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  • Gods of Commerce?

    How many of the Pantheons have gods dealing with trade, money or business? I know the Greeks have Hades (wealth) and Hermes (merchants, more as Mercury). There's also a Voodoo Loa, Ayizan, of commerce and the market place, who isn't officially listed in any of the books. And Yacatecuhtli, Aztec god of commerce and travelers. I think the Japanese fox kami Inari Okami also falls under this, and maybe Ganesha. I'm trying to think of any others out there.

  • #2
    The kami have many gods of fortune which include commercial fortune i think.

    Ebisu is notably the god of prosperity and wealth in business.
    Last edited by Maitrecorbo; 04-18-2017, 06:49 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
      How many of the Pantheons have gods dealing with trade, money or business? I know the Greeks have Hades (wealth) and Hermes (merchants, more as Mercury). There's also a Voodoo Loa, Ayizan, of commerce and the market place, who isn't officially listed in any of the books. And Yacatecuhtli, Aztec god of commerce and travelers. I think the Japanese fox kami Inari Okami also falls under this, and maybe Ganesha. I'm trying to think of any others out there.
      Ooh, good question! The most interesting thing about Wealth Deities is just what wealth is, is culturally variable so you get some fun stuff!

      Just as you mentioned, Inari is a huge Wealth Deity in the modern era. Their shrine at Fushimi-ku has the path up to it lined with torii gates bought by large Japanese corporations as donations to the temple, requesting Inari's blessing for large scale corporate success. And, just as Maitrecorbo mentioned, the Kami in general have a ton of Deities of fortune, both in the abstract concept of success, and also in financial situations. Ebisu, along with the other Seven Lucky Gods (Jurojin, Fukurokuju, Ebisu, Hotei, Bishamonten, Benzaiten, and lead by Daikokuten/Okuninushi [It's a merger situation with those two]) have lots of personal shrines in businesses and stores. All of them descend from the heavens in a magical flying boat handing out wealth to people.

      The next one I would like to mention is Cernunnos, because this is a fun thing that gets lost often since Cernunnos has been interpreted primarily modernly as a big Masculinity, Wilderness, and Huntsman figure, both of which... not actually a ton of evidence to support at all? Cernunnos is, from what we can tell, a Deity of general Prosperity, which is where all those animal depictions, and being depicted with cornucopias (mostly women carrying cornucopias beside him) come from. Linking directly to wealth however is his use on coinage. One of the reasons we know Cernunnos was worshiped over a weirdly large geographic area is we keep finding coins all across Western and into Central Europe with him on them. Add in that he always has Torcs hanging off his horns/antlers (depending on the depiction), or is holding a torc, images of wealth for the continental Celts. I just wanted to bring him up since he's so much fun as a huge Prosperity Deity, and it's a great way to subvert your player's expectations being able to go, "Yeah, that whole Huntsmaster, Forest God thing is not really his thing, he's all about that money though."

      The Theoi have, as you mentioned, Hermes as a God of Traders, and Hades as a God of Mineral Wealth. I'd suggest Hermes function as God of Thieves also to relate to the whole trade, businesses, and money thing as well though.

      For the Shen, Guan Yu has associations with monetary wealth as part of his function as the "Solver of All Problems," though it's more abstract wealth relating, less about the idea of being a trader or generating wealth through exchange and the like I believe.

      With the Orisha, Osun has some Wealth associations as "The Lady of Brass," which was one of the most precious metals to the Yoruba. Through this she was believed to have obscene wealth, as well as granting such riches to others. Olokun from the Orisha also is incredibly rich, so much so it is linked to him with proverbs, but they're not keen on sharing.

      For the Deva, you are correct with Ganesha, though Lakshmi is also big in this department as the Goddess of Wealth and Luck, specifically in regards to the wealth and riches of a King.

      With the Aesir (technically they are both Vanir though) Njord and Freya both have wealth links. Njord gets prayers for land and wealth, and was obscenely rich himself. Freya cried tears of amber which was hugely important for the Norse as a valuable good, though that one is a bit more abstract.

      I don't know of any dedicated Wealth or Trade Deity, at least any major one, for the Netjer, Anunna, Bogovi, or Shiunesh. The Tuatha have no... proper one either, though any of their Cattle Deities could be connected to wealth. However, since stealing other people's cattle is sort of a main thing for the Irish, none of them work awesomely for proper Wealth or Trade Deities.

      (The Shiunesh do have some Deities linked up with wealth, such as Tarhun and Arinniti, but both related to the couple's War features. They have all the wealth of the people their grand Empire had conquered. Nothing about trade or commerce though, all about razing cities to the ground and taking all of their valuables though. Very much a Conquest thing though, not a raiding thing.)
      Last edited by Watcher; 04-18-2017, 10:20 PM.

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      • #4
        The relatively minor Deva Kubera is officially God of Wealth for the Hindu pantheon, though he doesn't do much in myth beyond get kicked out of his own city by his half brother and receive life lessons from Shiva.

        Ganesh, as the God of Success in all endeavors, has a special place for businessmen. His name and image are often drawn onto the first page of new accounting books, and he's the patron God of the city of Mumbai, the financial capital of India, and home of the Indian stock market, which makes him the God associated with the stock market as well.

