Hestia, Vesta. Ever-living flame of the hearth

From http://foihomepage.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/blessed-2017.html

“Hestia, Vesta. Ever-living flame of the hearth.
Life is eternal, and manifests – by rebirth through the Mothers.
Fires and candles re-lighted from past flame.
Life renewal.”

Lawrence Durdin-Robertson, ‘Juno Covella’ – December 31st entry.
Fellowship of Isis

 

hestia-as-ten-of-cups-in-universal-goddess-tarot-by-maria-caratti-antonella-platano
Hestia as Ten of Cups in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti & Antonella Platano
Hestia in Oracle of the Goddess by Anna Franklin & Paul Mason (as Vesta)
Hestia in Oracle of the Goddess by Anna Franklin & Paul Mason (as Vesta)
Hestia in The Goddess Oracle deck by Hrana Janto & Amy Sophia Marashinsky
Hestia in The Goddess Oracle deck by Hrana Janto & Amy Sophia Marashinsky
Hestia in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton (as Vesta)
Hestia in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton (as Vesta)
Hestia in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews (as Vesta)
Hestia in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews (as Vesta)
Hestia in Ancient Feminine Wisdom by Kay Stevenson & Brian Clark
Hestia in Ancient Feminine Wisdom by Kay Stevenson & Brian Clark
Hestia in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue (as Vesta)
Hestia in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue (as Vesta)
Mythic Oracle by Carisa Mellado & Michele-lee Phelan
Mythic Oracle by Carisa Mellado & Michele-lee Phelan
Hestia in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took (as Vesta)
Hestia in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took (as Vesta)
Illustrations from https://landofgoddesses.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/hestia-vesta/

 

 

Hestia (Vesta)

[I have used a spell checker on this article, Sorella (Sister) Sophia Ruth]

From https://landofgoddesses.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/hestia-vesta/

Hestia (Vesta)

HESTIA (VESTA)

A Hellenic goddess of house, home, hearth and family as well as order and organisation. Hestia is Cronus and Rhea’s eldest daughter and a sister to Demeter, Hera, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. She has never got married nor had children herself.  There was Hestia’s sacred hearth in every house,  village or town of the ancient Hellenic world and the first offering was always dedicated to this goddess. Her name means hearth, fireside. She was venerated in Rome as Vesta and considered to be one of the top deities of a Roman pantheon.

ABOUT GODDESS

Hestia was highly respected for her immaculate nature. She disapproved bloodshed, did not participate in wars and intrigues, did not gossip nor was spiteful. She valued peace most and apparently was disgusted by the behaviour of Olympic deities because she gave her place in the council of gods to Dyonisos as soon as he came to the mount (there could be no more than twelve deities in the Olympian council). Despite Poseidon and Apollo’s wooing she decided to stay a virgin.

Hestia was particularly respected as a goddess literary closest to people. She resembles an Egyptian goddess Maat in the way that she does not appear in a lot of myths and does not have many temples, she is, however, a base of social order in Hellas and her cult is manifested through rituals. A hearth was situated in the centre of a Hellenic house, giving the inhabitants warmth and shelter when darkness fell, being a place where both sacrifices were offered to gods and food was prepared for people. When a baby was born, it was carried around a hearth and the family was asking the goddess for blessings, the child was then put on a cooled down ash of a heart to introduce it to heaven and earth. A marriage rite in ancient Hellas focused on a hearth too; a bride’s mother was lighting a torch up in the hearth of her house and was carrying it in a procession to newlyweds’ house where a new fire was lit up, from that moment marriage was considered to be concluded. Prayers have always begun with invoking Hestia, women have asked her to protect their children and grandchildren; she was also called upon before setting off a journey to help travelers come back home safely. It was a form of an early divination to observe a smoke from burning altars to see whether gods accepted the offering or not: if the smoke was rising straight to heavens, it was an omen of gods’ grace but if the smoke was circling down among altars, it signified that deities were not supportive.

Her sacred flame was present in every Hellenic settlement, people were watching over it carefully because if fire extinguished, it would signify gods’ disgrace (on a more practical level it was not easy to rekindle it in the times when matches have not been invented yet). The flame was only extinguished to be ritually renewed during the purification ceremonies. When ships were leaving Hellas to start a new colony, there was always a flame from the city they were setting off. This flame burning in a new place was a symbol of unity between the colony and its hometown. Outlaws and those escaping a vengeance or being chased, found a refugee by her altar, no one could hurt them from that moment on because they were protected by the goddess.

