Being a deity isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Most of your job, as a deity, is listening to people complain. People don’t pay you, most of the time. Often enough, they don’t even pay your clergy. Those are the polite ones, relatively speaking. Then there are the people who just yank on your metaphysical junk, point at a thing and say “make my spell work.”
The only small pleasure I take in it is when I make someone’s life better. It is as true for you as it is for me, that giving is an emotional need. Doing good for others makes you feel good about yourself. Being kind to others, doing good to them, reveling in their appreciation, their adoration, is one of the most sublimely intoxicating and selfish pleasures a deity can indulge in.
People who do not understand this tend to be miserable pricks. They keep scrambling for “power” like that ever helps anything. Power, as distinct from the goodwill of thinking beings, is a useless abstraction. Unless you are talking about the weather, all meaningful synchronicity requires that humans trust and follow their intuition, which they do not do, as a rule, when the thing dropping ideas is a thing they hate.
Morality is intelligent selfishness. It is selfishness combined with a deep enough understanding of the universe to know that being a little shit to people leads to a wretched existence devoid of any kind of solace. Just as simple as that. It’s supporting people in being themselves, in being happy, that will make you happy. If you are too dumb to understand that, you’ve got no business giving people spiritual advice.
It is this intelligent selfishness that is the mystical foundation of Hospitality, and why it is so powerful, so important, as a spiritual virtue. A truly good host is seldom alone, seldom isolated, seldom without support. It is for this reason that inclusion of people, regardless of their distinctions, of race, class, gender (or lack thereof), ability, size, appearance, and any other similar sort of distinction is mystically identical to Hospitality. It is, in short, the virtue that guides us toward a more universal definition of friendship, and it stands opposed to isolation and loneliness in all of its forms. In this we find the basis of inspiring leadership, unity, goodwill and cooperation. By this, we can stand together and move the world. That is power. True power. All other power is empty and vain, by comparison.
I have watched, helplessly, as people that I loved were tortured and stripped of everything they had… for their refusal to abandon me! They nailed shut the doors of my temples. They forced me and my kind out of business on our own home soil– how does that song go, “Now in the morning I sleep alone, sweep the streets I used to own.”
Yet I was able to cling to this: my heart was open. As I had upheld Hospitality, and seen to the open doors of the homes throughout the lands where I was worshipped, door were never closed to me. I became an angel, a saint, a mystic — everything but a deity, but never forgotten.
Power. It’s just a thing we have. Sometimes. When we are lucky, and popular, and the wind blows fair. Virtue? That can never, ever be taken away. It’s benefits are subtle, immeasurable, and eternal.
Therefore, do not venerate things which are cruel, which close doors, which exclude, which grasp at power in ways that destroy good will. Such beings fail to understand anything, even about their own self interest. Forgive me if you find meaning in worshipping such things, but be assured that such beings are devoid of wisdom, and that they have absolutely nothing of true or enduring value to offer you.
By giving offerings to these miserable, ignorant little shits, you are only encouraging them to be an ignorant, miserable little shit to you, and prolonging their agony — for I assure you, they are not happy creatures.
There are gods, I promise you, who are worthy of your love and devotion. Sometimes, those gods have the same names as the ones you already worship, but are simply far, far better.
– Please don’t grab my metaphysical nut sack without asking. This includes putting god forms of me in places, using my name in spells, or anything that draws on my power before you say something like, “Hi, do you mind if…” and like, give me a chance to answer. I’ll probably say yes, but it’s nice to be asked. A culture of consent hopefully includes respect for my will and personal autonomy, too.
– Do not propitiate miserable little shits
– Please understand that miserable little shits are not deities. They can’t even help themselves, never mind you.
– There are awesome deities. Go find them.
Hermes: Don’t Worship Jerks
Reblogged this on Flight of the Hamsa and commented:
Yes. This. So many times.
I love this guy! No, really – I’d love to invite him into my home, give him a room, and talk to him when my husband is grilling dinner which we would all share. He is adorable and honest and real. I can see why he made your short list. Man is HE going to be fun when he can manifest! So tell me how I can approach him – I can squish my fear of rejection that long, I think. Thanks for posting that, Thenea!
