An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links to Mythologies,
Fairy Tales & Folklore, Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions
by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.





 The Greek series, "Mythic Themes Clustered Around," includes
Aphrodite, Artemis, Athena,
Centaurs, Demeter & Persephone,
Hecate & Other "Dark" Goddesses, Hephaestus, Icarus, Medusa & Pegasus, Pan
[others are forthcoming]

(Toledo Museum of Art)[id]=AB0000006282

From "Torrey Philemon" comes "Hephaestus or Vulcan, The Wounded Artist," a rich, interesting, literate site based on Classical sources.  The site explores these topics: Who Was Hephaestus - His Birth; Early Years - Love and Marriage; Hephaestus as Artisan - His Activities; The Worship of Hephaestus; Hephaestus, Psychological Archetype; and Hephaestus Links - Sources.  Here's an excerpt from the beginning:
The god of the forge and subterranean fire, the master craftsman, and the only god who worked or suffered from physical deformity, Hephaestus was ugly in appearance but a creator of beauty. A skilled blacksmith and artisan, he was most known for his devotion to his forge, where he crafted not only decorative jewelry, drinking vessels, furniture, but also weapons (including Zeus' thunderbolts) and armor for the gods and heroes.

In Roman mythology, Hephaestus was called Vulcan (which means fire), and was the god of volcanic fire and the forge; he was also called Mulsiber. Because people feared the devastations of uncontrollable fires, temples to Vulcan were built outside of town. According to the Romans, his smoky, flaming workshop was inside Mount Etna, the Sicilian volcano. Hephaestusís festival in Rome, known as Vulcanilia, was celebrated on August 23 (the first day of Virgo) to protect people from destructive fire....

Here's a passage from "Early Years":
...most sources claim that Hephaestus landed in the sea near Lemnos, and was washed up on the shore, where he lay broken until rescued by the Nereids, Thetis and Eurynome (mother of the Graces). They then hid him from his mother who, ashamed of him, would have continued to harm him.

Secretly Hephaestus lived with these goddesses in their underwater caves for nine years. He lived in their "mukos", a Greek word meaning both innermost place and the women's apartments of a house, suggesting that his nine year hibernation there was a second womblike incubation, a parenting by two feminine forces, awakening his own creative energy.

There, he began to craft beautiful jewelry from the underwater coral reefs, and metals found underwater. Partially paralyzed, he built two golden robots to help him move around, and also the twelve thrones of Olympus. Helped by the Cyclops, he continued to develop his skills with decorative iron and other metals, creating beautiful gifts for his surrogate mothers....

Here's another passage from the very well done psychological section:
...Yet sublimation and redirection of needs and drives is not the same as healing. Hera may have reclaimed her son, but her early rejection burned within Hephaestus, and her eventual acceptance was never for who he was in his own right - only for the products of his craft. We can therefore hypothesize then that Hephaestus was longing for his mother's love, which he never fully received. As Jungian author Murray Stein pointed out, Hephaestus was female-identified; his libido was directed toward toward his mother, toward the female as nurturer, and he had difficulty relating to women as partners. Indeed, when he attempted to seduce Athena, his semen instead fertilized Mother Earth, as Athena turned away from him.

Hephaestus was born with his feet facing the wrong direction. A female in a male body, raised without a mother's love, he nonetheless was nourished deeply by the feminine energies of Themis and Eurynome, in their womblike underwater cave, which nurtured his anima and enabled him to direct it toward creative work. But from the start, he created jewelry for his surrogate mothers, and later for the gods and goddesses whose appreciation he craved....

There is a section listing all his brilliantly crafted creations; at the end is a lengthy collection of links to texts and images.  (Note: an excerpt from this annotation is on my Fire Deities page.)

Hephaistos flanked by goddesses
(Louvre Museum)
This is "Hephaestus," an entry-level compilation of data based on the Iliad and Homeric Hymns.  Here's a brief excerpt concerning the expulsion of Hephaestus from Olympus, an event that led to his becoming a smith and creating rare beauty:
...That would have been a dangerous time, had not Thetis and Eurynome taken me in-- Eurynome, daughter of the tidal Ocean. Nine years I stayed, and fashioned works of art, brooches and spiral bracelets, necklaces, in their smooth cave, round which the stream of Ocean flows with a foaming roar: and no one else knew of it, gods or mortals....
At the end is a link to images of Hephaestus -- unfortunately, due to copyright limitations, all of these University of Haifa links are blocked.  Personally, I feel that these ancient images should be available to all; after all, the marvelous works were created many centuries ago and contemporary museums and photographers should have no binding claim on them.  Nevertheless, the restrictions remain.
This is a brief, entry-level Encarta Encyclopedia entry on Hephaestus:
...As the artisan among the gods, Hephaestus made their armor, weapons, and jewelry. His workshop was believed to lie under Mount Etna, a volcano in Sicily. Hephaestus is often identified with the Roman god of fire, Vulcan....

(Harvard University Art Museums)
From Laurel Bowman comes a fine collection of many ancient texts related to Hephaistos.  Texts are organized by topic.
Again from Laurel Bowman comes an excellent collection of images relating to Hephaistos and deities associated with him.
This is a brief page on Lemnos, the Greek island most intimately associated with Hephaestus.


Common Themes:  Fire Deities

Common Themes:  Nature Spirits

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 © 2001 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
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Page designed & created 7-8 May 2001;
launched 3:30am, 8 May 2001.