pondering Hephaistos

I will say upfront that Hephaistos isn’t one of those gods I have a personal worship relationship with. I honor him in my daily prayers as I give prayers and offerings to the Olympians at my household altar, but that is about the sum of it. This doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate what Hephaistos does, for I certainly do appreciate Hephaistos, there is just a lack of attraction between myself and this god. Though I can admire the beauty of things all around, the various forms crafted painstakingly, and admire this art of the god who shapes the forms in the world in his great furnace.

There is a certain logic in the marriage of Hephaistos and Aphrodite. The goddess of beauty and the smithgod of form, since they enjoy a particularly interrelated relationship in which I would say that Aphrodite inspires beauty in those forms which Hephaistos crafts, just as I would say that Athena inspires intelligent symmetry and purposeful unity of patterns of ideas to manifest in the design wherein the forms crafted by Hephaistos are often influenced by Athena to be developed for purpose (and Athena worshipped alongside him by potters and Athena’s own work as a weaver). Her relationship with him represents the functional part of his work as Hephaistos is depicted as the armorer, making the armor of Athena specifically.

But Aphrodite’s relationship with Hephaistos is the inspired beauty within his creations as Hephaistos was married to the goddess and draped her with the beautiful jewelry that he crafted for her. Thus representing the beauty, the aesthetics of form inherant in their relationship that extends to the world and the creations of mankind. And then there is Hestia, the keeper of the eternal flame…goddess of hearth and logically by extension also the forge and kilns and all such devices which keeps fire to the benefit of mankind (and the benefit of the gods it goes without saying).

Then there is the fact too that the god is lame which I believe says more symbolically about his nature than being a deformity. With the lameness he is unable to dart about with the quickness and ease of the other gods, but is rather a solid, steady, constant reliable presence in his craft. He is seated at his great forge with hammer and thongs, combining elements for different products, heating them to bond them together, and shaping them with his hands. It is not surprising that the Roman envisioned him as vulcan who was more or less inseperable from the volcanoes…fertile areas spanning from unmoving mountains, yet containing force to change the shape of the world all around. Therefore the lameness of Hephaistos suggests less of disability than a symbolic affirmation of the strength of the god himself. And that he later married a Kharite alludes to the great blessings that he brings to all.

Therefore it goes to show that the lack of personal relationship with a given god doesn’t devalue what they do in our lives or the appreciation that we can feel towards them, nor should it hinder us in our worship of them if even on a very limited level. I may not as actively worship Hephaistos as I do other gods, but I do give him some slight worship and recognize the importance that he plays. So …. hail Hephaistos!


2 thoughts on “pondering Hephaistos

  1. Hi! I found your blog from 4ofWands and just reading this set off… something *strong* in my head. Hephaistos… He feels… right. Important. So, my thanks and hail!

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