by Alfred de Grazia
Not satisfied with setting up the production of the Love Affair, Athena, the virtuoso of Olympia, must play a leading role in it. Will it be masculine? Athena has been known to play such roles. Actually, she ends the Odyssey playing the male role of Mentor, Counselor of State. By now we know that gods can readily become transvestites. Hercules, for all his impressive masculinity, dresses and behaves like a woman when he lives in the court of Omphale, Queen of Libya. More strikingly there is the beautiful Aphrodite who sports a beard as the so-called Cyprian Aphrodite.
A major role is intended. In the Love Affair, there is only one such role for her that is logical: that is Hephaestus. Athena, the goddess of the Planet Venus is Hephaestus, also the planet Venus. No one appears to have said so, but the evidence is strong to that effect.
Velikovsky and the scholars associated with him have presented evidence that Pallas Athene was the god of the planet Venus, that the planet appeared in the sky sometime before 1500 B. C., that she behaved as a comet, traveled on an eccentric orbit that brought her perilously close to Earth, and that around 1500 B. C. and on several other occasions caused tremendous destruction here. The foundations or refounding of the city of Athens may be of this date  , just as those of Rome were concurrent with the raging appearance in the skies of the planet-god Mars 700 years later. References from a number of cultures lead one to believe that, as the Greek theogony put it, Athena sprang from Zeus fully-armed with a shout.
Hephaestus, some said, had to split Jove's aching head with an ax to help him give birth.
Velikovsky, James and others offer numerous connections between Planet Venus and Pallas Athena through analogies of birth, traits and deeds. They further offer persuasive cross-identifications of Athena and Planet-Venus with the corresponding divinities of the same planet from other cultures, among them the Hebrew, Egyptian, Babylonian, Chinese, Mexican, and American Indian.
Graves, for example, lays out in detail the material on Pallas, whose primary myth-ensemble is as foster-sister to Athena. Pallas means simply "youth" or "maiden." Athena and Pallas were raised on the shores of Lake Triton in Africa. While playing at armed combat Athena accidentally killed Pallas. In grief, she placed the name Pallas before her own. The incident is symbolic of the world tragedy of that time. An immense Saharan lake, called Triton by the ancients, suddenly disappeared, leaving a great desert and some marshes, with the dry beds of rivers and streams. A flourishing civilization subsided with the lake, a civilization that perhaps dominated the Mediterranean and surely represented a pre-Hellenic, matriarchal culture, whose women wore the same garments and aegis of Athena, even down through many centuries following the catastrophe.
The destruction provoked and wrought by Planet Venus probably encompassed in North Africa not only the Egypt of the Exodus but the recently explored Saharan "Libyan" culture. And if, as Velikovsky argues convincingly, Phaeton, which plunged somewhere along the longitude of the Red Sea, was a part of Comet-Venus, Planet-to-be, then Pallas was the earthly destructive force of comet Venus in North Central Africa. Stecchini, from his studies of the architectural measurements of the Parthenon, the crowning temple of the Virgin Athena on the Acropolis of Athens, offers a confirmation. The Temple was erected in the glorious late period of empire. The Athenians, subconsciously true to remote history, set their Pallas Athena pediment facing directly and accurately towards the marshes of present-day Tunisia, and portrayed on the pediment the birth of Pallas Athena  .
In the manner of legend, an alternative myth is offered. "Some Hellenes say that Athena had a father named Pallas, a winged goatish giant, who later attempted to outrage her, and whose name she added to her own after stripping him of skin to make the aegis, and of his wings for her own shoulders...."  . Hardly a "maiden" and hardly a maidenly reprisal. Perhaps, as Graves suggests, the myth came from an ancient story of one of Athena's many combats. But, more interested in what force can have carried this underground myth, we would suggest that this "fake Pallas" is a diabolic representation of Zeus; the physical contacts of Athena with the Father of Gods are numerous. And humans, as already argued, have ways of getting back at the gods who caused them so much fear and suffering.
"Pallas" may also designate Athena as a comet before it lost its appendage. Visually and astronomically, it should be recalled that everyone speaks of the "tail" of a comet, whereas this "tail" sometimes moves in directions parallel to the "head" and "coma." The ancients often were excited by the image of the comet "tail" as a phallus. Hence Athena would be phallus-Athena before Pallas was destroyed and she became a proto-planet without a penis. In Sanskrit, palas means Phallus. The altars of Athena were called Palladia, as at Troy. The dropping of the "ph" (j) sound takes away the sexual "fire."
One would proceed farther. The "goatish giant" who attempted to outrage her has additional dimensions. He may stand for Hephaestus who, in another legend, attempted to rape Athena at his smithy and was repulsed. So that Athena's killing of this monster corresponds to the professed Hellenic triumph over the powerful proto-mediterranean religious culture. The mythic mind can support this idea along with the contradictory apotheosis of Athena as the ideal castrating female of psychoanalytic theory.
