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Working with the God Hermes

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The God Hermes rules over boundaries, transitions, and communication and is a prominent figure in Greek mythology. As the messenger of the gods, he traverses effortlessly between the realms, carrying divine messages and guiding souls on their journeys. With his iconic winged sandals, Hermes embodies the spirit of adventure and quick thinking. Hermes also serves as the patron of travellers, merchants, thieves and tricksters and is associated with animal husbandry, writing and luck.

Hermes and witchcraft

Witches often work with deities by incorporating their symbols and attributes into their rituals and spellwork. We can tap into Hermes’ energy to enhance our communication skills, foster magical connections and embrace the transformative aspects of our craft. As a messenger of the gods, Hermes is seen as a facilitator of communication between the earthly realm and the spiritual realm, making him an ideal ally if you are seeking to enhance your intuitive abilities and connect with higher forces.

We may also call upon Hermes for assistance when we need help quickly, as he is known for his swiftness. Witches can ask for Hermes’ guiding presence during spells for travel, trade, transitions, luck, writing and abundance to name just a few. He is also associated with boundaries such as crossroads in a similar way to the goddess, Hecate.

Hermes counterparts from other pantheons

The Roman counterpart to Hermes is Mercury. Just like the God Hermes, Mercury served as the messenger of the gods. He was also associated with commerce and financial gain, and was the guide of souls to the underworld, reflecting similar roles Hermes had in Greek mythology.

The Celtic pantheon doesn’t have a direct equivalent to the God Hermes, as Celtic mythology is distinct from Greek and Roman mythology. However, the god Lugh is sometimes associated with Hermes due to his status as a god of skills, craftsmanship and possibly travel. Another potential Celtic counterpart might be the god Ogma, whose association with eloquence and language is similar to Hermes’s role as a messenger and communicator. However, it’s important to note that these associations are not direct parallels.

Myths associated with the God Hermes

One of the most well-known myths associated with the God Hermes is his birth and early adventures. According to the myth, Hermes was the son of Zeus, the king of the gods, and Maia, a nymph. He demonstrated his mischievous nature right from the start by stealing Apollo’s sacred cattle shortly after his birth. To conceal his tracks, Hermes crafted sandals with branches and walked backwards, confusing anyone who might track him.

Another significant myth involving Hermes is his role as a messenger of the gods. When Persephone was abducted by Hades, Hermes was dispatched by Zeus to negotiate her release.

Additionally, Hermes is known for his role as a protector of travellers and a guide to the Underworld. He is said to have led souls to the realm of the dead and ensured their safe passage. In some myths, Hermes assisted heroes on their quests, providing them with advice and magical tools to aid their journeys.

Overall, the myths associated with the God Hermes highlight his multifaceted nature as a trickster, messenger, guide and protector. He embodies the qualities of intelligence, eloquence, agility and adaptability, making him one of the most versatile and beloved figures in Greek mythology.

Hermes is associated with several symbols that represent different aspects of his character and roles.

Symbols of Hermes

Caduceus (or Kerykeion)

The most well-known symbol of Hermes is the caduceus, a winged staff with two snakes entwined around it. The caduceus is often associated with commerce, negotiation, and protection, making it a symbol of Hermes’ role as a messenger and guide between realms.

Talaria (Winged Sandals)

Hermes is typically depicted wearing winged sandals, known as talaria. These winged sandals symbolize his swiftness and ability to travel quickly between different realms, making him the messenger of the gods.

Petasos (Winged Hat)

Hermes is sometimes portrayed wearing a petasos, a broad-brimmed hat with wings. Similar to the winged sandals, the winged hat emphasizes his swift movement and messenger role.

Animals associated with the God Hermes

In Greek mythology, Hermes is associated with several animals, each representing different aspects of his character. The most commonly associated animals with Hermes are as follows.

The Ram (Aries)

Hermes is often depicted carrying a ram, symbolizing fertility and the ram’s association with the constellation Aries.

The Tortoise

Hermes is also associated with the tortoise or turtle, particularly in the myth of the invention of the lyre. He is said to have created the first lyre using a tortoise shell.

The Rooster

In some depictions, Hermes is accompanied by a rooster, which symbolizes vigilance and is associated with his role as a messenger waking the world with the crowing of the rooster.

The Hawk

Hermes is sometimes associated with the hawk, emphasizing his role as a messenger and a swift, vigilant deity.

