Old Gods and New Looks

My friend and I were talking about hot guys quantum physics when he brought up this idea about how even the Olympioi might not be exempt from changing fashion trends. They may be eternal, deathless powers, but who says they can’t change their wardrobe every thousand years or so?

There’s Hêphaistos, for example. We all know that the God of smithcraft and metalwork was seen by the ancient Greeks as a sooty, unattractive* cripple thrown down from Olympos by his own mum, but if he’s been able to help us invent printers and computers and iPads (by Hermês’ request, I assume), why can’t he reinvent his own image? Why, I’m sure being married to Aphroditê for all these years has taught him something about looking good.

The old fugly, lame Hêphaistos just before he got married to Aphroditê...

The old fugly, lame Hêphaistos just before he got married to Aphroditê…

Hêphaistos after getting married to the Goddess of beauty for thousands of years.

Hêphaistos after being married to the Goddess of beauty for thousands of years.

Who says technology can't be sexy, eh?

Who says technology can’t be sexy, eh?

In our conversation, my friend goes on to say:

Technology nowadays is increasingly becoming more aware of how it looks, how it feels and in the broad sense, how it operates and is operated in the human world. Industrial design never used to be a “thing” or a field prior to the early 1900’s. But it became clearer over time how necessary it was for technology and products not to just work, but to be usable by many people. The whole point of industrial design is to streamline the form and function of a product, always with the thought that it’s humans who will finally end up using the product. An good example would be the evolution of Apple products, one of the few companies who are very particular with the design of their products:

From: alphabytesoup.wordpress.com/

From: alphabytesoup.wordpress.com

You can see it going from the clunkier products to its current incredibly minimal and sleek design. It lost its wires and the computer tower, compressing most of it inside behind the monitor. Aesthetics is keeping in mind that how you are communicates a message, and that this message is going to be received by human beings, now.

Now, I don’t own any Apple products and neither does he, so this isn’t me trying to sell you Apple on a devotional blog. If you think about it, though, Apple changing itself from fugly to fabulous could be exactly how the God of techies changed from hobo to hunk.

[*Despite the subjective nature of human beauty, I’ve decided to work with the more popular ‘Western’ ideas of attractiveness in this post.]

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Katallageia and Hermaia

Before I post pictures of last night’s Noumênia rites, let me share two modern Greek festivals that are happening tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.

Quoting Neos Alexandria‘s festival calendar:

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Hermaia Eriounia

This modern Greek festival occurs on 4 Audenaios (the Makedonian equivalent of Maimakteriôn). 

Festival of Hermes as Luck-bringer – games, role-reversal, gambling. Sacrifices for good luck for the coming year.

Katallageia and Hermaia

Katallageia (“Reconciliation”)

This modern Greek festival occurs on 5-6 Audenaios.

This festival celebrates the resolution of the antagonism between Hephaistos and his mother Hera. On the first day Hephaistos is banished from Olympos. His image is concealed and all fires are extinguished and technology avoided, since this is what the world would be like without the god. No lights are permitted to be lit, whether lamps or electric ones. All food consumed on this day must be eaten raw, without the benefit of fire. Avoid television, radio, internet, or other electrical devices unless your job depends on these and if possible walk to work. Spend the day in gloomy meditation, thinking about all the ways that the Smith god impacts our lives, and how horrible it would be without him. Then around midnight bring the image of Hephaistos out of hiding: present him before the image of Hera and pour out bowls of wine since Dionysos is the one who facilitated their reconciliation. Turn on all the lights in your home and celebrate the joyous return of Hephaistos with offerings to him, Dionysos, and Hera.