Hephaestus has a resemblance to the Etruscan smith-god and death-demon, Tuchulcha, who dispatches people with a giant hammer. Tuchulcha is assisted by a winged demon with snakes  , So that the composite suggests a god-monster like Typhon, a devastating winged dragon who, like Seth and Lucifer is sent crashing into the underground, there to fulfill his destiny.
The Love Affair lends support to the quadrilateral relationship: Hephaestus/ Tuchulcha: Greeks/ Etruscans. There one hears Demodocus singing that the cherished home-island of Hephaestus was Lemnos. Also, he has Ares speaking disrespectfully of Hephaestus having left to join his barbarous-speaking Sintians of Lemnos. (By "barbarous" is probably meant non-Greek.) Now recently some inscriptions found on Lemnos have been identified as Etruscan  , even though they are not yet deciphered. Etruscan has been connected also with Hittite and Minoan (Linear A) by Barry Fell  . New information has appeared, too, placing Etruscan relatives in the area at the same time as the Love Affair. These people of Lake Van are not only culturally close but close in blood types to the Etruscans  . The Etruscans feared and were obsessed by this Hephaestus-Tuchulcha. They offered human sacrifices frequently: the planet Venus, says Nicolo Rilli, was a favored object of such bloody supplications  .
It will be a long time before the identities of the gods of one and all cultures are clarified. The sublimation of God requires a smokescreen of confusion and the allocation of ambivalence. If a god has been given too much of good, a balancing evil is allocated, and vice versa. The interplay of names and epithets is part of this process, but more unconsciously, the neural equivalents must function. Basically such is the meaning of the practically universal theological belief: "God cannot exist without the Devil."
Athena was a "glorious goddess, bright-eyed, inventive, unbending of heart, pure virgin, savior of cities."  She was brilliantly beautiful, a great warrior; she enjoyed the confidence of Zeus to an extent unequaled by any other god. In the Iliad (iv, 74), she sweeps down upon the Trojan plain like "a shooting star," trailing fire. She was furthermore the most creative god, mother of invention, teacher of the arts and sciences. It is bizarre that we should find her the female counterpart of Hephaestus. But that she was, of course, an evil destroyer as well, emerges from many an earlier description. She was, in the Greek mind, a desexualized good-bad mother. Many deeds ascribed to her directly and indirectly would make lame and slow Hephaestus appear quite harmless and capable of exciting laughter of a grim sort. She in fact, as a planet, broke up the Jovian order of the universe and kept it in confusion until the eighth century, when Zeus, through Homer's and Hesiod's work, deserved to the full his reputation as the law-giver. At least so far as Greek myth was concerned, and we cannot go farther here.
Athena's birth from Zeus
So writes West in his Commentary on Hesiod's Theogony (pp. 401-3). We need not agree that Metis was the mother of Athena, because Athena is not only called parthenos (virgin) but also parthenogenous (the offspring of a single sex).
West (with others) suspects that the quarrel may have arisen over the capacities of the sexes. Hera and Zeus disagreed concerning whether man or woman achieved more pleasure in sexual intercourse. Teiresias, called to arbitrate, declared that the pleasure is woman's in the ratio of ten to one. Hera, a poor loser, blinded Teiresias and Zeus gave him the gift of prophesy as a consolation. Then each defied the other and gave birth parthenogenously. Hera to Hephaestus, Zeus to Athena. In a striking parallel, Hera also bore parthenogenously the monster Typhon, who was also sent crashing to Earth by Zeus  .
Plato has Critias (109 b-d) declaring that Hephaestus and Athena are of the same father. They are of the same nature. "In the days of old the Gods shared out the earth among themselves... Hephaestus and Athena, for instance, being brother and sister... obtained this our land as their joint portion... They raised its aboriginal population to the status of a great nation." It was protocatastrophic Attica, much larger in extent, before the disasters that ended an epoch. When Poseidon (god of deluges and waters and chief god of Atalanta, the Moon) struggled to possess Attica, he had to contend with both Hephaestus and Athena.
We find in Robert Graves' The Greek Myths these words:
Graves, like most authors upon whom we depend, did not ascribe real celestial behavior to the gods and demigods, planetary or otherwise. When a celestial reference is forced upon Athena, the Sun or Moon or other bodies are called upon. This has resulted in the Sun, workaday Helios, being elevated to a divine status such as he never achieved in the minds of the ancients. If the minds of scholars had not been embraced by uniformitarian principles, that is, the ideology of science of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, they might have asked, as for instance in this case, why "shining by day" should be the exclusive prerogative of Helios or, at least, why bother to name a god by this trait which is so ordinary and expected? Every ordinary thing shines by day as well.
