Ogmios is a dangerous Celtic archetype of eloquence who will lead men to their deaths.
Can one strong man fight against a weak man who has the gift of words? The weak man will beat the strong man through words, because he can draw 1000 strong men to him through his eloquence to fight for him. Thus I present the interesting Celtic archetype known as Ogmios.
Ogmios is a mix of the Greek Hercules and Hermes, but whereas Hermes is often portrayed as a young man acting as a messenger of gods, Ogmios is portrayed in concrete terms with significantly greater attributes.
Lucian, a Greek writer of the 2nd c. CE, wrote about a number of Celtic archetypes and their associations with the Greek versions. He said of Ogmios:
“Stranger, I will tell you the secret of the painting, for you seem very much troubled about it. We Celts do not consider the power of speech to be Hermes, as you Greeks do, but we represent it by means of Heracles, because he is much stronger than Hermes. So if this old man Heracles, the power of speech, draws men after him, tied to his tongue by their ears you have no reason to wonder, as you must be aware of the close connection between the ears and the tongue. …In a word, we Celts are of opinion that Heracles himself performed everything by the power of words, as he was a wise fellow, and that most of his compulsion was effected by persuasion. His weapons … are his utterances which are sharp and well aimed, swift to pierce the mind: and you too say that words have wings.”
Ogmios is depicted as strong, like Hercules, for his gift of eloquence can bind people to him, and the masses gives him strength. His great club is the people, who will carry out his will because of his words. Ogmios is depicted like a hundred-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger, because with age comes wisdom, and the gift of eloquence increases with wisdom, making the archetype even stronger.
Often, old men in history bind young men to their cause by words, and millions will willingly march to their death because of those words. Some images of Ogmios show a smiling face, with rays that emanate from his tongue to the ears of young men who dance ahead and around the archetype. Words can dazzle the masses, and binds them so well that they will do anything for the archetype.
Ogmios is a psychopomp in that those who he binds to him by his words are carried by those words to their deaths. Ogmios is a powerful and dangerous archetype that is expressed in different degrees in all political types. An individual expressing the Ogmios archetype can take control of entire nations, atomic weapon systems, armies, and wield them to a cause that often results in considerable bloodshed. Hitler is a brilliant example of the Ogmios archetype in action, who through his words captured the hearts and minds of Germany and other nations, then led them into a world war in which millions died. George Bush (USA) and Tony Blair (Britain) are similar Ogmios types who led their nations to several wars, whose bloody legacy continues to this day.