Hermes Greek messenger god, swift and cunning, portrayed
with winged feet, wearing a winged helmet and
carrying a caduceus, a serpent-entwined, magic wand
that symbolizes spiritual illumination. Hermes also was
a patron god of magic, using his caduceus to cast spells.
As god of travelers, his image was erected at crossroads;
he was charged with escorting the souls of the dead to
the underworld. The dog is associated with Hermes for
its intelligence and devotion.
According to myth, Hermes was born of Zeus and
Maia, daughter of Atlas. He was a shrewd thief from his
earliest hours. Before nightfall on his first day of life, he
stole most of Apollo’s heifers. Zeus made him return the
heifers. In contrition, Hermes invented the lyre and gave
it to Apollo. Hermes continued to play malicious tricks
but also was generous in his protection of others: for
instance, he saved Odysseus from the magical spells of
Hermes appears in Greek mythology more often than
any other deity. The Greeks identified him closely with
the Egyptian god of wisdom and magic, Thoth. Hermes is
said to have learned the mysteries of the universe, which
he sought to teach others. Hermes has been equated with
Odin and Wotan in Norse and Teutonic mythology, and
Hermes, along with Thoth, is personified in Hermes
Trismegistus, a mythical figure said to have written the
Hermetica texts of ancient sacred learning and lore.
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Categories: Paganism and Witchcraft
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