A nearby cometary body, meteorite, or planet, especially if it is incandescent, as was Athena (Hephaestus), will shine like the sun, and supplement the brilliance of the day to a painful degree until clouds intervene, mercifully in some cases, destructively in others if they shower down red waters, brimstone, ashes, and noxious gases. She and he have a habit of disappearing. They blind humans; and they cover up deeds. Both are great dissemblers.
As for the alternative base of his name, we can rephrase what was just said: His name again would be a name of Athena, for the action implied is the beclouding of the human vision. Who might shine brilliantly and also block vision - contrasting behaviors? A cometary intruder in the skies is one answer, and there are not very good alternative answers, especially when the details of both behaviors are collected. An enormous volcano will shine brilliantly in the daytime as it erupts, and afterward darken the vision of humans. But one volcano does not inspire a whole people in communication over thousands of miles to create a major god. Hephaestus is, for that matter, god of volcanoes and fire, but this is not his sole or even major life-activity.
Graves reports (I, 51-2) that Hephaestus seems to have been the title of the sacred king as solar demi-god. We have alluded to the former; for "solar" we insist upon "Venusian," because the sacred kings of the ancient Mediterranean flourished concurrently with Cretan and Minoan civilizations and were both well-remembered and hated as an institution by the misogynist Hellenes, for whom kings were not to be periodically set up the sacrificed by queens.
Hephaestus ruled with Athena over the realm of arts and crafts.
"Athena was frequently linked with Hephaestus, as in the simile in which a comparison is drawn with a goldsmith, 'a skillful man whom Hephaestus and Pallas Athena taught all kinds of craft (techne). '"  Hephaestus was the Smith-god  , suggests Graves, to be found in many distinct cultures. We understand that Hephaestus is a technical genius, like Athena. He is more circumscribed; he is a Master Electrician, a fabricator of thunderbolts. Often he is portrayed as lame; sometimes the smiths were lames, says Graves to prevent their wandering far from their proprietary city. This is all very well. We recognize the need for towns to retain their smiths, even as we recognize  that the smith was one of the few "strangers" to be invariably welcomed in their wanderings, along with poets.
However, one must acknowledge that just as there are sacred kings who are put to death annually, there may be "sacred smiths" who have to be lamed in order that they behave like the god whose skills they possess. "Smith-god" surrogates, like "sacred kings," were also anciently killed in sacrifice, every 20 years, says Graves, to correspond with a solar-lunar calendar conjunction; we are entitled to question whether it may be a Venus-Moon conjunction, the 20 years being a playback of time of modern calendar reckoning, but we find no grounds presently to challenge the periodicity and its source.
Which leads us to the general problem of the lameness of Hephaestus, the god and the Planet. There is more than one legend of the source of his disability.
One legend would have it that Hera chose a monster to conceive of Hephaestus and, naturally, the offspring was ugly and deformed. So she cast it from heaven.
A second is that Hephaestus defended his mother, Hera, for leading a revolt against Zeus and Zeus cast him from Mount Olympus to Earth, crippling him. Here we find Hephaestus as the monster, Typhon, that part of Athena the planet that was struck by a thunderbolt of Zeus while it was wreaking destruction upon Earth, and crashed, some say near the Red Sea, others say upon what is now the Sahara, burning and drying up the area and pushing the waters of the Great Lake Triton into the ocean.
To pursue the parallel, instead of the monster Typhon, it was Hephaestus who came crashing down and, presumably, he picked himself up, physically the worse for the experience, and rejoined the Olympian party of gods when the father of the gods graced him with his pardon. Vase paintings show Hephaestus mounted upon a mule (symbol of sexual barrenness), plodding back up to Heaven, escorted by Bacchus (Dionysus), satyrs, and bacchantes.
Both descents of Hephaestus-Athena from the skies precede Homeric times by 700 years. Krates of Pergamon explains that Zeus was determining the measure of the universe by means of "two torches moving with the same speed:" the Sun from east to west, and Hephaestus from Olympus to Lemnos. Hephaestus struck Earth as the sun was setting. The measure of a new age of the world was taken  . Graves points out the Hephaestus has affinities with Prometheus  , Talos, Daedalus, Icarus, and Minos  .
Graves further illuminates the emerging picture in giving us further details of the birth of Athena Tritongeneia. "As Zeus walked by Lake Triton [the great Saharan Lake that disappeared]", say the priestesses of Athene, "he was seized by a headache and he howled until all heaven echoed. Hermes ran up, divined the cause, and persuaded Hephaestus (or possibly Prometheus) to take a wedge and beetle and make a breach in Zeus' skull, from which Athene sprang, fully armed, with a mighty shout."  So Hephaestus was involved in Athena's birth.
