In ancient Rome, spirituality and the quest for meaning were essential themes. According to their belief the Romans already used rituals and meditations to express their respect for the gods. Hermeticism is connected with the messenger of the gods Hermes and the planet Mercury and also has its origin in this epoch (Roman Gods).
Roman Gods – The Romans believed in a multitude of gods and divine figures. However, twelve “Dei consentes” were defined, which are regarded as main gods. These main gods were very similar to their Greek counterparts, but had different names. Although these two mythologies appear very similar, differences can also be observed. Parallels can also be found among the Egyptian gods. The Romans had a triad of gods. The triad, which was typical for many mythologies, consisted of Jupiter, Minerva and Juno.
The masculine principle Jupiter (Greek: Zeus) corresponds to the divine Father and is also God of thunder and lightning. Juno (Greek: Hera) is the female counterpart, the divine mother, as well as the goddess of birth and marriage. The virgin goddess of wisdom is Minerva (Greek: Athena), who is also the patroness of agriculture, science and mistress of war and peace. The male god Mars (Greek: Ares) is a god of war. His counterpart is the female goddess Venus (Greek: Aphrodite). the goddess of love and beauty. Apollo (Greek: Apollon) is the god of light, prophecy and poetry. The goddess Diana (Greek: Artemis) is virgin and is related to domestic hearth fire, hunting and the moon. Vesta (Greek: Hestia) is also a virgin goddess of the hearth and the family. Ceres (Greek: Demeter) is considered the goddess of Mother Earth and fertility. Neptune (Greek: Poseidon) is the god of the sea. Vulcanus (Greek: Hephaistos) is the god of volcanoes and blacksmithing.
Nature was central to the spirituality of the Romans, who believed that nature was inhabited by souls and spirits. Therefore, for example, there were divine rulers for every element and geographical phenomenon found in nature. The respect of the people was expressed to them through tributes, rituals, meditations or the construction of temples.
It was also typical of Roman mythology that every aspect of life was dominated by a god. In addition, the Romans’ relationship with their gods was characterized by a consistent pragmatism. Thus, sacrifices were only made when people were convinced that a certain God had helped them.
Another characteristic of the Roman world of gods was the existence of house gods. They were respected daily though rituals for the activities of daily life.
One of the most important Roman gods was Janus, the god of all beginnings and doors. He is considered the most famous god of the Romans and also gave his name to the month “January”. An important god for hermeticism is Mercury, who was taken over by the Greek god Hermes, who is regarded as the mediator between spirit and matter. Hermetic teachings, as taught in the Hermetic Academy, have the purpose of unfolding human’s potential. Mercury is regarded in Roman mythology as the messenger of the gods to travellers and merchants, but also to jugglers.
For this very reason Mercury is considered to be the god of magic and hermeticism. Some gods are regarded as different aspects of the same thing, like the two sides of a coin.