As it’s well known, Mercury is the deity with the main functions of Psychopompos and Messenger of the Gods.
Odin is not a messenger but a wayfarer, however these two features were originally equivalent as they referred to the same concept: movement, speed. Psychopompos derives from the greek ψυχοπομπóς, from “psyche” (“spirit”, “mind”) and “pompós” (“the one who sends”). He is the deity responsible to guide the spirits of the dead to their realm (the grave/burial mound), and from there back to life (again).
The question is, why him? Why Mercury/Hermes/Odin is appointed with these tasks?
Let’s give a look to the planet Mercury: it performs a motion of revolution around the Sun in only 87,9 earth days approximately. It is the faster planet of the Solar System, its orbital period is the shortest amongst them all. By far. This explains the function of “messenger/wayfarer”.
Being the faster of the planets it is also the first that completes the cycle of life-death-rebirth (the motion of revolution: “revolution” means “return to the point of origin”, i.e. to birth; it completes a circular motion and returns to the starting point. It lives, dies and revives, eternally). It is thus the one who has given the example to all the other “inhabitants” of the Solar System, it has been the guide and the model to follow, the one who showed and taught the path to take, the first to be returned to the point of origin, i.e. the first to be reborn.
The role of Psychopompos rightly belongs by right to him, as the one of Messenger of the Gods!
Ave Mercury! Hail Hermes! HailaR WôðanaR!