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“In another context, late in the essay, Proclus again has occasion to speak of Hephaestus and his role as demiurge. There are no apparent contradictions with the present passage, and on is inclined to believe that Proclus had firmly in mind a comprehensive doctrine regarding the mythology of Hephaestus. He is described as ‘lame in both lets’…because, as Timaeus had said, the created world is ‘legless’…Plato’s explanation of the term ‘legless’ is transferred to the Homeric myth: ‘that which is moved by the motion generated around the intellect and thought had no need of feet.’
The Union of Ares and Aphrodite creates ‘harmony and order for the opposites,’ that of Hephaestus and Aphrodite creates in this world beauty and radiance ‘to make the world the most beautiful of all visible things.’ The hypercosmic nuptial embrace and the encosmic adultery are, in fact, simultaneous and eternal, but the mythoplasts have distorted the account according to the familiar pattern. If the cuckolded husband observes the encosmic goings-on from his hypercosmic perch and binds the couple together, the truth behind the screen is that this world has need both of the power of separation (Ares) and of that of combination (Aphrodite), and if he subsequently breaks the chains (at the urging of Poseidon, whose preeminent role it is to preside over the cycle of coming to be and passing away), it is because a static union of the two would bring the process to a standstill—Hephaestus’s act simultaneously destroys the physical universe and (since eternal destruction and eternal coming to be are the life of that universe) creates it anew.”