The Gods

Deity of the Day for February 25 is Hermes

Deity of the Day

Hermes

The Messenger of Gods in Greek Mythology

Hermes is the god of merchants, shepherds, athletics, literature and thieves in Greek mythology. He is Zeus’ son from the mountain nymph named Maia. His counterpart in Roman mythology is Mercury or Mercurius.

Hermes was able to move very swiftly between the divine world of god and the world of immortals and he acted as the messenger of the gods. He was also the protector of travelers and it was his duty to guide the souls of dead to the realm of Hades, the underworld.

Hermes was also a great inventor; he invented the lyre (Apollo’s favorite instrument) from a tortoise the first day he was born. According to myths he also invented the syrinx (a kind of pan pipe), measures, weights, musical scales and the science of astronomy. He is also considered as “the patron of athletes” since he is the inventor of many kinds of sports and races.

 

Hermes Helping Odysseus and Perseus

Hermes is known to be a helpful god and he helped heroes like Odysseus and Perseus during their adventures according to some myths. During his journey, Odysseus was captured by a nymph named Calypso, daughter of the Titan Atlas. She was trying to convince Odysseus to marry her by saying she would make him immortal if he did so. However, Zeus wanted Odysseus to be free. Hermes delivered Zeus’ message to Calypso and Calypso released Odysseus. Another instance that Hermes helped Odysseus was about Odysseus’ meeting with Circe, a minor goddess (or a nymph) that had the ability to turn her enemies into enemies. Circe organized a feast for Odysseus and his men and tricked them into eating the food on which she put one of her magical potions. Being suspicious about Circe’s hospitality, one of Odysseus’ men, Eurylochus, has not eaten the food and was able to warn Odysseus about this. When Odysseus was on his way to rescue his men, who were transformed into pigs by Circe’s magic, he encountered Hermes who was sent by Athena to help Odysseus. To prevent him from being affected by Circe’s magic, Hermes gave Odysseus a holy herb named “moly” , a rare plant which Hermes told only he could dig deep to find thanks to his godly abilities. When the moment came Circe thought that Odysseus was under the effect of her magic and tried to hit him her wand, an act that would complete Odysseus’ transformation into an animal. Odysseus took out his sword and threatened Circe. Circe released Odysseus’ men and transformed them back into men. As a reward Circe made them taller and more handsome than how they were before.

Hermes also gave Perseus his winged sandals, which allowed him to fly, when Perseus was on his way to slay the Gorgon Medusa. In some accounts it is also told that the weapon used by Perseus to kill Medusa was Hermes’ golden sword.

Hermes, The Trickster God

Hermes was also a devious god who used his wit many times to reach his aim. For example, when accused by Apollo about stealing his cattle, Hermes answered Apollo with wise sentences and made him believe that he did not have anything to do with Apollo’s cattle.

Hermes is usually depicted with “the kerykeion”, the messenger’s staff, in his hand while wearing a winged cap or his broad-brimmed hat and winged sandals.

 

Source:

Mythologian.net

 

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Deity of the Day for Feb. 23rd – Ganesha, Hindu Elephant-Deity

Deity of the Day

Ganesha

Lord of Success

All About the Hindu Elephant-Deity

 

Ganesha — the elephant-deity riding a mouse — has become one of the commonest mnemonics for anything associated with Hinduism. This not only suggests the importance of Ganesha, but also shows how popular and pervasive this deity is in the minds of the masses.

The Lord of Success
The son of Shiva and Parvati, Ganesha has an elephantine countenance with a curved trunk and big ears, and a huge pot-bellied body of a human being. He is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. He is also worshipped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth. In fact, Ganesha is one of the five prime Hindu deities (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Durga being the other four) whose idolatry is glorified as the panchayatana puja.

Significance of the Ganesha Form
Ganesha’s head symbolizes the Atman or the soul, which is the ultimate supreme reality of human existence, and his human body signifies Maya or the earthly existence of human beings. The elephant head denotes wisdom and its trunk represents Om, the sound symbol of cosmic reality. In his upper right hand Ganesha holds a goad, which helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles from the way. The noose in Ganesha’s left hand is a gentle implement to capture all difficulties.

