Ruminations on the Orphic Hymn to Hestia….

“Daughter of Saturn [Kronos], venerable dame,

 the seat containing of unweary’d flame; 

In sacred rites these ministers are thine,

 Mystics much-blessed, holy and divine

In thee, the Gods have fix’d place,

 strong, stable, basis of the mortal race:

Eternal, much-form’d ever-florid queen,

 laughing and blessed, and of lovely mien; 

Accept these rites, accord each just desire,

 and gentle health, and needful good inspire.”
These words are a translation of the original Hymn but still hold power to inspire us. Hestia is in many ways the stable basis of not only the mortal race, but the calm center that the Gods surround in their various tasks. She is shown to be a goddess that often will inspire us to joy if we let her.  

It is interesting to see the writer saying that the Mystics are ministers of Hestia as she is not known to be associated with a mystery cult the way that her sister Demeter is at Eleusis. The only thing that I can figure is that there were household “mysteries” that people participated in surrounding the events of daily life. These would have been things that we celebrate but no longer wrap in layers of ceremony like the birth/naming of a child, puberty and coming of age (as examples)

It is interesting that Hestia is called on to “accept these rites” as this is an indication that at one time there WERE rites to her that were not recorded even to the point that rites to Hera were. There are almost no stories about her in the mythology, but she is portrayed in this and in the Homeric Hymns in her honor as having a central and important place among the Gods. I see this as an indication of her true importance, and that it was considerable even if her rites were commonplace among ALL members of society.

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