|"Hestia Full of Blessings" tapestry, 6th century, Egypt
Hestia's Hearth Fires
By Michael A. Starsheen
The Shrine of
The Goddess Hestia in Greek myth was the Goddess of the hearth and home. She
was primarily associated with women, who tended the fires and kept the home. There were no myths about her, as her sphere
of influence was considered "unimportant" by the male-dominated culture.
Rome, however, Hestia became Vesta, and was associated with the hearth-fires of the State through the office of the Vestal
Virgins. These women tended a great central fire that represented the Roman Empire as a whole, and were accorded great honor
in the culture. Towards the end of the Empire, the Romans did away with the office of the Vestals and let the great fire go
out. Shortly afterward, the Empire fell to the barbarians.
women, Hestia represents a way of making the work of the home a sacred charge. By doing everyday tasks with the intent to
honor them and the house as a home, the boring routines can be transformed into something transcendental.
In astrology, the asteroid Hestia represents "woman as sister". Her placement shows
where we concentrate our energies for making a home, as well as a place of spirituality. For those who are drawn to a spiritual
life, Vesta can show them a direction in which that spirituality may best manifest.
Hestia's Hearth Fires
am the oldest and youngest of all!
I am born anew each time
you light your hearth-fires for warmth.
Yet I have been here since first fire was harnessed
to the needs of households.
was first-born of Rhea and Cronos,
and first sent to timelessness
when he swallowed me.
I prepared a home for my sisters and
laid the fire to warm them when they came in from
There are no myths about me.
I am too vital to your survival for men to fool about with me,
even though they tell themselves that I am unimportant.
Yet where would you be without your cooked food,
and your warm hearths in the winter's blast,
your sheltering dwellings?
When Zeus went about staking
on all the goddesses, trying to eat their powers,
he came to me, and I laughed at him.
I showed him what his life would be like if he touched me.
He left me alone and went on his way.
care not what face-saving story he tells.
I was honored in each home and each hearth,
the women, each day as they tended
their home-fires and
their cook-fires, and the lights that they worked by
they grew husband-high.
Then they carried my fire from their
to their new husband's to establish
my rule in that home.
In Rome, I was honored by a
council of virgins,
who tended the hearth-fires of the State.
Rome fell when they let that hearth-fire go out.
In their decadence they forgot how to keep me alive.
In your Dark Ages, puling and struggling you wandered
lost from the light, in the cold and the snow.
burned books for spite, and for the warmth they provided,
prided yourselves that you needed not knowledge.
you came to your senses and re-lit
my fires and honored
me once again,
though you still did not acknowledge me by
I care not! I just want to see you safe and warm.
We went along, happy, you and I,
despite your attempts to harness me to war.
now you carry fires that are not of my making.
split the atom, you parted from me.
I am still honored
wherever you form homes
together or apart--it's no matter
My spirit still rises as each time that you shelter
yourselves in my warmth and eat from my hearth.
I will not desert you, though you desert me.
I care too much for you to see you go hungry
cold or in care or in hurt or in harm.
I will always be
there for you, youngest and oldest of all,
as I have always
been there for you.
You do not have to remember me.
I don't ask that of you.
Only take of my bounty, and be at peace with one another,
in this great hearth we all share--the green, living Earth.
Author: Michael A. Starsheen is
an ordained priest in the Temple of Isis and the Fellowship of Isis. Michael put up what is believed to be the first ever
FOI related website on the internet in late 1994. The website was titled after his FOI centre “Lyceum of Isis of the
Stars.” It was primarily a teaching site for his lyceum. By early 1995 there were several pages on the site devoted
to the Fellowship of Isis, including a copy of the Manifesto and detailed information about the Star of Ishtar Tiamat Dragon
Diagram. He did it the hard way, because this was during the period when everything had to be programmed by hand - one pixel
at a time. Michael is a skilled poet, writer, teacher and artist. If you are interested in
purchasing a copy of the art displayed with this article, it is available at Michael's storefront at lulu.com. His storefront
contains a listing of his current books, "Mythic Voices" and "Universal Alchemy" and other pieces
of his artwork. www.lulu.com/Starsheen
Michael is a member of the ArchPriesthood Union, ArchDruid
Union and Grand Commander Union of the Fellowship of Isis.
2010, Michael A. Starsheen
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