Hestia’s cult as Vesta has developed in a special way in Rome where her temple was the only sacral building of a round shape and having a roof to protect the sacred flame against the rain. Similarly to the inhabitants of Hellas, Romans also believed that fire represented their state and it was essential to keep it burning, however according to Georges Dumezil* they have associated Vesta strictly with earth and its burning core hidden under a crust which was sometimes breaking through  e.g during the eruption of a volcano. They also noticed the connection of fire with the nature’s cycles, cultivation and life, especially with the beginning of life**. Also similarly to Hellas, Vesta’s altar was a hearth in atrium; she was likewise associated mainly with women who generally functioned in a family space, not a public one. Interestingly, when it comes to order of Roman prayers Vesta was called upon as the last deity, not the first one as in Hellas.

Vesta’s sacred fire was watched over by six (seven in the end-stage era of Rome) vestal virgins i.e. Vesta’s priestesses. The service at the temple lasted thirty years; Rome’s high priest (pontifex maximus) was choosing girls of preschool age originating from the patrician families who were to move to a three storey building of Atrium Vestae near forum.

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Here is the reconstruction.

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There were twelve younger girls in the house apart from main vestal virgins, they were adepts who were preparing themselves to the service in the goddess’ temple and vowed chastity for thirty years (it liberated them from the custody of their fathers and other men, a vestal virgin was the daughter of a state). The thirty years of service was divided into three decades: for the first ten years they were learning, for the next ten years they watched over the fire and for the last ten years they were teaching young girls. There were not many requirements for a girl to become a vestal virgin, she only had to be healthy and sane, both her parents had to be alive and Roman citizens (at first only patricians, later also plebeians were included). In case of one of vestal virgins’ sudden death, candidates to take her place were presented, the only requirement was woman’s good opinion; she didn’t have to be neither a child nor a virgin, usually young widows or even divorcees were appointed (although divorcees were considered to bring bad luck). Vestal virgins were easily recognised by their apparel, apart from a regular tunic and stola, they were wearing a white woolen fillet called infula, a white woolen veil worn during rituals and sacrifices called suffibulum,  white and red woolen ribbons symbolising Vesta’s fire and the vow of chastity and a long shawl draped over a left shoulder called palla.

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Vestal virgins’ duties included keeping the fire from extinguishing (allowing that happen was punished by flogging), bringing water from a sacred spring, taking care of sacred objects such as palladium***, preparing ritual food and mola salsa, a mixture of salt, flour and wheat, which was later used to sprinkle animal victims. Vestal virgins were so respected that they were often put in charge of executing testaments  (this is what Julius Cesar and Mark Anthony did among others). Any inhabitant of Rome could receive fire to take it to their house and in the times of Empire, Vesta’s hearth was considered to be the emperor’s household fire.

Breaking the vow of chastity was punished by being buried alive in a tomb on Campus Sceleratus (Evil Field) with a supply of food and water for a couple of days only. This way of punishing resulted from the interdiction of spilling blood and burying within the city limits. During one thousand years of Vesta’s fire cult only several of such cases were noted. The one from 114 BC is particularly interesting when as many as three Vestal virgins Aemilia,  Marcia and Licinia were condemned death for ‘multiple adultery’; most probably their processes were fabricated and they became scapegoats. Evidence against them included the Sibylline prophecies and witnesses describing literally orgies taking place in the Vestal house; the process itself was provoked by a thunder striking a traveling girl so superstitious Romans immediately thought of that as of gods’ anger and started to search for a reason***. According to the legend Rhea Silvia, daughter of King Numitor of Alba Longa was also punished this way. Numitor’s brother seized the throne and forced Rhea Silvia to become a Vestal virgin hoping this will prevent her from giving birth to a potential avenger who in turn would deprive him of power. However, Mars the god of war took advantage of Rhea Silvia who gave birth to twins Remus and Romulus. Children were left in a forest to die there, luckily their divine father sent a she-wolf to feed them with her own milk. Shame on him that he show no similar care about their mother and did not save her from the consequences that she had to face because of him; after all such deux ex machina (unexpected turn of events) is often featured in myths of Hellenic gods who seduced mortal women.

