Sunday, March 9, 2014

Hermes Petition How To

As I think I've told you before, I offer petitions to Hermes (almost) every Wednesday.  What do I mean by "make petitions"?  Basically, I solicit prayer requests from anyone who'd like to work with Hermes throughout the week.  Recently, I get about 5-10 each week.   I was asked to write up some brief ritual instructions so that other people could try it out.  While you're welcome to preform this ritual as-is, my intention in writing it is simply to inspire other people to write their own.  To that end, after I finish writing the how-to, I'll deconstruct it and explain why I do it the way I do.  A sort of "director's commentary".

How I Do It:

What you'll need:

  • a Hermes altar (temporary is ok)
  • a bell
  • a 7day candle.  orange is great.  white or yellow is fine
  • a mirror
  • a lit candle on a different altar
  • incense.  Ideally, tears of frankincense and whole cloves.
  • some loose change
  • a list of requests. I like to write them on orange paper, but it doesn't matter
  • a shot of liquor.  I use Metaxa, (a Greek brandy) or Fireball (a cinnamon whiskey)
  • food offerings: oats, wheat, honey, eggs, olive oil, figs, dates, olives, pine nuts
  • spices: nutmeg, cinnamon, mastika (a sort of piney resin; you can get it at greek or middle eastern grocers), mace, cloves, dittany of crete, tobacco, cardamom, frankincense
  • a chanukia (a menorah with 8+1 places)
  •  nine chanukah candles
  • the hour of Mercury on a Wednesday.  Because I work days, I always use the evening one, but any of them are fine.

If you don't have permanent wards around the place you're working, you might cast a circle first, but I don't think that's necessary.  I'm not much one for circles.  Mostly, I think people banish and ward too much.

Arrange your altar however seems best to you.  I like to have the candles in the middle with a mirror behind, because that's how I scry.

If there are offerings from last week, take them outside and leave them in a crossroads or at the base of a tree.  Lay out the new offerings and pour the liquor.

Set up, but do not light, the candles in the menorah.  Wiggle the shamash (the center/higher candle.  Why is it named after the Babylonian Sun god?  No one knows.) in to make sure it will stand up, and then take it back out.  Light the shamash from an already lit candle.  I usually use my ancestor altar, but do what seems right to you.

Use the shamash to light the incense and the jar candle, and then blow out the shamash.  Set it down (not in the menorah yet)  Make sure your list is illuminated by that candle, and then turn off any lights; only "magic" candles should be lit. Make any last minute preparations.

Play some white noise or soft music if you want. Turn off your phone and such.  Once the bell is rung, you're in ritual.

The Ritual:

Ring the bell three times.  If you don't have a bell, use some other kind of sharp sound.  Clapping would be fine.  Wait for the sound to die down before you do anything else.

Recite something like (I'll explain the names and such in the commentary.)

"Holy, Eternal, and Ineffable ONE, Mystery Beyond Mystery, Primordial Creative Fire, Still, Sweet Calm Past the End of Time, Endless Ocean Whereof my Soul was Born, and To Which my Soul Returns, I call to You. El Elyon, Melech Ha'Olam, Ha Makom: sanctify this Time among all times and this Place among all places, that all things done here are for the Good."

Take some deep breaths and wait for the Presence to settle down through your spine.  Do not move on until you feel it. For this to work, your spine (your "central channel") needs to be an open communication line connecting the outer reaches of the universe to the center of the earth.  If you're having trouble feeling it, here are some tips that help me when I have trouble getting in the zone.  I don't know if they'll work for you.  I'll talk about them more in the commentary.
  • Remember; the Presence is always there. It's not really about Shekhina descending into you, it's about you being open enough to feel it.
  • Sing. 
  • Breathe.
  • Cover your head with a shawl or cloak (or towel), so that all you can see is the altar.
  • Hold your right nostril closed and take several deep breaths.  Let go and hold your left nostril closed, and take several breaths.  Let go and take several short, sharp,deep breaths through both nostrils.  Breathe out through your mouth.
  • Make sure your tongue is touching the roof of your mouth.
  • Make an L with your index finger and thumb on both hands.  Hold your hands together with L's touching and other finger interlaced.  (Like you're making a ray gun with your hands.  pew-pew-pew).  Rotate your wrists out so that your thumb-tips are touching.  This makes a kite shaped hole.  Stare at the candle flame through it.
  • Last resort: If you used natural frankincense and whole cloves, huff the smoke. DO NOT huff artificial incense.
Once the Presence is settled, light the shamash from the jar candle, and slowly light the menorah candles. While you're lighting, recite:

"Beloved Hermes, Teacher, Master, Friend, I call to you now, on this, your day, in this your hour.  Come to me now, attend to me now, hear my cry, bless me with your presence.  Hermes, thrice great, inventor of the alphabet, mathematician king, first teacher, faithful friend to man, oneiropomp, psychogogue, magician and traveler, I adore you and beseech you, come to me now, attend to me now, hear my cry, bless me with your presence.  I set before you offerings, oil and oats, honey and eggs, light and fire, precious spices and shining coins.  I bring petitions to you from your people, they call out to you for help, they call out to you for guidance.  Help them Hermes!  Bless them, Hermes!  Guide them to their Good, and guide all good things to them."

Wait until you can feel Hermes to continue. For me, that's about scrying in the flames reflected in the mirror and/or hearing a voice take shape in the white noise, but however you do it is fine. All the same tips as before apply.

Once Hermes is around, bask for a little while, and then read the list.  I use full given name AND any magical name the person wants.  I ask them to provide a single sentence request.  I'm "forbidden" from asking for things for people who didn't ask; it's only requests for me and from people who specifically asked for intercession. Some examples of requests from last week (because of my circle of acquaintances, mine tend to skew heavily academic)
  • help writing a dissertation in neuroscience
  • help writing a dissertation in philosophy
  • help with a computer business
  • help getting a new car
  • help with school
  • help with the SATs
  • help learning the runes
  • help contacting the ancestors
  • help with Wisdom
  • help communicating in a difficult situation
After you've made requests for everyone else, you can make your own requests.  Here's basically what I always ask for (more or less): 

"I am Sara Mastros, Sarai bas Eliora bas Michael, bar Sarah v’Baruch, b’nai Israel.  Sara, the daughter of Michael, the son of James, the son of Michael, the son of Dimitri, sons of Greece.  As for me, I ask, as always, that you help me to grow in your service, as a teacher and writer, as a mathematician and a magician, as a learner and a thinker and a maker.  Make me charming and clever, quick-witted and silver-tongued.  Bless me at work and at home.  Bless my comings and my goings, my travels in the this world and in the Other Places.  Open my eyes that I might see and my ears that I might hear.  Bless my dreams, that they be pleasant, powerful, meaningful and motivational.  Care for all my ancestors, and help them find their way in the land of the dead, and ease their passage, wherever they might be going.  When I too die, guide me and care for me, and help me to live again."

If I have a special, specific request, I'd make it here. If it's something big, I offer a special offering when it's achieved (usually a bottle of rum, poured out at the crossroads or an animal-offering from Heifer International. I'm partial to geese, sheep, and beehives for Hermes.

After that, I ask to sit with Hermes for a while and be together. Sometimes we talk, but sometimes we just sit.

Whenever I feel like I'm done, I say thank you, say goodbye, blow out the menorah candles (if they're still lit; they last about an hour), and ring the bell three more times to close the ritual.

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