Hestia

Hestia

Origin:

Greece

Hestia is the goddess of hearth fire and the presiding spirit of the home. (Although typically described as a goddess of the hearth, Hestia is technically the goddess of the fire in the hearth: contained, controlled, ritual fire.) She was worshipped at home but every town and city also had its own official sacred hearth where she was tended and venerated.

Hestia is consistently the first of the Olympian spirits invoked. The first part of every sacrifice was offered to her. She bears a reputation as the kindest of all Olympian spirits. She protects the inhabitants of homes, enforces hospitality, and may be invoked for fire safety. She is a benevolent deity, quiet, humble, and modest, but exceptionally powerful. She figures in few myths. Both Apollo and Poseidon sought to marry or at least romance her, but she turned both down, vowing to remain solitary and autonomous. Hestia is so powerful that both these notorious rapists graciously took “no” for an answer.

Hestia is considered both the eldest and youngest of Rhea and Kronos’ children. As the firstborn, she was the first to be swallowed by Kronos and thus the last to be disgorged or reborn.

Hestia is venerated beside the hearth, stove, or other major source of fire. There were only twelve thrones on Olympus, so when Dionysus was incorporated into the pantheon, there was no seat for him. No game of musical chairs, argument, or jockeying was necessary: Hestia automatically rose and sat beside the hearth, where she is happiest, giving her throne to Dionysus. Hestia’s fire is never permitted to go out except in ritual. It must then be ritually relit. Offerings may be respectfully placed directly into her flames.

Comic book superheroine Wonder Woman wields a weapon called the Golden Lasso that radiates a magic aura, the Fires of Hestia, which compels those caught within it to be truthful.

Iconography:

A gracious, regal, modestly dressed mature woman wearing a veil

Attribute:

Kettle

Element:

Fire

Plant: Vitex agnus-castus

See Also:

Agni; Amphitrite; Apollo; Dionysus; Gabija; Kronos; Olympian Spirits; Poseidon; Vesta

Source:

Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

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