This story may be the symbol of how women were treated in Rome, it must be noted that comparing with average female inhabitants Vestal virgins were an exception. They were ‘the daughters of Rome’, so did not belong to their fathers, brothers or sons, they were respected, could act independently, vote, possess and manage property, give oaths because their word was trusted without question. They were free to travel in a carriage preceded by a lictor, they were participating in celebrations and performances with the right to sit in a reserved place of honor and had right to free a condemned prisoner (which they showed by touching him,  also if a person sentenced to death saw a Vestal on his way to an execution place was automatically pardoned). Because of Vestal virgins’ immaculate reputation they were entrusted with particularly valuable state documents such as treaties. Their person was sacrosanct so every attack on a Vestal virgin was considered to be a coup d’etat and punished by death for treason.

The chief Vestal (Virgo Vestalis Maxima or Vestalium Maxima – ‘the greatest, the eldest of Vestals’) was the only woman to be included in the College of Pontiffs gathering all the high priests of native Roman cults. After 30 years of service a former Vestal virgin was obtaining a pension and had the right to leave the temple, get married and give birth to children. A marriage to a former Vestal was considered to be a huge honour and very lucky. Emperor Elagabalus did something more and married a Vestal virgin Aquilia Severa who was an officeholder at the time of her marriage. It was a very logical thing to do from his point of view as a follower of Eastern religions (vide post about Ishtar and the institution of sacred marriage between a king and a high priestess), however the Romans considered it to be a sacrilege.

The flame in the temple was renewed every year on March 1st and the goddess’ festival called Vestalia was celebrated between 7th and 15th of June. The temple was the place where no one except of Vestal virgins had access to but on the first day of festival mothers were allowed to enter it to bring the offering of food.

Vesta’s flame had been burning in Rome for about nine centuries until it was extinguished in 391/394  of our era when Emperor Theodosius forbade any other religions than Christianity. According to contemporary recordings Serena, a Christian and Emperor’s adopted daughter, entered Vesta’s temple, took a necklace off the statue of Rhea Silvia and put it on. An old woman, Coelia Concordia, the last Virgo Vestalis Maxima, got indignant seeing such an act of sacrilege and prophesied a punishment to her. Indeed, Serena had later the dreams about her own death (and she died executed during the siege of Rome in 409, accused of conspiring with the enemy and high treason). An old Vestal was not the only one who got outraged at what Theodosius was doing; plenty of Romans was saying aloud that the sack of Rome in 410 by the Visigoths led by King Alaric and the following fall of an actual power of Roman Empire was a punishment for a Christian annihilation of cults celebrating deities who were protecting the Eternal City for almost one thousand years.

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

Some  sculptures of Hestia remained presenting her as a majestic woman wearing simple clothes and a veil and holding a stick or a staff in a hand. She was, however, mainly represented by a hearth and a burning flame itself.

Hestia

Notes:

*Georges Dumezil, a French philologist exploring the roots of proto-Indo – European, presents numerous similarities between the Vedic (Agni), Persian and Hestia/Vesta cult of fire. The cult of fire and purity remained to this very day in the Zoroaster rites. Similarities with Celtic goddess Brigid are obvious, too.

** Esoteric tradition recognises Fire as the beginning, the first element followed by Water, Air and Earth. First four figures of Major Arcana in Tarot correspond to this division: The Mage, The High Priestess, The Empress and The Emperor as well as the traditional order of Minor Arcana: Wands (Fire), Chalices (Water), Swords (Air) and Coins (Earth).

***It also included protecting sacred objects such as palladion, a wooden statue of Pallas Athena which as the legend says was saved by Aeneas from burning Troy. Palladium was the symbol of city and its civilisation.

**** Additionally these are recordings of stories which seem very similar to Middle – Age legends. One of them tells the story of a Vestal virgin Tuccia who brought the water from the Tiber to the temple of Vesta in a sieve to prove her innocence (told by Pliny the Elder). Another legend speaks about a Vestal virgin Aemilia who let the sacred flame extinguish by accident and asked Vesta to protect her against the punishment. She rekindled the flame miraculously by throwing a piece of garment on the coals of the hearth (it brings the resemblance with Brigid and clooties).

