Today, I'm posting a mix-tape for Hēphaistos. This idea is not mine; it's a combination of a wonderful idea by Sannion and Hellenion's monthly libation schedule.Hellenion is a Hellenistic organization from America and I used their wonderful calender and the great store of information they have gathered to start my own practice. Every month, Hellenion members pour a libation to a different Hellenic God or Goddess. This month, it's Hēphaistos' turn, and while I will not be continuing this practice in the next Hellenic year, I will most certainly keep up the practice until then. To make the day more special, I have created a mix-tape of songs which either describe or would speak to Him.

I have a deep love and respect for Hēphaistos. I feel He is one of the most undervalued of all Olympian Theoi. Hēphaistos is a builder, a doer, one of brilliant mind. A hard worker, an engineer, a crafter, and a Theos of the common folk. The ancient Hellenes had a deep love for Him as well, because His worship was widespread, and every epicenter of worship developed different mythology about Him, causing a tangled mess of wives and children to be linked to Him.

Most famous of His wives is Aphrodite, who was given to Him after Hēphaistos took revenge on Hera for casting Him off of Olympos due to His lameness. Hēphaistos trapped Hera on a golden throne of His design and refused to let Her up again. Dionysos eventually drugged Him and took Him back to Olympos where Hera's freedom was traded for Aphrodite. Aphrodite, famously, resented the marriage, and had multiple affairs. This may have caused the couple to divorce. Other wives and lovers include the Kharite Aglaia, the nymph Kabeiro on the island of Lemnos, the nymph Aitna in Sicily, Thalia, and mortal women Antikleia, Atthis, and Okresia.

 Edie Carey - With Our Hands

Sorry for the crappy quality; that's what happens when you find inspiration in artists who are relatively unknown. This song is about love. I really wanted a love song in here. Hēphaistos, to me, is a wonderfully strong and skilled God, but His love for Aphodite has always been His weak point. The most notable of Her affairs is, of course, Ares. Still, Hēphaistos takes Her back whenever She comes to his palace on Olympus. Edie's song is equal parts romantic and sad; there is a need to be loved hidden in the words that I can see in Hēphaistos as a part He keeps locked away as much as possible but which must come out when He discovers a new affair of His beloved.

Kensington - So Am I

The link I have to Hēphaistos with this song is visceral. The drum rhythm matches up with the beating of His heart, with the ring as the hammer comes down on the metal, with the frustration of His marriage to Aphrodite--and its coming end--with the feeling of getting lost in repetition, a melody to ease the mind.

Secondly, in some of the vulcano-rich places of the Hellenic world, Hēphaistos was linked to the local Theoi preciding over the mountains. The Edna, for example. Especially with the frequent mention of fire and fire bursting from the earth, I think this song is perfect for Hēphaistos.

"The fire's faded, now the smoke we're in / Will leave us nothing more than scalded skin / Our memories in the ashes Fires we burned up, burst from the centre of the earth / We're the centre of the earth / It's strange how it gets me / It's fate if you ask me"

Carina Round - Do You

The song is intended as a romantic love song, but please take that element out of it when listening to it. Think, instead, of Hēphaistos, as He speaks to His mother, a tale of the sting of rejection, and the love a child has for their mother, regardless of what has happened in the past. Regular readers of this blog know I have a troubled relationship with my mother, so I identify with this side of Hēphaistos, although I think He has come fully into His own after getting His revenge on Hera.

"See those wings you gave me / Watch me fly across the sea / Count the ways you made me The hurt that the head forgets / the heart will always remember / The hold that the hand regrets / the heart remembers forever"

Alan Jackson - Hard Hat and a Hammer

For true blue, average Joe, music, you need to go to the Country genre. I have a secret love for country. I love the simplicity, the common folk vibe. Take this song, about a man who takes pride in his working man job, and asks his God to bless him and others like him. Kinda fitting, don't you think?

"But there's nothing wrong with a hard hat and a hammer / Kind of glue that sticks this world together / Hands of steel and cradle of the Promised Land / God bless the working man... And woman"

Zac Brown band - Chicken Fried

I want to end this mix-tape on a positive note, because I feel Hēphaistos is a positive Theos. He's content in life, is married happily in a lot of the myths--especially the ones where He lives away from Olympos with anyone but Aphrodite--and he works hard. I imagine that when He comes home, he wouldn't mind a kylix of home-made wine, and a bit of fried chicken. Also, and I love that this is in the song, there is nothing as wonderful as a mother's love, and at the end of the day, Hēphaistos sits in the great hall of snowy Olympos, near His mother, working well together.