The broken tusk that Ganesha holds like a pen in his lower right hand is a symbol of sacrifice, which he broke for writing the Mahabharata. The rosary in his other hand suggests that the pursuit of knowledge should be continuous. The laddoo (sweet) he holds in his trunk indicates that one must discover the sweetness of the Atman. His fan-like ears convey that he is all ears to our petition. The snake that runs round his waist represents energy in all forms. And he is humble enough to ride the lowest of creatures, a mouse.

How Ganesha Got His Head
The story of the birth of this zoomorphic deity, as depicted in the Shiva Purana, goes like this: Once goddess Parvati, while bathing, created a boy out of the dirt of her body and assigned him the task of guarding the entrance to her bathroom. When Shiva, her husband returned, he was surprised to find a stranger denying him access, and struck off the boy’s head in rage. Parvati broke down in utter grief and to soothe her, Shiva sent out his squad (gana) to fetch the head of any sleeping being who was facing the north. The company found a sleeping elephant and brought back its severed head, which was then attached to the body of the boy. Shiva restored its life and made him the leader (pati) of his troops. Hence his name ‘Ganapati’. Shiva also bestowed a boon that people would worship him and invoke his name before undertaking any venture.

However, there’s another less popular story of his origin, found in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana: Shiva asked Parvati to observe the punyaka vrata for a year to appease Vishnu in order to have a son. When a son was born to her, all the gods and goddesses assembled to rejoice on its birth. Lord Shani, the son of Surya (Sun-God), was also present but he refused to look at the infant. Perturbed at this behaviour, Parvati asked him the reason, and Shani replied that his looking at baby would harm the newborn. However, on Parvati’s insistence when Shani eyed the baby, the child’s head was severed instantly. All the gods started to bemoan, whereupon Vishnu hurried to the bank of river Pushpabhadra and brought back the head of a young elephant, and joined it to the baby’s body, thus reviving it.

Ganesha, the Destroyer of Pride
Ganesha is also the destroyer of vanity, selfishness and pride. He is the personification of material universe in all its various magnificent manifestations. “All Hindus worship Ganesha regardless of their sectarian belief,” says D N Singh in A Study of Hinduism. “He is both the beginning of the religion and the meeting ground for all Hindus.”

Ganesh Chaturthi
The devotees of Ganesha are known as ‘Ganapatyas’, and the festival to celebrate and glorify him is called Ganesh Chaturthi.

 

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Deity of the Day for February 10th is Mars, The Roman God of War

Deity of the Day

Mars

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Deity of the Day for January 21st is Mimir, Norse God of Wisdom

Deity of the Day

 

Mimir

Norse God of Wisdom

 

Mimir is the Norse god of wisdom, and while many of the deities are known for their great degree of wise intellect, Mimir was the greatest of them all in this capacity, the Norse counterpart of Athena from the Greek pantheon and Thoth from the Egyptian pantheon. His council was greatly favored by even All-Father Odin, along with the rest of the Aesir tribe of deities.  Tragedy would soon strike the wise deity soon after the Aesir picked a fight with another tribe of deities, the Vanir, who dwelt in the nearby dimensional realm of Vanaheim. The fight ended in a stalemate, and to facilitate the truce intended to lead into the merging of the two tribes, both sides agreed to an exchange of hostages.  The Vanir gave the great deities Freya and Frey to the Aesir, and in return the latter gave Mimir and the warrior deity Hoenir to the Vanir. Though the Vanir were impressed by Mimir, they disliked the fact that Hoenir rarely had anything to say at all, so feeling they were partially double-crossed by the Aesir, they took out their frustration on Mimir by killing him and sending his remains back to Odin. Determined to preserve the invaluable council that Mimir provided, the All-Father used a combination of his vast power with some magickal herbs to preserve Mimir’s severed head, so the deceased god could once again speak to him and have full access to his vast repository of memories and knowledge. The head of Mimir was then kept in a special chamber of Odin’s palace where the king of the gods alone retained access to his great wisdom. Somehow the Well of Mimir, said to be located in some unknown section of Midgard (the Earth realm), was infused with the sum total of Mimir’s great knowledge in a manner that was never fully explained in the surviving myths; Odin sacrificed one of his eyes to this sentient well in order to receive all the knowledge in the universe.

