Dime History
The universe is based on harmonic series such as 72,
Festival in ancient Egypt
 Day of the Dead & Aztec Calendar
Mercury by 17th-century Flemish sculptor Artus Quellinus, identified by his hat, drawstring purse, caduceus, winged sandals, cock (rooster), and goa

In Roman mythology, Mercury (associated with the Greek deity Hermes Latin: Mercurius La-cls-Mercurius.ogg listen ) was a messenger, [1] and a god of trade, profit and commerce, the son of Maia Maiestas, also known as Ops, the Roman version of Rhea, and Jupiter. His name is related to the Latin word merx ("merchandise"; compare merchant, commerce, etc.).


A three-headed image of a Celtic deity, interpreted as Mercury and now believed to represent Lugus
Mercury dime artist Adolph Alexander Weinman "Wisdom" Sphinx at Masonic Temple in Washington, DC. Wallace Stevens (October 2, 1879 – August 2, 1955) was a American Modernist poet.

Stevens, whose work was meditative and philosophical, is very much a poet of ideas.[14] “The poem must resist the intelligence / Almost successfully,”[17] he wrote. Concerning the relation between consciousness and the world, in Stevens's work "imagination" is not equivalent to consciousness nor is "reality" equivalent to the world as it exists outside our minds. Reality is the product of the imagination as it shapes the world.To make sense of the world is to construct a worldview through an active exercise of the imagination. This is no dry, philosophical activity, but a passionate engagement in finding order and meaning.

Trickster in African American culture
In his writings of the late 1980s, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. presents the concept of Signifyin(g). Wound up in this theory is the idea that the “master’s house” can be “dismantled” using his “tools” if the tools are used in a new or unconventional way. To demonstrate this process, Gates cites the interactions found in African American narrative poetry between the trickster, the Signifying Monkey, and his oppressor, the Lion.[7] According to Gates, the “Signifying Monkey” is the “New World figuration” and “functional equivalent” of the Eshu trickster figure of African Yoruba mythology.[8] The Lion functions as the authoritative figure in his classical role of “King of the Jungle.”[9] He is the one who commands the Signifying Monkey’s movements. Yet the Monkey is able to outwit the Lion continually in these narratives through his usage of figurative language. According to Gates,  the Monkey uses the same language as the Lion, but he uses it on a level that the Lion cannot comprehend. This usually leads to the Lion’s “trouncing” at the hands of a third-party, the Elephant.[11] The net effect of all of this is “the reversal of status as the King of the Jungle.”[12] In this way, the “master’s house” is dismantled when his own tools are turned against him by the trickster Monkey.

Another popular African American folk trickster, Brer Rabbit, uses clever language to perform the same kind of rebellious societal deconstruction as the Signifying Monkey. Brer Rabbit is the “creative way that the slave community responded to the oppressor’s failure to address them as human beings created in the image of God.”[13]   Through his language of trickery, Brer Rabbit outwits his oppressors, deconstructing, in small ways, the hierarchy of subjugation to which his weak body forces him to physically conform.

Eshu (other names include Exú, Esu Eleggua, Esu Elegbara, Eshu Elegbara, Elegba, Legba, and Eleda) is an orisha, and one of the most known deities of the Yoruba mythology and related New World traditions.
Thoth's other names include Djehuty, Jehuti, Tahuti, Tehuti, Zehuti, Techu, or Tetu, Lord of the Khemenu. One of Thoth's titles, "Three times great, great" was translated to the Greek (Trismegistos) making Hermes Trismegistus.


Thoth, like many Egyptian gods and nobility, held many titles. Among these were "Scribe of Ma'at in the Company of the Gods," "Lord of Ma'at," "Lord of Divine Words," "Judge of the Two Combatant Gods," "Judge of the Rekhekhui, the pacifier of the Gods, who Dwelleth in Unnu, the Great God in the Temple of Abtiti," "Twice Great," "Thrice Great,"" and "Three Times Great, Great."


