Updated: Dec 23, 2020

¨Solitude is the place of purification and transformation, the place of the great struggle and the great encounter.¨ -Henri Nouwen


This week we honor Hestia, the Greek goddess of the hearth. Her characteristics align with those of the zodiac sign Virgo, where the sun is positioned now. Modest, practical, self-sufficient, and reserved, Hestia concerns herself with the mundane tasks of everyday life and makes them sacred rituals.

Hestia's most obvious symbol is fire,which we associate with spirit and the divine spark of creativity.Fire also purifies;therefore it's an apt symbol of Hestia's purity.

Unlike her more famous siblings Zeus,Hera(October 16-22), Demeter(September 18-24), Poseidon, and Hades, Hestia had no interest in power or prestige. Instead, this gentle goddess chose a quiet existence, living in Zeus's home without a husband or children of her own. According to legend, the gods Apollo and Poseidon loved Hestia, but she worried that if she chose either of them the other would be disappointed and her peace would be destroyed. Not wanting to stir up trouble on Mount Olympus, Hestia vowed to remain a virgin forever. Nevertheless, she presides over home, family, and domestic life. The goddess's most notable responsibility was tending the hearth, which in ancient Greece served as the domestic and spiritual center of the home.

Here families prepared food and people made offerings to the deities and it was important to keep the fire burning at all times.Therefore the hearth represents Hestia's dual role as nurturer and priestess, the goddess who understands that both the mundane and the divine are essential parts of human existence.

Hestia was also charged with maintaining order within communities,

and each municipality had a public hearth where people worshipped her. There her devotees could make offerings to the goddess in return for her protection. When people moved away from a city to establish a new settlement, they took along fire from her communal hearth to light a sacred hearth in their new home. In so doing,they brought the goddess with them too.

You can find Hestia in places where food is prepared and also where

you find comfort and camaraderie. She abides in your cook stove, your home's fireplace, and the fire pit where you sit around to share stories with family and friends. Gaze into the flames and see her image smiling back at you.

As she did in days of old,Hestia can protect your home and family. If you're experiencing tension or upsets in your domestic life, ask this peace-loving deity to help restore order and harmony. Sometimes the serenity you seek comes from finding a holy center and realizing that your everyday existence isn't separate from your spiritual one. Each action can be sacred if you see it that way. Let this goddess show you how to be fully present in your daily tasks and to exercise mindfulness in all you do.Hestia can also show you how to detach from emotional dramas and look at situations from a more practical perspective.

The early Greeks gave offerings to Hestia at the beginning and end of each meal, and always presented her with the choicest portion. This week, you can do the same to attract her favor and bring peace and abundance to your home.

1. If you have a fireplace, woodstove, or barbecue grill, light a special fire to honor Hestia and eat in front of it. Even better, cook your meal over the fire instead of the stove. Legend says you should light the fire by shining sunlight through a glass to kindle a spark, but that's probably not practical today. If you don't have a place to build a fire, light a candle and set it at the center of your table. Or, go to a public park, campground, or other place where you can make a fire safely.

2. Make an offering to the goddess-traditional offerings included fruit, wine, olive oil, and year-old calves and ask her to join you. Express gratitude for the food you're eating and all those who made it possible: people, animals, plants, the earth.

3. Toast Hestia with red wine or pomegranate juice.

4. Give thanks for the many blessings in your life,small as well as large.

5. After you've finished eating,pour a small amount of wine or juice

into the fire, but don'textinguish it let it burn out naturally. If its safe to do so, say, in a woodstove, keep the fire going throughout med the week.

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