 

   

While the current status of Mimir in the cosmos is unknown, it is entirely possible for mortal followers of the Nordic path to call upon his indispensable wisdom when in need (where they will receive it largely whilst in the dream state or while in various altered states of consciousness entered into via meditation).  It is not known if this wise advice is acquired from the metaphysical “remains” of Mimir or from the Well of Mimir, but ultimately it doesn’t matter which since the wisdom of the universe–which Mimir personifies–is there to aid any follower of the Norse path who may wish to access it.

 

Source:
Shrine to the Gods of Asgard

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Deity of the Day for January 13th is Horus, Egyptian God

Deity of the Day

Horus

Alternate titles: Har; Her; Heru; Hor
Horus, Egyptian Hor, Har, Her, or Heru,  in ancient Egyptian religion, a god in the form of a falcon whose right eye was the sun or morning star, representing power and quintessence, and whose left eye was the moon or evening star, representing healing. Falcon cults, which were in evidence from late predynastic times, were widespread in Egypt.

Horus appeared as a local god in many places and under different names and epithets—for instance, as Harmakhis (Har-em-akhet, “Horus in the Horizon”), Harpocrates (Har-pe-khrad, “Horus the Child”), Harsiesis (Har-si-Ese, “Horus, Son of Isis”), Harakhte (“Horus of the Horizon,” closely associated with the sun god Re), and, at Kawm Umbū (Kom Ombo), as Haroeris (Harwer, “Horus the Elder”).

At Nekhen (Greek: Hierakonpolis), however, the conception arose that the reigning king was a manifestation of Horus, and, after Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt had been united by the kings from Nekhen, this notion became a generally accepted dogma. The most important of an Egyptian king’s names (the number of which grew from three in early dynastic times to five later) was his Horus name—i.e., the name that identified him with Horus. This name appeared on monuments and tombs in a rectangular frame called a serekh.

In addition to being characterized by a Horus name, the king was typically depicted with a hovering form of Horus above his head. Sometimes Horus is shown as a winged sun disk, representing the Horus of Behdet, a town in the Nile River delta where the falcon-god enjoyed a cult.

From the 1st dynasty (c. 2925–2775 bce) onward, Horus and the god Seth were presented as perpetual antagonists who were reconciled in the harmony of Upper and Lower Egypt. In the myth of Osiris, who became prominent about 2350 bce, Horus was the son of Osiris and Isis and was the nephew of Seth, Osiris’s brother. When Seth murdered Osiris and contested Horus’s heritage (the royal throne of Egypt), Horus became Seth’s enemy. Horus eventually defeated Seth, thus avenging his father and assuming the rule. In the fight, Horus’s left eye (i.e., the moon) was damaged—this being a mythical explanation of the moon’s phases—and was healed by the god Thoth. The figure of the restored eye (the wedjat eye) became a powerful amulet. Horus is also associated (sometimes as son, sometimes as partner) with the ancient cow-goddess Hathor, who is often depicted with cow’s horns, sometimes with cow’s ears.

In the Ptolemaic period the vanquishing of Seth became a symbol of Egypt triumphing over its occupiers. At Idfū, where rebellions frequently interrupted work on the temple, a ritual drama depicting Horus as pharaoh spearing Seth in the guise of a hippopotamus was periodically enacted.

Horus was later identified by the Greeks with Apollo, and the town of Idfū was called Apollinopolis (“Apollo’s Town”) during the Greco-Roman period.

 

Source:
Encyclopedia Britannica

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Deity of the Day for January 10th is Forseti, God of justice and reconciliation

Deity of the Day

Forseti

God of justice and reconciliation

Forseti (Old Norse “the presiding one,” actually “president” in Modern Icelandic and Faroese) is an Æsir god of justice and reconciliation in Norse mythology. He is generally identified with Fosite, a god of the Frisians. Jacob Grimm noted that if, as Adam of Bremen states, Fosite’s sacred island was Heligoland, that would make him an ideal candidate for a deity known to both Frisians and Scandinavians, but that it is surprising he is never mentioned by Saxo Grammaticus.

