Things called Hermes that are not Hermes

As scholars of western esotericism, we have to deal with a lot of slippery categories: ‘magic’, ‘religion’, ‘science’, you name it. But one concept seems to have a truly protean life of its own: I refer of course to ‘the Hermetic tradition’. Reflecting on the ever-evolving Hermetic tradition is part of the purpose of the SHWEP, but, in a slightly more focused vein, we have also noticed that Hermes himself is used an awful lot in ways which seem distinctly un-Hermetic, if you will.

This blog entry is an ongoing documentation of things called Hermes which are not Hermes. We blatantly stole this idea from the wonderful ‘Things called jazz that are not jazz’ project, so credit (or blame) where credit (or blame) is due.

Please contact us with suggestions for things called Hermes which aren’t!

The luxury brand Hermès is not Hermes. They have some nice textiles, though. But they will set you back a pretty penny.

The ‘Interflora Hermes’ isn’t actually called Hermes, but does feature Hermes as ‘prancing god of sending flowers to people’. The ‘sending’ part seems right for the messenger god.

Hermes, as the patron of alchemy, is of course associated with metal. Hence, it is no surprise that Hermes Metal is there

to provide reliable quality products, fast and effective technical support to our customers in order to establish a social organization that is innovative, competitive, dynamic and shares values to create a strong brand value that develops with steady steps and to ensure continuity.

This is actually quite appropriate, even though it’s not Hermes. After all, they are engaged with shipping (messenger god) and metals (alchemy). Clearly, the good folks at Hermes Metal are initiates.

But for a different kind of metal, you want the heavy metal/hard rock sounds of Argentina’s now-defunct Hermes:


Standing beneath an aeroplane. An esoteric reference to the winged sandals.


Too old-school? try the death metal/crossover sounds of Mexico’s Hërmës!

Electricity is not Hermes. Commemorative spoon of the 60th year of Queen Victoria’s reign, Ahronsberg Brothers, 1897.

The courier-company Hermes deliver parcels, which is very Hermes, and also have been accused of ripping off their employees, also very Hermes. But they are still not Hermes.

Hermes Pan. Choreographer to the stars, or High Initiate of the Mysteries?

Hermes Pan (born Hermes Joseph Panagiotopoulos, December 10, 1909 – September 19, 1990) was an American dancer and choreographer, principally remembered as Fred Astaire’s choreographic collaborator on the famous 1930s movie musicals starring Astaire and Ginger Rogers, according to wikipedia. However, no one with a name like that will fool us into thinking he isn’t Hermetic as billy-O, even if he isn’t actually Hermes, but Hermes-Pan, the Father and the Son united in a single godhead.

Aviation seems to have attracted a lot of Hermes-action. Hermes Airways, which failed in 2016, is only one of many airborne claimants to the identity of Hermes. There was also a failed Maltese Hermes Aviation. None of them are Hermes: like they say, ‘You can put on the winged sandals but that doesn’t make you the man’.

The proposed Hermes Spaceplane looks pretty cool, though (thanks to wikipedia fair use):

Hermes as god of communication and logos is of course the perfect patron for typewriters (some of you kids may have heard of these; they are like computers, only better). The Hermes typewriter remains a solid, quality brand; you can see a number of these beauties on this website, devoted to an admirable manual typewriter obsession.

Thematically-appropriate, but not Hermes.

The Leica M9-P Hermès Rangefinder Special is not Hermes. It’s not even thematically-appropriate.

The Russian Hermes (Гермес) missile is a weird one. Ares? Mars? Athena? Okay. I’ll even go with Saturn. But missiles are not Hermes in any conceivable way [thanks to wikimedia commons for the image].

Just because you are designed to engage single and multiple targets (including tanks and other AFVs, fortifications of various types, naval surface targets and high-speed flying vehicles) with single or volley fire at ranges of up to 100 km and can track and destroy over-the-horizon targets doesn’t mean you are Hermes.

Hermes music specialises in accordions; we can only commend thus, while respectfully pointing out that it does not equate them with Hermes in any meaningful way.

We assume, from the silhouette of a tractor-trailer, that the Georgian firm ‘Hermes’ is some kind of transport-firm. Thematically appropriate, but not Hermes.