Hestia: Goddess of the Hearth
This week I have been invoking Hestia while making jams and chutney, as well as freezing and drying any fruit left over from these endeavors. Hestia, Goddess of the hearth, the magickal place where the season’s bounty is transformed by fire and by intent, is the Deity of honor this month.
Hestia is a virgin goddess (virgin, meaning that she is not mated with any male), daughter of Chronos and Rhea, who rules the hearth–both the private hearth and the community hearth (today’s closest equivalents would be city hall as well as any local organizations that fight hunger, such as soup kitchens), architecture, and the domestic family. The proverb “Home is where the heart is” certainly applies to this goddess; one could also say “Home is where the hearth is” with equal accuracy, since the hearth and family bliss are intricately linked.
Hestia is associated with cooking, certainly, but she is also associated with overall warmth and the family gathering around the hearth for quality time. This goddess is also associated with the sacrificial flame, as the fire often originated from her hearth. Traditionally she would receive a portion of every sacrifice to the gods. At the individual hearth, it is customary to make a sacrifice to her with each meal or special dish prepared.
According to myth, Hestia’s own sacrificial animal is the pig. This is appropriate: what invokes the feeling of a warm, cozy hearth more than the image of a roasted pig, with the apple in its mouth? Many grains, vegetables, and fruits would also be an appropriate sacrifice.
Some other deities, such as Aphrodite, Apollo, and Zeus, may bask in the limelight and are known by their many sexual exploits and fits of extreme emotion, such as jealousy or pride. Hestia, unassuming though she may appear, provides an important foundation both for the individual and society; according to Greek mythology, without Hestia, the other gods would be rootless.
What is your relationship with Hestia? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. Blessed Be.