The Shipping Gods, who I have mentioned here before, are like their Olympian cousins but not as great and far reaching. They live on an isolated cloud prone island in the south Aegean Sea, north west of Crete and south of the Cyclades, which you may sometimes glimpse from the air as you fly over, but will somehow never catch sight of from the sea. Like those humans that come from such islands, they get a bit bored and start interfering with the outside world for profit and fun. There are seven of them, and they enjoy each other’s company, drinking and feasting, but after a while start plotting against each other, using humans as their unwitting pawns. Worse, humans get caught up in their battles and intrigues, and suffer the consequences. But you should not take it personally, because the shipping gods will just take note and amplify their tricks and drive you completely mad. Forgiveness is not a word in their vocabulary, because no-one is to blame. However, if there is anybody who thinks that they do not exist, or think that they know more than them, those poor mortals will be punished, and mercilessly so.

 

Sentimentios is the lord of them all. Born of an ill-fated union between a female giant and a chameleon, he was a favourite of Poseidon until Poseidon realised that Sentimentios’ powers were more influential as far as the shipping markets were concerned. Sentimentios can cause markets to turn, rise and fall, crash and burn, boom, lay dormant, or act erratically without leaving any trace of reason or cause – or rationality or causality if you are an analyst. He particularly likes to lead shipowners or charterers running like hell uphill before taking the hill away, leaving them flailing in mid- air before gravity takes hold. He has sired many children through various adulterous relationships, the most famous being Takeitorleaveit (a Danish cloud shoveler), Neos Paradigmios and Taurus Eternalis, but Sentimentios is unique in his maliciousness, power and timing.

 

Tinakanoume, his ever-suffering wife, just doesn’t know what to do, so wanders around asking the question “what shall we do?” over and over again. She is seen as the goddess of comfort and love for all those in the markets who are buffeted by the cruel winds of fate. Also the goddess of wine, whisky and dark nights of the soul, and the guider home to those in peril on the sea, or in Wanchai, Orchard Towers, Syngrou, the Aegean Party and the Reeperbahn. Ever forgiving, ever hopeful.

 

Hermitis, the shipping god of luck and inappropriate corporate gifts bought at airports, is well known as the second cousin third removed of Hermes, and is many ways like him, except for style. Hermitis likes a drink or two, but is often asleep when we need him. Get him on his third drink in, and keep him happy, and you are on a roll. Get him with a hangover, and you may as well stay in bed, turn the phone off and sleep for a week. There will be nothing you can do.

 

Exclusivovia is a goddess of great beauty, but withholds her charms from all but the lucky few. Those she favours she showers with gifts, and these fall like gold from the skies. But she is a jealous goddess and very demanding, and those she favours with wealth and prosperity have to worship only her alone, with every minute of every day, waking or sleeping, devoted to her call. So never turn your phone off, or be at your mother’s funeral or other minor family event when she needs you. She will never forgive you.

 

Invinoveritas is the god of feasting and conviviality, and whilst often compared to Dionysios, he is not related at all. He may preside over orgies of drink and food, and bring great delight to revellers in the middle of the night, but he is also the god of memory, causing the most inappropriate person to remember what he or she shouldn’t have been told, and causing you to forget what you really should remember, which was told you in strictest confidence, at the end of a long dinner, and could be a career changing, even life changing moment, if only you could remember what it was.

 

Sireno is the sexless, ageless, genderless, transparent and seductive god or goddess (whichever takes your fancy) of seduction in times of stress. She/he/it knows your inner vices and desires, and is adept at making them sound like a great idea just at the most inappropriate moment. This is about sex, greed, power, love, arrogance, drunkenness, the list is endless in fact, because whatever weaknesses you have in your personality, whatever needs you have, he/she/it will find them and sing you to your own personal shipwreck of choosing. No-one escapes entirely, the only puzzling thing is that not everyone admits to it. Beware of the person who claims never to have heard its/her/his voice: they are either braindead or a sociopath, the latter being the most dangerous – and successful – inhabitant of our mortal shipping world.

 

Ffamios, the god of paper with the gift of foresight into the future. He is also the god of winds, hedges, security and ash. He will protect those with a need of security, but will mercilessly punish those that speculate and philosophise on his existence, or try and challenge his wisdom. He can sometimes be spotted in the distance, dropping small scraps of paper as he goes. If you try and capture this paper and imprison it, it will crumble to dust in your hands and blow away into the winds.

 

Now you may not believe in mythology, instead choosing to trust in solid facts, the law, numbers and science. Foolish you if you do! Literature and mythology – ancient, modern, and just made up – can teach us many things about ourselves. So, if you, like me, feel beaten up with the week you’ve just had, and cannot relax and de-stress, you are not alone. Spend some time with friends and family, go out for dinner or a drink (subject current COVID restrictions wherever you are), read a book, watch a film, see a play, do anything in fact except brood on your troubles alone. It’s Friday night!

 

We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.

 

William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act 4 Scene 1.

 

Simon Ward