My reaction to the panhandlers in my small town was, for many years, one of frustration and annoyance.  They aren’t really homeless, after all; they’re called “travelers” by the local kids and simply choose to “spange” (ask for spare change) while they’re in town.  They congregate in front of local businesses, disrupting foot traffic, because their often-untrained dogs and strong body odors tend to offend people.

But that was before Hermes.

For about six months I have carried a dollar coin in my pocket for the express purpose of giving it to a beggar.  That’s a good offering to Hermes, who protects all travelers, and is known for disguising himself as a mortal to see how well he’s treated.

This is a case where action preceded mindset.  My attitude on people asking for money wasn’t altered by that coin in my pocket, at least not at first, but by committing to giving it to someone who asked for it and offered nothing in return, I have seen a change in my thoughts.  Yes, it’s rankling to see some smelly dude intimidating people into giving him money when he could just get a job . . . but that requires me to be judgmental, and I don’t know enough to judge the circumstances of another.  “Think like a mortal,” cautions one of the Delphic maxims.

What a glorious gift it is, to have one’s well-justified attitudes questioned by a diety.  You’re not in a position to outwit a god, so you’re forced to look inward, instead.


One thought on “Panhandlers

  1. Pingback: What offerings do you make in your tradition and why? | True Pagan Warrior

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