This November, 2017, is the first time I will be trying to observe every single ritual that I have added into my personalised Men Kata Theion, or Sacred Month.
Day 4 of the lunar month is dedicated to Hermes, this November it begins on the evening of the 22nd and continues into the day of the 23rd. Mention of the 4th being for Hermes is not on all of the Men Kata Theion calendars that people share around the internet. Some calendars mark it as being sacred to Aphrodite, Herakles, Poseidon and others, but not Hermes. But the number four is sacred to Hermes for numerous reasons. He is a God of the fourway crossroads. The 4th day, Wednesday, is dedicated to Him and according to the Homeric Hymn 4 He was born on the 4th day of the month.
I probably don’t need to say much here about Hermes Himself, He is a fairly well known God being one of the 12 main Olympians. Still I can add a quick little rundown for reference.
Hermes is the messenger of the Gods, and rules over writing and eloquence – in modern views this extends to Him being the God of the internet, especially email and social networking, but probably blogging too. He is a trickster and has a wicked sense of humour – ask any of devotees and they will tell you. I find Him to be one of the more engaging of the Gods I communicate with.
Hermes is a thief and thus patron of thieves, and further He also can help protect people and homes from thieves. He is a guardian of the home, especially the entry ways and boundaries. He is a liminal deity, and rules over four way crossroads, He is the patron of travellers. He is also an underworld deity, a psychopomp, it is Hermes who leads the dead to the underworld and in some myths He is also the one who leads Persephone to the underworld each year (while Hekate leads Her out).
There are a lot of myths and stories about Hermes. He steals the cattle of Apollon, He tries to get Prometheus to reveal His secrets, He even lays with Hekate as Brimo (one of the few who gets past Her independence, however briefly). Hermes and Hekate have a fairly good relationship otherwise, and are quite well matched in various areas of interest – both liminal, both ouranic and chthonic, both crossroads deities, both household Gods. A lot of Hekateans, such as myself, end up being relatively close to Hermes as well, in the beginning because of Hekate but He becomes pretty endearing by Himself as well.
All of that is but a very small slice of who and what Hermes is, but it is enough for this post I think. For offerings I personally find that He enjoys pretty much anything sweet, and most types of alcoholic beverages for libations. That isn’t very specific is it? But it is honest. I think these are things He enjoys because He is a highly active being – how could He be otherwise as a messenger, guide, thief and trickster? Sugar and alcohol are staples for such activity I guess.
My go to for Hermes rituals is usually chocolate and whatever alcohol I happen to have available, usually vodka. For this particular ritual I offered white chocolate, some caramel chocolates and the libation was actually a strawberry liqueur.
We begin with the usual Hellenic ritual forms, preparation, procession and cleansing with Khernips. This is followed by the lighting of a ritual fire or candle/s, and the tossing of barley if you happen to do that. Then we call on the Gods to attend the ritual. Our first hymn and libation is to Hestia, which is then followed by the hymn, libation, offerings etc to Hermes. We finish with another libation to Hestia.
I call on the Gods of the Hellenes,
Deathless Ones, most glorious,
Chthonic, Oceanic, Ouranic,
Protogenoi, Titanic and Olympian.
Attend this rite and bear witness
Hail to Hestia, First and Last
Hearth Keeper, Guardian of the Home,
Accept this our first libation. Pour libation.
Mercurial Hermes, Maias lively thieving son,
Luck bringing trickster, fortunate eloquent one,
Protector of the home, guardian of the gates,
Courageous enough to take on even the fates,
Hail liminal God, of crossroads of four ways,
Vibrant and active, who can move for days,
Glory to you Hermes, splendid and bright
Accept our offerings, come to us this night,
Bless our endeavours, help us in all we do,
Bring us good fortune, in our works old and new.
Pour libation. Light incense. Say any prayers you have, and give any offerings.
Glory to the Theoi, I offer my thanks to you. Pour libation.
And to Hestia, first and last. Pour libation.
Drink whatever remains of the libation offering (if it is potable) and eat what is left of the offerings, it’s good to share a meal or drink with the Gods. Spend some time in after ritual practice, for Hermes this might include exercise or other physical activities, playing games, some divinatory work, writing or travel planning.
My Day 4
I have been doing a ritual to Hermes on the 4th day for over a year now, so this is not really all that new to me. The hymn for this one is new though, I only recently wrote it out, so it is a new aspect to this ritual at least. But, along with the Noumenia, Agathos Daimon and Deipnon, this day and ritual has been an established part of my practice for a fair while now.
It is not the same every month though. This one has a more generalised hymn to use, but some months I will focus on a more specific aspect of Hermes. Some months the hymn will be to His underworld/Chthonic aspect, other months to His good luck aspect and many a time I have done it with a hymn focusing specifically on His role in communication, writing, eloquence and the like – because blogging and writing and politics.