Grimm took Forseti, “praeses“, to be the older form of the name, first postulating an unattested Old High German equivalent *forasizo (cf. modern German Vorsitzender “one who presides”). but later preferring a derivation from fors, a “whirling stream” or “cataract”, connected to the spring and the god’s veneration by seagoing peoples. However, in other Old Norse words, for example forboð, “forbidding, ban”, the prefix for- has a pejorative sense. So it is more plausible that Fosite is the older name and Forseti a folk etymology.

Norse Forseti

According to Snorri Sturluson in the Prose Edda, Forseti is the son of Baldr and Nanna. His home is Glitnir, its name, meaning “shining,” referring to its silver ceiling and golden pillars, which radiated light that could be seen from a great distance. His is the best of courts; all those who come before him leave reconciled. This suggests skill in mediation and is in contrast to his fellow god Týr, who “is not called a reconciler of men.” However, as de Vries points out, the only basis for associating Forseti with justice seems to have been his name; there is no corroborating evidence in Norse mythology.’ Puts to sleep all suits’ or ‘stills all strifes’ may have been a late addition to the strophe Snorri cites, from which he derives the information.

The first element in the name Forsetlund (Old Norse Forsetalundr), a farm in the parish of Onsøy (‘Odins island’), in eastern Norway, seems to be the genitive case of Forseti, offering evidence he was worshipped there.

Frisian Fosite

According to Alcuin’s Life of St. Willebrord, the saint visited an island between Frisia and Denmark that was sacred to Fosite and was called Fositesland after the god worshipped there. There was a sacred spring from which water had to be drawn in silence, it was so holy. Willebrord defiled the spring by baptizing people in it and killing a cow there. Altfrid tells the same story of St. Liudger. Adam of Bremen retells the story and adds that the island was Heiligland, i.e., Heligoland.

There is also a legend of the origins of the Lex Frisionum, the written Frisian law. Wishing to assemble written lawcodes for all his subject peoples, Charlemagne summoned twelve representatives of the Frisian people, the Āsegas (‘law-speakers’), and demanded they recite their people’s laws. When they could not do so after several days, he let them choose between death, slavery, or being set adrift in a rudderless boat. They chose the last and prayed for help, whereupon a thirteenth man appeared, with a golden axe on his shoulder. He steered the boat to land with the axe, then threw it ashore; a spring appeared where it landed. He taught them laws and then disappeared. The stranger and the spring are identified with Fosite and the sacred spring of Fositesland.

Fosite has been suggested to be a loan of Greek Poseidon into pre-Proto-Germanic, perhaps via Greeks purchasing amber (Pytheas is known to have visited the area of Heligoland in search of amber).

 

Source:

Wikipedia

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Deity of the Day for January 9th – Eros, The Greek God

Deity of the Day

Eros

The Greek God

 

Eros, the Greek god of love and sexual desire (the word eros, which is found in the Iliad by Homer, is a common noun meaning sexual desire). He was also worshiped as a fertility god, believed to be a contemporary of the primeval Chaos, which makes Eros one of the oldest gods. In the Dionysian Mysteries Eros is referred to as “protagonus”, the first born. But there are many variations to whom the parents of Eros really where. According to Aristophanes (Birds) he was born from Erebus and Nyx (Night); in later mythology Eros is the offspring of Aphrodite and Ares. Yet in the Theogony, the epic poem written by Hesiod, it mentions a typified Eros as being an attendant of Aphrodite, but not her son. Another legend says that he was the son of Iris and Zephyrus.From the early legend of Eros it is said that he was responsible for the embraces of Uranus (Heaven or Sky) and Gaia (Earth), and from their union were born many offspring. It was also written that Eros hatched our race and made it appear first into the light (Birds, by Aristophanes). Although one of the oldest gods, he was a latecomer to Greek religion. He was worshiped in many regions of Greece, at Thespiae there was an ancient fertility cult, and in Athens he and Aphrodite had a joint cult. Also in Athens the fourth day of every month was sacred to Eros. Sometimes Eros was worshiped by the name Erotes (which is the plural of Eros); this personified all the attractions that evoked love and desire, this included heterosexual and homosexual allurements. Anteros (the Returner of Love also known as the god of Mutual Love) was the brother of Eros, which comes from the version of which Aphrodite and Ares are said to be the mother and father of Eros.

