Mirror of Isis - An Official Fellowship of Isis Publication

Hestia's Hearth Fires

COVER: Volume V, Issue 3, Samhain 2010
Table of Contents
The Wild and Grassy Slope
We Honor the Earth
The Berwyn Mountains of Poetic Adventure
The Coming of the Cailleach
An Isian Midwinter Meditation
Wenet the Swift One: Hare Goddess of Ancient Egypt
Awakening of Aengus Og and Tara Rite
Druid in the Garden
Ancient Egyptian Creation Myths
Announcements: From Olivia Robertson
REPORT: Convocation of the Fellowship of Isis at the Temple of Isis 2010
REVIEW: Avalonian Aeon
MUSES SYMPOSIUM: Bentreshyt: Harp of Joy
Hestia's Hearth Fires
Shadow Queen
Hymn to Isis
Prayer to Isis
Correspondent's Reflections
Mark Your Calendar
Staff and Contact Information
Archive of Past Issues
Blank page
"Hestia Full of Blessings" tapestry, 6th century, Egypt

Hestia's Hearth Fires
By Michael A. Starsheen
The Shrine of Hestia
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.
In 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.

For modern 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
I 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.

I was first-born of Rhea and Cronos,
and first sent to timelessness when he swallowed me.
I prepared a home for my sisters and brothers;
laid the fire to warm them when they came in from the cold.
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,
and your sheltering dwellings?

When Zeus went about staking his claims
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.
I care not what face-saving story he tells.

In Greece I was honored in each home and each hearth,
silently by the women, each day as they tended
their home-fires and their cook-fires, and the lights that they worked by
'til they grew husband-high.
Then they carried my fire from their mother's home-hearth
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.
You burned books for spite, and for the warmth they provided,
and prided yourselves that you needed not knowledge.

Finally, you came to your senses and re-lit
my fires and honored me once again,
though you still did not acknowledge me by name.
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.
Yet now you carry fires that are not of my making.
When you split the atom, you parted from me.

I am still honored wherever you form homes
together or apart--it's no matter to me.
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
or 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.

About the 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.



Copyright 2010, Michael A. Starsheen



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