It’s important to note that symbolism and associations in mythology can vary. The above animals are commonly linked to Hermes based on various myths and depictions in ancient Greek art and literature.

Suggested offerings to Hermes

Offerings suitable for Hermes can vary depending on the specific intention or relationship you wish to cultivate with the god. Here are some traditional offerings associated with Hermes.

Coins or small monetary donations

As the god of trade and commerce, Hermes appreciates offerings related to wealth and prosperity. You may like to place coins on a shrine or make small monetary donations to charities or causes aligned with Hermes’ attributes.

Fresh fruits

As a god of abundance, vitality and earthly pleasure, Hermes appreciates fruits such as apples, oranges, grapes, and figs. 

Honey and honey-based products

Hermes is known to have a sweet tooth and honey is considered a sacred offering. You can offer pure honey or honey-based products like honey cakes or candies. If you are vegan you can substitute maple syrup, agave or sugar.

Incense

Incenses associated with communication and travel such as frankincense, myrrh, or lavender, can be offered to invoke Hermes’ presence and enhance the connection between the mortal and divine realms.

Libations

You may like to make an offering of wine, water, or milk as this is a common practice in honouring deities. You can pour a small portion of the chosen liquid as an offering to the God Hermes, expressing your gratitude and respect.

Bread and baked goods

As Hermes is also associated with bakers and craftsmen, offerings of fresh bread or baked goods may also be appreciated.

Writing or artistic offerings

Hermes is associated with communication, writing, and the arts. Offerings can include poems, songs, drawings, or any creative expression that honours Hermes’ influence and inspires artistic endeavours.

Whenever you make an offering to Hermes, choose items that resonate with you and reflect your gratitude and reverence for Hermes.

Ritual to Honour the God Hermes

The following is an example ritual to honour Hermes. You can adapt this ritual to your own beliefs and practices as you wish. If you do not have all the necessary items simply use what you have. Bear in mind that this is a modern interpretation and not an authentic ancient Greek ritual.

What you need

  • A flat surface to work on such as a table or chest of drawers
  • Candle, LED candle or small lamp
  • Honey or maple syrup
  • Wine or grape juice
  • Olive oil
  • A bowl for the offerings
  • Four coins
  • A symbol to represent Hermes. This could be a statue or image of Hermes or an animal associated with him such as the turtle, ram or hawk. Alternatively, you can use an image of a pair of winged sandals or a caduceus (a staff with two snakes coiled around it)
  • Candle or incense (optional)

What to do

Preparation

Find a quiet place where you can perform the ritual without being disturbed. You can do this at home or out in nature somewhere secluded but safe. Set up your space with the symbol or symbols you have chosen to represent the God Hermes. Before beginning the ritual, cleanse your space and yourself to remove any negative energies. To do this, you may want to burn some incense, ring a bell or simply focus your intention on purity and protection.

Once you are ready, light the candle or lamp and call upon Hermes. You might say, “Hermes, messenger of the gods and god of trade, travel and boundaries, I call upon you. Please hear me and accept my offerings.

Offerings

Lay the coins one by one, saying for each, “I offer this to you, Hermes, as a symbol of my respect and recognition.” Next pour a small amount of olive oil, honey or maple syrup, wine or grape juice onto the ground or into a bowl as an offering. As you do this, you might say, “In the name of the traveller, the guide and the cunning one, I make this offering to you, Hermes.”

Meditation

Spend some time in quiet meditation. Think about the many roles of Hermes and how they might be relevant in your life. Ask for his guidance and protection if it feels right.

After you have spent some time in meditation, thank Hermes for his presence. You might say, “Thank you, Hermes, for hearing me. Please guide me on my journey and protect me as I travel through life’s boundaries.”

Closing the ritual

Extinguish the candle or turn off the lamp to symbolize the end of the ritual. You might say, “As this light extinguishes, let the blessings of Hermes continue to protect and guide me.”

This ritual can be adapted to work with your personal practice and relationship with the God Hermes. make the ritual your own by adapting the worlds and ingredients to those that feel right for you. As long as you conduct your rituals with respect, Hermes will appreciate your efforts and begin to influence your life for the better.

Do you work with Hermes? Please share your experiences with us in the comments below.

Eva May Baker
Eva May Baker
Hello, and welcome to The City Witch, your portal into the magical world that exists within the hustle and bustle of city life. My name is Eva Baker and I am an urban folk witch, author and your guide on this magical journey.

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