Hestia – Goddess of the Hearth, Family, and Domestic Life
Hestia is a goddess of the Olympian generation, daughter of Cronus and Rhea and sister to Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Demeter and Hera. When Cronus swallowed his children for fear one would dethrone him, Hestia was the eldest and therefore swallowed first. She was also the last one to be disgorged, making her both the oldest and the youngest daughter.
A Goddess also known as the Wise Woman and Maiden Aunt, she never married, or was ever humiliated by any male deities. Hestia was not moved by love, sexuality or infatuation. Instead she concentrated her attention on what mattered to her. She adapted by withdrawing from men, withdrawing inward, becoming anonymous in appearance and was therefore left alone.
Of all the gods and goddesses, she was considered the gentlest and mildest. Others have called her colourless because there is little information provided in regard to her character. As the goddess of the hearth she personified the fire burning in the hearth of every home in Greece. Hestia receiving the first offering at every sacrifice in the household with families pouring sweet wine in her name and dedicating the richest portion of food to her.
Hestia represents a spiritual component that other women honoured. In particular, married women honoured her and invited her into their hearths to make a house into a home. She had a spiritual focus, and was an introvert. Being inwardly focussed, peaceful and serene.
Her symbol is a circle, and she was also symbolised by fire. She was often paired with Hermes, he was seen as the protector at the door, whilst she was the Goddess of the Hearth. Public and private worship of Hestia was widespread. She represented communal security and personal happiness.
Hestia was not worshipped publicly, which is evident by the lack of temples and shrines attributed to her.
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About the Author: Carole Langman works behind the scenes at Bowerland Cottage Holidays and Devon Dogs as the Business Manager. Her office is always a hive of activity, and with the vast amounts of work Carole has, we never really know how she gets through it all! To unwind, she loves gardening, hikes around Bowerland, travelling and writing.