Monday, November 23, 2009

In taking this time with Hermes...

There are three aspects of Hermes that I want to try to call upon as I try to work my way into his domain of influence.

1: The primary aspect that most of us are familiar with is that of Hermes as the God of travelers, of movement between places. This is important to me because I consider this whole exercise as a form of movement. Movement from the me that was to the me that is.

2: Hermes as God of boundaries, because I need to set myself new boundaries, new ways of thinking, and new methods of finding the boundaries in my life and recognizing them so that I know what my limits are, hopefully in preparation to exceed them.

3: Hermes as a god of sexuality. This is very important to me since my time with Aphrodite taught me that I need to think about it. That I need to place myself in a position to not act on sex simply because my body wants it, and all our bodies want it, but because I, the thinking me, wants it. I should not be lead simply by my urges, but by my conscious desires. Hermes is a god of sexuality in a way very different from Aphrodite because he is part of the youthful masculine ideal of sex and sexuality.

I suppose to many, the first two seem to be of paramount importance while the third seems base, but bot to me. Since the death of someone I loved many years ago, I have indulged myself in lots of sex, I have been careful about it, but I have indulged. It is a good thing, the feeling of it, the smell of it, the joy of it, but what I have only done very very seldom is allowed myself to love someone on that personal level. That romantic level.

Now, you might wonder if Aphrodite was not the one to go to to learn about this aspect of myself, but she was not, she opened my eyes to the problem and now, as I move forward, I must take that and try to bring it to bear in my meditations. To allow the God who is the lord of these very boundaries to give me the strength to break through them.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Just a quick note to remind you, if you read this, that I am present on


Twitter: Me and HellenicPrayers (a short “prayer” a day almost every day)

And I am a member of various Hellenic Lists on YahooGroups

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Messenger of the Gods

It is something of a contradiction to me that the Gods would need messengers, helpers, angels, etc. After all, they are Gods. But in my readings, and no, it is not just reading academic books on the subject of Gods, myth, and religion, but actually almost any kind of reading, since you never know where an idea is coming from, or who may inspire a new way to look at something. I have come to understand that there is far more to the idea of a manifestation or epiphany of a god than meets the eye.

If the Gods are these vast eternal beings, as I believe they are, then compressing down to a level of interaction as limited as the mortal must be an undertaking beyond our abilities to understand. After all, have you ever tried to get a cat to understand you? Not just obey simple commands, but actually understand the concepts in your head? It’s impossible. The paradigm shift between man and cat is too large, there is little commonality between how we see the world and how we see it to ever get a viable conversation going with us somehow coming to an understanding that we must put ourselves in their world in order to communicate with them because they cannot put themselves in ours. (the cats, that is)

Gods must face a similar problem when dealing with human beings. We are wondrous creatures. We are resourceful, intelligent, violent, capricious, yet for all that, we are still mortal, with a limited facility for both comprehension and perception. They are eternal, capable of knowing all that is and has been. They do not simply know things as we know them, these things are part of them. They flow and ebb through the cosmos like the waters of the currents of the ocean do around the Earth.

They have too a capacity to understand the myriad probabilities that make up our progression through time. They can look upon these and see, with high precision, what might be in ways we are simply incapable of doing. Yet, in order to communicate with us, they must condense themselves to our level, to our dimension of being, and in so doing cut themselves off from the grand picture. Is this even possible for a God to do? And before you ask, of course there re things that even Gods cannot do, after all, belief in the ability to do the absolutely impossible is illogical. If something is impossible, it doesn’t matter how omnipotent you are, you cannot do it.

But even things like possibility are relative. I mean, it is impossible for me as a human being to fully comprehend, and by that I mean to fully envision and recreate, the higher dimensional planes. We cannot because we exit in a particular set of dimensional planes, and as long as that is the case we are locked into that paradigm, locked into the possibilities those dimensions offer us. So, relative to our dimensional planes, and how those operate in relation to the rest, the Gods are restricted in what they can do. Mayhap an eleven dimensional being can be turned into a porcupine with the wave of a hand, but not a three dimensional (or four dimensional) being like you and I.

I theorize that when the Gods have appeared to people, and no, I don’t think they are constantly walking the Earth appearing in toast and trees and the moldy stains on walls, they do so as pieces of themselves. Do you remember the movie Meet Joe Black? (Brad Pitt at his most deliciously sexy, by the way.) Do you remember that he was death, and that death had come to earth to learn what it was like to be human. That death had incarnated as a human being, or rather, in a human being, in order to comprehend. He was asked how it was that death could be here? Did it mean death had stopped while death was on vacation?

The answer, of course, was no. Death explains that he is but a small portion of who he truly is, a shard, a small infinitesimal part of a much greater whole, and that he was here and there, and when he was no longer here, among us, he would simply rejoin the greater part of himself.

That is how I see the Gods appearing to human beings. It does, also, explain, partially, the idea of aspects and the way Gods appear so differently to different peoples throughout the world.

But what of messengers?

