Heheh, you said “herm”.

As some of my readers are aware, on the fourth day after the new moon, I do a monthly ritual and adoration to the god Hermes, the traditional day associated with him in ancient Greek religious calendars.  In addition to making an offering of wine, barley, coins, incense, candles, and praise to the dude, I also spend some time in contemplation and conversation with the god, much like I do in angelic conjurations.  This time, Hermes told me to start erecting herms.

This probably requires some explanation, because the word “herm” is probably confusing, especially to people in the furry fandom I’m associated with.  (Also, lulz.)

Herms, in ancient Greek hermai, were quadrangular stone or terracotta posts at the boundaries, crossroads, or entrances to places in ancient Greece and, later, throughout the classical Mediterranean.  They originally had a phallus on them, and later a bust of the god Hermes (or other gods and goddesses, and sometimes distinguished mortals).  Sometimes it was just the head of the god, sometimes the torso and head, but it was something that was partially humanoid.  They were the among the original representations of the god Hermes himself, before he took on a clearly human form, and took on apotropaic and protective purposes.

So, these are the things the god Hermes wants me to start doing: putting up representations of him on crossroads around where I live, like on my daily commute or such.  Now, I’m not about to comission large rectangular columns with a bust of an ancient Greek god and install them around town, since it’s (a) expensive (b) probably illegal.  I have no carving skills to speak of, and my molding skills with clay are, to be exceedingly generous with myself, poor.  However, I do have access to good, business-quality printers, and it’s pretty much a given that most crossroads in urban communities have streetlamps, posts, or other column-like structures at each of the corners.  With that in mind, I plan to make lots of printouts of busts of Hermes and tape, pin, or otherwise affix them to the columns.  Bam, insta-herm.

(Yes, please, laugh.  I can’t help but laugh when I say the word, either.)

So, maybe later this week, maybe later tonight, I’ll go around my local community and start taping these things onto streetlamps and the like to bring Hermes’ attention down to my local environment more than just my altar.  I’m pretty sure this qualifies as a type of pagan glamourbombing, and so invite you, dear readers, to help me out.  All you need to do is print out at least one copy of the following picture, get some tape, and go out to your local crossroads sometime soon and tape on the picture to a post, streetlamp, or column at the crossroads.  If you want, say the Orphic Hymn to Hermes or the shorter Homeric Hymn if you like, but it’s not necessary.  In fact, if you like a different god’s bust more, go find and use that; there are lots of statues of Hermathena, Hermares, and (of course) Hermaphrodite extant as well.  Try it and see what happens; it can’t hurt to have the god of luck, roads, and travel keeping an extra pair of eyes on your commute or holiday travel, after all.

Bust of Hermes

What’s cute about that picture above is that it’s a bust of Hermes wearing the pilos or pileus, the conical Phrygian hat representing freedom and liberty often given to slaves to show their freedom, and this month’s Hermaia ritual coincides with the start of Saturnalia this year, the Roman week-long Dionysian festival of freedom from social trappings and restrictions; the image of Winged Liberty, often mistaken for Hermes on the silver Mercury dime which I’m currently wearing around my neck courtesy of Quadrivium Oils, wears the same cap.

Iō Hermēs!

8 responses

    • There’s no small amount of chatter this time of year in the paganosphere that the Santa hat worn around Christmas (Christian winter solstice) is actually a derivative of the pileus, or red floppy conical Phyrigian hat, that everyone used to wear around Saturnalia (Roman winter solstice). So, really, now’s the time to get one.

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