Hermes does not reject people. He revels in the sheer number of people he loves and has loved, some pagan, and a great many not. He’s got a gift for seeing the good in everyone which leaves me delighted and baffled by turns.
Actually, he loves barbecue. Especially barbecued beef. My recommendation is actually to do some grilling, and just set aside a portion for him, then read an invocation. After you eat, go meditate for a bit. He’s a god of communication, so he tends to be pretty accessible and easy to talk to.
I sent a reply but I think it got lost in the etheric. So if this shows up twice please delete this one. Thanks!
I already spoke an invitation to him, inviting him to join us when we grill this weekend – how formal should I be, seeing this is the first time? I’ve already blown it if it’s more formal than that. Is an invocation like an invitation? I haven’t done anything like that since I was a kid so I’m at a loss. And how large is a portion? Should it be a plate like ours? Yes, these are all newcomer questions, I know. Sorry.
Hermes is a rustic deity. A real basic sort of guy. Formality is sort of lost on him. Or, not lost on him, but sometimes he thinks it is silly.
As for portion, I’d just say… whatever feels meaningful to you. The Ancient Greeks would have set aside the bones and fat, leaving them to burn in the fire. Modern Hellenic Pagans might set aside a little of whatever they are eating on a separate plate. Just go with your gut.
Thanks. I don’t want to offend by leaving too little or too much. I thought with him having connections to flocks he wouldn’t be too hung up on formalities. Does he get along with Thoth? I imagine he gets along with almost everyone.
Yeah, he won’t be offended in either case.
Hermes speaks fondly of Thoth, but I get the sense that Thoth finds Hermes mildly annoying. Thoth is Lawful, and Hermes is Chaotic.
Hermes: “Hey what’s that?”
Thoth: “NO DON’T TOUCH THAT!”
Hermes: “What. You afraid of my trickster cooties?”
In reference to being conflated with Thoth, Hermes said: “Amazing. I wish that made it true. I would totally go to town on those scrolls. Be like. ‘Then Horus made an everlasting decree, that Hermes will get free drinks at all bars throughout Egypt.’ Sadly, no. That is not how it works.”
Though in fairness, what he’d actually do would be to strike out things people might get in trouble for. And probably also free beer. Who am I kidding?
Well, I’m mildly chaotic myself and my husband is lawful. Supposedly we balance each other out. I didn’t realize that the Greeks thought Thoth morphed into Hermes til I was reading up on them. I guess it seemed logical. Nothing wrong with free beer!
Forgive me, but you just stated something I’ve always thought about others and myself, that I cannot help but commenting about! : ) I’ve seen myself being “chaotic” like my own tornado, whilst my lovers were “daring” enough to “give me a shot,” like grabbing hold of me as I spin way fast where I’m just a blur, making things go chaotic around myself, but then there came Hades. Hades has been “my anchor,” basically grounding me the moment he placed out his hand to me and I stayed grounded with Hades, like anchored. As for Loki, being anchored with Hades for so long, I saw Loki come in, like a “metaphorical tornado” that I dare say I have never seen before. Haha, Good memories there. ; )
Ah, nothing like green memories! So now you’re whirling like a dervish with Loki? Funny thing, my lawful husband’s deity is the chaotic Loki. How things play out!
I’m absolutely surprised! : )
This is very informative.
This was a really fantastic read, thank you Hermes and you, Thenea, both for this.
You are welcome. 🙂
Reblogged this on The Forest Witch and commented:
Ooh, so very much yes!
Poor Hermes. Can I offer the guy a hug? Because that sounds awful.
🙂 Hermes accepts hugs.
See, like. That’s the difference, when I talk about Apotheosis, between a deity and an immortal.
Deities do the work. And man, if you don’t have a passion for the work, you do NOT want to be a deity.
I had a conversation with Zeus that went like that, regarding my Apotheosis-related rituals.