Hermes, the God of Messengers, and Iris, his brightly colored sister, are said to travel the worlds bringing messages to humans from the Gods. In this sense, this aspect of the God is like an angelos, an angel, rather than a deity. He acts as a helper to the Gods. But as a conveyor of the spirit, he acts as a helper to man, or perhaps to the underworld. Hermes’ role is that of a communicator, and so one has to wonder, is there something about Hermes, the deity, that is particularly well suited to this? Is it that Hermes, God of Travelers, mastered the art of splitting himself into little pieces that he might constantly interact with the many dimensional realms of the cosmos? Perhaps.

But I think, maybe, there is something more to it than that.

I mentioned in my little bit about Meet Joe Black that Death had incarnated in a human being, correcting myself when I said he incarnated as a human being. There is a difference there. One is the taking over of a life, perhaps through possession, or through the animation and keeping alive of a dead person. The other is a true incarnation. A divine spirit being born and living a human life then dying as all mortals do and returning to it’s original place or state of being.

This concept is not alien to us, the Christians believe God incarnated as Jesus of Nazareth, Hindus believe Rama and Krishna are such divine incarnations, and in our own religion there are demi-gods who are said to have been the “children” of Gods, such as Herakles or Achilles. Were these human beings incarnations? After all, when a God impregnates a woman, is he not leaving a small part of himself in her to join with her and be born as a mortal being? Was Herakles both a man and Zeus himself?

I do not know of any particular character in the myths that I could rightly claim to be Hermes incarnate, unless they are all incarnations of the divine messenger, bringing something to the world that did not already exist through his incarnation. (A list of Herme’s Family is here:

But what is it about Hermes that makes him especially suitable to travel the worlds? Why does he choose to fracture himself like this in order to be a part of it all?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hermes Who?


To most who follow the Hellenic Religion, the Gods, like Hermes, have clearly defined spheres of influence. Athena is the leading authority on all things relating to wisdom, Aphrodite is the ultimate authority on love and sex, and Hera is the authority on marriage. But the truth behind all of this is actually far more complicated than that, and seeing the Gods in so limited a way can be problematic.

To some, the Gods are of an inherent nature. Athena is inherently the lady of wisdom because it is her nature to be so, that Apollo is the healer because it is his nature to heal, but that leaves me a bit cold. You see, the Gods appear in so many ways throughout the world, that I have come to understand that they are given their religious iconography, their aspected forms, through their interactions with us. We give them specific attributes based on their interactions with us.

When Hermes answered the prayers of the people for protection of their lands, their herds, their livelihood, they imbued him, in their prayers and devotions, and most importantly, in their art, with the attributes we know today.

This isn't to say that there isn't something inherent in this divine being we call Hermes that was drawn to particular things, particular prayers, or particular circumstances, but that the particular attributes we place importance in are, in fact, given to the God by the people, almost as a thank you, as they acknowledge the help and intervention of a divine agency.

So, who is Hermes?

Mythologies all over the world acknowledge beings that travel the worlds. Beings that make their way from the divine to the mortal with ease, not just because as Gods or angels or spirits they are capable of such, but because it is even their divine duty to do so.

In our mythos, Hermes is a child of the great king. Child of the highest of the Gods, great and powerful Zeus himself. He was a prince of the Olympian court and it's divine messenger. When a direct message was needed between the upper world and the world of Olympus, it was Hermes, or sometimes Iris, who was called upon to descend into the world of men to deliver it. If you look at the Christian mythos, the angel that appears to Mary to deliver the message of God that she is chosen to bear a child is like Hermes was to the Greeks, just as the being that appears to Mary and leaves her with child is like Zeus, who is said to take many forms as he interacts with women who then bear his children.

But Hermes went further. Hermes was not just an agent of Olympus. In many ways, he was also an agent of mankind, and, of Hades, for Hermes traveled not just between the shining world of the Gods above, but also between the world of men and the world below, the world of the dead.

Here too Hermes had what can be called a female counterpart, a goddess that traveled between the world of men and the underworld, Hekate, and it is here where we run into Hermes as not just some glorified postman, but as a true God, a deity who had a clear and defined domain. Here we see Hermes not as an Angelos, but as a Theos with duties to the divine nature of the cosmos itself, as part of the balance of the universe as we experience it. Hermes a messenger of entropy.

Lord Hermes, I call to you

Bright wanderer
Bearer of the staff
I am calling to you

Like the mists of time
Or the distant horizon
You hide the ways

Bright messenger
Light on your feet
I am calling to you

Like the lines on a map
Or the marker of land
You define the ways

Bright traveller
Conveyor of words
I am calling to you

Like the wind on the grass
Or the board on the surf
You travel the ways

Bright God of motion
Bearer of gifts
I am calling to you

Thursday, November 5, 2009

So long, Aphrodite

From the moment a boy hits puberty, nay, long before that at a subconscious level, he is at the mercy of Aphrodite. Biology has left him sometimes trapped in a cycle of sex, lust, and love that can be almost crippling for those who cannot differentiate between these. Coming to know Aphrodite is something we all do, Hellenistos or not, yet the subtleties of Aphrodite are something we don’t ever come to understand because our culture places such an unrealistic expectation on Love.

