This morning, while brushing my teeth, I heard the following dialogue.

Spirit: (at me) “God, I really hate you.”

Hermes: ?! “Who the hell are you?”

Spirit: “I’m Hebe.”

Hermes: “Uh, no. I’m pretty sure that you aren’t.”

Spirit: “Isn’t it a matter of opinion? To some people, I’m Hebe.”

Hermes: “I’m Hermes. I know Hebe. And you, little one, are not Hebe.”

Spirit: “How do I know that you are Hermes? What evidence do you have?”

Hermes: “If you were Hebe, you’d know for certain whether I was or not.”

Spirit: “I think not.”

Hermes: “Welp. You know what they say. Shoot ’em all and let Persephone sort ’em out. Down we go!”

Spirit: (Begins screeching)

Hermes: “Yeah, that? That never works. Come along.”

He extends his chlamys, raising the golden wand, and they both vanish

The following struck me about this brief interchange:

“God, I hate you.” — Hate, as I like to say, generally boils down to fear. Even when it boils down to envy, envy is a manifestation of insecurity. Insecurity, in turn, is fear that a person isn’t good enough. Spirits who are consumed by hate are generally bottom feeders. 

“Isn’t it a matter of opinion?” — Well, isn’t it? We certainly treat it like it is. We have no community standards for manifestation that we can agree upon, really. If they drain you and you suffer as a result, some will call that Shaman Sickness, so having their own energy isn’t a universal criteria. If they are cruel, some will say that mythology supports an interpretation of cruel gods, so they don’t really need to be spiritually evolved, and they don’t need to have dealt with their own shit. If they fail to give us blessings, some will say that the gods aren’t obligated to help us, so they don’t really need to be able to wield the forces they claim to rule over. If they create spiritual problems, or set us back spiritually, some will say that “the gods aren’t safe.” So they don’t really need to possess any particular wisdom, or know anything about building relationships with humans.

She’s right. It’s a matter of opinion. Any spirit whatsoever can pass themselves off as a deity in our current environment. It will be valid to someone. And just one or two someones is all a spirit needs, really.

“Uh, no.” — Hellenic gods, on the other hand, never have and never will accept pretenders in their presence. I cannot speak for other pantheons, but I would assume that we could expect something similar, regardless of where we went.

I believe anyway, prayers are always heard by the deities to whom they are addressed. I hardly ever pray to “you.” Excessive use of the deity’s names assures that whatever the working, the deity is at least aware of it. And if there is an interloper, they’ll be dealt with.

“Shoot ’em all and let Persephone sort ’em out” — If you question a manifestation, it’s useful to have a good relationship with some several psychopomps. That way, whatever spirits might be hanging around can be escorted to where they belong.

This really sort of cements my conviction that I don’t want to be doing any mystical work without Hermes and Hekate nearby.

“Yeah, that? That never works.” — Spirits put up a fuss when you try to move them along to the afterlife. Probably, if I am calling Hermes and/or Hekate for this work in particular, I really ought to give them something nicer than if I’m calling them for help with magic or money or something else which doesn’t involve screaming, tantrum-having dead people.