Adolph A. Weinman Papers


Shortly after the dime began circulating, many people began calling it a “Mercury dime.”  Mercury is the Roman god of trade, property and wealth as well as messenger to the other gods.  Although not the original and intended name for the new dime, the wings on the hat and the androgynous facial features made the figure easily identified with the messenger god and the term Mercury stuck. Mercury was the Roman name for Hermes which was the Greek name for Thoth the Egyptian deity who as tricksters play key roles in the many mythical stories of the gods. The best known name from the African Orishas is Eshu.



Wednesday is Mercury's day

Mercury generally does not act on his own, but at the behest of some other god. His many adventures and his assignment as guide of the dead to Hades, made him the patron god of travelers. But his tricks also made him patron of thieves. The Romans also made him god of merchants and he lent his name to "mercantilism". Wednesday was his day of the week. This day the Romans called "Mercurii dies", which survives in the names for that day in many of the Romance languages, such as the Spanish, "miércoles". We also find Mercury lending his fame, in a "mercurial" manner, to a number of other objects, which also relates to the unpredictable patterns observed in the planet named after him.


Mercury Dime 1916 - 1946

Under 1890 law, changes could not be made to a coin design without approval from congress

more frequently than every 25 years.  The Barber coinage (dime, quarter and half dollar) was to reach that mark in 1916 and the mint wasted no time in making the changes, in fact starting the process before 1916.


In 1915, US Mint Director Robert W. Woolley offered the opportunity to three noted sculptors, Adolph A Weinman, Albin Polasek and Herman A. MacNeil to prepare designs for three silver coins.  Weinman ended up getting two of his designs as the winning designs.  One being what would become known as the Walking Liberty Half and the Mercury Dime.  MacNeil won the design for the quarter with Polasek getting shut out.


Adolph Weinman in studio

Adolph Weinman in studio, ca. 1915

Adolph A. Weinman was born in Germany and came to the US at the age of 10 in 1880.  He was a student of well known sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens.  Saint-Gaudens is also credited with some outstanding coin designs.  By 1915 when the design process began, Weinman was widely celebrated as one of the nation’s best sculptors.


Rising-Sun-by-Adolph-Alexander-Weinman.jpg pan-pac-official-medal.jpg
At the wondrous 1915 San Francisco Panama Pacific Exposition Weinman was represented by his sculpture The Rising Sun meanwhile the official medal for the world's fair featured Mercury which would soon debut on the Mercury Dime

The design of the Mercury dime is that of a “Winged Liberty” and is based on a bust that Weinman did in 1913 of Elsie Kachel Stevens, wife of well-known poet Wallace Stevens, who happened to be tenants of a New York City apartment building owned by Weinman.


The art work was presented as a depiction of the mythological goddess Liberty wearing a Phrygian cap, a classic symbol of liberty and freedom, with its wings intended to symbolize freedom of thought.


Wallace Stevens is now considered one of America's greatest poets but he did not Mercury-by-hendrick-goltzius.jpgpublish his first book of poems till late in life. His poems connect to the Mercury dime in that they often adopt meditative attitudes that are corollaries to earlier spiritual longings that persist in the unconscious currents of our imaginations both individually and collectively.

 “The poem refreshes life so that we share, / For a moment, the first idea . . . It satisfies / Belief in an immaculate beginning / And sends us, winged by an unconscious will, / To an immaculate end."


The reverse of the coin depicts the fasces, an ancient symbol of authority, with a battle-ax at the top to represent preparedness and an olive branch beside it to signify love and peace and authority. 

"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 32nd US President
The Mercury dime served Americans through two world wars ending its run in 1945.  With the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1945, there was a strong movement to honor the president and in 1946 the Roosevelt dime began production and is still used today.

Thoth Created Our Calendar

Adding 5 festival days, outside of ordinary time to 360 by beating the moon at dice

Thoth is credited with the creation of the 365 day calendar later adopted by Julius Ceasar for the Roman world and eventually the planet. Originally, according to the myth, the year was only 360 days long and Nut was sterile during these days, unable to bear children.

