Hermes – Herald of the Gods

Name – Herme(s) (Greek) or Mercury (Roman)
Name Meaning – Messenger
Pantheon – Greek/Roman
Animals – Ram, Hare, Hawk & Tortoise
Symbols – The Caduceus, Winged Sandals & a Winged Helm
Colors – Blue & Black
Sacred plant/tree – Crocus
God of – Thieves, Messengers, Travelers, Merchants, Sailors, Athletes, Herdsman, Wit, Cunning  & Boundaries

Hermes, like most of Zeus’s offspring by his side pieces, was born in secret. His mother, Maia bore Hermes in a cave and it wasn’t a day later that little Hermes was causing mischief for his fellow gods. He tipped out of the cave in the dare of night and saw a pasture where Apollo kept a large herd of white cows. Once there, he stole 50 of Apollo’s best cows by wrapping the hooves of the cows with bard to disguise their prints and tied brooms to the tails to sweep away their own tracks. He is not the God of Thieves and cunning people for nothing. Apollo knew who stole his cows though, with the help of an Oracle and took his feisty little brother to Zeus to force him to give back the cows. Instead, he managed to drive a bargain with Apollo. Hermes would give Apollo the lyre, which Hermes crafted, in exchange for the herd of cows and the Caduceus. The trade was made.

 Zeus was so impressed by one of his youngest children that he decided to make him the herald of the gods. He was gifted a golden hat with wings, a pair of winged sandals and a cape where he could hide his magic tricks. These gifts allowed him to become the God of Boundaries and Transition. He could easily move between the moral and divine worlds. In fact, there are many, MANY myths about Hermes doing just this. 

The first cairns were even dedicated to Hermes. Travelers would make piles of stones along the roads, believing that Hermes stands inside them due to a myth about him talking his way out of trouble, again, and he would help them find their way home again. He was also known to guide those that were setting off on their very last travel, to Hades. With his wand, he would touch the eyes of a dying man and escort him down. Besides Hades and Persephone, Hermes was the only other god that was able to flow in and out of Hades without any consequence. 

He has a LONG history, having been mentioned in the Linear B tablets from the Mycenaean area.Also as he was the god of messenger and the herald of the gods, Hermes is seen in many Greek myths. He can be seen helping mortals and gods alike, sometimes tricking the gods, stealing every now and again and using his smooth tongue to get out of trouble. Due to his smooth tongue, he was considered to be the patron of languages and is credited for inventing the alphabet. With Hermes, his interests were wide and full of variety. He is credited for inventing not only the above mentioned alphabet but also the lyre, pan pipes, fire, knucklebones and much more.  

So if you are looking for a smooth talking trickster, yet seen as the darling of the gods, and is quick footed, look not further than Hermes.

One thought on “Hermes – Herald of the Gods

  1. Check the term Psychopomp and you’ll find many other deities share access to the realms of afterlife. In Greek, see Charon. See also: Liminality and Rites of Passage


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