Monday, 11 July 2011


Hestia as I see Her:
Hestia sits at the centre. She makes Her dwelling in the hearts of all things. Her most popular and, presumably, most relevant function in human civilisation is that of a hearth goddess. She guards and protects the home and the frith of families, as well as the cores of entire communities. She is the light, warmth, and heart of domestic life. Where her cult is established, familial relations are well.
In the past, her cultus was tended solely by women, especially maidens, because of her association with purity, which in turn comes from her association with benign fire (fire being the only element that cannot be polluted by any external substance). Hers are the first and last portions of offerings, but never of meat or blood or other items that have been “polluted” by violence. Where she is disrespected – i.e. if the hearth is untended – domestic life is put at peril, as is bound to happen in any circumstance where family relations are taken for granted. Naturally, in myth, she remains unwed and ever-benevolent.
The mythos of her being the first and last-born of her god-siblings comes from her role as receiver of offerings (hearth fires were not only seen as places where dinner was prepared but also as places where prayers were uttered by family members). As a living metaphor for community building (the family being the most basic unit) and fire domestication, she is undoubtedly one of the first gods to be worshipped by Man and definitely one of the most important.

“Shining One, 
She who dwells within,
sitting at the centre,
Guardian of family and home and frith:
Beat strong and pure in the heart of our home, [1]
And burn within our hearts no less,
Shining bright for those who gather around You, [2]
Granting grace to pray before Your pure fires.”

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