August to December at Wayfaring Woman

In the last third of 2016 I took a bit of a break from writing and significantly reduced¬†my work here at Wandering Woman Wondering and at Wayfaring Woman (my column on the Agora at Patheos). I’ve included links below to the articles that I did not previously link here. Some of them are updates and revisions to work that I previously presented here on Wandering Woman Wondering, and some are new.

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Magical Masking and Dionysos

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2016/08/wayfaring-woman-magical-masking-and-dionysos/

The Roman God Mercurius – An Introduction and Ritual

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2016/08/wayfaring-woman-the-roman-god-mercurius-an-introduction-and-ritual/

Gifts From the Heart – An Autumn Spiced Guided Meditation

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2016/09/wayfaring-woman-gifts-from-the-heart-an-autumn-spiced-guided-meditation/

Guarding and Protecting Your Magical Workings

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2016/10/wayfaring-woman-guarding-and-protecting-your-magical-workings/

Hekate’s Hounds – Warders Between Worlds

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2016/10/wayfaring-woman-hekates-hounds-warders-between-worlds/

I hope you find these to be useful stepping stones along your own path, or at least intriguing in some way ūüėÄ

A Mercurial Encounter

At this time of year (and during Mercury Retrograde cycles) I often find myself reviewing old journal entries and taking stock of what the Powers shared with me in earlier times. In my readings today I encountered a few reflections from August 2012 on an encounter with Mercurius. The journal entry reads:

I began the ritual by purifying myself with castile soap and florida water. I then cleansed the space with Sage leaves. I lit the hearth candle, prayed to Vesta, and then invoked Mercury using a combination of ancient prayers from Horace and Ovid. Mercury filled the space. At that time I made offerings of Zeylon Cinnnamon, Mercury Incense from Alchemy Works, Mercury & Shower of Gold oils from Beads n Botanicals (a local Pagan shop), as well as Mercury stick incense from Beads n Botanicals. I also gave him a glass of beer. After offerings I slipped into trance unexpectedly.

He nearly shouted:¬†“I am a living, breathing god. The spirit of this world.¬†I am in sight, and sound, and sense.¬†Come to my temple with incense and I will tell you more.”

By “spirit of this world” I gathered that he meant to align himself with the essence of civilization and of the relational economy of this planet’s living breathing beings.

I put more incense on the charcoal. I commented that I was not expecting him to be an “ecstatic/mystical experience kind of god”. He said, “Expectation is for the dim witted.” Openness is what I truly need. Expectation narrows the field of vision.

Mercury went on. He communicated the importance of sensing and making sense of experiences with the entire body. Our logical minds receive input from a host of human senses and the output of our logical minds is applied via a host of human senses. Nothing functions within a vacuum. I had been relegating Mercury to the airy realms of mind and logic and cold calculated distance but in reality, he is one of many lords of the senses and relatedly of perception. And so he is one of the many lords of the world. He sees the patterns but he sees with more than just his eyes from a distance. He touches this world! He smells it and tastes it and hears it too! Then he laughs and jets off to the next experience.

Near the close of our conversation he breathed upon me and I was entirely within my body. There was no other time, no other place, no other moment. Only me. Only here. Only now. I nearly passed out. And then he was gone.

Mercury at Grand Central Station NYC

Over at the Society of Diana there is a very cool blog post about Mercury’s presence at Grand Central Station. I thought I would post a comment on it here on my blog since I am having technical difficulties with Blogspot commenting right now (sorry). In a nutshell, I really agree with the author that our gods are all around and magic is afoot in the world. Also, the author makes an excellent point that not all representations of Mercury are created equal. If he is not being backgrounded to one or more of the other gods, he is being represented in a somehow muted fashion…but not at Grand Central Station; there, he is big, bold, and powerful the Lord of Exchange in its many forms.

Mercury Clock, photo by Marie Sobrito

For that very reason, when I am in NYC on business or visiting friends, I always try to stop by Grand Central Station to stare up at him in all his splendor. I have pictures from one of my trips tucked away somewhere, taken before I went digital…when I was still restricted to film *gasp*. I hope to take some digital photos the next time I am in NYC so that I can use one of them on my altar and then post one or two of them here.

Hail Mercury, fleet-footed lord of exchange!

A Dawn Offering to Mercurius

The new academic year is upon me and so, on Sunday morning in the bright rays of the early morning sun in a nearby park, I made an offering of five rooster feathers, Success Incense, sweet cinnamon bark, and an herbal mixture of mugwort and mullein to Mercury, the fleet-footed lord of exchange…of course, that includes the exchange of ideas.

Rooster Feathers, Sweet Cinnamon Bark, Mugwort and Mullein encircling Success Incense

I think of the academy as an intellectual marketplace, a center for the exchange of knowledge, and for the development of various intellectual skills. All of these are areas that Mercurius holds dear to his heart. And so, by his grace, I pray that this year brings me many successes, safe (conference) travels, and protection from any forces that might attempt to threaten my intellectual journey. Hail Mercurius, wily god and giver of many splendid gifts!

