Translated by Catherine Proppe August 26, 2015
57. Ἑρμοῦ Χθονίου, θυμίαμα στύρακα.
To Hermes of the Divine Foundation
Divine connection: styrax
Κωκυτοῦ ναίων ἀνυπόστροφον οἶμον ἀνάγκης,
Kokytos’ dwellers can never retreat from the path of Necessity
ὃς ψυχὰς θνητῶν κατάγεις ὑπὸ νέρτερα γαίης,
Of mortal souls underground beneath Gaia’s netherworld.
Ἑρμῆ, βακχεχόροιο Διωνύσοιο γένεθλον
Hermes, the Bakchian chorus’ Dionysian’ offspring
καὶ Παφίης κούρης, ἑλικοβλεφάρου Ἀφροδίτης,
and the Paphian son of curly-lashed Aphrodite,
ὃς παρὰ Περσεφόνης ἱερὸν δόμον ἀμφιπολεύεις,
Traverses Persephone’s holy domain on every side,
αἰνομόροις ψυχαῖς πομπὸς κατὰ γαῖαν ὑπάρχων,
Dark-fated souls he guides, below Gaia’s foundation,
ἃς κατάγεις, ὁπόταν μοίρης χρόνος εἰσαφίκηται
Arising underground, whensoever the Fated Time approaches.
εὐιέρωι ῥάβδωι θέλγων ὑπνοδώτειρα πάντα,
With fair holy staff he magically lulls all to sleep
καὶ πάλιν ὑπνώοντας ἐγείρεις· σοὶ γὰρ ἔδωκε τιμὴν
And arouses all from slumber. So then bestow honor,
τιμὴν Φερσεφόνεια θεὰ κατὰ Τάρταρον εὐρὺν
Honored Phersephone, Goddess of pure Tartaros’ fair flow of
ψυχαῖς ἀενάοις θνητῶν ὁδὸν ἡγεμονεύειν.
Eternal souls’ mortal journeys lead.
ἀλλά, μάκαρ, πέμποις μύσταις τέλος ἐσθλὸν ἐπ' ἔργοις.
And with blessings, guide the mystae in fulfillment of good works.
 Hermes is the immortal God of who serves as a medium of connection between the divine and the mortal. In this hymn he is depicted as the son of Dionysos (Wine) and Aphrodite (Love). In other instances he is depicted as the son of Zeus (Spark of Life) and Maia (Childbirth). This hymn focuses on Hermes’ role as a guide of souls to and from the afterlife and as well as the God who induces and wakes mortals from sleep. (Homer, Odyssey 24. 1 & 99 ff (trans. Shewring))
 Chthonian means the foundation (Χ) divine (θ), that is, Earth.
 Kokytos is a dismal river or lake in the afterlife where the souls of those who have committed wrongdoing wail and lament in pleas for forgiveness from those they have wronged. (Plato, Phaedo 112e ff (trans. Fowler))
 Ananke is the immortal Goddess of Necessity, of that which is required.
 Psyche is the immortal Goddess of the Soul.
 Gaia is the immortal Goddess of generative Earth.
 Dionysos is the immortal God of Wine and its effects.
 Paphian is an epithet of Aphrodite derived from her famous temple at Paphos on the island of Kypros.
 Aphrodite is the immortal Goddess of passionate love: the urge to merge.
 Persephone is the immortal Goddess of the afterlife and new life in Spring.
 The Moirai are the immortal Goddesses of Fate who determine the beginning, substance, and end of each mortal life.
 Chronos is the immortal God of Time.
 Phersephone (Φερσεφόνεια) is another spelling for Persephone (Περσεφόνης), the immortal Goddess of the afterlife and new life in Spring.
 Tartaros is the deepest place beneath the earth.
 The mystae are initiates into the holy Mysteries.