Hestia

The question, “Who is Hestia?” is a really good one. In fact, Hestia stills stands today as one of the most underrated goddesses in Greek mythology. However, she is the goddess of the hearth, and this very important realm over which she has control cannot, and should not, be ignored. Because she rules over the hearth, it stands to reason that Hestia cannot partipate in all of the other gods’ and goddesses’ exploits. The hearth cannot move; therefore, Hestia is a stationary goddess.

In mythology, Hestia was the first born child of Cronus, the god of time or father time, and Rhea, the Mother Earth. Cronus consumed Rhea right after Hestia’s birth, but Zeus ordered him to disgorge the mother and the children. Hestia was the last one to be born that time, so it is said that Hestia was also the last born child of Cronus and Rhea.

In illustrations or arts and crafts, Hestia is often depicted as a very modest-looking woman. She wears either veils or shawls that cover up almost every inch of her body. She looks very maiden-like and virginal.

Because she did not want to be part of Mount Olympus, she gave up her seat there (being one of the original twelve children of Cronus and Rhea) and Dionysus came to take her place later.

Hestia’s connections extend to Apollo and Poseidon, who asked for her hand in marriage. She refused and even asked Zeus to keep her as a virgin forever and she became the goddess of the hearth. On a deeper level, Hestia’s name even means “home and hearth.” Every village or colony had its own hearth dedicated to Hestia. When that colony or village or town flourished, a little bit of the fire from that “Hestian” hearth was carried to a new colony in order for the colony to be blessed (since Hestia also governed order).

Although Hestia’s powers seem very limited, she had access to every house in Greece. Like Aphrodite and Athena, Hestia’s power over the hearth meant that she did not need to be physically active in mortal or godly affairs. Her importance to the people shows in the fact that they all had hearths in their homes and they worshipped her as they did other goddesses. In fact, her history seems to extend farther than other goddesses'; because she protected the house and home, and because the concept of shelter has been long-standing, Hestia’s history goes back as far as when humans first began to construct shelters. Thus, her importance is today as great as it was thousands of years ago.