Greek Goddess Hestia
In the Roman mythology Saturnus and Ops are mentioned as Hestia’s parents. To the Greeks, these were Kronos and Rhea. Vesta was honored as the First Mother of Rome. She was first portrayed as a flame, or someone with a flame.
Later on, the sign of Vesta became a schematic shape of an altar with two flames.This altar was shaped as the character “Pi,” which has an important magical meaning for the sect of Pythagoras. They believed that the fire in the temple of Hestia was the centre of the earth.
Hestia was the oldest sister of Zeus. She was sitting in the middle of heaven at the fireplace. The meaning of “Hestia” is “fireplace or fire.” She was the one who always had the permission to choose the first piece of meat that was offered. Since the fireplace is a central point of the family life, Hestia was the goddess of life. If people went to another place to get settled, they took a piece of glowing wood from their home town.
Offerings were done to Hestia when: Going on a journey, returning from a journey, taking in of new members into the family, (even with slaves,) but especially with the birth of a child, giving of a name, marriage, and when someone died.
Hestia is more known from her Roman name, “Vesta,” because she was very important for the Romans. As long as the eternal sacred fire was burning in her temple, the city was safe. It was the temple of Vesta. Every year on New Year’s Day (1st of March,) the the fire was lighten up again. It was a bad omen for the city if the fire went out in the meantime.
The Romans were considering the sign of the Zodiac “Capricornus” as an image of the goddess Vesta. She was called as first and as last in the prayers and offering rituals. This was done because she was the protector of the most inner soul.
On the 9th of June, it was the feast of the virgins of Vestal. It was called The Vestalia. Mistresses of the house brought their offerings to the temple of Vesta. In the temple of Vesta the Palladium was kept. This was a century old statue of Pallas, who used to protect the city of Troy.
The temple (with a round shape) of Vesta was built on the Forum Romanum at the feet of the Palatin hill.
Another name for Vesta was, by the way, “Diva Palatua.” The meaning of “Diva Palatua” is “Lady of the Palatin temple.”