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Author Topic: Hestia -- On the lookout for info!  (Read 6169 times)
Nyktipolos
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« Topic Start: August 27, 2007, 10:22:03 pm »

So someone peaked my interest in her after reading a rant I wrote, and now I want to learn more about her. I've already come to learn there isn't much out there on her, especially since she isn't mentioned alot in myths, but that she was in every household and was very important.

So I kind of want to know if there are any books that can help me, websites, e-groups, as well as UPG (I love it more than historical accuracy, I'm sorry Smiley) and any devotional activities or altars (if you want to share). That would be really great.

Thanks again! Smiley
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« Reply #1: August 28, 2007, 12:06:02 am »


So I kind of want to know if there are any books that can help me, websites, e-groups, as well as UPG (I love it more than historical accuracy, I'm sorry Smiley) and any devotional activities or altars (if you want to share). That would be really great.


I know you asked for UPG too, but I don't have information on that. 

Here is a link to theoi.com that will help you learn about Hestia.  A good place to start is how the ancients saw her.

http://www.theoi.com/Ouranios/Hestia.html
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« Reply #2: August 28, 2007, 12:48:19 am »


I love both kinds of information, but for me UPG is more personal. Smiley

And thank you for the link! I already have it bookmarked. ^^
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« Reply #3: August 28, 2007, 10:01:42 am »

So someone peaked my interest in her after reading a rant I wrote, and now I want to learn more about her. I've already come to learn there isn't much out there on her, especially since she isn't mentioned alot in myths, but that she was in every household and was very important.

One of the classic things is having a candle - either a permanent one, or one you light at specific times.

I have a more-or-less Hestia shrine in my new home. I do actually have a permanent flame going in this place (the gas stove's pilot light), but I also have a candle that's inscribed with various symbols of a peaceful and happy home, which I light while I'm doing household chores or other things that make it a pleasant and lovely place to live. (So sweeping, some cooking, cleaning, airing the place out, etc.)

If flame's an issue for safety reasons, I know a number of people who've had good luck with a flickering LED candle (the recently made ones aren't nearly as cheesy as they used to be, and can be quite lovely.) Homedics makes several models that work well, some with fountains.
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« Reply #4: August 28, 2007, 04:21:08 pm »

So someone peaked my interest in her after reading a rant I wrote, and now I want to learn more about her. I've already come to learn there isn't much out there on her, especially since she isn't mentioned alot in myths, but that she was in every household and was very important.

So I kind of want to know if there are any books that can help me, websites, e-groups, as well as UPG (I love it more than historical accuracy, I'm sorry Smiley) and any devotional activities or altars (if you want to share). That would be really great.

Thanks again! Smiley

Here is a list of Roman gods, Vesta included, with descriptions of each, and also an article on the Vestal Virgins.

Hope it's helpful. Smiley
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« Reply #5: August 28, 2007, 04:43:16 pm »

Here is a list of Roman gods, Vesta included, with descriptions of each, and also an article on the Vestal Virgins.

Hope it's helpful. Smiley

Vesta isn't necessarily the same as Hestia, though...  I don't have enough experience with either of them to know, but my understanding is that there are usually differences (sometimes pretty significant) between the Greek gods and their Roman counterparts.
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« Reply #6: August 28, 2007, 04:46:57 pm »

Vesta isn't necessarily the same as Hestia, though...  I don't have enough experience with either of them to know, but my understanding is that there are usually differences (sometimes pretty significant) between the Greek gods and their Roman counterparts.

I know, I actually misread the OP's original post and thought she was looking for stuff on Vesta. By the time I realized it I had posted that and was halfway off the page, so I didn't bother doing anything to "fix" my error. I figured it might still be of use.
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« Reply #7: August 28, 2007, 06:31:06 pm »

I know, I actually misread the OP's original post and thought she was looking for stuff on Vesta. By the time I realized it I had posted that and was halfway off the page, so I didn't bother doing anything to "fix" my error. I figured it might still be of use.

It still is, don't worry. ^^; I do fully understand Hestia and Vesta are seperate goddesses.. but it doesn't hurt to search up their.. cousins, shall we say?  Cheesy
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« Reply #8: August 28, 2007, 09:00:58 pm »

So someone peaked my interest in her after reading a rant I wrote, and now I want to learn more about her. I've already come to learn there isn't much out there on her, especially since she isn't mentioned alot in myths, but that she was in every household and was very important.

So I kind of want to know if there are any books that can help me, websites, e-groups, as well as UPG (I love it more than historical accuracy, I'm sorry Smiley) and any devotional activities or altars (if you want to share). That would be really great.

Thanks again! Smiley

Check out Judy Harrow's book Devoted To You: Honoring Deity in Wiccan Practice (it says Wiccan in the title, but the book isn't actually about Wicca.) There's a section written by a devotee of Brigid (for the life of me, can't remember his name) that also contains a decent bit about the cult of Vesta, and I *think* Hestia as well. It's currently available on Amazon for a whopping $1.14. (it is an excellent book.)

