Thursday, June 3, 2010

On the mystery that is Hermes.

I am not a scholar, that should be obvious from my writings, but I like to think that I am sharing an experience of something here that helps others, not be like me, but maybe establish their own connection to a greater reality, a greater experience of life and the divine, which I do not insist must be one way or the other, except I am fully convinced it is not monotheistic in nature, but essentially polytheistic.

When I speak of the mystery of Hermes, I am taking about the mystery of his being in relation to his mythos.

Why would a god, a being of such utter pervasiveness and sublime beauty, be a messenger? Why would a God, Zeus, need a messenger? Why do the Gods of Myth always seem to fall into a very familiar pattern derived from human social norms?

The answer to that last question is easy enough, we human beings interpret the world around us by relating it to our own nature, so we envision the Gods as human-like, and we imagine their behavior to be like our own. We also envision the Gods to fit into a hierarchy that fits into our conception of a hierarchy, in the case of Hellenismos, a patriarchal monarchy. A kingdom ruled by Zeus, who is father or sibling to most of his court.

Hermes, often represented as youthful, young even, is then at the bottom of that hierarchy, still a prince of the realm, but a bit far in line for the throne of heaven. Surely this is human interpretation, at least in its details, but what about in its more subtle implications? What mystery lies beneath the truth of this hierarchy, and should it really matter?

In these many years I have come to my own conclusions, they are likely worthless to most of you, as they are simply my own personal gnosis, my own personal interpretation of what I perceive around me, but they are as follows.

The Gods are eternal, I have said this before, and the Gods exist as both part of and transcendent to the universe as we know it. But each god is, essentially, sovereign. The God we call Zeus does not really rule the other Gods, not in reality, but in relation to interaction with mortal life, and in our current age, he does rule in a sense, because his power, his influence on the cosmos, gives him the responsibility to mediate what the other Gods are doing in order to maintain a balance that keeps the universe going.

In this we then see something of a need, a need for a figure to take on a responsibility of fully transcending all that is and, at the same time, immersing himself, consciously, into an full on interaction with all the various realms of reality and with mortal life as well. This being, who we call Hermes, is not so much a messenger as he is a conduit. A conduit between mortal life, physical reality, and the eternal realm that is the ultimate dimension, that which encompasses everything.

The mystery to me is why? Why must such a being provide such a conduit if Gods can accomplish anything?

The answer becomes this. The Gods are not capable of doing everything at all times. Within the reality of their eternal existence, within that eternal realm of infinite possibilities, they can do anything, but our universe is limited, and like a painter with a very limited pallet of colors to paint with, they have to make due with what they have available to them in our realm of existence and work on this canvas with only the colors available to them here.

I imagine that some Gods have such an intense effect on our plane of existence that something, or someone, has to mediate it in order to prevent damaging it, and as such, Zeus and Hermes form that mediating force in the cosmos, Zeus by being the “Lord” that allows such interaction, and is thus the “King” and Hermes, who establishes the routes to be taken, the means by which they can interact with the cosmos, is the messenger that allows that which the King allows to be disseminated into this limited dimension of space and time.

But, in the end, does this really matter to us as people?

In some ways, it does not, but in others it does, because that which happens above, in the eternal realms, is always somehow reflected in our world as well. As above so below, as I have heard said somewhere, and just as the mighty cosmic forces of nature, like gravity, chaos, and repulsion, find manifestation in the behaviors of life forms, so too the divine forces of the universe find manifestation in us as well, and as such, we can learn from what myth and the exploration of it through philosophical exploration of its themes has to teach us so that we can better understand each other and the ways we behave in the world. Just as an exploration of the cosmos and its forces helps us to advance as technological beings, so too does an exploration of the divine cosmos, the divine reality, whatever way we may be capable of understanding it, provide us with a way to improve as spiritual beings.

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