

Prayer to Hermes

Oh protector of travelers

Oh king of thieves

Oh messenger of the Gods

Please hear my praises
Please hear my thanks
Oh Lord Hermes

Invocation of Hermes

I call to the messengers of the blessed Gods,
More nimble than the wind
Faster than Zeus’s lighting
Angelos Athanaton
Come on winged feet

God of swift feet and messengers
I call to the clear-sighted one,

The clear-headed schemer,
The author of many cunning plans
Mechaniotes
Come to me by paths the wind
Like the writhing belly of a snake

God of snakes

And those who speak with forked-tongue

For I solemnly swear I am up to no good.

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