Hephaestus has enough reason to be lamed. However, a marvel of myth, like creative works in general, is that several levels of meaning can be simultaneously conveyed, both consciously and unconsciously. If Athena is a virgin, and ushered in legions of virgins in many parts of the world (as Peter Tompkins relates in The Virgin and the Eunuch, citing the Vestal Virgins of Rome, among others), not to mention their contraries, the sacred harlots of the temples, then how would Hephaestus portray the analogous quality? By being a eunuch, a castrato, one would reply. But a god, not, in any event, a Homeric Hellenic god, could not suffer this indignity unless, like Ouranos, he was Deus Otiosus, that is, permanently removed from the scene.
The lameness, we are bound to suggest, was a genital lameness. To match Athena, Hephaestus had to be unsexed. The crippled feet would represent this to the unconscious. Psychoanalysts find such to be the case in their analyses of dreams. We note again how Hephaestus in pictured riding a mule, a barren animal, on his way back to heaven after his fall. Also, the Roman Hephaestus is Vulcan; Vulcan is represented by several Roman authors in the form of a phallus in the hearthfire  , an image that joins together Hephaestus fire, and the comet's severed phallus-tail.
Slater stresses not so much the idea of Hephaestus' lameness as a symbolic castration but "what might be called his 'interpersonal' self-castration. By this I mean his withdrawal from the lists of sexual and marital rivalry, his role of clown - in a sense, his resignation from manhood."  Consistently, he is rejected both by Zeus and Hera, for he was also cast into the sea by his mother, Hera.
Now again, one may ask about the marriage of Hephaestus and his famous marriage bed, that four-posted imitation of the four-pillared sky he was wont to occupy with Aphrodite in the Love Affair. It was on the instigation of Zeus, once, perhaps as a bad practical joke, that Hephaestus when Athena arrived to be fitted for a fine suit of armor, made the amorous advances upon her, which she repulsed. Apart from marking a further association of these two parthenogenous gods, mulishly incapable of offspring, the tale stresses Hephaestus' unluckiness in love. Aphrodite is his "better half," fully sexed, unlike Athena; he wants her (the Moon) but also rejects her, for he cannot cope with her.
Aphrodite has not been known to copulate with him recently, although in a dim past there was a marriage and contacts resembling sexual relations. But now, in the Love Affair, the bed is cold. Aphrodite's children come from others, including especially Ares. Hephaestus may be the indignant husband, but he is impotent in sexual affairs and it is perhaps because of this empty show of dignity that the gods Apollo and Hermes laugh.
Hephaestus' advances upon Athena were strangely fruitful, says another account. As he gazed at Athena, he ejaculated and his seed fell upon Gaia, "the Earth," from whom Erichthonios (Auriga) was born. Athena succored the infant when Gaia rejected him. He was half-man and half-serpent; later on he became King of Athens and instituted her worship  . Once more we find interconnected Athena-Hephaestus - sexual incapacities, the serpent Typhon, destruction visited upon Gaia, and the Athens connection. Dr. Z. Rix of Jerusalem, a medical doctor and mythologist, writes me on January 26, 1975, that :
Again, Dr. Rix calls my attention to the deity, Nephthys (in Egypt, Nebti), who is wife and sister of Typhon. She is the seashores: Typhon is the sea, according to the ancient Egyptians. This same Nephthys is pictured in various Egyptian sources  together with Isis (the Egyptian Athena), lifting the sun-ship at dawn. Surely this is additional evidence of the connection Athena-Hephaestus, corresponding to Nephthys-Typhon. Herodotus mentions that there were numerous temples to Hephaestus in Egypt.
At the same time, such is the overlapping that readily occurs in the memory of the gods as the ages pass, that foam-born Aphrodite later is said to be created, not by Uranus, as we assert, but by the seed of the drowned Typhon that becomes the salt-foam of the sea. Now one may perceive how some confusion between Athena-Aphrodite-Urania and Aphrodite-Planet Venus arose: the former sprang out of the sea earlier from the fallen member of Uranus; the latter arose later from the seed of the fallen Python. Probably the new myth was grafted upon the old.
On still another level of suggestibility is the profile that the hobbling smith in the sky would provide. It is easy to see in many artifacts the shapes that celestial bodies like meteors and comets take. Nevertheless it may be of some value to mention that a comet in a typical apparition is an angel with wings and flowing gown, a head with horns, a helmeted head (Athena), a long-haired one (coma means hair in Greek), a phallus with testes, and even a head with two massive arms - "Hephaestus of the two strong arms," Murray translates the phrase, and then, curiously, notes that other scholars translate the phrase as "Hephaestus of the lame legs." We wonder at the possible original sight of the mighty-armed bronze-smith trailing his feeble legs like the tail of the comet, and at the etymology that could cause such an alternative construction. In connection with the language of the Love Affair, to be treated below, additional symbolic issues will be discussed.
