She didn’t require the trappings of power or adventure (like Athena and Artemis, the other virgin goddesses). She was perfectly content and fulfilled, being Hestia, and enjoyed being of service to her family and community.

Hestia, thou that in the lofty halls of all immortal Gods, and of all men that go on earth, hast obtained an eternal place and the foremost honour, splendid is thy glory and thy gift, for there is no banquet of mortals without thee, none where, Hestia, they be not wont first and last to make to thee oblation of sweet wine. And do thou, O slayer of Argus, son of Zeus and Maia, messenger of the blessed Gods, God of the golden wand, Giver of all things good, do thou with Hestia dwell in the fair mansions, dear each to other; with kindly heart befriend us in company with dear and honoured Hestia. [For both the twain, well skilled in all fair works of earthly men, consort with wisdom and youth.]

Hail daughter of Cronos, thou and Hermes of the golden wand, anon will I be mindful of you and of another lay.

HESTIA was the virgin goddess of the hearth (both private and municipal) and the home. As the goddess of the family hearth she also presided over the cooking of bread and the preparation of the family meal. Hestia was also the goddess of the sacrificial flame and received a share of every sacrifice to the gods. The cooking of the communal feast of sacrificial meat was naturally a part of her domain.

In myth Hestia was the first born child of Kronos and Rhea who was swallowed by her father at birth. Zeus later forced the old Titan to disgorge Hestia and her siblings. As the first to be swallowed she was also the last to be disgorged, and so was named as both the eldest and youngest of the six Kronides. When the gods Apollon and Poseidon sought for her hand in marriage, Hestia refused and asked Zeus to let her remain an eternal virgin. He agreed and she took her place at his royal hearth.

Hestia was depicted in Athenian vase painting as a modestly veiled woman sometimes holding a flowered branch (of a chaste tree ?). In classical sculpture she was also veiled, with a kettle as her attribute.

Hestia is Hearth, the goddess who never leaves home, Olympus, and never takes part in the struggles of men or gods. Some have said that the name of Hestia is one of those names of deities which was not known to the ancient Egyptians. However, Hestia, who some have considered the chief of the goddesses, is the first born of the OLYMPIANS, and was propitiated even by the Scythians, who called her Tabiti. Hestia, who discovered how to build houses, extends her power over altars, hearths, and States, and she was given the protection of the town hall. Therefore, all prayers and sacrifices end with this goddess, because she is the guardian of the innermost things.

She is a virgin goddess, and not liking Aphrodite’s works, she can never be ensnared by the goddess of love. Both Poseidon and Apollo wished to marry her, but she refused them, and touching Zeus’ head, she swore an oath that she would be a maiden all her days. So instead of marriage, Zeus granted that her place should be in the very midst of the house. And for that reason mortals do not hold banquet without offering to Hestia both first and last, and so was done in Elis too, because there they sacrificed first to Hestia, and secondly to Zeus.


Hestia Brings Inner Peace

Many people get to find their inner Hestia through the spiritual practice of meditation. The Latin word for “hearth” is focus, which those who do practice know is very important to the meditation process if you are to gain any benefit from the practice. It requires focus on being in the moment, of emptying the mind of trivial thoughts and capturing the stillness of the emotions. Tending to household duties is a very centering activity for some women, because she is finding inner harmony through making order in the home. The inward Hestia may become emotionally detached and perceptually inattentive to others in her surroundings as she attends to her own concerns. Hestia the Goddess of the Hearth is the archetype active in women who find keeping house a meaningful activity rather than a chore. She has no need to rush, or watch the time, she goes at her own pace and puts everything in order as she is completely in the present moment. Thoughts or feelings may surface in her mind, just as they do when one meditates. But they will be viewed with a clarity that has a sense of detachment as well. In religious convents or ashrams, work, service and ritual come together as one cleans the sanctuary, or sets the table for a meal, or in any of the ways a woman brings order, beauty and harmony. It is still as if an alter is being prepared in a sacred space. There is something nurturing about doing work that may not seem very important, but it is very special to enter any space that has been cared for in this way. Not only light and warmth are being offered, but also food and hospitality, and a sense of family. Hestia warms the heart, nourishes the Soul, and makes others feel welcome.

