Hestia, also known by her Roman name, Vesta, resides in every home as the keeper of the flame. Although she is often overlooked and underplayed in mythology, her kind, compassionate spirit listens rather than overpowers. A quiet goddess, who never married or had children, Hestia (which literally means “hearth”) tends to the fires that warm our homes, and our hearts. And without her, we’d be living a much colder experience – both literally, and spiritually.
Hestia was the first child of Kronos and Rhea. However, her father swallowed her when she was an infant, and then regurgitated her at Zeus’ command, making her both the oldest and youngest born sibling. She is depicted as being veiled, and is often accompanied by a flowering branch or kettle.
This is fitting because Hestia oversees cooking and the preparation of the sacred family meal. During the month of November, we can honor her with offerings of fruit and wine from our tables. When we take part in these ancient rituals that pay tribute to her, Hestia bestows her warm strength and blessings upon us, as we prepare our own hearths for the holiday gatherings and feasts ahead.
While she is peaceful, she also embodies the active side of fire magic. Dance, play, creativity, and passion. These may not seem like the gifts of the usually still Hestia, but when we invoke the mysteries of this goddess, they reveal themselves. In ancient Greece, the household hearth also served as the sacrificial altar wherein offerings were made to the gods, and would entreat protection for the dwellers of the home. Hestia would attend all of the traditional sacrifices, and protected those who made offering to her. Hestia’s promise to us is to keep stoking our summertime flames all year long. So if you want to hold onto summer for a while longer, call on Hestia to keep an eye on you and help maintain your creative fire into these fall and winter months.