Finally there is the sentence: "The slow catches the swift; even as now Hephaestus, slow though he is, has outstripped Ares for all that he is the swiftest of the gods who hold Olympus. Lame though he is, he has caught him by craft." Once more the synchronization of reality into a plausible plot seems incredible. To take part in the cosmic drama, as it probably occurred, Hephaestus (as Planet-Venus) would make his planetary approaches at a great distance and behind Moon and Mars, which would put him actually a half-million miles distant from the pair with a gravitational-electrical effect sufficient to repel the Earth's magnetic envelope and cause their liberation. Under the circumstances, Hephaestus would move with apparent slowness, as would, mirabile dictu, be in accord with his crippled condition.
So it was then, that Pallas Athena, Hephaestus the strong-armed Smith, and the planet Venus are locked in unconscious identity in the human mind as indissolubly and unbreakably as Ares and Aphrodite were by the invisible net.
Velikovsky summarizes the late history of the protoplanet that became Venus in the following words :
The planet now called Venus, identified with the goddess Athena (and later with Aphrodite ) in Greece, Minerva in Rome, Tistrya in Iran, Ishtar in Babylon, Baal and Lucifer-Mazzaroth in Judea, Hathor in Egypt, and Quetzalcohuatl in Toltec Mexico, was to become only the morning and evening star, an ever-pleasant sight, if, at the sight, people could rid themselves of its historical connotations. The planet circle nearer to the horizon, and, because it did not approach Earth closely again, was smaller in apparent size. Isaiah proclaimed (14: 12-13):
Still human sacrifices were offered to Venus, the planet, when she approached closest to Earth on her famed journey. Still she was the greatest goddess of Athens and the fountain of some of the world's greatest literature. Still, in the sixth century, Jews evading the Babylonian captivity and settling in Egypt rued their abandonment of Venus-Baal for the abstract single God. At the same time, the Greeks were circulating a legend of Cadmus who had killed a dragon, a son of Hephaistos, no less, and the devilish lame Hephaestus had laid upon Cadmus and his descendents, including Oedipus, a curse; thus was the sin of castration punished in hereditary succession  , and the sin of Oedipus foredoomed. And walk down any street where astrologers tell fortunes or pick up any book on astrology, and see that the deeds and spirit of Venus are still part of human nature, speaking now literally, and not even of the unconscious role she plays in our religious rites and our forms of thought and behavior.
But in those days when it was visible to mankind that "the star Venus pursued Mars and inflamed him with an ardent passion," as the geographer-astrologist Erastosthenes wrote in the third century, B. C., (thinking probably of the planet as the Aphrodite of the Love Affair, in the confusion which we addressed earlier) what happened to Venus is marked upon her today. From the encounters with Mars, of the eighth and seventh centuries, we seek positive evidence, and that is difficult to find.
Velikovsky has been proven correct in several of his judgements respecting her seven-hundred-year reign of terror. It is now known, as Velikovsky claimed beforehand, that Venus is a hot planet, whose surface attains 9250 Kelvin without explanation except by a recent origin (from Zeus) and/ or a recent heating-up  . Although only more simple compounds have until now been found, her fifteen miles of dense clouds may contain some of the chemicals that could have mixed with the Earth's upper Atmosphere under electrical discharges to make and precipitate the ambrosia and manna that tradition says preserved various early peoples wandering in desolation and darkness  . We know an ever-enlarging fraction of what the surface of the earth and archaeology can tell us about the catastrophic events of her pre-Martian period. We are aware of, and shall soon understand better, how the horror of her visitations affected the human mind.
But precisely because of her erratic, destructive, and self-destructive, earlier history, it is difficult, more difficult than in the case of Mars, say, to pinpoint her presence by the scars left upon her by the Love Affair. Let us look again to the song of Demodocus and see whether Hephaestus-Venus signals any possible effects of its role.
Velikovsky has gathered historical, legendary, and geographical evidence to the effect that the shortened tail of the cometary proto-planet was effectively destroyed in the Mars encounters. Hephaestus trails his legs; that may be indicative of the tail. He also manufactures his gossamer trap in a shower of sparks and lays it about the trysting place of Mars and Moon. These actions may signify the shedding of cometary material in great quantities, producing meteoric effects of high visibility and destructiveness. Some of the voluminous debris here portrayed as sparks off the anvil and netting for the trap may be what supplied Mars with the troop of "terrible ones" that stories from Greece, Palestine, India and elsewhere described, a host of terrifying images in the sky and real storms of missiles and gases.
As a result of the Martian encounters, several gods of planet Venus became lesser gods, the Fallen Lucifer and the Etruscan Tuchulcha, an underworld god. In the Love Affair, Hephaestus does not win his case: he has been the victim of the crime of cuckoldry. He has discovered the culprits. He has captured them and turned them over to the police and to the great judge. Yet, instead of retribution and triumph, he receives indifferent admiration for his technical skill, a jest from a policeman that he would commit the same crime if he could, jeering laughter, a bail that may or may not be paid, and a bail-jumping by the criminal. The great judge does not even put in an appearance. Indeed, how Lucifer is fallen !