Based on Mity Greków i Rzymian by Wanda Markowska, Dictionnaire de la mythologie grecque et romaine by Pierre Grimal, The Greek Myths by Robert Graves, Wikipedia and http://books.google.pl/books?id=cRS3E3u3HuAC&pg=PA104&lpg=PA104&dq=114+b.c.+vestal+virgins&source=bl&ots=KmguiRMVfX&sig=i6sp2-vfotMzp9TBhRX_reS2n7g&hl=en&sa=X&ei=1nu3T6SZCdDHtAbez7nzBw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=114%20b.c.%20vestal%20virgins&f=false , http://www.roman-colosseum.info/roman-clothing/vestal-virgins-clothing.htm .

Hearth Blessing Day

Reblogged from

https://deanic.com/2017/01/05/hearthblessing/

12 Hestia/Jan. 6

Hearth Blessing Day

aaeaaqaaaaaaaasraaaajdgzyze0m2filtk2n2mtndmwny04zgvmltm0otbmogrjzgeyzgToday (12 Hestia/Jan. 6) is Hearth Blessing in the Janite Tradition. This is the day, (or over the weekend is fine), when we bless our hestias (sacred homes) for the coming year. For those who missed it, here is a truly informative article on Hestia by Sorella Sophia Ruth: https://mydevotionstodea.wordpress.com/

Where the sacred month of Hestia focuses on the hearth, both literally and symbolically, it is a proper time of year for the home blessing.

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When we bless our homes, we are formally consecrating and dedicating them to Dea. We are placing our homes beneath Her Mighty Mantle of Protection and under the watchful care of the Janati. This is why we call our homes, hestias, because for Janite Deanists, an hestia is a sacred home, one which has been blessed, consecrated and dedicated to Dea.

There are two versions of this blessing, the Blessing Rite and the longer, Consecration Rite.

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For the both rites, begin by making holy water if you do not already have some on hand. It’s best to use a natural, flowing water. Sources for such water are rivers, lakes, brooks and underground springs. I keep extra on hand in a large mason jar. You also need sea salt or kosher salt.

Pour some salt in your left hand. With your right hand, fold the pinky and ring fingers down while crossing the thumb over them. Your fore and middle fingers remain upright (this is the Blessing Hand). Trace the Fora over the salt and say: May this salt be blessed, in the Name of the Mother, and of the Daughter, and of the Great Mother.  Iot ‘E Voh. Then, with your right hand, take three pinches of salt and pour them into the bowl of water. Pour any remaining salt along the inside of your threshold as a blessing and protection of the home.

With wand or finger, stir the water three times clockwise. Form Blessing Hand and trace the Fora over the water while saying: May this water be blessed in the Name of the Mother, (trace Fora a second time), and of the Daughter, (trace Fora a third time) and of the Great Mother. Iot ‘E Voh.

Hestia Blessing

Take a small evergreen branch that you found on the ground and dip in holy water as needed. Bless each room of your house, beginning with the East wall. Sprinkle (asperge) the holy water towards each wall, each window, each doorway and each corner of the room, clockwise, while chanting, ‘this hestia is blessed in the Name of the Mother, and of the Daughter, and of the Great Mother. Iot ‘E Voh.

Continue with each room in the house, the cellar and towards the attic. You may also stand in your yard and bless in the four cardinal directions, if you wish.

~~~

This is a very thorough blessing in and of itself. It reminds me of how the Russian Orthodox priest would come and bless our homes in January.  The altar boys would carry smoking incense as they followed the priest. The priest would blessing each room with holy water, towards each wall, in each cardinal direction. He would even bless the cellar!

~~~

Hestia Consecration Rite

As I do with many holy items, I like to bless, consecrate and anoint my home. So, for the Consecration Rite, I will repeat the above, but instead of blessing with with water, I bless with incense. I will use the incense to trace the Fora in each direction while chanting, May this hestia be consecrated in the Name of the Mother, and of the Daughter, and of the Great Mother. Iot ‘E Voh.

The incense can be resin, which is burned on charcoal in a bowl full of sand or in an incense burner, or, it can be a stick incense of good quality.

Finally, I anoint the top of each outside door by dipping my finger in holy oil and tracing the Fora on the outside of the house (either just above the door or near the top of the door) and I say, May this hestia be anointed in the Name of the Mother, and of the Daughter, and of the Great Mother. Iot ‘E Voh.

You should also bless your house whenever you move into a new home.

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Hearth Blessing is a day of rest by the hearth-fire with family and friends, or within the warmth of your hestias, if possible. Warm, nourishing winter foods and beverages, especially those native to your area, make a nice Hearth Blessing feast.

~

May Our Lady bless you,

Blessed is She.

