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the nether world, but himself returned to Olympus. He conducted also Persephone back from the nether world, and on that account was termed significantly the conductor of souls, ψυχοπομπός, ψυχαγώγος, ταμίας τῶν ψυχῶν.
In connection with these Hermes was also the establisher of peace, the god of roads, of traffic, and of travellers. Figures of him were found on the doors of houses and temples, on tombs, and in the streets in great numbers, and thence σrpopaíos, the door-keeper, the Latin index, the German touch-stone (Hermes had turned the treacherous Battus into a black stone.) The Hermes-stones on the roads were, for the most part, without hands or feet.
Trade and commerce bring gain, and, therefore, Hermes is the conferrer of gain and affluence, λovrodórns. An unexpected piece of good fortune, or a find, was épuaiov, and hence he was also the god of play. As the god-herdsman and the protector of herds, the defender of rural cattle, of horses, and laborious mules, he comes into comparison with Pan and the nymphs.
From the shade-conducting Hermes, the later mythologists made an earthly and a subterranean one, and Cicero mentions even five gods of that name. But these are obviously only the physical, electro-magnetical powers of nature, which are active in, under, and above the earth. Hermes is the conductor even through the kingdom of Ais, arising from his visionary nature, as the conductor of dreams, in which character he comes into connection with the penetrating and wisdom-giving goddess (opdaλuíris), Minerva,—as when he is sent with her in order to absolve the Danaides from the guilt of the murder of their husbands (Soph. Phil. 133.) The winged shoes, the pocket, and the helmet, make his different qualities clear, yet are in part a later addition, for Homer represents him in a more agreeable and somewhat younger form, a blooming stripling, whose cheek was embrowned in the sweetest charm of youth (Il. xxiv. 347.) The light, turned-up hat, afterwards furnished with wings, or instead of it wings in the locks of the god, is the attribute of the messenger of the gods; so also, the winged sandals, "beautiful, ambrosial, and golden, which bore him away over the sea into the infinite lands, as borne on a breathing wind" (Il. xxiv. 340.) Many of the
myths having reference to physical powers, as those of Helios, Apollo, Hercules, Pan, etc., and are now become comprehensible; for example, the planet next the sun is called Mercury.
As the god of eloquence, Hermes is represented with a chlamys and his right arm elevated; as the god of trade, with a purse; as the augmenter of flocks, with a ram ; and as the herald of sacrifice, with the sacrificial cup; as the inventor of the lyre, with the tortoise. Here we have given the most ancient symbols of the Samothracian mysteries. But what of that golden staff which was finally given him?
If the complete metamorphoses of somnambulic phenomena were not deducible from the preceding history of Hermes, there yet remains, from what it shows, no doubt whatever of the peculiarities attributed to the staff.
Magic-staff, wonder-staff, winged-staff, the serpent-staff, -all these various names display its signification; but the ancients themselves deliver the most definite statement concerning it. In the fifth book of the Odyssey, Jupiter, in the council of the gods, commands his daughter Minerva to conduct Telemachus with wisdom; and to his son he says:
"Hermes, who art of my ordinances ever the bearer, etc.
Him promptly obeyed the active destroyer of Argus, **
'Pásdos originally means a rod, stick, or staff; by the staff of Hermes was understood pre-eminently the magic-staff, by which men were thrown into sleep, or again awakened (Il. xxiv. 343; Odyss. v. 47; Hymn. Merc. ccx. 526.) The magic-staff of Circe (Odyssey, x. 238; xiii. 429.) In the Odyssey, again, it is called the magic-staff (Odyss. xii. 251.) I do not know how the magnetic staff which Mesmer, Wolfart, and their disciples, used in magnetising, could be more clearly described; but these generally had an iron or steel staff, as the so-called conductor, in order, in certain cases, to strengthen and modify the magnetic power, to throw people into sleep or to awaken them. In ancient times, it appears to have been originally a wooden staff, but certainly not exclusively, for it is also called the golden, or at least the gilt staff. Even so the experienced magnetiser
uses, in different conditions of the sick, different staves; and of the wooden ones, the best, according to the observations of clairvoyants, are of hazel, laurel, or olive. He also uses zinc or glass staves.
The staff in ancient times had various significations. At one time it is the herdsman's staff, then the herald's, such as the heralds of the present time carry; then it became the symbol of power-the σkýπTρov, sceptre of the ruler, and the magic staff of the necromancer; and we yet find it amongst the Egyptian officers of the temple. Whence Hermes derived his staff is not stated; nor is there any mention in Homer of his serpent staff, which seemed to be the peculiar attribute of Esculapius. It is styled in the Homeric hymns, "the splendid, three-leaved, infallible staff, which Hermes received from Apollo" (v. 559). According to Apollodorus, it is the golden staff which Apollo himself received as the reward of his services as a herdsman. That the magic staff was also of metal is shown by a passage in Lucian (Dial. D. 7, 5). Hermes received this staff, which other gods also bore-as Hades, Isis, Athene, and Circe—a staff of wonderful power, with which he cited souls, and conducted shades into Hades, from Hephæstos. In Virgil it is said:
"The staff which pale shadows from Orcus
Calls up, or down into sorrowful Tartarus sends them,
Sleep gives and awakens the sleeper, and seals up the eyes of the dying." Virgil, Æn. iv. 242.
