Today we’re going to start our gathering right where we are—our homes. And I want to tell you a little bit about Hestia, Greek Goddess of Home and Hearth, before we focus on how our homes can nourish us and all who enter them.
Come inside my warm home and sit around the kitchen table with me. All of our Autumn Gathering sisters join us today and all are welcomed. Here, have a cup of tea and some of the cookies I made for you. Get comfortable in your seat, and don’t mind my dog Billy and my cat Buttercup. They only want a gentle pat now and then.
We’re going to learn about one of my favorite goddesses today, Hestia.
Hestia calls us inside, gathering us and encouraging us to remember the hearth fires of old and the ones we recreate in our kitchens today. Called Vesta by the Romans, Hestia is an ancient goddess, daughter of Cronos and Rhea and sister to Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Demeter and Hera. She is a virgin goddess, having chosen to always stay true to her nature, walk her own path and never marry.
As a wife, mother and homemaker, I have long related closely with Hestia as a feminine image of wisdom and grace. It is Hestia, and her spirit, that tends the hearth fires and manages the home just like I have. The story goes that Hestia’s very powerful brother Zeus made her manager of his great estate and she was content and highly capable in this job.
Some of Hestia’s many divine qualities are hospitality, contentment, dependable service and unconditional love. She is known to be very efficient and a good manager. She was known as the “Keeper of the Reserves”, managing all of the household’s needs like clothing and stocking the pantry. Followers of Hestia consider welcoming hospitality to the stranger to be a sacred obligation and no one in need was ever turned away from their homes.
In many ways, Hestia reminds me of the Proverbs 31 woman in the Christian Bible—she who “looks well to the ways of her household.” Notice the similar virtues listed for the Biblical image in the meme I found below. Indeed, the Proverbs 31 woman is much like a goddess herself and these days has a huge following among conservative Christian women. Following Hestia, or the woman in the Bible, almost feels contrarian as many women today have forfeited, for a variety of reasons, the prerogative of tending home and hearth. There is little place for Hestia, or the Proverbs 31 woman, in our consumerist society.
In Autumn in particular I feel called to ‘tend the home fires’, as they say. What this means for me can be completely different from what it means for you, but it’s about taking care of our homes and the people in them for sure. These days we have many choices and I am glad for that, but what I hate to see us do is forget our homes and feminine ways of being in general. I believe that getting in touch with goddess energy, like Hestia’s, can help us find a place again in our homes. And I strongly believe that the world needs us to bring forth more feminine ways of being again–by no means to be restricted to certain places according to gender, because gender doesn’t confine or define us, but to consciously inhabit feminine ways of being at times–just as women have so inhabited masculine ways of being in the last few decades. The feminine tasks like homemaking, cooking, financial stewardship, parenting, hospitality, etc. call out to all of us, male and female, for attention.
What do you do to make your house a home? How do you feel at home in your own space? And do you enjoy welcoming others into your space?
Tonight I encourage you to do something as simple as lighting a candle as you eat your evening meal. Take time to eat at a beautifully set table and give thanks for all the goodness in front of you. Is your food good and well prepared? If not, this might get you thinking about how you can add more pleasure and beauty into what you eat. Let your home and meal feed your five senses tonight.
This post is part of my 31 Days of Autumn Gathering: Under An October Moon series for October 2014. Join me each day this month for goddess and moon lore, women’s wisdom, herbal remedies and more. As promised, I share with you that today’s moon is waxing gibbous, 60% of full. But do go out and look at it in the night sky with your own eyes tonight.