Second Saturday in March
On the second Saturday of each month members of Hellenion pour a libation to one of the Olympians on the same day, from wherever they may be, with whomever may join them, around the world. In this way, whatever else we do to celebrate Hellenic occasions, we are united in doing the same action on the same day. In March, we honor Hephaistos.
Hephaistos, because of His curious encounter with Athena, became de facto father of Erichthonios, the first king of Athens. He is also an ancestor to the entire city, so He received a sacrifice on Apatouria, the festival of the Athenian phratriai in the month of Pyanepsion (Walter Burkert, Greek Religion, p. 168). Elsewhere, by the Classical period, Hephaistos had become a secondary deity, probably of greater importance during the Bronze and earlier Iron Age, as the Homeric Hymn to Him (#20) suggests. But in Athens, He is honored at the Apatouria and also at the Khalkeia, the smith festival, which also involves Athena, and He had a large temple on the agora.
In myth, Hephaistos, son of Hera, is the crippled god among the otherwise perfect Olympians, but, as Burkert says (p. 168), a special mark like that is a sign of special power, which He embodies in the work of his hands. Though ridiculed by the other Olympians in the Iliad and Odyssey, He is able to affect and influence them with His wits in ways that none of the other gods can emulate. The “craftsman god” is a reflection of the creative force inherent in us all, as the Orphic hymn to Him suggests.
On this day, prepare a fire, if possible, to pour your libation into and read one of the hymns: the Orphic Hymn to Hephaistos (# 66) along with incense. Read also the Homeric Hymn to Hephaistos (# 20). Decorate your altar with objects of precious metal. Visit a craft show or shop or work on a craft of your own choosing.
Orphic(#66) and Homeric (#21) hymns: to Hephaistos
Further Reading & Sources
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