Travel enough and there will be a moment that’ll have you snivelling in your seat, firing off a quick prayer or two, in exchange for your safety. Whether it’s heavy turbulence at 33,000 feet or riding around Bali on the back of a motorbike, eventually even the most experienced and skeptical traveller turns to the heavens for help. The question is which God or Goddess of travel should you be petitioning?
When the ancient Greeks were heading off on a jaunt, they’d ask Abeona and her BFF Adiona to look after them, because Abeona was the Goddess of the outward journey and Adiona was the Goddess of the safe return. Together, these ladies specialised in looking over kids when they took their first steps away from the home and started exploring the world.
In Hindu culture, there are a plethora of Gods to choose from, but if you’re after a specialist to take care of you overseas, Lord Ganesh is your part-man-part-elephant. One of the original multitaskers, not only is Ganesh the Remover of Obstacles (potentially handy when it comes to long queues at immigration) he’s also the Hindu Patron God of Travelling.
Saint Christopher is pretty popular with Christian travellers. Famous for carrying a baby across a river on his shoulders (spoiler: the baby turned out to be Jesus) he was rewarded by being made the Patron Saint of Travellers. The nifty thing about Saint Christopher is you don’t even need to pray for protection, you can just wear a necklace or bracelet with his image on it and you’re covered.
Not every travel prayer is about personal safety though. Sometimes we just want some lovely weather during a trip, so we can get some rays on the beach. According to ancient Middle Eastern beliefs, Baalshamin was the God of the Sky, which makes him the bloke to speak to if your plane’s been delayed by a freak snow storm or you want to order up two weeks of sunny skies in Hawaii.
Now, if these existential figures are too abstract, or you’re a devout atheist, you can always try appealing to the modern day Gods and Goddesses of travel; the ones dressed in the sleek airline uniforms at the check-in desks – it’s these great and merciful figures that bless us mere mortals with upgrades after all.
Image: Even Ganesh, the Patron God of Travelling, can’t dodge the traffic in Mumbai, India.