In Search of the Roman God Mercurius

I have been working with Mercury also known as Mercurius (the Roman God of Exchange et cetera), since 2008 but have only recently begun to scratch the surface of his personality (let alone his mysteries!). I have encountered him as stately diplomat, knowledgeable teacher, wordsmith, swift-footed divine messenger, animal husbandman, lord of commerce, patron of public transportation, god of communication, and also as meddler, confusion monger, cheat, liar, and thief of wit. His facets are many. In addition to his manysidedness, I will say one of the greatest challenges in my search for Mercury has been his syncretism with Hermes. Sometimes I think I am one of zero people who actually think of Mercury as an individual god, separate from Hermes. To my thinking, they are like twins; they look alike, but they are different people with their own unique proclivities and personalities. A few times I have actually given up and tried working with Hermes. Each time, both gods protested! The second big challenge to working with Mercury is the scarcity of scholarly, English language works that treat him within his Roman cultural context with minimal (or even simply moderate) reference to his Greek brother. I have no trouble locating the precious few books that exist but they are in a language that I do not speak (usually French)…So close, yet so far. Each time this happens I hear Mercury whisper, “You know, you could always learn French.” Given the problem at hand (my lacking French knowledge not being the least of it), I appealed to him and constantly received the message that direct communication with him was best anyway, whether I had the scholarly sources of not. Who’d of thought it? The god of communication wanted me to actually communicate with him. Such rocket science was beyond me in the early stages of our relationship, but I eventually figured it out.

We slowly made regular direct contact; however, over the course of the three years that I have known him, at times he has seemed utterly present and at others profoundly distant. At first, I childishly thought it was me, that he did not like me or that I was not doing enough to honor him, but based on further conversations with him, I discovered that being everywhere and nowhere, present and distant is part and parcel of his nature. This realization was solidified for me in a vision from about four weeks ago. In it, I was in the middle of a vast ocean standing on a very, very tiny landmass. I felt very insecure and unsafe. The water was everywhere and I was nowhere. When I took control of my emotions in the situation I could suddenly leave the tiny landmass and navigate my way to more solid ground. When I arrived on the much larger, lush tropical island, Mercury was waiting for me on a high cliff overlooking the vast ocean that I had traversed. He actually looked completely out of place (black shirt, jeans, and bare feet sans wings) in this tropical paradise. We talked for a time and he helped me to see that I was being too clingy for a swift-footed god of wind and change. When I began to accept his transient nature, he reminded me of some old roles and began cluing me into other roles that he was playing in my life at the time. In the very same vision, as divine messenger (an oldie but a goodie) he returned my attention to Elegua, who also happened to be on the island and who had some words for me regarding our budding relationship. As I began speaking with Elegua about offerings and other matters, Mercury flitted off.

Mercurius’ transitory nature as expressed in the vision is consistent with other experiences I have had. Earlier I had noticed that he was exceedingly good to me when I needed him for “the big stuff” and wily as ever when I wanted him for “the little stuff”. For example, when my life changes majorly, that often but not always heralds the coming or going of a deity or spirit in my life. When the deity or spirit is coming, Mercury is usually the one who makes initial overtures with deities (before I figure out what the heck is happening), drafts contracts and the first set of “rules of engagement”, and arranges for the preliminary sets of signatures. This is the behind the scenes stuff that he only recently saw fit to share with me via an impression during a divination session; by the time I get a tap on my noggin (i.e. Mercury patching a call through from a deity), he, Hekate, Odin, and the other deities I work with have already come to some conclusions about their relationships with one another and the basics of how and why they will involve me. In the case of my March 2011 initial contact with Dionysos, by the time my head stopped spinning from the initial encounter, Mercury had a contract and sticky notes labeled “Initial Here” on the proverbial table for me to sign. He’d all but licked the tip of the pen. On the flip side, when I have to be out and about by 8:30AM, I hit snooze at 8:15 for ten minutes and then jump out of bed yammering prayers to Mercury to make the bus late. He pats me on the head for being audacious, and then chuckles knowingly as I exit my apartment just in time to see the bus sail by…without me on it. The bus was indeed late, but not late enough. He gets a kick out of that sort of thing because I was foolishly more than half serious in my brazen request.

The search for Mercury has been long and hard, but I think that fact is my fault. The tighter I squeeze the farther he flies but, when I relax and go with the flow, he’s present in some way or another, or sometimes he isn’t but in either case I am alright. Whether our relationship continues or ends in the near future, I feel blessed to have known and worked with Mercurius. But I won’t lie, I hope to get to know him better in the coming months! At this point, my intuition tells me that Mercurius and I have a least a few more encounters to look forward to.