Does Hephaestus change his ways? Does the orbit of Venus change from the elliptical to the circular to some degree, in the course of the Love Affair? This is difficult to say. He is wont to visit the barbarous-speaking Sintians of Lemnos. He starts back to see them, but doubles back again to view the lovers caught in his trap. This may signify an axial tilt of Earth. (See Chap. XIII.) Does Hephaestus ever return to Lemnos, as the others return to their familiar places? Probably not. Like many an old warrior, the time has come to write his memoirs and live off his past deeds. Still heated up but without a tail, the planet is braked as it has been for some time by its own viscous surface, but more speedily. Then it is struck and forced into an inner orbit by the combined energy of Earth and Mars. Thus it may have achieved the circular orbit it has maintained since the regularization of Venusian movements. Records, newly ascribed to the eighth century in Babylon, appear to show that by the seventh century Venus was approaching a circular orbit and, by the sixth century, it is definitely revolving on a near perfect movement  .
Not only was there an orbital change in this period, but also a rotational deceleration of the earth was experienced. Velikovsky shows that the day grew longer, at one point, and then shorter. Also, the Moon changed its orbital speed. Also an axial tilt was experienced. Can these possibly be accounted for from a small treasury of poetic lines?
Hardly. As the next chapters will show, many motions can and probably do change at the same time. We may solve some of the problems in the future, but at this time, we can only point to two indications of such change. The Sun, Helios, appears to have behaved erratically. Patroni, we recall, thought that the Sun had to send a messenger to inform Hephaestus of events in his brazen palace. This might literally indicate a tilting of the earth's axis momentarily, and twice, as a matter of fact. During such tilts the Sun and Venus, as seen from the Earth, would apparently come closer together and then resume their distances. However, electrical solar flares of great magnitude might have stretched out from Helios to give the same impression, as Kugler surmised.
The second indicator of changed position in the story would be the freezing of the action at its climax. Hephaestus roars his anger to the skies. (Was this when, in the Battle of Troy, Athena "uttered her loud cry. And over against her spouted Ares, dread as a dark whirlwind, calling with shrill tones to the Trojans"?) The gods stand with him at the threshold. Ares and Aphrodite are paralyzed in their trap. The Sun may be gone. There is a definite and portentous pause here. It could be the climactic conjunction of the four bodies: Earth, Mars, Moon, and Venus. It could be a moment when "the sun stood still," or more likely, when the night lengthened and the day refused to come. But what a night ! The sky would have been more lighted up and colorful than ever by ordinary solar day.
Finally, Planet-Venus may be searched for some signs of surface and atmospheric damage that might be attributed to the Love Affair. It is easy to say, and undeniable, that since Venus suffered such an experience also with Earth, Moon and Mars, then it would have to exhibit the same effects as they did, given, of course, the differences in its composition. An already hot planet would be heated up more, but other effects could cool it. More of its atmosphere would be dissipated to a larger planet and some gained from a smaller planet that possessed any, but this would depend, too, upon the composition, atomic weight, electrical discharges and pressures exerted.
More recently, an important set of observations of the surface of Venus was made by the use of radar  . In August of 1973, American astrophysicists announced that they had penetrated the hot dense clouds by radio waves, which were then able to probe features of the unknown surface. They discovered the equatorial region to be marked by craters of large diameter, dozens and hundreds of miles wide. But these gave shallow soundings. A crater of one hundred miles diameter appeared to have basin whose depth was only a quarter of a mile. We should expect a depth of several miles.
If Venus were incandescent in 1500 B. C., it will have been cooling up to the present. Originally, any exchanges of material that might have occurred in its encounters with Earth and Moon would have been promptly concealed by the sinking and melting of the foreign bodies. Over time, the temperature of the molten surface would have reduced to that of today.
It is conceivable that by 776 B. C. the surface temperature might have solidified to a point that would register the imprint of a large body falling upon it through its dense cloud formations. Of course, the foreign body would itself become heated, but if it were large enough it might not disintegrate before striking home. If the craters had been formed by electrical explosions, again the soft terrain would have shortly reduced their depth. Shallow craters would, then, be explainable either by explosions alone or by an exploding body, and would tend to support the theory of Venus' cometary history, and the theory of its exchanges with Mars, Earth and Moon of the eighth and seventh centuries.
