Hermes-Mercurius and the Kerykeion


I sing of Hermes... luck-bringing messenger of the deathless gods.

-Homeric Hymn 18 to Hermes-Mercurius

Hermes of Greece & Mercury of Rome

Ornate Caduceus

Hermes-Mercury (Hermes-Mercurius), a compound formula paying homage to the Greco and Roman concepts of the Swift One. Bundled into a Graeco-Roman name-phrase, It’s my preferred form of address for the Keeper of the Herm.  Other historical examples of compound names include Hermetehuti (Hermes-Thoth), Hermanubis (Hermes-Anubis), Hermakate (Hermes-Hekate), and many, many others. Magicians love to package Hermes with more precise namesakes as well as other forces entirely (Hermakate!).

Mercury Sigil

Mercury Then and Now

Hermes - Achilles Jar

The Guardian of the Road and Opener of the Way. Prince of Thieves and Master of Mischief.

Mercury is the grand initiator of man and the tutelary deity that took special interest in the affairs of man. Serving as liaison between men and gods. I am told that Mercury is the most human-hearted of the old gods.

Old gods, that’s a funny title. When I last saw Hermes he was wearing an Armani and carrying an attaché case. Inside was a golden tablet among other curious (the time I saw him before that he looked like a prototypical Venice Beach skater circa 1990. He even had a skateboard under his arm). 

I’d have given almost anything to get my hands on that bag, and he knows it.

That’s why there’s a hint of mischief in his mannerisms and the occasional sideways look that says: “Go ahead, try to take this bag, claim these mysteries if you think yourself worthy to bear them.” or perhaps more importantly “be careful what you wish for”

Mercury tests us.

My exchange with Him detailed above is representative of the dynamic of Mercurial interactions. They are complex, multi-faceted, occasionally contradictory, and they speak of the  relationship between Hermes-Mercury and man. 

Since the very beginning in fact.

He is at once our guide, benefactor, daemonic initiator, tempter, and cruel trickster.

Hermes in Rooster Drawn Chariot

Hermetic mischief is legendary and many have cursed his name as well as sung his praises; often the same people, occasionally at the same time. Such is the nature of the god of luck, of commerce, of the road and the intellect.

Mercury Sigil Stylized

“He is honey-tongued
eloquence, charm

-Hymn to Hermes V

by Rebecca Buchanan from Guardian of the Road

Mercury Silhouette

Mischief is Afoot

I’ve heard it stated that the gods are not our friends. That could certainly be the case, and perhaps that’s why I tend to ignore them completely.

With Mercury a totally different set of rules apply, and they are evolving minute to minute. Learning to dance that dance well, without falling on your face is an art. One I’m still getting the hang of after a lifetime of curious interactions with our Great Friend, who was there as I entered the world, as He is with me right now. In one way or another.

Hermes-Mercurius has a tremendous sense of humor, and a penchant for trouble-making.  When he was less than a day old he invented theft by stealing Apollo’s prized cattle. This is not a malicious trait so much as a Will to shake things up. As the god of possibilities and chance, it’s his job to wreak havoc on all that is static, still, and expected. So expect some “flux” when you call Dolios.

Mercury God of Commerce

Black Magician's Hermes (Hermes Kthonios)

Psychopomp Hermes

Hermes-Mercurius is special to me. I work with him frequently in a range of capacities from the painfully mundane to the deeply magical.

But the relationship I have with him is unlike neo-pagan relationships. 

I choose to incorporate Hermes into my psychocosm as he went out of his way to assist me and advise me since I was very young. I don’t particularly understand why the Mercurial Form particularizes itself to me as Hermes-Mercurius, but it does and I am grateful to have this powerful advisor and ally. 

It’s worth noting that in my magical practice, I do not call upon external agency in the form of gods real or imagined to perform miracles for me.

I don’t pray to the gods or demons or whatever to grant my wish.

If appropriate I will interact with features of the magical universe and even external intelligences to offer some utility to my working, but I am a magician, so I do the magic.

This is in strong contrast to a great many “magical” practices that are focused largely on a neo-pagan revivalism shoehorned into a modern ritual framework (for example wicca and its derivatives).

These practices are centered around reliance on supernatural charity. I bring this up because it may seem strange to hear me talking about my relationship with the Keeper of Boundary as something so personal.

The dynamics of my relationship with Hermes are complex and frequently looks like that of an trusted advisor to his friend. There is no element of worship, groveling, or begging for miracles. I suspect if that were my approach, there would be no more relationship.

But that’s just a hunch.

Kerykeion - Close your eyes…Now open them

I like sacred tools. In my recent flurry of workings that incorporated Hermes-Mercurius I became inspired to craft a ritual object to focus Mercurial powers and grant me instant access to the more practical features of those powers (like intellectual augmentations, communication sorceries, and even swift travel.). This was a collaborative work and many details were suggested by Hermes-Mercurius and/or his agents.

The final product is a Kerykeion or Staff of Mercury (pictured below) in the form of a stylized caduceus. The color and symbolism are drawn from many relevant sources and magical correspondences.

The consecration ritual was memorable and effective. The presence of Hermes-Mercurius filled the chamber before a single word was spoken. The actual consecration was performed by His Own Hand, so the final piece is indeed sacred, consecrated, and a living temple of Mercurial Might.

Ancient Kerykeion

Kerykeion of Hermes-Mercurius by Adam

Kerykeion of Hermes-Mercurius

The pressure exerted by the staff is palpable. Placed innocently in the corner of a room, it commands your attention. Whispering in your ear of mischief in the offing. It is one of my favorite pieces.

Bonus Mageía

Hermetica Mercurios

Some Useful Correspondences

Here are three distinct manifestations of the deity I know as Hermes-Mercurius, and their correspondences as I know them.

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Effective Invitations to Hermes

(and other works in His Name)

Hermes-Mercurius comes fast. Be ready with something great to offer and more than a sob story to entertain him with. 


Hermetic Pathworking to Banish and Ward the Temple

The taste of the salty sea air on my lips.

“The Herme is set and made holy. 
There is no way to penetrate this barrier.
I am myself immortalized at this very moment.”

Stilbon taking a deep breath of sandalwood and pine.
Points to the horizon and the Morning Star.

Invitation to Chat

Shout to the South-Eastern Winds:

“God of swift feet and messengers I call to the clear-sighted one:
Hermes Lógios of speech, Hermes Khthónio of the shadows, Hermes Enódios of the road
Come! Drink with me! Lend me your ear for a time!”

(Bring some great beer. Allot of it.)

Invocation of Hermes-Mercurius

Iō Hermēs-Mercurius! Iō Hermēs-Mercurius! Iō Hermēs-Mercurius! Iō Hermēs-Mercurius!

Jungitur en vati vates; rex inclyte rabdon Hermes tu venias, verba nefanda ferens

Iō Hermēs-Mercurius! Iō Hermēs-Mercurius! Iō Hermēs-Mercurius! Iō Hermēs-Mercurius!

Thank you for your time.


Sorcerer at your service
Tetelesmenoi Hermei


Sorcerous Intrusions

The most excellent and potent sorceries manifest in the world of horrors like a death-dealing lightning bolt out of a clear blue sky. A violent intrusion upon the reliability of the natural world (if even for the briefest of moments), that collapses the expectations of a harmonious and predictable world in all who witness.  

Exu Meia Noite

Digital Grimoire: