Hymn for the Feast of Hermes

Hymn for the Feast of Hermes
(May 15)

Hail, clever trickster, lord of twining snakes,
who bears the herald’s staff on wingéd feet.
You gambled with your life for risky stakes,
but never did roast marrow taste so sweet
as when you played your pipes by Apollo’s fire
and won his whole herd with a toss of dice.
The god threatened vegeance for stolen cows,
but changed tunes when the notes of your lyre
reached his ears. He did not think twice,
and now you receive sacrifice and bows

for acting as patron of the high Art:
alchemy of the Great Transformation
which purifies soul and asperges heart,
by refining in forge of creation
and burning off pale dross from purest gold.
Swift-speeding son of Maia, turn and hear:
Guide us by sudden reversals and ruses
to seize the horns of life ere we grow old
and grab chances for joy as they draw near,
while honoring the paths Spirit chooses.

For you lulled watchful Argus to napping,
who stood guard to serve Hera’s jealousy;
you brought tools and advice on doves winging
to Jason and heros of Argosy.
You never slaughtered monsters directly,
but taught mortals to face their fears, and fight
with clever works and words that melt the mold:
Help us to work these magics correctly —
aware of shadows, yet serving the Light—
so that when we face demons, we are bold.

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