Hestia’s energies permeate a space, and her wisdom is that of being centered, with emotional warmth that is generous, and not possessive. She is not polarizing because she is completely at home in the quiet of herself. In the serene place she provides, comparisons and competitiveness are left outside the door. There are similarities between Hestia and Shekinah, who comes into a Jewish home on Friday evening when the women light candles for the Sabbath meal, and work comes to a standstill. The Japanese tea ceremony is another Hestia type activity that is elevated into a form that brings stillness and serenity to its participants.

Most women feel more needed, productive and attractive while engaged in activities outside of the home, especially those who were raised in the last few decades. But it is harder in our times to juggle work, home, relationships and manage to have any time left for oneself. Many women have no time at all to find solitude or any kind of inner life. So it is in this third act of our lives that we finally can let our inner Hestia out to help us find ways to set aside time for soul searching now that many of our childrearing and household duties have lessened. A Hestia space is not disturbed by anyone else’s presence, emotions or belongings. As our need for solitude makes itself more known, many women start to fantasize about a sanctuary or dream about one. This is a time when some women may actually join a cloister or a convent, as they find their energies shift the focus inward

Source: Hub Pages

3 responses

  1. Blackberries

    Cleanliness laid next to my mother’s heart
    though the saying says it’s godliness,
    but licking billowing clouds
    of whipped cream from the top
    of my bowl of breakfast blackberries,
    I do not ponder the voices of the past
    but live for the moment,
    making small messes
    on the kitchen counter-top
    and finding my godliness there.

    Lori Gloyd (c) 1997

  2. Age. Age combined with relevant experience. But age in itself…how incredibly necessary an ingredient in true understanding. How many years have I been aware of and exposed to the myth of Hestia now, Heather? And only now do I truly understand and feel a kinship, a strong, exciting, and soothing bond with Hestia. I spent years keeping up with the chaos of organizing and maintaining this home with my children, our family, then let it fall into complete disarray and disuse when the children were taken from us so suddenly, tragically, too soon. We stopped ‘living’ in this home and for years only ‘existed’ in what became only a house.

    Sharp grief gave way to softer sorrow, but depression and despair lingered. A sense of loss when burying a deeply beloved is forever, but hope has resurfaced, faith renewed, and it is so very odd that it was another loss that brought me to the surface. My health has never been good, but I physically deteriorated in a shocking way, faster than could ever be imagined, more so than any of us thought possible. Not at this age. Unable to walk or cook meals for myself for months on end. Unable to leave the house as well. Wondering how far the increasingly intolerable pain would go. How far the level of disability.

    Not yet stabilized, but getting there, I realize that to be able to function at all the entire house needed to be revamped. Everything changed. I began with one large room. The room where I created my art before I couldn’t move anymore. Like Hestia, I planned and organized carefully, lost in my own world, and it was deliciously meditative. Concentrating solely on the task at hand freed my thoughts to come and go, to flow once again, releasing the pent up fears, relaxing me.

    All new storage had to be purchased, old bulky, awkward to use furniture replaced. Everything – every last thing – had to be carefully resituated so that I could access it without reaching, bending, lifting, or straining. I am deep in the heart of tending to the hearth, the fire lit, warming us both here once again, a feeling of life returned. Little by little, I am determined to figure out what changes I can make so it is possible to be able to be the Hestia of my Hearth. After not being able to do anything for so long, wondering if I ever would again, it does not feel like a chore to be able to care for my home or myself, even if it is so painful to move. I am too young, chronologically, to be in my “third age”, but by circumstance I am, and so the list of ‘chores’ is not long.

  3. After having been silenced for so long I do know the joy of feeling that some life has returned. May you find peace by the hearth Stephanie. Love Heather

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