Who is Hestia History of Hestia how Hestia came to be Hestias Role Hestia in Greek Mythology
Hestia is the Greek Goddess of Hearth and Home. It seems rather strange at first, considering she was a female that vowed to never marry. She indeed kept that pledge. She is also known as the First and the Last. As with all Greek mythology, how she came to be these things is riddled with mysticism, but very interesting nonetheless.
She was the First because she was the first-born Greek Goddess. Her parents were the Titans named Kronus and Rea. Since Kronus was given a prophecy that one of his children would later usurp him, he swallowed all his six infants as they were born, respectively. However, after Zeus was born (the sixth child), it seems Rhea became smart. Kronus was tricked by Rhea to swallow a rock instead and vomited all the infants back up, after he was attacked by his own son, Zeus – the last-born.
Since Hestia was the first born and first swallowed, she came back up as the last. That is why she is called First and Last. Instead of dwelling on Mount Olympus with all the other Greek Gods and Goddesses, she is said to prefer to walk among mortals. Unlike all her siblings (Zeus, Hades, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter) and relatives, she was very low-key.
There are no fantastic stories and heroic deeds about her, and she always seems overlooked in favor of her more exciting siblings. She is the most private of the Gods and Goddesses. Even though once desired by Poseidon and Apollo (whom she rejected), no romantic tales circulate around her (she is actually immune to love spells). While she remained a virgin, she is said to love to protect orphans and missing children. Zeus granted her the honor of Goddess of Hearth and Homes in reward for her chastity.
“Shall we, then, begin with Hestia, according to custom?” [Socrates. Plato, Cratylus 401b]
“Zeus, driving a winged chariot, goes first, arranging all things and caring for all things. He is followed by an army of gods and spirits, arrayed in eleven squadrons; Hestia alone remains in the house of the gods.” [Socrates. Plato, Phaedrus 246e]
“By addressing Hestia first, I might, thanks to her, crush an adversary.” [Philocleon. Aristophanes, Wasps 846]
“Hestia, you who tend the holy house of the lord Apollo, the Far-shooter, with soft oil dripping ever from your locks, come now into this house, come, having one mind with Zeus the all-wise, draw near, and withal bestow grace upon my song.” [Homeric Hymn to Hestia 24]
The Romans adopted her as well and call her Vesta. She is also known as Prisca. Those who worshipped her in ancient times did so by keeping a sacred fire burning, which was tended by vestal virgins.
In New Age circles, she is revered still by lighting fires or candles and connecting to her through the flames. She is said to clear up disharmony and conflict in families of those who call upon her.