As for UPG, here's a bit that I wrote on my livejournal after a meditation this past Imbolc...

Quote
I wasn't really expecting a lot. I'm a Hellenic polytheist. Brigid who? I participate in the celebration of Imbolc because I am part of the Grove. Though, I have had some serious considerations about sitting this year out- especially after last night, but I've already committed to doing a part in the ritual (something that I know I'll have no problem doing despite being utterly disconnected from Irish gods) so I will not skip it.

So this meditation took the form of "You are walking along a road next to a stream...." I'm sure many of you are familiar with the format. One would think that I could muster the visualization of a road and a stream, and a forest, all that standard stuff right?

Wrong.

So throughout this entire meditation, what do I see? Well, you know hen you close your eyes and look towards a light, you see not black, but kinda greyish with colored abstract patterns? That's what I saw. I didn't even have solid ground to walk on. I was walking through grey abstract, well, whatever.

The only other visuals I got were, fist of all there came a point where a tree was supposed to appear in front of us...an impossibly huge tree stretching up to the sky. And we were supposed to climb it.

What sort of tree did I get? A cypress tree. Not really surprised (Steph's comment later on was "so when do you get that tattoo finished?") but...cypress trees don't really lend themselves to climbing. I didn't really climb it, I just sorta stood there wondering how on earth I was supposed to climb it. Oh yeah...and this tree also had no solid ground. just...abstract greyness under it. After climbing the tree, we were supposed to arrive at solid ground again. Like I said, I didn't climb. Not that I didn't want to, I was kinda bummed out not to have a tree to climb, but like I said...cypress trees aren't really structured in a way to be climbable.

Next, an animal was supposed to appear in front of us. Well, I got an animal. Dragonfly. I felt the presence of a deer, but didn't see it. But I definitely saw the dragonfly. I was walking along then with this dragonfly in front of me, every now and then it would turn around and hover in mid-air, and just look at me. It was a normal looking green dragonfly, but every now and then I would take a second glance and it would be much larger, like a small bird, and turquoise in color, and then it would be a normal-looking dragonfly again.

Then at the point where we were supposed to be in Brigid's forge, just before leaving, we were supposed to walk into the fire. As soon as I heard the words "step into the fire", I didn't step...I fell. And it wasn't Brigid's fire. I was surrounded in an infinite sea of fire, and while this was hardly a simple home hearth, I knew that it was Hestia. And she said to me very clearly "I may be a small hearth fire, but never forget I am fire."

(Ironic enough, as I started typing this last paragraph, the song "I Dare You" by Shinedown came on my ipod. Which is set to a random shuffle. If you don't know it, the first line of the chorus is "I dare you to tell me to walk through the fire...")

I don't remember the fire subsiding, I don't even remember being specifically aware of it not being there, but at some point, it was no longer and I was back to abstract and grey. The last thing that was supposed to happen leaving the forge was that another animal was supposed to appear to us to lead back through the forest. This time a deer did appear. And the dragonfly was still there.
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« Reply #9: August 30, 2007, 08:06:32 pm »

So I kind of want to know if there are any books that can help me, websites, e-groups, as well as UPG (I love it more than historical accuracy, I'm sorry Smiley) and any devotional activities or altars (if you want to share).
Hi, the following was my UPG, lifted from a journal.  I have a Hestia kind of life without being a Hestia kind of person, so it's probably not surprising I only had a really strong sense of what she was like just once so far. 

(snipped from journal)
....you can imagine her as the perfect party giver, drawing others into her warm presence in a comfortable home where no-one is ignored or left out.  She makes the home warm and happy.  These things are important for our happiness, for our very civilisation. 

Feminism makes it difficult to approach Hestia and truly value her.  She is a woman associated with the home, and nothing else: for many of us that makes us fear we will have the limited lives that our forebears did.  Certainly in Ancient Greece it appears to be more the case.  We fear we will be trapped or that our wider ambitions in the world will be stifled.  Yet we all benefit from that kind of stability in our lives, that easy warmth, that sense of love.  She radiates the spirit of hospitality.  Pure generosity, something that is a joy in itself and brings joy to others.  It makes sense that she gave up her seat on Olympos to Dionysus - she has such a giving nature there is no victimhood in that.   

Perhaps in that sense she does not have to be able being ‘trapped’ in the home - if she is a welcome guest everywhere, perhaps that shows that the spirit of hospitality and warmth is portable, however much you move around.  You just have to be prepared to offer some time to her.  Honour her, first and last.  I would guess that although she is feminine, those principles of generous hospitality could apply to men and they would benefit from honouring her too.
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« Reply #10: August 30, 2007, 11:21:39 pm »

Check out Judy Harrow's book Devoted To You: Honoring Deity in Wiccan Practice (it says Wiccan in the title, but the book isn't actually about Wicca.) There's a section written by a devotee of Brigid (for the life of me, can't remember his name) that also contains a decent bit about the cult of Vesta, and I *think* Hestia as well. It's currently available on Amazon for a whopping $1.14. (it is an excellent book.)

