Thoughts on Hestia being the "heart" of the Cosmic Order….

In the “ordinary” view of Hestia’s role in the Order of the Olympian Theoi, She is usually overlooked as she is not what people think of as an “important” goddess. She is not flashy. She is quiet, and it is that quietness that makes people unaware of her importance in the combined roles of the three daughters of Cronos…

While Hera is the Goddess who is responsible for a lot of the inspiration for human governance and Demeter the one who is responsible for agricultural pursuits, Hestia is the one who governs the center of all human endeavors, the hearth and home.

Without the home, all other human endeavors become a LOT more shaky as they have no firm foundation. Without Hestia and her “cosmic hearth”, all other endeavors of the Theoi have no firm base either.

In Hellenismos, the “oikos” (or household) is where all of the most basic rituals of life occur. When a child is born, they are introduced to the oikos at a real or symbolic hearth. When a marriage happens, it is symbolically the creation of a new “hearth” at the heart of the new oikos. When a death happens, if we were to mirror the ancient practice, the fire in the hearth is temporarily extinguished as the Theoi are not seen around miasma.

The rituals in the oikos, the rituals of daily life, are central to Hellenismos as they provide the foundation of our faith. The public rituals, while important, are not what provides the means to pass on the religion’s basic practices to future generations. What public rituals do is link the various households together into a greater community. When there is not a way to actually do public rituals due to a lack of available households for it, there are still the household rituals to honor the Theoi.

Hestia is honored both first and last in both the public and household rites. Why would this be the case if there were not a reason? Perhaps it is because Hestia is more important than many people give her credit with — after all, she is both the hearth and the fire in the hearth. Without that fire, offerings to the Olympian Theoi are not made (with the exception of libations, which are STILL done in front of Hestia’s flame). According to the Homeric Hymn honoring Hestia no feast happens where she is not honored. We should remember this as we go through our lives.

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