Hephaestus - Magical Professions

The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005

Magical Professions

Hephaestus is the Greek sacred smith. Like Brigid, he is a fire spirit, in his case Lord of the Forge’s Eternal Flame. Hephaestus’ own forge was believed located within Mt Aetna. (The Romans identified the Sicilian spirit Vulcan with Hephaestus; however, Vulcan was specifically the spirit of Mt Aetna, the volcano, rather than a sacred smith.)

Hephaestus was unique for a Greek god, who are typically described as perfect physical specimens. Hephaestus was described as misshapen and ugly. Some stories suggest that his mother, Hera, was so appalled when she saw her deformed child that she flung him from Mt Olympus; another version of the story suggests that it was Zeus who did the flinging, enraged when Hephaestus sided with his mother during a quarrel.

Like a fallen angel, Hephaestus fell for nine days and nights, landing in the sea where beautiful water spirits rescued and raised him, teaching him the art of smithcraft.

His first projects involved creating beautiful jeweled ornaments for these mermaids. He eventually constructed a palace and forge under a volcano on the island of Lemnos. Eventually, the gods discovered what marvelous, magical crafts Hephaestus could create and subsequently welcomed him back to Olympus.

Hephaestus was usually depicted as a large, lame, bearded man bent over his anvil. He walks with the shaman’s limp. Homer described him as walking with a stick or cane. According to another myth, Hephaestus was unable to walk unassisted so he created the first robots: a pair of incredibly beautiful, naked, life-size mechanized women crafted from gold. One walked on either side of him.

The agora (marketplace) of Athens was dominated by the Hephaistheum: a temple dedicated to Hephaestus and Athena. Snakes are Hephaestus’ sacred animals.