Though Hestia has been the center of our familial altar for several generations, I spent my first 18 years in steadfast tradition of our maternal values, and the next 12 vacillating between my traditional duty to Her and what I perceived to be my modern, “strong, progressive feminine” ideal. Hestia represented antiquated ideals and oppression, housewifely servitude and domestic slavery.
Yes, at one point in my life I actually thought that. And I’ll admit, looking back over twenty years ago, I was fairly young and stupid. While I had been raised by a long line of extremely strong and independent women, I had somehow gotten it into my head that the archetype of Hestia was beneath me.
Oh, how wrong I was.
As I reached into my 30th year, many of my professional ambitions had been realized. I was on a rocket and headed towards the stars and had been recognized at the state level for my accomplishments. My household consisted of my apartment, a cat, and a horse that I had in boarding. My household altar sat in the corner, sporadically used at holidays, although I had still kept many of my other family traditions.
10 years without service to my goddess.
Then She came to me. It wasn’t a grand epiphany moment with some burning bush in the middle of the desert while I tended a passel of goats. It wasn’t an explosive realization that I “must follow the goddess!” It was more subtle, nurturing. Comforting.
Hestia came to me in the night during a vivid dream. I was tending the hearth in a small, rustic cabin, stirring the coals in an effort to coax a log to burn. Hestia’s voice came from behind me, soft and gentle. She asked where I had been. She spoke of wandering off my original path, and how my special skills were needed – not only to spread the ideals for which She stood, but for the work I would be doing in the near future which would require those Hestian skills of home, nurturing and hospitality that I had not made time for (I was surprised She didn’t say I had abandoned them). She assured me that patience would come (as I can honestly say that patience was never my first virtue….more like my 100th); that I was an asset; that the generation after me needed my guidance and show Her worth.
Though I could not see her, we sat companionably in silence by the fire for some time and I gave serious contemplation to Her words. I had lost my way in those 10 years. I was far too wrapped up in my career and self, forgetting that core upbringing of Hestia, my family’s traditions and my magical works.
Because of that one dream, my mindset changed. I looked to the simpler things in life, to the more domestic and hospitality roots that I had been raised with, and my full embracing of Hestia. Here I am… 20 years later with less of a career and more of a full heart and happier existence. And I will fill you in on the next 20 years of the journey over the course of the next few weeks……
Hail, Lady Hestia, First and Last!