~

ArchMadria Pamela Lanides

Relevant Articles:

Sacred Month of Hestia 26th December – January 22nd
https://mydevotionstodea.wordpress.com/2016/12/26/sacred-month-of-hestia-26th-december-january-22nd/

The Spiritual Significance of Head-wear through the Ages by Sorella Shoshana
https://mydevotionstodea.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/the-spiritual-significance-of-head-wear-through-the-ages-by-sorella-shoshana/

The Goddess Hestia as The Keeper of the Flame
https://mydevotionstodea.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/the-goddess-hestia-as-the-keeper-of-the-flame/

The Spiritual Significance of Head-wear through the Ages by Sorella Shoshana

Reblogged from

https://deanic.com/2017/01/02/the-spiritual-significance-of-head-wear-through-the-ages/

Sorella Shoshana, representative of the Iremian Order of the Janite Order of Priestesses (JOP), is an expert on historical fashion. Here, she shares with us the spiritual significance of historical head-wear. Thank you, Shoshana for this insightful article.

The Spiritual Significance of Head-wear through the Ages by Sorella Shoshana

I enjoy researching and recreating period costume to wear. I either wear these for specific events or just wear them out for fun. I live in Las Vegas. So, its not so weird to go out to a touristy part of town in an unusual outfit. I am currently researching medieval and renaissance era fashions for upcoming garment construction. I wanted to share here some interesting things I’ve noticed about head wear.
Lets begin with the earliest, medieval.There are many interesting head wear styles in medieval fashion that I’ve noticed. I will be discussing three of them, starting with the cone shaped one seen below. Its the single style we tend to think of when we think of head wear for this period and it is most often associated with princesses (the Daughter side of Dea?).

Steeple Hennin
Steeple Hennin

These were called hennin and some sources say they were inspired by church steeples. Imagine having a steeple coming from your head! There is a lot of imagery in this symbolic shape.

First, is the more obvious, the church steeple. The church steeple is represented as a cone shape that comes to a point at the top. This can have similar symbolism as the better known symbolism of the pyramid where Dea is the center top and most people are at the bottom. It represents a hierarchy of importance. Upon one’s head, it can be a reminder of where one’s thoughts should be…..above.

The next one is similar to the one above. But, it has the top cut off. This one has been said to look like a chimney. Chimneys were beginning to be a big deal towards the end of the medieval period. Before that, there were open fire pits in the grand rooms of most homes causing a smokey atmosphere. The chimney, though flawed by design in the beginning, causing fire to homes that were nowhere near to being fire resistant, helped relieve the smokiness.

Original illustration missing

There is some beautiful symbolism relating to the chimney. What a beautiful thing it must be to have that symbolism upon one’s head.  I was joking with my husband recently and called him “my chimney”. It was then that I realized how beautifully symbolic a chimney can be. I called him my chimney because he is tall, lean, and has smoke up top (gray hair). But, also, he protects me with warmth and carries all the bad stuff (billowing smoke) away from me. In the past, chimneys were part of the stove that cooked food and boiled water to keep us warm. There’s also the symbolism of the hearth fire, which is represented by our hearts in this imagery.  You can read more about beautiful symbolism of the hearth here:  https://mydevotionstodea.wordpress.com/2016/12/26/sacred-month-of-hestia-26th-december-january-22nd/
The final medieval head piece I will be examining before moving on into the renaissance period is the butterfly head piece.

Original illustration missing

The only symbolism there is for such a beautiful piece of head wear is the obvious, the butterfly. Butterflies represent change, beauty emerging from the ugly, new beginnings, etc. Again, beautiful symbolism to have upon one’s head.

[Sorella Sophia Ruth comments: The head wear that I found instead of the butterfly is the heartshaped hennin

Heartshaped Hennin Symbolising Dea's Unconditional Love for All
Heartshaped Hennin Symbolising Dea’s Unconditional Love for All
Instructions for making one: https://doxiequeen1.wordpress.com/2015/10/19/making-a-medieval-escoffin-heart-shaped-headpiece/ ]

And finally, I wanted to talk about the similarities I noticed in a certain piece of renaissance era head wear and renaissance era art. Art during this period was religious in nature. In fact, religion was important for both these eras. So, it would come to no surprise that there is relevant symbolism in some of the fashionable items from these periods.

I want to talk about the French hood.

