“Hestia, you who tend the holy house of the lord Apollo, the Far-shooter at goodly Pytho, with soft oil dripping ever from your locks, come now into this house, come, having one mind with Zeus the all-wise — draw near, and withal bestow grace upon my song.”
— Homeric Hymn XXIV
Hestia was the first born of the Olympians, her sisters are Hera and Demeter, and her brothers are Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. When her father, Cronus was told that he would be overthrown by one of his children, he swallowed all of them (except for Zeus… he thought he swallowed Zeus but only swallowed a swaddled rock). Eventually, Zeus overcame Cronus and forced him to spit out his siblings… they were all “released” in the reverse order of their birth, so Hestia was last. She is often referred to as “The First and the Last” because of this. She refused to marry either Poseidon or Apollo, and eventually swore herself to perpetual virginity, becoming the domestic opposite of Aphrodite. Zeus assigned Hestia the role of maintaining and keeping the fires of the Olympian Hearth. Some stories make reference that Hestia could have gone to join her brothers and sisters on Mount Olympus and become one of the Olympians, but she didn’t take up the offer and instead let Dionysus take the place as the 12th Olympian God, again attesting to her attitude of service and a degree of passiveness.
Hestia’s name means “Home and Hearth” and she is The Goddess of The Hearth-fire, or Goddess of the Home. Prayers and offerings were made to Hestia to keep the home fires burning, to keep the household strong, healthy, and warm. The people responsible for honoring Hestia were usually the head women of the household, and it is believed that honoring Hestia “both first and last” before every hearth fire was lit or each meal was prepared was probably a very common practice.
The Sacred Flame that Hestia tends and protects has many meanings and purposes. Most simply understood, to the Ancient Greeks fire was held sacred because it is often needed for survival. Having a fire lit in the hearth at all times meant you were prepared at all times if you needed to boil water, cook food, needed warmth, or wanted to honor the gods or make a sacrifice. If your hearth fire went out the household could not run as smoothly or efficiently. It is reasonable to imagine that in the life of an ancient Greek household, tending the fires was the first and last thing done each day. Fire was also seen as a way to connect with and honor the gods, connect with ancestors, divine the truth, and illuminate the darkness. It has grown to represent all the sacred mysteries of life – flame is warmth and devotion. Flame is heat and passion. Flame is purifying and renewing. Hestia chose not to claim a realm to rule over mortals and earth in some way, and instead chose to simply tend the fires for the mankind and the Gods. Making sure that their hearth fire remains lit always so they can find their way to food, warmth, or healing whenever they may need it. Thus she chose a role of service rather than dominion, while somehow also subtly playing a VERY important role.
As the Goddess of the Hearth Fire, Hestia also rules over the Home (protection and love in the home), Food (nourishment and sustainment), and Service (caring for others and yourself). Hestia can be called upon for all matters involving the home, feeling safe, self care, food and nourishment, and learning to serve others with compassion.
A message from Hestia: “You all carry my sacred flame within your hearts. You carry the warmth and energy to bring light to others. When you care for yourself, you are tending to the Sacred Flame of the Gods and honoring the Divine. When you care for yourself tenderly with rest, warmth, and nourishing food, you are honoring Me and all the Gods. You are Sacred. Take care of yourself.”
(I recieved this message from Hestia while visiting her Shrine, deep in Ritual at a Sacred and amazing event called Spring Mysteries Festival. She gave me permission to share this message with others.)
To honor Hestia and invite her presence and blessings into your life there are a few simple things you can do.
- Find or write a prayer of honor to Hestia and recite it both day and night. Traditionally she was honored First and Last.
- In your magick (if you cast circle) , call upon Hestia first and last.
- Create an altar in your home (the kitchen is perfect, but anywhere will do) where you can light a candle for her mornings and nights.
- Light a candle and ask for Hestia’s blessing while you prepare your food or eat your meals.
Here is a simple prayer to Hestia that I wrote a few years ago to use when I light a candle to honor her and call upon her blessings. You are free to use it. (Please give credit to where you found it if you share it)
“Oh beautiful Hestia, you who are both First and Last,
Goddess of the Home and Keeper of the Hearth Fire,
may your Love and Light continuously burn in this home.
Show us each how to live in unity, peace and love.
Guide us each to bring blessings upon this home
through the service of our own unique gifts.
Thank you, Hestia, for your lasting blessings and presence here!”
(c) WJM @Hestia’s Muse)
If you want to learn more about Hestia and work with her in powerful and meaningful ways, stay tuned! I have created an online dedication course that will provide more rituals, prayers, information, a personal astrology reading, and an attunement to a form of Energy Healing called The Gems of Hestia and Vesta. This course will be available soon! Sign up for my newsletter so that you are sure to get the update when the course is released!
Homeric Hymns 29: To Hestia
XXIX To Hestia
(ll. 1-6) Hestia, in the high dwellings of all, both deathless
gods and men who walk on earth, you have gained an everlasting
abode and highest honour: glorious is your portion and your
right. For without you mortals hold no banquet, — where one
does not duly pour sweet wine in offering to Hestia both first
(ll. 7-10) (33) And you, slayer of Argus, Son of Zeus and Maia,
messenger of the blessed gods, bearer of the golden rod, giver of
good, be favourable and help us, you and Hestia, the worshipful
and dear. Come and dwell in this glorious house in friendship
together; for you two, well knowing the noble actions of men, aid
on their wisdom and their strength.
(ll. 12-13) Hail, Daughter of Cronos, and you also, Hermes,
bearer of the golden rod! Now I will remember you and another