Thank you. I now have another book to add to my wishlist.  Cheesy

And thank you for your insights on Hestia. Smiley
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« Reply #11: August 30, 2007, 11:25:24 pm »

One of the classic things is having a candle - either a permanent one, or one you light at specific times.

I have a more-or-less Hestia shrine in my new home. I do actually have a permanent flame going in this place (the gas stove's pilot light), but I also have a candle that's inscribed with various symbols of a peaceful and happy home, which I light while I'm doing household chores or other things that make it a pleasant and lovely place to live. (So sweeping, some cooking, cleaning, airing the place out, etc.)

If flame's an issue for safety reasons, I know a number of people who've had good luck with a flickering LED candle (the recently made ones aren't nearly as cheesy as they used to be, and can be quite lovely.) Homedics makes several models that work well, some with fountains.

When the school year starts, I really want to try my hand at pottery again and try and make a nice candle holder. Something that screams "For you by me!" over and over again.

I've.. started making a Hestia shrine. Which is hard in a messy teenager's bedroom, to say the least. Although now that Hestia has caught my attention.. I keep getting offers to clean things. Like my father's buisness (My gods its dusty! >< ) as well as trying to clean my room (the ever impossible task). I've also found a compulsive love in mopping and sweeping.  Roll Eyes

Ooh, I like fountains. And I'll definately look into LED candles. Although nothing beats a real candle, it becomes a problem when you don't have anything to light it with. Roll Eyes

Thank you, Jenett. Smiley
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« Reply #12: August 30, 2007, 11:29:04 pm »

Hi, the following was my UPG, lifted from a journal.  I have a Hestia kind of life without being a Hestia kind of person, so it's probably not surprising I only had a really strong sense of what she was like just once so far. 

-snip-

Thank you for your essay/insights, Lorraine. And I totally agree with you. I don't see Hestia chained or forced into servitude or whatever sterotype people can come up with at all. I think its when people force others to assume that role is when people begin to get really upset and kills who they are on the inside. I'm a really giving person by nature with people I love (its the community aspect I have to really work on), to the point where I also give up the "better half" shall we say. Cheesy

And then the Leo side of me comes in sometimes and goes, "But I want something toooo!" And proceeds to whine.

Thank you again, Lorraine. ^^
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« Reply #13: August 31, 2007, 12:27:05 am »

Feminism makes it difficult to approach Hestia and truly value her.  She is a woman associated with the home, and nothing else: for many of us that makes us fear we will have the limited lives that our forebears did.

I do have to disagree with this, on a couple of different levels. First, as I feminist I've had no trouble whatsoever approaching or honouring Hestia. While many people (and some self proclaimed feminists) may think that feminism rejects the value of a homemaker, I think it rather more our societal values (with their oftime uncertain or wobbly ideas concerning the importance of hospitality and overall devaluation of "women's work") that does so.

Second, while women's roles in ancient cultures were often very restrictive (and deserve to be left on the dunghill of history) in ancient thought and practice, Hestia's importance was culturally and religiously vital. It may be easy to think that because women's roles were primarily restricted to the home a hearth goddess would be a minor deity, but this wasn't at all the case. Hestia wasn't sidelined nor debased - She was central, seen as the guardian of *all* hearths - those in the home, those in the community and those in the homes of the gods. All sacrifical fires were Hers also, and She received the first and last libations. Without Hestia sacrifice -- the central act of Hellenic cultus, the act which cemented the relationship between mortal and immortals -- was impossible. Misunderstanding Hestia's importance to ancient Hellenic culture and religious, and seeing Her as associated only with the home (and thus not all that important) is a modern interpretation, seated in alot of our own cultural baggage.
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« Reply #14: August 31, 2007, 08:24:25 am »

I do have to disagree with this, on a couple of different levels. First, as I feminist I've had no trouble whatsoever approaching or honouring Hestia. While many people (and some self proclaimed feminists) may think that feminism rejects the value of a homemaker, I think it rather more our societal values (with their oftime uncertain or wobbly ideas concerning the importance of hospitality and overall devaluation of "women's work") that does so.

Hi Caroline, well it was my UPG and was filtered through my own personal issues - perhaps that is the difficulty inherent in putting something straight from a journal up onto a public forum.  I kept company with many feminists in the 80s who did rather devalue the role of women in the home.  I am not anti-feminist, but my experience of self-defined feminists then tended to be focused upon avoiding what they felt were stereotypical women's roles.  So I was speaking of my experience of feminism then and the legacy of that with some of my own feelings about homemaking etc.  I'm not presenting this as the objective truth about Hestia, simply working through some of my own thoughts and re-evaluating some of my own stereotypes while thinking about Hestia. 
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