Hermes – The Greek God of Gambling
If you are familiar with the Greek mythology, you would know that Hermes is most famous for being the Gods’ messenger, a “divine trickster” and the guide to the Underworld, among other things. His name, however, also had a very special meaning to the ancient gamblers. Also known as the God of gambling, hazard, earning and gaming, Hermes was the one that players prayed to prior to participating in a gambling game. In fact, in some myths, Hermes is also depicted as a trickster, able to outwit the other gods either for the good of the humankind or for his own personal satisfaction and amusement. We remind you that gambling has a significant meaning in Greek mythology as according to the legends, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades split the universe through a game of dice.
Thoth – The Egyptian God of Gambling
Whether or not you are familiar with Egyptian mythology, you have probably heard of Thoth – one of the most popular Egyptian gods. He is mostly known for being the God of writing, wisdom, magic and the moon. Thoth is also believed to be self-created or born of the seed of Horus from the forehead of Set. In terms of attributed powers, he has almost the same qualities as the Greek God of Gambling Hermes. In fact, according to the legend, Thoth earned 5 additional days by gambling with the Moon and winning in a game of dice. He did so to help the sky goddess Nut to have children. Thus, it would not surprise us if the ancient Egyptians prayed to Thoth prior to playing any gambling game.
Macuilxochitl – The Aztec God of Gambling
Ahuiateteo, The Macuiltonaleque or the Lords of Excess are a group of five gods, who embody the dangers and consequences of overindulgence such as drinking, gambling etc. Each of the gods includes a calendar name starting with the number five. As you might have figured, the number five for the Aztecs symbolises excess. Macuilxochitl (Five-flower), also referred to as Xochipilli is one of the Five Gods of Excess and is the God of art, games, gambling, beauty, dances, song, and flowers. The Aztecs prayed to him when playing games, including board games (Patoli) and football (Ullamaliztli). According to many archaeologists, Macuilxochitl was first worshipped during the years of the Teotihuacan civilisation and was later adopted by the Aztecs. He was popular and beloved by them due to the fact that he was conceived as being malicious or of a vengeful deity.
Nohoipili – The Gambling God of Navajo
Nohoipili, sometimes referred to as the Great Gambler is the Gambling God of Navajo. According to the legend, Nohoipili came to Earth to teach various tribes how to play his gambling games. However, he soon surpassed them at all of his games and started to win all their properties, their wives, their children and even some of the men themselves. After he had accumulated most of the tribes’ properties and enslaved many of them, he promised to give everything back to them if they built him a great house. When the Navajos arrived, the tribes were busy building Kintyel in order to free themselves. However, in spite of their losses the tribes continued to gamble with Nohoipili. In fact, the Navajos even observed how people came from other villages only to gamble with him.
Even though the Navajos restrained from engaging in any gambling activities, one day the voice of the God Hasteyalti was heard crying from distance and as a consequence, a young Navajo went to an appointed place where a group of gods have gathered. They gave him gambling powers, equal to those of Nohoipili, dressed him in the same clothes the Gambler had and made him look similar to him. He then went on a mission to best the gambling god. After a series of events, he eventually managed to do so. The young Navajo shot Nohoipili up in the sky, where he eventually ended up in the house of Klehanoai. The moon god gave him many new animals and made new people for the Gambler to rule over – the Mexicans. He then descended far to the South where Klehanoai had placed the Mexicans. The legend says the Nohoipili’s people increased greatly in Mexico and eventually headed to the North, where they soon enslaved the tribes who lived there. According to the myth, this is also the reason why the Mexicans were constant enemies of the Navajos.
Nezha – The Chinese God of Gambling
The story about the Chinese God of Gambling Nezha is rather unique. According to the legends, he was born during the Shung dynasty to Li Jing’s wife after she has been pregnant with him for three years and six months. He was also born as a young boy instead of an infant. He was eventually confronted by Ao-Ping, the son of the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea Ao-Kuang. Nezha won and killed his enemy. However, Ao-Kuang wanted revenge and Nezha committed suicide in order to protect his family and the people. After a series of events, Nezha came back to life and began his heroic career of demon-slaying together with his father Li Jing. Years later, Nezha was in Heaven, enjoying the rewards of his past deeds. The mortals on the Earth began to worship him, praying for protection. The legend says that he was also invoked for help with lotteries and gambling and that he was probably the only one of the Chinese Gods who was mischievous enough to reveal the winning numbers.
Lakshmi – The Hindu Goddess of Wealth
Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of fortune, wealth and prosperity. She is the wife of the god Vishnu. Even though she has the power to bring fortune and wealth, Lakshmi is against the greediness. According to the legend, when the god of war Indra was entrusted the protection of the Earth from the demons, he felt proud as he knew that the evil did not stand a chance against his and Lakshmi’s powers. However, his pride eventually led to arrogance and he even spurned the gift of a worshipper. Disapproving the occurred, Lakshmi decided to step back, leaving Indra to fight on his own.
Her decision led to more than 1,000 years of bad luck for the rest of the gods. The demons started to gain power and eventually took over. Indra, finally, asked for help and was directed to the bottom of the sea where Lakshmi was waiting. He was told that if he and the rest of the gods swirled the sea, she would rise to the surface, bringing fortune along with her. The legend says that it took a millennium of efforts, but Lakshmi was eventually satisfied with Indra’s determination and work. She then rose to the surface and helped the gods to defeat the demons. The legends should be taken as a lesson that Lakshmi only answers the prayers of the ones who are sincere and really need her help. Nowadays, Lakshmi is celebrated mainly on Diwali, the festival of lights. Many worshippers try gambling after the festival as they believed that Lakshmi would have blessed them with good luck.
Tyche – The Governess of Fortune and Prosperity
Tyche was the daughter of Aphrodite and Zeus, or Aphrodite and Hermes. In both cases, she has mighty parents. She was the tutelary deity (a spirit that is a protector, a patron of a particular thing) of fortune and prosperity of a city. Tyche was highly honoured and worshipped, especially during the Hellenistic period. Polybius, on the other hand, considered her as not so good… he was claiming that behind every unexplained disaster, like fires, floods, frosts and even high aristocratic and political drama, was staying exactly Tyche.
Gefion – The Norse Goddess of Luck
In old-Scandinavian mythology, exists a goddess, the patron of virgins, which brings luck and bright future. She is also believed to be the creator of the Great Swedish Lakes. The tale says that she created a land, an island called Zealand, for all the girls that die as virgins. Her four sons, which were oxen, dug the earth in central Sweden in order to help their mather in her new creation. There is even a big fountain in Copenhagen, showing exactly this scene. Another belief is that because of Gefion’s power over luck, fortune and prosperity, all Swedish kings are her descendants.
Ready to Try Your Luck Gambling?
We hope that our article has been interesting and entertaining for you. If you want to learn more about the ancient cultures’ gambling traditions, please read our Origin of Gambling blog post. If you feel inspired and want to try your luck gambling online, why not try one of our top sites for gambling in India? All of our recommended operators offer a variety of gambling options, safety and stable platforms. Remember to gamble responsibly and enjoy your experience.