Sunday, May 1, 2011

Purification

Fire has many manifestations in human spirituality. As in the more realist paradigm, so in the spiritual one, and fire is destructive, cleansing, purifying, and even creative. As I have tried to manifest Hephaestos in my life, which I admit has not been easy, I have started sharing certain aspects of my life on Tumblr, aspects not directly related to Hellenismos, and hence why I have not cross posted them here, but it occurs to me that this decision was indeed part of my manifestation of Hephaestos.

Hephaestos not as creator, not as destroyer, but as purifier.

Deciding to share these things, even if no one is actually reading them, has always been part of how I deal with my inner turmoil, my inner pain, my inner self destructive impulses. Letting things go, verbally or as written text helps me deal with them and process them, and this blog, as well as that one, has given me a means to let go of a lot of inner conflict. Inner conflict that pollutes my soul.

Of all the Gods, I never quite thought of Hephaestos as a God of purification. Apollo? Absolutely. Hestia? Of course. But, Hephaestos?

It wasn't until I started to realize how limited my view of the Gods can be that I started to open up to ideas that allowed the various Gods to manifest in my life in unexpected ways. They may even have been manifesting that way all along, and I simply refused to see it. When you start to look at the way particular Gods are worshipped all over their respective worlds, in our case Greece, you start to see how immensely diverse the influence of the Gods can be. It is amazing to see the way Aphrodite seemed to the people of Cyprus, for example, versus the commonly viewed imagery and mythology that was so common among the people of the pan-Hellenic world. And when you look at the Hephaestos of the Athenians versus the Hephaestos who is father of the Kabeiroi, you start to feel foolish in not having allowed yourself to see him before then.

When I speak of Hephaestos as a God of Fire I do not speak of it in a magical way. I am not a follower of magical traditions, but that he is, in fact, a God who manifests through the use of fire. He is not the flames, of course, those are part of the chemical reactions that are fire, but there is to fire something that symbolizes his power to us, and part of that is how he manifests as a purifier of the soul through physical labor and our meditation on its impact on us.

But also, just as fire can allow for new forest to grow, clearing out old brush so that new seedlings can take root, so too can the fires of Hephaestos allow us to clear out our fears, doubts, and self destruction if we are willing to accept how he manifests in our psyches. That unlike Hestia, who manifests as protection and warmth, or Apollo, who manifests as the light that illuminates the darkness, Hephaestos manifests as the fire in which we must forge ourselves anew. He requires us to work and sweat to achieve the purification he has to offer, and I wonder if I have what it takes to do that kind of work.

He pushes me, but I find myself pushing back, and now I have to figure out why I would do that...

Temple_of_Hephaestus.jpg

 

1 comment:

Quicksilver said...

Hi Hector,
This is a good post. I am now able to relate more to Hestia bc of this. I had always considered her to be a kind of purifying agent, (which I still believe), but didn't connect Her to protection. (Seems obvious, but prior to Greek study I was worshiping Brigid, fire Goddess of Ireland and Goddess of the Forge. She was more like the role of Hephaestus you speak of).

As far as Hephaestus goes, I have always had a kindred affinity with Him. I am a visual artist, and I relate to Him like that. Art is also a way of purifying the soul by putting a form to those things which sometimes haunt or scare us within ourselves. Perhaps art may e an outlet for you to overcome the tendency to push back against change within yourself. I know that through experience, it is very hard to will yourself to change without some sort of "cushion".

For instance, this year for me was all about inner strength. I moved two times by myself within a month. I was living in the ghetto, at one time and feared for my life much of the time there (I live in New Orleans, so it is not very friendly here some places). I was completely alone. My friends had moved away, and my family was nowhere to be found. I took solace in writing, which I consider an art. I also took shelter in drawing. It was during this time that Hermes and Athena and Hephaestus helped me to realize that they were my family.

Despite the lack of a physical family, I drew and wrote the most insightful things during that period of hardship, because it was a most trying time.

I have also dealt with a lot of psychological issues in my life, and suicidal tendencies is one of them. This year I had numerous bouts of that going on, and finally, I just called on Thanatos, and lit a candle. I figured if anyone could help me combat this He could. May seem odd to some... but I started drawing and made a picture called "Dancing with Death". It is an image of a girl dancing, and her face adorns a skull mouth reminiscent of sutures. It is creepy, but I didn't do anything to myself.

Sometimes when we are faced with such groundbreaking inner changes, the psyche needs help to realize them, as being away from itself. Art puts a buffer between you, your psyche, and the difficulty you are dealing with. This is where Hephaestus manifests most for me. Although I didn't officially call on Him when dealing with the suicide issue I sense all along that He was there, watching my work and feeling proud of my determination.
Perhaps that is what Hephaestus is trying to tell you?

Just a thought. I could totally be wrong. Let me know what you think.