French Hood symbolises a Divine Sun Halo
French Hood symbolises a Divine Sun Halo

During the medieval and renaissance eras, the Mother Mary, as we know, was often depicted in religious art with a halo around her head. The French hood fashion as always looked very similar to me.

Haloed Divine Mother and Holy Child
Haloed Divine Mother and Holy Child

Well, that’s it for now. I hope this has been an insightful journey through some of the medieval and Renaissance fashions. I hope you’ll have a wonderful 2017.

mydevotionstodea
January 6, 2017 at 6:57 pm

Sorella Shoshana, many thanks for your insights. There was a time when everything in the manifest world was religious, a signpost to Dea. Smiles, I was heart warmed by your description of your husband. May you share many blessings together, by the grace of Dea. Unfortunately 2 of the illustrations are missing. But due to this I went researching and discovered:
Heartshaped Hennin Symbolising Dea’s Unconditional Love for All
Instructions for making one: https://doxiequeen1.wordpress.com/2015/10/19/making-a-medieval-escoffin-heart-shaped-headpiece/

~~~~~~~

Shoshana
January 6, 2017 at 8:10 pm

Angela Clayton is a wonderful young teenaged costumer. I am very familiar with her work. Here, she is showing us how to make the butterfly head dresses I spoke of. They are also sometimes compared to ram’s horns. I do believe the medieval period was the start to an era where spiritual symbolism still existed in obvious ways all over. But, this is when people started to become less and less aware of it. As we know, the spiritual significance of clothing has been lost and this occurred rapidly during the second half of the 20th century.

Once I finish my Renaissance era costume I am making, I was planning to move on into making a medieval one. They share similar under garments, construction techniques, and layers. (I have my own views about the symbolism of historical layers….3, 5, and 7 seem to have been favored for centuries and I follow this with the 1950s styles I wear and my own layering.) I wasn’t sure which style of medieval head wear I would make. But, thanks to your description of this hennin, I believe I have made my decision.