        Lakshmi... Well, Lakshmi's name comes from the same root as the Sanskrit word Lakshya, meaning 'goal' or 'aim'. As a result, Lakshmi is goddess of thing people want. People being people, this most commonly manifests as money, and indeed most traditional images of Lakshmi depict her with a stream of gold coins constantly falling from her hands, but she also has aspects ruling over agricultural wealth, royalty and grandeur, and progeny. Even more minor aspects of her tread on Sarasvati or Durga's toes by being associated with knowledge and victory in battle, but these aspects are rarely if ever given independent worship.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
          How many of the Pantheons have gods dealing with trade, money or business? I know the Greeks have Hades (wealth) and Hermes (merchants, more as Mercury). There's also a Voodoo Loa, Ayizan, of commerce and the market place, who isn't officially listed in any of the books. And Yacatecuhtli, Aztec god of commerce and travelers. I think the Japanese fox kami Inari Okami also falls under this, and maybe Ganesha. I'm trying to think of any others out there.
          Has somebody said Wealth Gods? Because the Shen have a whole Heavenly Ministry of Wealth and Luck. To a certain degree, every god of the Shen can be asked for personal fortune and monetary blessing, since this has arisen as a very important general theme in the relationship between divine and human in China over the centuries. Watcher has mentioned Guan Yu, a god that is normally concerned with order and protection, a god of loyal warriors and policemen; but in the way almost every Chinese god has an aspect associated with financial well-being, so Guan Yu's loyalty and protectiveness can also express itself as the trust needed to strike a deal and the protection of business ventures. But the hard core of Wealth Gods are the members of the Heavenly Ministry.

          It is interesting to note that many of the Heavenly Ministries are concerned with elemental, cosmical things like Fire, Water, and so on, so putting Wealth in the same category as those shows how important that concept is in a Chinese religious understanding of life. Wealth is thus also closely entwined with notions of destiny, the gods only being able to grant as much luck and wealth as an individual's fate would allow. Now, the Ministry itself. None of the Ministries are ever described in great detail, you can't even assign a minister to all of them, since they are less of a uniqfied concept, and more of a artistic and literary convention to depict an aspect of the divine when necessary (once Watcher and I get to continue our Shen revision, I'll make sure to dedicate a good piece of work into detailing as much as possible about the Ministries, and suggest a thing or two about how to organise them, so stay tuned for that, I guess). Thus, the Ministry of Wealth and Luck has a relatively small cast of members, although that is at least relatively consistent throughout the depicitions of it. The members include:
          • The two Cai Shen (literally Gods of Wealth), Bi Gan and Zhao Gongming, respectively the Civil and Martial Minister of Wealth, who head the Ministry together (the division into civil and martial branches appears in more than one of the Heavenly Ministries and mirrors the actual Imperial Chinese government's structure). Both of them are, like most Chinese deities, deified humans, both being virtuous members of the last Shang king's court before the dynasty fell due to the king's tyranny. Bi Gan was a great sage who tried to advise the king to more benevolent ruling, only to be executed because the king wanted to find out whether a wise man's heart truly had seven openings. Zhao Gongming, meanwhile, the White Tiger General, sympathised with the rebellious Zhou, but stayed loyal to the losing Shang until the end. Both of their virtue was rewarded with deification as beloved gods of wealth.
          • The two He He Er Xian, plump twin gods of wealth through successful cooperation.
          • Liu Hai, an alchemist riding a giant toad.
          Together, the five gods personify the "Five Ways of (Achieving) Wealth". But beside these benevolent, openly recognised gods, with the divine as with commerce, there is a darker, more secret side to things as well. This is personified in Wutong, the demonic god of wealth. Wutong's cult arose not as deity worship, but as placation of a demon, originally located in 12th century Southern China. Infamous for both granting wealth and for treachery, rape, and seduction, the Wutong had a strange appeal to people, and over the centuries his cult spread over all of China, in spite of regular persecutions of this "perverse" cult. Wutong came to be seen as a god of sudden wealth and changing fortune, one who granted money under sometimes sinister circumstances, then took it away again, all the while demanding the devotee's wife of daughter for himself. His cult has faded after the Revolution, but it once pervaded all of the country with it's strange power. (Is it showing that I imagine him to be a Titan?)

          Anyway, those are some of the big prominent ones, but there'd still be lots and lots of further Chinese wealth gods I can't even mention. So whatever you plan to do with that wealth-and-commerce concept, I think the Shen have got you covered.

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          • #6
            Thank you, everyone.

            I once again lament the death of gaming magazines, because you could probably do an entire series of Scion articles on "Gods of X", talking about how they interact with each other and offering ideas for mixed pantheon Hero/Demigod groups as PCs or NPCs.

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            • #7
              Dedwen may have been a wealth deity among the Netjer, imported from Kush.


              Just call me Lex.

              Female pronouns for me, please.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
                Dedwen may have been a wealth deity among the Netjer, imported from Kush.
                Wasn't Dedwen a Nubian god, though? Although I do agree that he seemed like a wealth god.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Crying View Post

                  Wasn't Dedwen a Nubian god, though? Although I do agree that he seemed like a wealth god.
                  Hence the part where I said he was imported.


                  Just call me Lex.

                  Female pronouns for me, please.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by atamajakki View Post

                    Hence the part where I said he was imported.
                    I thought Kush was around the Horn of Africa, not Nubia.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Crying View Post

                      I thought Kush was around the Horn of Africa, not Nubia.
                      I believe you're thinking of Punt, not Kush. Kush was the last of the pre-Christian Nubian kingdoms. Punt was the "Incense Land" that Pharaoh Hatshepsut famously traded with, which is today often hypothised to have been located on the Horn of Africa (Somalia even named a province after it; there are opinions that would place it on the Arabian peninsula instead as well, however).

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