Hephaistos’ MDT – Day 14: How has Hephaistos’ worship changed in modern times?

Χαίρετε ἀναγνώστες

The topic for today will be how the worship of Hephaistos has changed.

The obvious thing here is that for several centuries his worship just didn’t exist. Since the rise of Christianity and its violent extermination of “paganism” the worship of the Gods of Hellas was destroyed, their temples desecrated and sometimes usurped by churches, their priests slaughtered, mysteries defiled, worshippers converted at the wrong end of a sword – or even worse, voluntarily (may they suffer in Tartaros).As such, there is a pretty big break between the last “pagan” worshippers and our modern revival of the Hellenic religion. While some claim there is a continuous tradition that existed in secret – YSEE, in particular, makes this claim – I personally find the evidence circumstantial at best. While it seems pretty clear there were still “pagans” in Lakonia as late as the tenth century CE, after that the trail goes cold.

As such, there is a pretty big break between the last “pagan” worshippers and our modern revival of the Hellenic religion. While some claim there is a continuous tradition that existed in secret – YSEE, in particular, makes this claim – I personally find the evidence circumstantial at best. While it seems pretty clear there were still “pagans” in Lakonia as late as the tenth century CE, after that the trail goes cold for a while.

But this isn’t a discussion about continuity of tradition. Hephaistos’ worship was exterminated by Christianity, as it did with all others. Our revival is, therefore, nothing compared to what continuous worship would look like. For one, there’s no temples and shrines to visit, apart from the ancient ruins. Most of us aren’t farmers raising animals, so animal sacrifice is also a rarity. Many also live solitary, there are few communities outside of Hellas, which further limits what we can do. On top of this, I don’t really know a lot of Hellenic polytheists who are devotees of Hephaistos.

Worship, therefore, can be even more personal than with more widely worshipped Gods like Athena or Apollon or Artemis, with fewer resources available than there are for more popular Deities. This is a shame, and something we will have to address as our numbers grow and more communities can form.

With increased automation in industry, I think his worship will even be limited by the fact that fewer people are performing manual labour. Perhaps it’ll be more the artisans, potters, smiths, etc., who do such things as hobbies rather than as their day-to-day job who will become a core for the revival of his worship. On the other hand, I think his worship may also grow amongst Hellenic polytheists with disabilities.

Only time will tell. That’s all for now.

Ἔρρωσο.

 

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