The Gods of Travel

The Gods of Travel
The Roman Forum, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

A little higher power never hurt anyone, right?

Labanya Maitra
May 11 , 2020
03 Min Read

The tap, tap, tapping feet, eyes darting from corner to corner, nervous scratching of cuticles, involuntarily biting lips…that’s what some of us are doing, at this point. A traveller’s soul never sits still. Yes, we have all the virtual tours, vacations and concerts to make it all better, but who are we kidding, those are like the cheap-red-wine-that-gives-you-a-headache-you-can-feel-in-your-teeth version of travel.

It’s fine, we’re fine.

But we’re not. We’ve tried social distancing, we’ve tested isolation, we’re on heaven-knows-what day of being under lockdown with no signs of letting up, but COVID-19 rages on, uninterrupted. There’s a quote from Bukowski that does the rounds of the inter-webs every few months or so, it starts something like this:

“For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can't readily accept the God formula, the big answers don't remain stone-written.”

We tried it our way, maybe our friends up in the clouds might have a better idea? But, who are we looking for, exactly? Turns out, there are quite a few of these gods of travel we could turn to. Let’s take a look at our top five.

Abeona and Adiona

This Roman goddess-duo are like ATC at the arrival and departure gates. Abeona is the goddess for outward journeys and safe passage, while Adiona protects travellers on their way back home. Both goddesses have a special focus on children as Abeona guides them as they leave the nest, while Adiona assures their safe return home. Abeona and Adiona work together to ensure travellers can complete their journeys, and their names mean “to depart, or go forth” and “to approach, or visit,” respectively. They are both considered to be aspects of Juno.

Baalshamin and Barasim

‘Lord of the Heavens’ in parts of the Middle East and North Africa, he was called on by the ancient Semitic people, particularly in ancient Syria and Canaan. It is unclear if Baalshamin was a single god or a title—like Indra—but travellers sought after him to provide good weather and clear skies for their voyage. Barasim was the pre-Christian Armenian god of weather and the sky, most likely derived from Baalshamin.

The now-destroyed Temple of Baalshamin in Syria

Khonsu or Khons

T­he Egyptian god of the moon, Khonsu was—quite literally—the traveller or the wanderer. Son of Amon and Mut, Khons was depicted as a young man who travelled across the night sky. Sometimes referred to as the Pathfinder and the Defender, he watched over travellers at night, protected wild animals, and aided with healing. It is believed that Khonsu started off as a violent and dangerous god who went through a change of heart and transformed.

Hermes and Mercury

The Greek Hermes and Roman Mercury was the son of Zeus or Jupiter. In Greek mythology, he was the god of trade, wealth, luck, fertility, animal husbandry, sleep, language, thieves, and travel. This messenger god is also seen as the god of roads and doorways, and the protector of travellers, He is also seen shepherding the dead to Hades, the god of the Underworld. In Roman mythology, he’s the patron deity of travel. Neptune, however, was the god of sea travel.

Statue of Roman god Mercury

Chammo Lam Lha

The Tibetan goddess of travel and the protector of travellers, this young goddess is depicted riding on the back of a golden bee as the protector. Her invocation has roughly been translated to "SO! Within a mandala of luminous and beautiful jewels, seated upon a golden bee, is the majestic and young goddess, Chammo Lam Lha together with her retinue. Come here now and keep you protection vow. Take these offerings of smoke and torma. Act as a companion to me. Expel the causes for harm and obstacles. Act to accomplish this entrusted activity."


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