Humans perceive these as tricksters and mischievous entities and this is perfectly reasonable.
In all ancient and modern civilizations, every entity of gambling tends to show some type of mischievous attitude. But as mortal humans tend to think they are rolling the dice against the destinies, a typical God of gambling plays a chess session.
Today, we examine all these entities who appear as Gods of gambling or who became like that through their human-like personality flaws and passions. Many players choose to place their hopes on the beliefs of their ancestors but are this a wise thing to do considering the risk?
We’ll now examine all the common facts and misconceptions about deities of gambling and why ordinary people may resort to their help in changing their fate. But, be warned. Instead of crossing your fingers and waiting for divine luck to come to you, there is actually a God of gambling and it depends on them to hear your plea.
The Greek Deity of Gambling
Greek mythology has a very rich pantheon (a collection of Gods and Goddesses). There is a Greek deity for every part of the everyday lives of humankind (well unless they ignore the existence of humans), and it’s no wonder that there is a god of gambling in the Greek pantheon – The God Hermes, the messenger
Hermes is an archetype God that matches the persona of the typical god of gambling. While his attributes include wealth, fertility, commerce, and luck, this old-time deity also has a mischievous side. According to the ancient myths, while he overlooked the farmer’s produce and trade, he was also famous for his playful and smart nature.
Even in his childhood, Hermes unveiled his trickster nature. He once took Apollo’s herd of 50 cows in Pieria and hid them so well that nobody could find them. His naughtiness didn’t stop in this incident though.
He also snatched Poseidon’s trident, the arrows of Goddess Artemis and Venuse’s girdle.
This mischievousness of course has earned him points in the impressions of gamblers, even though they had a hard time trusting him. He was the mentor of Achaeans in the Trojan war but he showed mercy to King Priam who wished to collect the body of his killed son.
The Goddess of Gambling in Hinduism
The female deity of the Hindu pantheon plays a major role and it appears that the god of Gambling in Indian culture is actually a Goddess. But, unlike Hermes, she favours more generosity and kindness as opposed to trickery. But, like any divine entity, her behaviour can change rapidly and you want to appeal to her benevolent side.
Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and good luck in Hindu mythology and religion. She is a counsellor of the God Vishnu and as such her influence in Godly and human matters is major. Her beauty and charms have seduced gods and demons who battle against each other to win her heart. But what makes humans believe that they can spark the interest of the goddess herself to gain favours in gambling?
In general, the entire purpose of the deity is to bring wealth and good luck in material things. Given this, her role in Hinduism has advanced and in addition to being associated with abundance, she is often tied with the good luck of the gamblers–the one that they call upon the universe to have.
But, Lakshmi spent a part of her life with demons before she joined the God pantheon and so she has a double nature. So can she be trusted? Maybe but if she shows no sign of being so, you better quit and flee!
God of Gambling in Egypt
During its prime, Egypt was an unrivalled civilization development-wise. Its empire and influence went beyond its borders and its abundance and glamour was an object of envy back in the time. It’s unlucky crossing with the Roman empire is where things had started to fall apart. Still, people in Egypt also had a God of luck and pantheon in their culture-god Thoth.
The Egyptian religion and culture are perhaps one of the great eras of human civilization that are veiled with mystery. The intricacy of the ancient Egyptian writing and symbols has driven many anecdotal translations but one thing we can tell for sure is that the deities in the Egyptian pantheon had multiple attributes each.
Thoth is a God that is mainly licked with lunar energies, writing, education, wisdom and mentorship to those in need-he is also associated with gambling. Thoth appears to have gained this association, not by a fascination with gambling but by his will to help humans.
An interesting fact is that ancient Greeks have discovered many common attributes between their god Hermes and Toth recognising the Egyptians for the existence of their deity. But, unlike the playful Hermes, Thoth was a more serious and balanced God with no direct interest in interfering with the fortune of the mortals.
The God of Gambling in Aztec Civilization
The Aztecs weren’t particularly famous for their warmness and generosity. But, they were a close-bonded group that was hard to join for foreigners and the concept of getting favoured by divine powers required some flesh sacrifices. As they were ruthless and bloodthirsty, the Aztecs did come with an impressive range of entities, including the god of gambling Macuilxochitl.
We don’t know much about this particular God but one thing we know for sure that is fascinating is that his name actually means “Five Flowers”. An evidently mild and beautiful name in a civilization that is connected with some malevolent and inhumane practices.
The “Five Flower” god, as far as we know, is a quite busy god that is not just associated with gambling but with art, entertainment and games. But, as the fates of humans shifted, the “Five Flower” god seemed to stay on their side as well. He was first idolized by the Teotihuacan but the community eventually fell apart leaving an impressive legacy behind featuring the iconic Pyramid of the Moon.
Thanks to the advancement of the Teotihuacan, the Aztecs rushed to claim their deities and appropriate the shared lineage with them, honouring the god of gambling.
He also had a persona where he punished those he didn’t like for no special reason. His malevolence, though, was a good fit to the Aztecs’ individual beliefs and so the deity was worshipped for years.