In 1975, Soviet scientists landed an apparatus upon Venus, named Venera. Venera endured the hostile environment long enough to register brisk winds and to photograph, in a surprising amount of natural light, a shambles of sharp rocks. The rocks were described as seemingly "new." They are probably new. Whether the area in which they were found was struck by planetary debris or by electrical discharges, a splattering of foreign and indigenous rock would have occurred in and around the craters. The great heat, the heavy winds, and the high atmospheric pressure (90 times that of Earth) would very shortly have metamorphosed any terrain of sharp rocks. Volcanism, of course, would not throw off sharp rocks, but lava and Tephra. Therefore, Venus may now exhibit the scars of very recent events.
Such were the effects of Athena's last battles. As if to commemorate the occasion, planet-Venus resonates periodically with the Earth. On April 23, 1966, P. Goldreich and S. J. Peale reported to the American Geophysical Union the surprising discovery that every time Venus passes between the Sun and the Earth it turns the same face towards Earth. T. J. Gordon, rocket scientist and author, wrote, "This type of resonant motion resists outside disturbances; once locked, the motion tends to remain locked. When did the Earth capture Venus' rotation?"  Might it not have been on or about 687 B. C.?
We are pursuing a set of identifications in this book. We say Hephaestus stands for Athena, for instance, and Athena is also the planet Venus, and the goddess of the Greeks. She is also Hathor, Ishtar, Lucifer, and Minerva. Some aspects of a lunar deity have also affected her identity. To a remarkable degree the validity of this book depends upon such identifications. In this chapter, for example, everything said which favors the identification of Hephaestus with Athena-planet Venus ipso facto supports a separate Aphrodisian identity for the Moon. We must be careful of the word "is," short of writing a volume of philosophy on the question. For "is" can never mean some absolutely simple "is." It has to mean something that never quite "is" no matter how close two things are to being the same.
One scholar who appreciates this process in which mythologists commonly engage is Philip E. Slater. In his book on The Story of Hera: Greek Mythology and the Greek Family (1958), we read:
An extreme example can be offered. Suppose we say A is H, or A is P. We intend by these two statements that: A and H refer to one and the same thing; A and O refer to one and the same thing; and H and O are the same. Even so they differ - these A and H and O - by the fact that they are named differently, and, however complete their shared identity, they are called by a different name. And every name has some connotation, some affect-load in the sensing organism. Now let us proceed to the other extreme, and declare: A is quite non-B. We will, no sooner than we are told this, tend to affirm an identity of A and B, namely that the two are associated in the same sentence, capable of undergoing the same logical analysis, have qualities that are comparable, and further that he who says so has some ulterior motive which joins them in his mind.
From these examples we are led to various surmises, pertinent to the Love Affair. One is linguistic. One symbol can excite stimuli by being related logically and empirically to a predicate. It must be also related illogically, through sheer conditioning by "irrelevancies."
We can imagine this seemingly foolish conversation:
1st speaker: "See the planet."
1st speaker: "It is Athena."
2nd speaker: "It is Lucifer."
1st and 2nd speakers: "Athena is Lucifer."
3rd speaker: "I sacrifice when the planet arises. You must sacrifice too."
4th speaker: "I sacrifice only to the god Hephaestus who helps me make sturdy plows."
3rd speaker: "My planet represents the invention of the plow."
1st speaker : "Athena invented the plow."
1st, 3rd, 4th speakers: "All hail to the plow, the planet and the gods Hephaestus and Athena. Preserve our way of life."
2nd speaker: "Lucifer is cast down by God."
All others: "Lucifer is cast down but restored to heaven by his father, Zeus. If you don't believe it, we shall hate you."
2nd speaker: "Lucifer is not Athena or Hephaestus. Lucifer is the devil cast down."
All others: "Go to the Devil! Hail the gods of Olympus! '
Let us proceed with speakers (1, 3, 4) whom we recognize now as a group of the Olympian Culture. We find in them: "H is A" meaning
That is, Athena is Hephaestus and vice versa when and insofar as they share similar qualities (traits and behavior) in the minds of any person or group.
Athena is Hephaestus when the effects of Hephaestus and Athena produced on any person or group are similar.
Athena is Hephaestus when their names are used interchangeably.
Athena is Hephaestus when their names are not used interchangeably, because to avoid the interchange permits the fulfillment of and resolution of a cognitive dissonance. That is, where what must be said about the one psychically precludes that the same be said about the other.
For understanding both natural and social relations, all forms of "is" must be taken into account.
When a Q-behavior of A produces changes in X that H also produces, then A is HQ and H is AQ. When a speaker affirms (or denies in such a manner as to affirm) that A and H are the same, in respect to Q, this is evidence also that AQ is HQ.
When the behavior of a body X activates A and H with similar effects AQ( X) and HQ( X), then A and H are also given an identity.
When similar X effects are observed upon A, H, L, S... n, then we can say that A has psychological and organic existence in the group (A, H, L, S... n).
