Hermes in Action: Professional Life

Hermes in Action: Professional Life March 9, 2016

Hermes getting ready for work CroppedA God is as a God does, and Hermes is no exception. How this applies to the Deity’s priest-folk can be subtle or evident, intimate or public. For those deeply dedicated to a Deity, this is likely to manifest in their professional life; it certainly did in mine…

Hermes the messenger and lord of discourse naturally appeals to the scholar and scribe. As master of codes and cleverness, His range extends into all manner of computer-work. Evident in this blog, my work is writing and scholarship, but that is not something I’ve made a living on. My training is in the liberal arts, in ministry, and in history. These generally don’t pay. However, along the way I learned about typesetting and print and fell in love with making beautiful documents. To contextualize this you need only see my handwriting. It is awful, so is my spelling. I have a variant neurology; significant learning disabilities with signs of Asperger’s syndrome. No amount of penalty has ever been able to improve either issue, just lots of drill makes my handwriting intelligible and only some of the spelling funky. This may seem odd for a priest of the Lord of Communication, but it forced me onto computers where the keyboard eliminated one problem and spell check the other. The entire fluidity of the medium enables me to write in my non-linear manner, and easily edit it into clarity. I can’t draw, but Adobe Illustrator is my friend, and Photoshop is handy too. The computer unleashed my deep desire to write, and with the tools of typography, I can create lovely books, illustrations, and other documents that my hands alone could never make. This people will pay me for.

Likewise, in early 1994 a new thing, HTML, came along and I started building websites for the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Ours was one of the first 200 that existed. For me HTML was much simpler than coding in my familiar LaTeX, but it became more challenging when we started hooking up databases to the web. I had to learn SQL and scripting languages to move our Division’s publishing and calculation engines online, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars printing and shipping each year. Given my human skills from seminary, I extended my focus into project management, and ended up working in a startup, a software company, in health insurance and only now back into publishing. Yet, except for the aforementioned human care training and some basics of type and design in undergrad, I am entirely ‘self-taught’… so to speak. I have to qualify this because throughout, the influence, guidance, and sometimes outright teaching of Hermes has developed my professional capacities. He would send insight to understand programming problems, inspiration to make my designs shine, and showed me how to use my ability to see information to produce data visualizations. While I can’t say that all the places I’ve worked were great, each one taught me, expanded my skills, and generally provided the economic foundation so that I could serve my community by practicing my true profession, the priesthood. I know I owe it all to Hermes.

In any place that is a manifestation of His power and presence, being one of his priests I get ‘bonus points’ in anything I do there. I still have to do the work, to study, practice, to try and to fail a lot. But the result overall is success and a livelihood, one blessed and guided by divine presence.

hermes@Grand Central StationSo many others do this as well. I know so many who have images of Hermes or Thoth or Mercury on their desks as scholars, librarians, programmers, and sysops, as well as writers and so many other professions. Have you ever been to New York? Walk around the streets near Radio City Music Hall. Look at the art over the doorways: so many Mercuries! Lord of Communications, Lord of Commerce. Look over Grand Central Station: Lord of Transportation.

In contemplation with Hermes and Hekate one day long past, they claimed to me that They have never not been worshiped. There was always the scholar whispering a prayer while lighting a lamp; the merchant praying to get home safe; the needful one out by the crossroads leaving offerings or casting a spell to help the hurting or relieve the oppressed. When all the Others were suppressed or forgotten, these Two remained. No wonder that these Two are well known to the witches and magi who have long worked to bring back our rites, and our rights to worship. With Their foundation, we Pagans are rebuilding the old Way of the Gods. I am honored with Their attention and support. They have provided for me and guided me through difficult times. I gladly confess to be in Their service…

If you work with Hermes, or any other Deity, and you find Their impact or benefit in your profession, I would love to hear about it in the comments…

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