Way back when, when Re was ruler of all on earth, Re overheard a prophecy that the sky goddess Nut would one day have a son that would replace him on the throne. Outraged, he cast a spell that forbade Nut to ever give birth to any child on any day of the year. Nut was naturally quite saddened by this so she turned to Thoth, the ibis-head god of wisdom and writing- because if anyone could outsmart the spell, it would be Thoth.

Thoth hatched a plan. He visited Khonsu, the moon god who loved to play the dice game senet. Thoth challenged Khonsu to a game to play for some of Khonsu's moonlight. 

 Thoth gambled with Khonsu for 1/72nd of its light (360/72 = 5), or 5 days, and won.

Thoth returned to Nut with five extra days' worth of light. Thoth inserted these five bonus days between the last day of one year and the first day of the next. Since these days were not part of any year, Nut was able to use them to have her children despite Re's curse! Osiris- who would indeed go on to replace Re as the ruler on earth- was born on the first day. On the second day Nut had Set, followed in order by Isis on the third day, Nephthys on the fourth, and Harmachis [Horus the Elder] on the fifth.

The number 72 was been revered for as long as humanity wondered why we were here and how we related to the universe

72 years = 1 degree shift in the night sky

1 sign of the zodiac =72 x 30 = 2160 years
2 signs of the zodiac 72 x 60 = 4320 years.
Full Circle 72 x 360 = 25,920 years
5 x 72 = 360 degrees of a full cycle
360 = 365 solar cycle - 5 days
360 = 355 lunar cycle + 5 days


The Egyptian year began with the autumn equinox. The year was divided into 12 months of 30 days with 5 or 6 days added at the end but not counted as a part of any month. These were festival days or time outside of time. Some consider the origin for the 5 days of Carnaval. In Ptolemaic times, when the priests made active use of science,  the earth's actual rotation around the sun of 365 and 1/4 days was addressed by adding a 6th day every four years and calling it Thoth's day. However this was unpopular and later dropped which brought back the problem of aligning the New Year festival in July, marked by the annual rising of the star Sirius, with the calendar year as shifts in the calendar grew over time.

Meanwhile Khonsu was left so exhausted that from that moment on, he could no longer shine a full moon every night. As he got weaker and weaker, the moon got smaller and smaller, until he had to go into hiding to recuperate. As his strength returned, the moon would gradually become larger and larger until it became a full moon- but only for a night; then Khonsu would be sapped of all his strength and the moon would shrink again.

Thoth promises the Goddess of the Waters great processions and celebrations
The Egyptians credited Thoth as the author of all works of science, religion, philosophy, and magic.
He was also known as a good counsellor and persuasive speaker. In one version of an ancient myth Thoth and Shu were sent by Ra to persuade the "eye of Ra" (in this version usually in the form of Tefnut) to come home when she left Egypt for Nubia.
The famous and possibly first novel ever is the Golden Ass which was written in Latin in the second century AD by Lucius Apuleius. He was a priest in service to Isis then in competition with Christianity. He boldly claimed he would haveStellaMaris.jpg the last laugh. The novel finishes with a procession dedicated to the Goddess Isis which could be described as Carnaval like.

According to the myth, all of the precious water left Egypt with her causing the land to become parched and dry. Meanwhile she was rampaging around Nubia killing animals and humans and drinking their blood. Thoth and Shu disguised themselves as baboons (an animal sacred to Thoth) and began their search for the wayward goddess. However, when they found her she refused to come home because she was perfectly happy where she was. Thoth told her that Egypt missed her terribly and that the whole land was suffering in her absence and he promised her great processions and celebrations if she would come home. Eventually she agreed, won round by his extravagant tales and the three returned to Egypt accompanied by Nubian musicians, dancers and baboons. They traveled up the Nile from city to city, bringing back the water, and there was much rejoicing.


"In Eshu we meet a deity whose lawlessness and tricks not only keep us on our toes, but point us towards the most creative components of destiny, the free zones of fate."

