Meet the Gods: Hephaestus
Hephaestus (prounounced heh-fay-stus) was the Greek god of fire, metalworking, stone masonry, forges, and sculptures. He was the blacksmith for the gods, and made all Olympus’ weapons. His Roman counter part is Vulcan.
He was said to be the son of Zeus and Hera, and it’s said his deformity and ugliness disgusted one or both his parents enough to throw him off Mount Olympus. He landed in the sea and was rescued by sea nymphs who raised him in an underwater cave. It’s there he began to craft metal.
Hephaestus had his own palace on Olympus where he invented methods of automatons of metal to work for him. His forge was under a volcano, causing it to erupt more than normal. A mild and peaceful god, he watched after the cattle of Geryon while Hercules searched for a missing bull.
In another story Hephaestus got his revenge on Hera by building her a golden throne; when she sat on it, invisible, unbreakable chains appeared and quickly bound her so she couldn’t get up. Hephaestus refused to let her up even as other gods begged him to. Dionysus then got Hephaestus drunk, put him on a donkey and brought him back to Mount Olympus. He was persuaded to let his mother get up from the throne if Aphrodite would be his wife. Zeus happily chose Hephaestus to marry her because of his ugly appearance and to prevent a war among the gods fighting for her hand. With her beauty and uncontrollable desire, she had many affairs with both men and gods. Hephaestus divorced Aphrodite following her affair with his brother, Ares, for whom she bore several children.
Hephaestus showed his metalwork as a gift he could offer both mankind and the gods, and went on to make their dwellings, furnishings, and weapons. He made the shield Athena is known to carry, Cupid’s arrows, the armor Achilles wore in the Trojan War, and the gold basket Europa carried to gather flowers when she came upon Zeus in the meadow.
Hephaestus is also credited with crafting many of the gods’ other magical pieces including Hermes’s winged helmet and sandals, the Aegis breastplate, Aphrodite’s famed girdle, Heracles’s bronze clappers, Helios’s chariot, the shoulder of Pelops, and Hades’s helmet of invisibility. According to one source, he also created Pandora and her famous box as a gift the gods gave man. The fire Prometheus stole to give to humans came from Hephaestus’ forge.
The hammer, anvil, tongs, fire, sculptures, and volcanoes are all symbolic of Hephaestus. Animals associated with him are the horse, donkey, crane, quail, bull, and dolphin. His colors are red, bronze, silver and grey. His metals are steel and bronze. One source listed daisy as the plant associated with him.
In your practice, you might call on Hephaestus to guide you in your artwork, especially is sculpting. He could help keep your forge, fireplace, kiln, grill, etc. running smoothly. He could also be called upon for help dealing with a disability.
Dedicating a craft to him would be one way to honor him. You might choose to replace the altar bell with a small anvil and hammer, or build a fire to honor him.
About the Author:
All my life I have known magic was real. As a child, I played with the fae, established relationships with trees and “just knew things.” In my maiden years I discovered witchcraft and dabbled in the black-candles-and-cemeteries-at-midnight-on-a-fullmoon magick just enough to realize I did not understand its power. I went on to explore many practices including Zen, astrology, color therapy, native traditions, tarot, herbs, candle magic, gems, and, as I moved into my mother years, Buddhism, the Kabbalah and Reiki. The first man I dated after my divorce was a witch who reintroduced me to the Craft, this time by way of the Goddess. For 11 years I was in a coven, but with retirement, I have returned to an eclectic solitary practice. When accepting the mantle of crone, I pledged to serve and teach. This is what I do from my skoolie – a 30-year-old school bus converted into a tiny house on wheels that I am driving around the country, following 72-degree weather, emerging myself into nature, and sharing magic with those I meet. Find me at thewitchonwheels.com, Facebook and Instagram.