~~~~~~~

mydevotionstodea
January 6, 2017 at 8:31 pm

Sorella Shoshana, Dea be praised for leading you into a head wear decision. I do hope that you will share your “symbolism of historical layers….3, 5, and 7 seem to have been favored for centuries”. Dea has gifted you as a craftswoman. I am not. Thank you once again.

~~~~~~~

Update

Pursuant to Sorella Shoshana’s article on the religious significance of historical head-wear is this stunning headpiece that she designed and hand-sewed.

Heartshaped Hennin hand crafted by Sorella Shoshana
Heartshaped Hennin hand crafted by Sorella Shoshana

Sorella Shoshana is a very talented seamstress and educator of historical fashion. She has since designed a dress to go with the hat. We look forward to seeing the end result!
https://deanic.com/2017/01/12/bits-and-pieces-7/

Relevant Articles:

Sacred Month of Hestia 26th December – January 22nd
https://mydevotionstodea.wordpress.com/2016/12/26/sacred-month-of-hestia-26th-december-january-22nd/

The Goddess Hestia as The Keeper of the Flame
https://mydevotionstodea.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/the-goddess-hestia-as-the-keeper-of-the-flame/

Hearth Blessing Day
https://mydevotionstodea.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/hearth-blessing/

The Goddess Hestia as The Keeper of the Flame

I have replaced and added some illustrations. Sorella (Sister) Sophia Ruth

From: http://themotherhouseofthegoddess.com/2014/02/18/52-goddesses-the-goddess-hestia-as-keeper-of-the-flame/

Written by on February 18, 2014

52-goddesses-the-goddess-hestia-as-keeper-of-the-flame
Goddess Hestia

Socrates says, “Shall we then, begin with Hestia, according to custom?” His cosmological idea of the universe was that “Ten divine celestial bodies [planets] rhythmically rotated” around a Divine Fire, which was the center of the cosmos. That Divine Fire was Hestia, she was the hearth of the universe. Today we know her as the Queen of the Fire, the Goddess of hearth and home, and Keeper of the Flame.

Hestia was her Greek name, and her large round public temples mimicked the shape of the hearth and peasant huts. The temple fires were always lit so that private citizens could rekindle their home hearths. The Greeks called Her Hestia. Later the Romans would call her Vesta, with Vestal Virgins to maintain the fires.

In early Greece, Delphi was a hub of goddess energy during the Mycenaean period. Delphi was a small village whose inhabitants worshiped the Mother Goddess. Small clay goddess statues were found in dedicated sanctuaries. Delphi also had the famous “gap” in the earth, where the original oracle would sit, inhale the rising vapors, become clairvoyant, and predict the future.

Then during the Greek period, the Goddesses’ sanctuaries were built upon and taken over for the Greek god associated with the sun, Apollo. But the future would be still told by women, one of whom would become the the famed “Oracle of Delphi.” In 90 B.C. when Delphi was razed by the Thracian Maedi, the fires that had been burning uninterrupted for centuries, were extinguished.

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Roman temple to Vesta in Tivoli, Italy

My favorite Hestia temple is a Roman temple to Vesta in Tivoli, Italy. It is sometimes known as the Temple of the Sybil “Vesta.” This splendid temple is most elegantly built and placed. It is perched on the side of a cliff overlooking the falls of the Aniene, which cuts a gorge into the surrounding tree covered mountains. In antiquity, as the hearth of the city, it was most likely constantly lit and would have appeared like a beacon of shelter to reassure the citizens of this city.

I suppose you could say that the story of Hestia ends there. But the Queen of Fire has a past, and if we look backward in history we may find another story, how Hestia was born.

It starts in Mother Russia with the Paleolithic statues of the old women.

These figure were made, when the earth was in the midst of an Ice Age. Massive glaciers covered the northern Hemisphere and the earth’s climate was cold and dry. Nomadic groups of humans roamed along the edge of the glacier, from the Pyrenees to Siberia, hunting the woolly mammoth.

In the Russian settlements of Kostenki and Avdeevo, archaeologists had a rare opportunity to find a collection of these figures in situ, complete with contextual information. Inside their mammoth bone dwellings, ritualistically buried in storage pits, near the fire pits, were small figures of old women, their breasts and bellies sagging from child birth and age. These old women seemed to be staking their claim to hearth and home. What could be more life saving during a Paleolithic snow storm than a fire? Even though She didn’t have a name yet, Hestia was there.

a-goddess-who-bears-fire-jomon

A Goddess Who Bears Fire, Jomon

The Jomon people of Early Japan had a figure of the Fire Goddess, and the Ainu’s goddess is Kamuy Fuchi, the Goddess of the hearth. Kamuy Fuchi is a woman who lives in the hearth. Her position is so important that she never leaves her home because the fire in a hearth must never be completely extinguished.

And in this century, when ethnographers began recording the culture of the Indigenous Tribes of Russia, they found that they had lived much like their Paleolithic ancestors. There was Hestia again. The Evek tribe women, shamans, were called “utagen” meaning hearth or fire women. The Tungus tribe believed that the spirit of the hearth takes the form of a clever old women, whose portrait is stored in each tent. The Somoyeds referred to the fire as “Old Grandmother Fire,” Guardian of the tent.

Hestia shows Herself again in “Old Europe,” Yugoslavia around 5500 B.C. in a ceramic piece I refer to as, “Lady of the House.” Similar shrine models were found buried under temples. Her neck, adorned with a necklace, and head become the chimney, her shoulders comprise the roof. She has literally become the Sacred Hearth/Home/Temple.

ladyofthehouse-constance-tippett-goddess-timeline-copyright