Trickster at the Crossroads  

by Erik Davis originally published in Jay Kinney's  Gnosis Magazine 

In 2006, the book The Visionary State: A Journey Through California's Spiritual Landscape was published by Chronicle Books. A collaboration between Davis and photographer Michael Rauner, it explores the peculiar attraction California holds for seekers of all kinds.
Representations of the Classical god Mercury are frequently identified by wings attached to petasos hat.

A petasos  is a style of hat, usually made of wool felt, leather or straw, with a broad, floppy brim. It was worn primarily by farmers and travellers in classical times, and was considered characteristic of rural people. The pilos is the brimless version of the petasos.

The mercury dime features an androgynous face and a pilos hat with the wings most associated with the Roman messenger god Mercury and his Greek counterpart Hermes.

Mercury popular with all
Mercury was extremely popular among the nations the Roman Empire conquered; Julius Caesar wrote of Mercury being the most popular god in Britain and Gaul, regarded as the inventor of all the arts.

Romans associated Mercury with the Germanic god Wotan, by interpretatio Romana; 1st-century Roman writer Tacitus identifies the two as being the same, and describes him as the chief god of the Germanic peoples. Julius Caesar, in a section of his "Gallic Wars" describing the customs of the German tribes, wrote "The Germans most worship Mercury," apparently identifiyng Wotan with Mercury.

In Celtic areas, Mercury was sometimes portrayed with three heads or faces, and at Tongeren, Belgium, a statuette of Mercury with three phalli was found, with the extra two protruding from his head and replacing his nose; this was probably because the number 3 was considered magical, making such statues good luck and fertility charms. The Romans also made widespread use of small statues of Mercury, probably drawing from the ancient Greek tradition of hermae markers.

Thoth was also prominent in the Osiris myth, being of great aid to Isis. After Isis gathered together the pieces of Osiris' dismembered body, he gave her the words to resurrect him so she could be impregnated and bring forth Horus. When Horus was slain, Thoth gave the formulae to resurrect him as well. Similar to God speaking the words to create the heavens and Earth in Judeo-Christian mythology, Thoth, being the god who always speaks the words that fulfill the wishes of Ra, spoke the words that created the heavens and Earth in Egyptian mythology.

Thoth, in one of his forms as an ibis-headed man the Greeks' interpretation that he was the same as Hermes

Sometimes, Thoth was depicted as a baboon holding up a crescent moon, as the baboon was seen as a nocturnal, and intelligent, creature. The association with baboons led to him occasionally being said to have as a consort Astennu, one of the (male) baboons at the place of judgment in the underworld, and on other occasions, Astennu was said to be Thoth himself.
 Thoth served as a mediating power, especially between good and evil, making sure neither had a decisive victory over the other. He also served as scribe of the gods, credited with the invention of writing and alphabets (ie. hieroglyphs) themselves. In the underworld, he is the god of equilibrium, who reported when the scales weighing the deceased's heart against the feather, representing the principle of Ma'at, was exactly even.
 "Many native traditions held clowns and tricksters as essential to any contact with the sacred. People could not pray until they had laughed, because laughter opens and frees from rigid preconception. Humans had to have tricksters within the most sacred ceremonies for fear that they forget the sacred comes through upset, reversal, surprise. The trickster in most native traditions is essential to creation, to birth".

---George Carlin  (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008)

One of the greatest tricksters of his generation.

 “Everywhere one looks among premodern peoples, there are tricky mythical beings alike enough to entice any human mind to create a category for them once it had met two or three. They are beings of the beginning, working in some complex relationship with the High God; transformers, helping to bring the present human world into being; performers of heroic acts on behalf of men, yet in their original form. or in some later form, foolish, obscene, laughable, yet indomitable”

 ---Robert D. Pelton,
 The Trickster in West Africa

Trickster is the mythic embodiment of ambiguity and ambivalence, doubleness and duplicity, contradiction and paradox”

---Lewis Hyde