Hephaistos, known in Latin as Vulcan, is a God of the forge, metalworking, metallurgy, stonemasonry, sculptors, smiths, artisans, craftsmen, metalworking, stonemasonry, fire, and volcanoes. He is the patron of all civilized arts, though smiths and metalworkers are His specialties. As a God of fire, He is concerned with both fire’s destructive aspect and its fertilizing aspect. He is God of the raging fire, as opposed to the domestic flame of Hestia. His Latin name, Vulcan, provides as the base for our modern word “Volcano.”
His work is difficult, dirty, and ugly; but ultimately His activity is a labor of love. Creation wasn’t merely a mechanical materialistic process; creation could only occur with love, which brings together the elements. This is Hephaistos’ domain. He’s more concerned with getting the job done and doing it well than attaining glory, and as such He urges His followers to tackle their obstacles with enthusiasm and teaches them how to take unpleasant and harsh things and turn them into works of beauty. He values diligence, honesty, reliability, and most importantly, loyalty. Simultaneously He’s a bringer of peace, who sees the many different sides of an argument and balancing all parties of the dilemma before jumping into conflict, to which His actions are swift and efficient.
There are many myths regarding Hephaistos. Some of his most famous are:
- His fall from Olympus as an infant when He was casted away by Hera at birth, as well as His capture of Hera later in life in a mechanical throne (and with that His return to the heavens)
- The crafting of Pandora, the first mortal woman, at the command of Zeus.
- The Trojan War in which:
- He fought the river-god Scamander with fire.
- The crafting of the armour of the hero Achilles at the request of his mother Thetis.
In contrast to his works, Hephaistos Himself is somewhat “ugly”. He is typically depicted as a bearded man, and as God of the forge is typically holding tongs and a hammer (the tools of smithery), and sometimes ontop of a donkey. He is also depicted with one of His legs poorly developed, sometimes even front-to-back.
As God of the forge, he is of course associated with anvil and tongs, but He is also associated with quail, incense and opal. Furthermore, He is associated with certain plants such asaloe, red poppy, hibiscus, nettle, galbanum, and olibanum.
As a God of fire, He is heavily associated with volcanoes.
- Ambidexter (Skillful)
- Aithaloeis theos (Sooty god)
- Klytos (Renowned)
- Klytotekhnes (famed-for-craft)
- Amphigueeis (Doubly-lame)
- Polymetis (Resourceful)
- Khalkeus (Bronze-working)
- Kyllopodiôn (of crooked feet)
Things like incense are great offerings to Him. His most notable festival is Vulcanalia.
“HEPHAESTUS – Greek God of Smiths & Metalworking.” Theoi Project. Accessed October 01, 2017. http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Hephaistos.html.
Buchanan, Rebecca. Harnessing Fire: A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Hephaestus. United States: Neos Alexandria, 2013.
Nasios, Angelo. Accessed October 01, 2017. http://www.angelonasios.com/.
Nova Roma. “Volcanus.” NOVA ROMA Dedicated to the restoration of classical Roman religion, culture and virtues. Accessed August 17, 2017. http://www.novaroma.org/nr/Volcanus.