To say that A "is" or has existence apart from (XQAG) and (YQAG), we resort to a second group (abc... n) and observe whether (XQVg) and (YGVg) are observable. If yes, then this is a confirmation. If (XQVg) and (YQVg) are different than (XQVG) and (YQVG) then we must investigate whether the two sets of effects are reconcilable according to the logic of each group, G and g. That is, discover whether Q is the same, despite the different logics of G and g. This is essentially what we do when we inquire whether the planet Venus know to modern observation (G) is the same as the planet Venus known to the ancients (g).
Carl Sagan is only reciting a phenomenon well-known to ethnologists when he says: "legends and myths, handed down by illiterate people from generation to generation, are in general of great historical value."
From the remnants of what has been handed down, we are here trying to discover a history in which "who is who?" and "Who is what?" are central questions.
1. Stecchini, op. cit., p. 145. The destruction of Thera-Santorini about 1100 B. C. would have overwhelmed the Attic shores, even if it bad occurred as a solitary catastrophe (Cf. S. Marinatos, whose writings on the subject began on Minoan Crete, XIII Antiquity (1939), p. 425); Velikovsky interprets the myth of Solon concerning Atlantis as occurring around 1500 B. C. (W in C, pp. 146-8). Plato refers to Athens after Atlantis as a remnant civilization, peopled by illiterate survivors. I believe that Solon's Atlantis was sunk about 4000 B. C., but that Plato, not knowing of the disasters of 1500 B. C., telescoped the two catastrophes in his mind, and made them more ethnocentrically Athenian.
2. "Hymn to Athena" XXVIII.
3. Telephone communication of October, 1973.
4. Graves, I, ch. 9, p. 45.
5. See Dennis, Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria, II, frontispiece.
6. Patroni, op. cit., p. 244, fn. 3; Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. II (1973).
7. Occasional Publ., Epigraphic Society, Vol. 4, no. 77 (Sept. 1977), Harvard University.
8. G. A. Wainwright, "The Teresh, the Etruscans, and Asia Minor," IX Anatolian Studies.
9. Conversation with the author, 1966. Cf. his Gli Etruschi a Sesto Fiorentino (Firenze: Tipografia Giuntina, 1964), where the Etruscan obsessions with lightning, flood, and fire are treated.
10. Homeric "Hymn to Athena," no. xxviii.
11. Slater, op. cit., 130; see Apollodorus i, 3, 5; Homeric Hymns to Apollo; Hesiod, Theogony 924-5.
12. Vol. I, p. 87; 23: 1; cf. I, 393.
13. Homeric Hymns, no. XX, in the Loeb edition of Hesiod. The "men" referred to are possibly the catastrophized victims of this same pair 700 years earlier.
14. Finley, p. 83, citing Odyssey, 6, 232-4.
15. The Greek Myths, I, 51-2.
16. Cf. Finley.
17. Giorgio di Santillana and Hertha von Dechand, Hamlet's Mill (Boston: Gambit, inc., 1969), pp. 273-4; cf. 73-4. This book contains on page 272 a design from ancient China showing twin deities, male and female, dragon footed, surrounded by constellations and carrying a plumb bob, square, and compass, reproduced in Chaos and Creation and Solaria Binaria.
18. Graves, The Greek Myths, I, 149.
19. Ibid., 1, 315-6, 172.
20. Ibid., p. 46.
21. Ovid, Fasti VI, 627; Pliny, 36.70; Ling, I, 39; Plutarch, Lives, Rom., 2; Pauly-Wissowa, Realenzyklopädie article on Tullius, Ocrisia, Tarchetius; Frazer, Golden Bough; II, 198; O. Gruppe, Griech-Mythologie (1906), p. 1311. (Citations kindly supplied by the late Dr. Z. Rix, Jerusalem.)
22. Op. cit., 130.
23. Ibid., p. 264; Graves, I, 25b, c, d, 1, 2. Erichthonios means "wool-strife-earth" or, possibly, "from the land of heather," but the heather-country meaning may picture the former meaning.
24. Cf. Pauly-Wissowa, "Nephthys," Vol 53, p. 100.
25. W in C, p. 259.
26. Anton Ehrenzweig, "The Origin of the Scientific and Heroic Urge," 30 International Journal of Psychoanalysis (1949), 115.
27. See Eric Crew, "Thermal Equations of Venus," 3 Society Interdisc. Stud. Workshop 4 (Ap. 1981) 1-4.
28. See The Lately Tortured Earth and God's Fire surveying recent research on these matters.
29. Lynn Rose, "Babylonian Observations of Venus," III Pensee no. I (Winter, 1973), pp. 18-22; C. J. Ransom and L. H. Hoffee, "The Orbits of Venus," " Ibid., 22-25.
30. E. Driscoll, Science News, 4 August 1973, p. 72; Andrew and Louise Young, "Venus," Scientific American, 233 (Sept. 1975), pp. 70, 78.
31. Ideas in Conflict (New York, 1966), p. 37.