Eros is usually depicted as a young winged boy, with his bow and arrows at the ready, to either shoot into the hearts of gods or mortals which would rouse them to desire. His arrows came in two types: golden with dove feathers which aroused love, or leaden arrows which had owl feathers that caused indifference. Sappho the poet summarized Eros as being bitter sweet, and cruel to his victims, yet he was also charming and very beautiful. Being unscrupulous, and a danger to those around him, Eros would make as much mischief as he possibly could by wounding the hearts of all, but according to one legend he himself fell in love. This legend tells us that Eros was always at his mothers side assisting her in all her conniving and godly affairs. The legend goes on to say that Aphrodite became jealous of the beauty of a mortal, a beautiful young woman named Psyche. In her fit of jealousy Aphrodite asked Eros to shoot his arrow into the heart of Psyche and make her fall in love with the ugliest man on earth. He agreed to carry out his mothers wishes, but on seeing her beauty Eros fell deeply in love with Psyche himself. He would visit her every night, but he made himself invisible by telling Psyche not to light her chamber. Psyche fell in love with Eros even though she could not see him, until one night curiosity overcame her. She concealed a lamp and while Eros slept she lit the lamp, revealing the identity of Eros. But a drop of hot oil spilt from the lamp awakening the god. Angered she had seen him Eros fled and the distraught Psyche roamed the earth trying in vain to find her lover. In the end Zeus took pity and reunited them, he also gave his consent for them to marry. There are variations of this legend but most have the same outcome.

The Romans borrowed Eros from the Greeks and named him Cupid (Latin cupido meaning desire). Eros has been depicted in art in many ways. The Romans regarded him as a symbol of life after death and decorated sarcophagi with his image. The Greeks regarded him as most beautiful and handsome, the most loved and the most loving. They placed statues of him in gymnasiums (as most athletes were thought to be beautiful). He was depicted on every form of utensil, from drinking vessels to oil flasks, usually showing him ready to fire an arrow into the heart of an unsuspecting victim.

 

Source:
Author: Ron Leadbetter

Website: Encyclopedia Mythica™

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Deity of the Day for January 8th – Baldur, Norse God of Light

Deity of the Day

Baldur

Norse God of Light

Baldur was the son of Frigga and Odin, and the twin brother of Hod, or Hodur. Baldur’s name sometimes appears as Balder, or alternately Baldr. Baldur was beautiful and radiant, and was beloved by all the gods. Hodur, on the other hand, was dark and moody, spent a lot of time in darkness because of his blindness, and was generally unpopular with everyone he met.

In one famous story, after Baldur reveals that he’s been having foreboding dreams, Frigga asked all of nature to promise not to cause any harm to her beloved son.

From Sæmund’s Edda:

“On a course they resolved,
that they would send
to every being,
assurance to solicit,
Balder not to harm.
All species swore
oaths to spare him;
Frigg received all
their vows and compacts.”
Unfortunately, in her haste, Frigga overlooked the mistletoe plant, so Loki – the resident trickster – took advantage of the opportunity and fooled Hod into killing his twin brother with a spear made of mistletoe. Baldur was later restored to life.

Because of the story of his life, death and resurrection, Baldur features prominently in Norse mythology. An important festival was held in honor of Baldur the Good at midsummer, because it was known to be the anniversary of his death and descent into the underworld. Celebrations were held involving big bonfires and outdoor festivities, much of which involved watching the sun rise and set. Bear in mind that in the extreme Northern latitudes inhabited by the Norse peoples, the sun never really sets at midsummer; instead, it touches the horizon and then rises again to begin a new day. When Christianity moved into the Norse countries, Baldur’s celebration became the festival of St. John instead.

 

Source:

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