Tuesday, August 19, 2014

30 Days of Deity Devotion - Hestia, Day One

1. A basic introduction of the deity.

Hestia is a Greek goddess of the hearth and home. (Her name means hearth.) The hearth or hearth fire was not just a symbol of Hestia, it was thought she was actually present in the flame. Due to her associations with the hearth, she was a goddess who ruled over the cooking and baking done for family meals, as well as for larger banquets. As the hearth was considered the center of the home, Hestia was thought to be the center of every home, the heart of the home, and so also ruled over domestic life, and brought peace, happiness, and blessings to families. She was also believed to be the one who taught humanity how to build homes.

Hestia was also seen as the goddess of the sacred altar fire, and so part of every sacrifice was first offered to her. This is also true of household offerings, where the hearth would often also serve as altar for sacrifices to household spirits and other gods.

Hestia also oversaw the right order of the state. Each town or city usually had it's own central hearth with a sacred fire that was always kept lit. The city or town was seen as an extended family of sorts, and the central hearth ensured blessings to the community as a whole, so that the town would be unified and prosperous.

Hestia is considered to be one of the virgin goddesses. Both Poseidon and Apollon wished to marry her, but she swore to remain unmarried for eternity.

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