The God of Gambling In China
Chinese civilization spans over 3 millennia and therefore, it’s a global heritage. During its lengthy time, the area has sparked several myths and stories, including the Chinese god of gambling and abundance called Nezha.
The birth of Nezha is very interesting. As God is linked to the various pitfalls of life and had to endure a semi-tragic life himself, he makes a great example for a God of gambling.
Based on a Fengshen Yanyi myth, the Jade Emperor sent the young god to his mother Yin during the course of the Shang kingdom. His mother was pregnant with him for nearly three years and when Nezha was born, at last, he came out as a sticky flesh ball.
Seeing this unusual birth, his father Li Jing cut the ball in two parts and from these the god emerged as a small boy. As with any deity associated with gambling, Nezha had a trickster persona who frequently got him in trouble.
It is one of these troublesome moments where the young god killed the son of the East Sea Dragon King named Ao Guang. Not proud of his act, he attempted to kill himself and was successful but he was quickly resurrected by his teacher and mentor Taiyi who really cared for the boy. As the life of Nezha was troublesome as a result of his tricks, people found a good excuse to honour him, maybe because of their own mishaps.
God of Gambling in Japanese Culture
The Japanese religion and culture are highly fond of gambling as the act is considered to be a path for achieving wealth and high social status. We have discussed this as a component of our gambling anime post, however, if you wish to find out who reigns over the gambling games in Japan, it’s Kangiten.
As he was a divine deity, Kangiten possessed great power and influence. He was a god of protection above everything else and was honoured by all those whose job had an aspect of luck such as actors, geishas and gamblers.
In his universe, he was a god whose “office” was pleasure according to old sources. In Japanese mythology, Kangiten had an unpredictable and mischievous persona, similar to other gods of his kind and so he had a tendency to express his anger and wrath for whatever reason.
While he isn’t broadly known for his associations with fine arts, Kangiten enjoys 243 temples constructed in his honour. The most famous and important shrine was constructed in the mountain “Ikoma” which was unexplored by the masses up until the 17th century.
The Slavic Deity of Gmabling
The Slavic people were one of the earliest adopters of Christianity forsaking their previous gods and deities. Thus, their older religion and folklore isn’t subject to many studies. Nonetheless, there were multiple deities in the Slavic pantheon and surprisingly more deities than the Greeks and Romans. Of course, one of these deities included the god of gambling and luck-Dazhbog.
Dazhbog is the Slavic deity associated with generosity, light and prosperity. He is among the original and most powerful gods in Slavic mythology and sadly, one of the first to be forsaken. But his fame spread beyond the Slavic worlds and his role in folklore remains significant.
Even though the Slavic folks weren’t particularly known for their gambling habits, they appeared to put a lot of hope into Dazhbog to receive good luck and favours-his name and title was eventually a “giver of prosperity”. A second name of the god was Stritbog or “expander of fortune”. However, this is a symbolism that has not been validated by researchers.
The Goddess of Gambling in Nordic Mythology
Nordic mythology is one of the most famous in the world. The Nordic deities are described as cunning beings that tempted humans to do major things, engage in battles and wars and advance the Nordic culture. There is a Goddess associated with gambling in the Nordic pantheon as well.
Goddess Geifon/ Gefjon is a perceived goddess of gambling whose actual person and role in the Nordic pantheon are not widely known. She is barely mentioned in Beowulf and some other scripts but we still don’t know much about her and her role. From the little info available, Geifon is a goddess linked with good fortune, fertility and ploughing. She is also believed to have been a virgin.
While she wholeheartedly favours gamblers and risk-takers, she is also not an entity to mess with. In the tale of Edda, one of the texts mentions that Loki, the god of trickery was fool enough to have provoked the wrath of Geifon who was able to see the fates of everyone, even Odin himself. Therefore, it makes sense to honour her as the Goddess of Gambling as she could foresee the fortunes of everyone.
Gods of Gambling in Native American Culture
Since “Native American” applies as an umbrella and broad term, it is important to be aware that there were several native American tribes and each had its own set of beliefs and traditions that were not the same with another. Thus, today we’ll only mention one specific god associated with gambling named “Nohoilpi”.
Out of all the deities we have mentioned thus far, perhaps the only one that was directly associated with games of chance is Nohoilpi. He was actually brought into life to teach humans about gambling and he was idolized for this.
Bearing the title “the Great Gambler”, Nohoilpi was the son of the sun God Tsohanoai in the lore of the nation. When he came to Earth, he taught humans how to gamble and showed them all kinds of gambling games.
But, he was somewhat of a trickster himself and he often beat humans making them gather huge amounts of debt. It was so huge that they had to build an entire city in his honour to pay back their debt. According to the tale, the other deities became envious of him and so they granted to one tribe member the gift of acumen and prediction and sent him to attack the god and chase him away.
With other gods as his guides, the man was victorious and forced Nohoilpi to go back to the heavens but his heritage still lives on in N. America. Noilpi was often depicted with a turquoise talisman and so if you ever look for a lucky item for a god, this is a great idea.