(Blogger's note: I had a picture of Hermes Logios and an explanation that it was a photo of a 5th century Roman copy of a Greek statue 600 years older. I was informed that it was objectionable because of exposed male genitalia. This got me to recall that it theoretically violates both Blogger and facebook, though it does not violate the integrity of Wikipedia, where I found it for anyone to see and copy as part of the Hermes information. The Wiki information gave me the lead I needed to find a better presentation of the same basic picture on another site, which I chose to present here and have subsequently removed.
Mostly I was thinking of the art, the amazing attention to accuracy and the fact that this incredible work of art was once an expression of the Divine, and to my mind and heart still is. I removed the photo of that statue because it is not my intention to offend nor even remotely did I think to circumvent policy. This self censorship may be appropriate to Blogger and facebook but is so not in the spirit of Hermes, nor his son, Pan, nor his younger brother, Dionysus.)
Wiki says: Hermes is the great messenger of the gods in Greek mythology and additionally a guide to the Underworld. Hermes was born on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia. An Olympian god, he is also the patron of boundaries and of the travelers who cross them, of shepherds and cowherds, of the cunning of thieves, of orators and wit, of literature and poets, of athletics and sports, of weights and measures, of invention, and of commerce in general. His symbols include the tortoise, the rooster, the winged sandals, the winged hat, and the caduceus.
The Homeric hymn to Hermes invokes him as the one "of many shifts (polytropos), 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."
He protects and takes care of all the travelers, miscreants, harlots, old crones and thieves that pray to him or cross his path. He is athletic and is always looking out for runners, or any athletes with injuries who need his help.
Hermes is a messenger from the gods to humans, sharing this role with Iris. An interpreter who bridges the boundaries with strangers is a hermeneus. Hermes gives us our word "hermeneutics", the study and theory of interpretation. In Greek a lucky find was a hermaion. Hermes delivered messages from Olympus to the mortal world. He wears shoes with wings on them and uses them to fly freely between the mortal and immortal world. Hermes was the second youngest of the Olympian gods, being born before Dionysus.
Hermes, as an inventor of fire, is a parallel of the Titan, Prometheus. In addition to the lyre, Hermes was believed to have invented many types of racing and the sports of wrestling and boxing, and therefore was a patron of athletes.
According to prominent folklorist Yeleazar Meletinsky, Hermes is a deified trickster*. Hermes also served as a psychopomp, or an escort for the dead to help them find their way to the afterlife (the Underworld in the Greek myths). In many Greek myths, Hermes was depicted as the only god besides Hades, Persephone, Hecate, and Thanatos who could enter and leave the Underworld without hindrance.
*Thus Hermes is Coyote. Also Hermes is the God of esoteric wisdom, the hidden wisdom, and therefore of the European Hermetic disciplines, such as certain forms of Astrology, Alchemy, the mysteries of magic and certain strains of the Gnostic rites.
If you need your boundaries protected, pray to Hermes, for He appreciates them more than the other Gods.
Thief Of Secrets
If I stole secrets
anymore I would steal yours
and leave behind small
round pebbles in trade
hoping you would accept them
as someone's good gift.
I would not admit
to you I took your secrets
even though I weep.
September 26, 2009 10:54 AM