The Purifier; The Old Crab; Phallic One

Also known as:




Instead of throwing baby Hephaestus into the sea, another version of this Greek myth suggests that Hera brought her son to the island of Naxos to be reared by her ally, the crab spirit Kedalion. Kedalion is a primeval forge master, master smith and shaman. He is a phallic spirit who bestows fertility and protection and wards off the Evil Eye. Hephaestus was apprenticed to Kedalion so that he too could learn smithcraft. Kedalion served and advised Hephaestus and was venerated beside him in his shrines. He is sometimes classified among the Cabeiri.

Kedalion also features in the myth of Orion. After Orion was blinded, he made his way to Hephaestus’ forge (he could hear the metal clanging even if he couldn’t see); Hephaestus took pity on him and lent him Kedalion who, riding on his shoulders, guided him towards Helios who restored Orion’s vision.

Kedalion is traditionally venerated alongside Hera, Hephaestus or in the company of shaman/smith spirits

Favored people:

Smiths; shamans; those born under the sign Cancer


Kedalion is sometimes envisioned as a small man or dwarf but he may manifest as a crab. Once upon a time, smiths were often deliberately lamed so that they could not easily take their prized skills away; Kedalion may not literally be a crab but he may move like one because his legs have been damaged; hence he cannot walk beside Orion but must be carried. Hephaestus, too, is lame.

See Also:

Cabeiri; Helios; Hephaestus; Hera


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.