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  • Bernard Frank

Odin, Hermes, Thoth, Anubis: One god many faces?

In our workshops and courses we often emphasise that we don't get caught up in terminology, or trying too hard to categorise spiritual beings. (i.e, the differences between gods, nature spirits, angels, spirit guides etc.) This is partly because as we also often discuss, the deities/spirits will often use different names and faces with different people, to relate and communicate in a way that best suits that person.

But this is not some new or unique concept that we have invented. It is how the deities and spiritual being were viewed in ancient times (often even within the same pantheon). When the ancient Greeks and Romans encountered foreign peoples and religions, they compared the foreign gods to their own gods. This method was known as "Interpretatio Graeca" or "Interpretatio Romana". The Romans travelled north and encountered the Germanic tribes where they interpreted the god Odin as their own god Mercury (Hermes).

Hermes was associated with other gods too. When the Greeks settled and later ruled Egypt, Hermes was thought of as being the same as Anubis and Thoth. These comparison became so popular they merged these gods together and worshipped them as new singular beings. Hermes and Anubis were combined and became "Hermanubis". Hermes and Thoth became "Hermes Trismegistus", the legendary founder of Hermeticism. So while on the surface Odin, Hermes, Thoth and Anubis seem very distinct and separate. Underneath they have a lot in common with ancient connections, they are different expressions of something greater.

Click images to enlarge

Left to right: Hermanubis, Hermes Trismegistus, Hermes, Odin


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