Love, you see, is something our culture has mythologized and made almost magical. The cure all for many who spend their lives in a desperate search for “the one” and hope to find that perfect lover who will complete them. Big mistake.

But our culture also conflates love and sex, as if the two only happened together and any time they happen without each other we are taught that we are committing a sin. This too as a very unhealthy ideal our culture feeds us.

But worst of all is how lust, which is different from both sex and love, has been so pushed down all of our throats in highly contradictory ways. Lust, you see, is not really about sex. Lust is an emotion of desire. It is the overwhelming desire for something one does not possess, or someone one has seen and desires to have contact with.

These differences, and how they connect to each other in varied ways, give us the continuum of emotion that we associate with sexual intercourse, and these can be as sublime as love and as low as hate, yet they all lead to the same inevitable end, the union of people in the act of worship to the goddess of love.

But we all know that all of these, while they cannot exist in a vacuum, can be acted upon without the others. I can love a man and make love with him, and be enraptured by the emotional links that can form when emotion and sex combine. But it is also possible for me to have rough romping sex with someone whose name I do not even know, and the experience can be just as passionate, just as intense as the other, and in the act of “worship” the goddess is just as much there as she is in the other.

But emotions are always present. You have to kinda like the person, or at least have a deep sense of physical attraction to him, in order to have a good sexual experience, but emotions are spontaneous things, and they will come when they will, at her instigation, and when they do they can be a dangerous thing. Our emotions can quickly turn to darkness and self destruction, and jealousy, that green eyed monster, is seldom far from the whole sex/love complex.

But I am not a jealous person. It is perhaps one of the few things about myself that I think about and feel a sense of pride in. I feel that any person I love and loves me, is a wholly independent person, he doesn’t complete me, he doesn’t make me whole, he is a person, I am a person, and I respect that enough to think that I should have no say in how that person feels or acts, that he is free to be who he wishes to be without my interference. Sure, if there are decisions to be made that affect us both I feel I need to be consulted, but as individuals, we have to be ourselves and live life to the fullest both together and apart.

And I have never been one to feel a sense of sexual jealousy either. I know it sounds strange, but when I am in a monogamous relationship I am fiercely loyal, and if I am in an open relationship, I remain loyal to the emotion of the relationship but am perfectly willing to be a total slut. This is the Eros and Aphrodite complex in me.

Eros, in my theological view, is not the God of love, he is the god of attractions. From gravity to the subtle attractions between people, and this includes purely sexual attractions. And because I see this difference in my theological view I also see it in my life, or perhaps because I see this distinction in life I also see it in my theology, and that gives me the ability to distinguish between the carnal needs of men and the emotions that bind us. So I can have an open relationship with someone who, like me, loves to indulge in sex and remain completely non plussed.

For this reason, sex cannot be used as a weapon against me. If you are with me and decide to have an affair to get back at me for something, you have only bothered yourself, because you having sex with another will not bother me. What will bother me is your dishonesty. If we have entered into a monogamous relationship, I can promise you that I will never cheat on you, and if I feel that our relationship is one that is not good for me, I will end it before I seek out a new partner. I expect you to do the same. Don’t profess to want a monogamous relationship and then cheat. That I will not have. Let’s talk about it and decide whether to end it or open it up, but don’t cheat on me. That dishonesty will end the relationship instantly.

I have come to see this as Aphrodite the Warrior and Protector. She has given me a clear sense of what I will and will not accept in my lovers, and as a result she is protecting me, and the fierceness with which I stand by these ideals is her Warrior aspect coming to me.

All of these things have come as a long process of learning to understand my inner self, and Aphrodite has instructed me on how to do this not by hitting me over the head with a frying pan, but by simply showing me a mirror and forcing me to look at it and cry.

It is not a difficult thing to think about one’s inner self, but it is an excruciatingly painful experience if you look into that mirror and are honest with yourself. As Goddess of Emotion, Aphrodite seeks to help you understand what you feel, even if it hurts, and as Goddess of Love, she wants you to come to love what you see in that mirror, changing yourself if necessary, in an honest manner. Don’t turn away from the parts of you that suck, embrace them and then use what else you see to change it. Come to an inner balance, because that inner balance, that purposeful merging of your emotions into a cohesive whole that is you is what self love is about. In fact, that is love in its most powerful aspect. The all encompassing and pervasive love that so many religions in the world seek to understand. To love oneself, thus giving you the ability to share that love with others, is the love that Christians speak of, the Moslems say they feel from Allah, that Hindus seek in meditation, and that is the promise of Nirvana.

Aphrodite Ourania, the heavenly, is that love. She is that force that forces us to love, to lust, to desire and then to see those things and seek to understand them in an inner balancing act that leads to inner peace. And I thank her for teaching me these things in these long years gone by, and for pointing them out to me again in these last few months that I have spent with her.

Blessed be Aphrodite
Heavenly Queen of Love
Bless my heart with your presence
Now and forever more.