The herald's staff was of olive-wood, adorned with golden bosses or wholly gilt, and was called, in the hands of Hermes or Athene, on that account, the golden. This staff, KηρúkεLOV, the Caduceus, when it was to express a peaceful intention, was wound round with leaves and white ribbons (oréμμara), and was then the wand of peace. Later times converted these, oréμpariv, into snakes, which encircle the staff in friendly union, and hissed at each other above. The pair of wings on the staff is also a later addition, and symbolises the messenger. Hermes bearing such a staff was the herald of concord. There never have been wanting various meanings attached to these snakes. They are, namely, the symbols of wisdom, of healing, of
life, and of regeneration. Schweigger combines the snake-encircled Hermes-staff with the mythic circle of the Dioscuri, and shows, from ancient gems, an accurate representation of one of the most beautiful electro-magnetic phenomena of modern times; namely, the whirling of snakes of iron wire rapidly round the magnet, in a circle of revolving and illuminating sparks. The Hermes-staff is thus winged with small glittering flashes of lightning; and the wings of lightning are, therefore, according to nature, connected with it. But that whilst we are thinking of the Hermes-staff we are reminded of the Herculean force, the magnetic, is justified by the fact that the Hermes-staff was anciently represented in connection with the club of Hercules.
These combinations may have their reality; but still more just in every sense is the comparison of the sleep-bringing magic wand of Hermes with our magnetic staff, with which we are in a condition fully to imitate the ancient descriptions of the magical appearances of the Grecian gods.
Not the less remarkable, and, therefore, perfectly relevant to our subject, is the original German meaning of the magic wand; concerning which Grimm, in his German Mythology, p. 545, says:- "An ancient glossary derives the name from the Wishing-rod, according to the notion of the magic power of the rod of Mercury. But the Caduceus was neither derived from wishes nor wishing. The winged rodvirga volatilis—was early represented as a magic rod; it is the wand through the possession of which a man becomes the master of all healing. The gift of this healing proceeds from the all-powerful Woutan.' He says, amongst other things in his introduction to prove the identity of the northern and German mythologies,- "The name of Wish stands in connection with Wishing-woman. Wishingwomen were employed precisely as Swan-maidens; and Woutan appeared in the Wishing-cap."
In the Samothracian mysteries all the so-called greater gods stood in alliance with each other. Not only those already mentioned, but Athene, Cybele, Demeter, Ceres, Proserpine, and Pan; and in the sense of the original duality were also Hephæstos with the father of the Cabiri, and Poseidon with Hercules and Jupiter, united under the name of the greater gods. Thus we have seen that these
symbolical divinities were originally but representations of natural appearances. Diodorus of Sicily relates that the Samothracian mysteries were founded in the dark times prior to history, and were derived from an antecedent world destroyed by the great flood; but that they were remodelled by Jupiter, and first made known to his son Jasion, whom he had by Electra, in order to confer divine dignity upon him.
Corybas, the son of Jasion by the mother of the gods, from whom the Corybantes received their name, taught the mysteries of the mother of the gods to Phrygia, on which occasion the lute given by Hermes was taken thither. Through the whole series of images there was a leading type, which artistic imagination adorned with new combinations, or gave prominence to individual characteristics, or added historical events to them. I will here only refer to such of these matters as have reference to magic. In general, two Dioscuri indicate the primeval principles of electro-magnetism; but there frequently comes a triad, and sometimes a quadruple representation-the male, the female, the right, the left, the positive and the negative. The triad, Helios or Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto, represent the three points of the electrical fire, the trident of Neptune. As for the upper world two male, so for the nether world two female Cabiric beings, Demeter and Persephone, were found, as may be frequently seen in the representation of the mysteries. Demeter was called the Cabiric Saviour, as we have seen Hercules in the same character. Herodotus also says that Isis means the same as the Greek Demeter (while Plutarch frequently uses the term Isis-Athena); and that not merely at Sais, but in all places in Egypt, thousands of lamps burnt to indicate that sole, divine, and universally active fire. Homer also frequently represents his Athena as Isis-Athena-as the ruler of the sea; and that, indeed, in two poems: now with terrific storms and swollen waves pursuing criminals; now, again, stopping the course of the winds, and commanding all around her to lay itself to rest. Not seldom in Homer is Athena mentioned as of the nature of health-bringing fire, and as the fire-ball falling from heaven, as in the case of the victory-announcing star on the head of Diomed. He speaks of an unwearied,