Lady of the House by Constance Tippett – Copyright

Next she shows up on the Eurasian steppes, around 600 B.C. amongst the Sarmatians who would later blend with the Scythians, and bury their dead in mounds called Kurgans. Archaeologist Jeannine Davis-Kimball found that the central burial figures often were hearth women, lending further credence to the speculations that this was a matriarchal society.

And now we are in back in Greece and Rome, with temples in her name, Hestia/Vesta, who was at the beginning and center of the human universe. But does Her journey end here? No. When the Romans tried to colonize Britain they ran head-on into the indigenous deity of the island, Brigid, Goddess of the Hearth. She has come full circle and is now one of the Neo-Pagans’ beloved Goddesses in the 20th century.

st-bridget-an-acrylic-painting-by-karin-teresa-mccaslin-fain-copyright-2005

St.Bridget An acrylic painting by Karin Teresa McCaslin-Fain copyright 2005

from http://karinteresafaingallery15.ning.com/photo/woman-dreaming/prev?context=user

I, myself, vacillate between being an agnostic and a rabid spiritualist. But when my intelligent, scientific, rational, and scholarly inquiry consistently reveals this “archetype of the human collective unconsciousness,” I pause. I could understand how humans would identify women in their role as Keeper of the Hearth and deem it sacred. It is a natural fit. But take Demeter, in Greece, holding snakes as a regenerative symbol, and across the ocean, literally on the other side of the earth, Coatlicue the Aztec Goddess who becomes the snake, and then ask me if I believe in coincidence. That’s when I turn into a spiritualist, seeing underneath this physical facade of mater and observing the world of spiritual magic, chaos, and the unknowable. I glimpse flashes of the Divine Feminine in this world for just a nano-second. I revel in the feeling, trying to hold on to it, and then bow my head in reverence as She passes.

Demeter by Constance Tippett Goddess Timeline Copyright

MHG Editor’s Note: All Art under Copyright to Constance Tippett – GoddessTimeline.com – please do not copy without permission.  We encourage all readers to explore the incredible art by Constance Tippett at the Goddess Timeline.  The timelines are painstakingly detailed works of the evolution of the Goddess and Constance’s statuary is of the highest quality (adorns several of my altars!). KM

Goddess Timeline
Relevant Articles:

The Moons of Hestia 1st Hestia / 26th December 2016 – 28th Hestia / January 22nd 2017

The Moons of Hestia

1st Hestia / 26th December 2016 –

28th Hestia / January 22nd 2017

moon-above-a-candle-lit-home
Full moon over candle lit home

Hestia:

Jan 1st: (4 days after the Dark Moon): Crescent Moon. (For the Holy Daughter).

Jan 12th: Hearth Moon. (For the Celestial Mother).

Jan 27th / 5th Brighde: Dark Moon. (For the Great Mother).

http://www.calendar-uk.co.uk/lunar-calendar/january/2017/

Sacred Month of Hestia 26th December – January 22nd

Sacred Month of Hestia 26th December – January 22nd

goddess-hertha

Our predecessors in the Madrian faith also named this month Hestia.

In Ancient Greek religion, Hestia (/ˈhɛstiə/; Ancient Greek: Ἑστία, “hearth” or “fireside”) is a virgin goddess of the hearth, architecture, and the right ordering of domesticity, the family, the home, and the state.

Hestia’s name means “hearth, fireplace, altar”,[3] the oikos, the household, house, or family. “An early form of the temple is the hearth house; the early temples at Dreros and Prinias on Crete are of this type as indeed is the temple of Apollo at Delphi which always had its inner hestia[4] The Mycenaean great hall which had a central hearth – such as the hall of Odysseus at Ithaca, a megaron. Likewise, the hearth of the later Greek prytaneum was the community and government’s ritual and secular focus.

Hestia’s name and functions show the hearth’s importance in the social, religious, and political life of ancient Greece. It was essential for warmth, food preparation, and the completion of sacrificial offerings to deities.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hestia

Notes:
1. R. S. P. Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2009, p. 471.
2. Burkert, p. 61.

 

Symbolism

Fire is a yearthing (coming to earth) of Solar fire.
The fire in the hearth reflects the sun within the home as the symbol of Spirit.
In traditional societies humans were “centred” with the Spirit of Dea in their hearts, each household around the hearth, each village around the Temple, all activity directed towards the centre, She who is the Divine Source of all.
The hearth fires were always lit from from the altar flame of the Temple.

Fire Priestesses

 

The kindling of the inner fire, the recognition of the Spirit within, the immanent Dea within the human heart, these are the mysteries of Winter.

Be aware of:
1. The presence of Di Jana / Kore (whichever name you use) always.
2. The soul/spirit quest for Dea
3. The reflection of the Divine in all natural things.

hestia_tapestry

The Hestia Tapestry is a Byzantine tapestry, made in Egypt during the 6th century AD. It is a late representation of the goddess, whom it identifies in Greek as “Hestia Polyolbos” (Hestia full of Blessings). Its history and symbolism are discussed in Friedlander, Paul. (1945). Documents of Dying Paganism. University of California Press. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hestia

Relevant Articles:

The Spiritual Significance of Head-wear through the Ages by Sorella Shoshana
https://mydevotionstodea.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/the-spiritual-significance-of-head-wear-through-the-ages-by-sorella-shoshana/

The Goddess Hestia as The Keeper of the Flame
https://mydevotionstodea.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/the-goddess-hestia-as-the-keeper-of-the-flame/

Hearth Blessing Day
https://mydevotionstodea.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/hearth-blessing/