Zeus: “Do you really aim to be a goddess?”
Me: “Ha. Hah Hah. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA — no.”
Reblogged this on journeyintoinsanity.
Reblogged this on Earth Star Love.
This is an excellent read, good knowledge too. ^.^
I absolutely love this! First off, I never really considered deities as coming across as down to earth (uh…so to speak) or relateable as us, so this PoV and tone only makes the message even easier to accept. I was especially taken aback by the ‘metaphorical junk grabbing issue’ as I thought that all Gods would want to be worshipped (even though my own metaphysical paradigm is monotheism with various aspects of the one whole being spread across time and cultures, I acknowledge that many hold the Gods as each being individual entities)
Secondly, I’ve so glad that you’ve touched on what I’ve been recently been studying in philosophy class- Morality. One thing that has been bothering me for the longest it that even though people have different views on morality (realists who believe that there are objective/set moral standards, and anti-realists who believe that morality is subjective, to over simplify), its seems that no matter how altruistically people try to put it, it comes out the same to me- morality is basically an acceptable kind of selfishness, as even the person with the best intentions get pleasure from a deed well done and having made the world a better place. So its great to see a faith-based response to this issue.
And finally, I was surprised how I forgot about it but I mainly read it as Hermes speaking about humans, not deities- since so much of what he says applies to us. However, I was reminded at the end that he spoke of other deities…which is interesting because I never would have thought of a god as being …truly bad or unhealthy to worship/honor/develop a relationship with. The only concept really I had of a “bad” god was the Christian concept of Satan (if that counts), various trickster deities, and the Gods of lore notorious for being capricious and punishing mortals (While the names seem the same, I don’t know if the Hellenic gods really are like that or if the stories were more like cautionary tales.) TL:DR- basically, I only considered the possibility of gods who are either indifferent or benevolent if you are respectful.
Wow, your article has left me with so much to think about!
Kind of in reverse order… deities who are harmful to venerate. He really unpacks it when he says, “Therefore, do not venerate things which are cruel, which close doors, which exclude, which grasp at power in ways that destroy good will.” and “Sometimes, those gods have the same names as the ones you already worship, but are simply far, far better.” — Think of, for example, the way “Jesus” is portrayed in certain sects of Christianity. I could practically do a slideshow for you from the Westborrow Baptist Church website, of people holding up signs which are cruel, which exclude, which close doors. The argument that he is making, in essence, is that the there are two entities to consider in this situation. There is a being who answers to “Jesus” who is loving and tolerant. The theological belief in a hateful, bigoted Jesus doesn’t mean that those people are incorrect about the existence of an entity answering to that description. It means that the Jesus that the hateful church invokes is a “miserable little shit” who does not deserve to be propitiated. He exists so long as he is believed in, and he ceases to be when people stop worshipping him. A deity is, at their heart, what they value. Ergo, these two entities cannot actually be the same deity. A similar thing can happen with Polytheistic deities, too.
In Gnostic Polytheism, you know the difference because of the way the deity manifests, and ultimately, treats humans.
Morality — I mean, yeah. People didn’t pull moral principles out of a hat. Those principles evolved alongside culture, and inside religion, because they were advantageous to the individuals and to the culture as a whole. For each “true” moral principle, you can clearly and directly identify why the thing is wrong. Kant has some really solid ideas about the nature of morality, resonant to this view, if you want a non-faith-based approach.
Lastly: Metaphysical junk. People call certain things “worship” that aren’t. Taking a deity’s power without asking isn’t worship. Just because you are saying a deity’s name doesn’t mean that the deity is on board or enjoying it.
When I read the bit about his “metaphysical nut sack”, I thought of the many times I’ve seen people post something like “What deity should I use in my spell for X?” That question is wrong in so many ways.
Meanwhile, a deity is like, “Hey!! What the–? Oh. This again”
That mostly stems from the spells they’re copying. I’ve never seen a spell that begins ‘First, make the acquaintance of the deity you want to work with.’ So no one even thinks about that. Add in the unconscious idea that the deity already knows that he’s going to be called and you have all the necessary ingredients. Really, this is a failure on the part of the teachers, not the students. And the self – taught are at the mercy of whichever author they’re following.
Which ultimately boils down the hapless paganizing of monotheistic magical systems. What does Hermes always say? “Yes, that is a ancient mistake with a lot of historical precedent.” Look in the Greek Magical Papyri, and you see a lot of the same.
To me, the whole idea that you need a deity’s help to cast a spell is sort of silly. You call them for guidance, sure, or to oversee your work so you don’t do something dumb. But a human has plenty of power to cast spells all on their own.
Now, Thenea, how many mortals have the self – confidence to cast alone? Most of us don’t think we have much if any power – or we’d know we can tell deities to bug off. We have no idea what kind of power we have, or how to gauge it. We have no idea where it comes from, if we’re born with it or acquire it along the way, or if we are just imagining we have it. Personal power to work spells, cast circles, etc. isn’t a subject taught in books or by teachers. That’s probably one reason why spells are unnecessarily complicated. Especially when first starting out, you need the props to bolster your confidence.
See, that’s just it. That’s the sickness in our culture right there.
“Power” and not “Wisdom” is the very first thing that springs to mind when people think about gods. This happens, in no small part, because these spell books are often the very first “Pagan” thing that anyone ever sees.
Magic is just imagination empowered by will. Even non-magicians will tell you how powerful positive visualization can be for success.
Physical props do become important when your working is extremely specific, or is trying to influence something very subtle, or with lot of moving parts. It’s like how Mathematicians write their equations on the blackboard instead of trying to do it all in their heads. For simple calculations, that wouldn’t be needed.
When you try to teach people exactly how simple magic is, and exactly how much power they have, they just make faces at you and wander off. They want magic to look and feel a certain way, and they often cost themselves efficacy in the process. It’s kind of annoying to watch.
It’s a learning curve. You start out with chalk, string, a wand, etc (it’s been a long time since I did this) and a book to refer to, to cast a circle. Eventually you dispense with the book, then the string goes, then the chalk as you depend more and more on your mind. At length the wand is unnecessary too. You cast at the speed of thought with no props needed. But it does take time to get to that level of confidence.
Reblogged this on opalescentmidnight and commented:
This article has left me with so much to think about- and I absolutely love this! First off, I never really considered deities as coming across as down to earth (uh…so to speak) or relateable as us, so this PoV and tone only makes the message even easier to accept. I was especially taken aback by the ‘metaphorical junk grabbing issue’ as I thought that all Gods would want to be worshipped.
Secondly, I’ve so glad that you’ve touched on what I’ve been recently been studying in philosophy class- Morality. its seems that no matter how altruistically people try to put it, it comes out the same to me- morality is basically an acceptable kind of selfishness, as even the person with the best intentions get pleasure from a deed well done and having made the world a better place. So its great to see a faith-based response to this issue.
And finally, I was surprised how I forgot about it but I mainly read it as Hermes speaking about humans, not deities- since so much of what he says applies to us. However, I was reminded at the end that he spoke of other deities…which is interesting because I never would have thought of a god as being …truly bad or unhealthy to worship/honor/develop a relationship with. Basically, I only considered the possibility of gods who are either indifferent or benevolent if you are respectful. (I’ve heard of the possibility of a god(s) that doesn’t want to be worshipped, but it seems to be posited as either a joke or in religion of philosophy as a remote possibility.)
Besides, power is the first attribute one associates with deities. Because mortals are power – oriented. Always have been. Might always will be. Wisdom comes after survival. They want Oz and can only face what lies behind the curtain after a period of learning how magick works.
I only follow the gods of Ancient Egypt in their Pharaonic period forms. But Hermes sounds awesome and it is really good advice. I’m not surprised Thoth doesn’t like him. Thoth is like a strict professor or librarian. I suspect Hermes would get on better with Wepwawet, the Opener of the Ways, Jackal headed god and the most important psychopomp of the Ancient Egyptian pantheon.