Hestia Goddess of the Hearth & 10 Ways to Work With Her
Our ancestors needed fire to stay alive. They needed it for warmth, to cook their food and brew their medicinal remedies. And they needed a fireplace or hearth in which to light and keep that fire burning. And, just like every other sacred resource in ancient societies, the hearth and hearthfire was personified and made manifest in a deity. For the Ancient Greeks, that deity was Hestia Goddess of the Hearth and Home. Let’s meet the beloved Greek hearth goddess and learn of a few ways to work with her in our pagan and witchcraft practices.
Table of Contents
But First, Hestia’s Fiery Beginnings
Hestia’s beginnings are fiery but also a little clouded by the hearth-smoke. We know she was the daughter of the god Cronus and goddess Rhea. We also know that she was swallowed whole by Cronus, only to be released later by her brothers Hades and Zeus’ efforts. She was the first born of Cronus and Rhea, and interestingly, the first to be swallowed by her father. Before her siblings Hera, Poseidon, Hades, and Demeter. Then the last to be released from the prison of her father’s stomach. So, consequently, Hestia is known as the oldest and youngest of the Olympian gods. Which may point to a connection with the fire element – fire is older than the planet itself yet is made young in a new flame.
I say her beginnings were fiery because she wasn’t a goddess to be married off. Her brothers Apollo and Poseidon both tried for her affection. They both wanted her as their wife, but Hestia resisted. She wanted to be single her entire life and therefore maintain her “virginity” (in the eyes of Zeus). Because of this vow, Zeus granted Hestia precedence over all sacrifices made to the gods. And in many homes and public temples, the first sacrifice was given to Hestia before all other deities. Or, at least, the first bite or first cup of wine.
Hestia’s “Lost” Cult and Her Importance to Community
Hestia’s cult was widespread and mainly upheld within the home. Within families that honored her at their central hearth, at the heart of each home. Sadly, we don’t have a lot of references showing entire temples in her dedication or priesthoods. Although there is a vague mention of a Hestia priestess in one ancient source. My opinion is she must have had some sort of cult priesthood or priestesshood, it just might not have been documented or we lost the documentation over time. After all, Hestia’s hearth wasn’t just in the home, but also at the center of many communities. Typically, every main temple had its own hearth at which Hestia presided and ruled over all of the cities’ sacrifices. Her job and presence was undoubtedly important.
How Does Hestia Manifest? What Does She Look Like?
Because Hestia is a personification of the hearth and the fire within, she is typically thought as manifesting in that way. However, there are some ancient pieces of pottery and sculpture that depict Hestia as a beautiful young woman, dressed modestly with a veil. Sometimes she’s holding a chaste-tree branch and other times she’s accompanied by a kettle.
Does Hestia Have a Symbol?
As far as a predefined drawn/designed symbol, Hestia doesn’t necessarily have one. However, since she is the personification of the hearth, a hearth, fireplace, or fire serve as her symbol. In addition, a tea kettle and a chaste-tree branch represent her nicely.
Call On Hestia for Protection
Something I’ve always found interesting about Hestia, her domain is over the household and family. As if she’s a watchful and protective matriarch or mother. Yet, she’s not married. There’s some irony or deeper truths found there.
Here’s the thing, if your household is experiencing discord or your family is in need of protection, Hestia is the perfect goddess to call on. She was known in ancient Greece to reward her devotees and punish those who offended her. And you can bet, if someone is bothering your family, they are offending Hestia. Call on her to shield your home and family from harm.
Hestia Goddess of the Hearth’s Magical Correspondences
|Home||Candlelight / Fire||Rosemary||Garnet|
|Sovereignty||The act of cooking||Basil||Yellow Calcite|
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How to Know Hestia is Calling You
One of the biggest questions for pagans is how to know when a god or goddess is calling you or wants to work with you as a devotee. Here’s how to know if Hestia is calling you to her hearth:
- You’re a kitchen witch or are learning to be one
- Baking bread is your forte (or something you’d like to learn)
- You keep seeing her symbols everywhere: hearth/fireplace or fire
- Your home and family need protection and guidance
- You may hear her name repeatedly in passing conversations or
- See her name on TV, in books, online, etc.
- You’ve always felt drawn to her
- You have a job working with the community and need help or guidance
- Chasteberry is an herb you’re currently taking as regimen or working with in your practice
- You keep seeing pigs everywhere
10 Ways to Work With Hestia
Like we always say, your practice and how you work with deity is up to you. That’s the awesome thing about paganism and witchcraft – you’re free to craft your own practice and walk your path without someone telling you what to do. But here’s some suggested ways to work with Hestia:
1. Research and Study
There aren’t a ton of myths with Hestia as a featured deity, unfortunately. That being said, we still recommend reading and studying whatever you can get your hands on concerning the hearth goddess. But that doesn’t just mean studying Hestia specifically, but also studying what it means to be a hearth witch or kitchen witch. Studying cooking, baking, etc.
2. Dedicate Space
Hestia Goddess of the Hearth is obviously a deity that prefers a space in the kitchen. Our suggestion is to set up a small altar or space for her in yours. But if you have a fireplace that you also use, this i also a good spot for her to reside. It doesn’t have to be elaborate – a candle, some incense, and a cup for offerings is plenty.
3. Offerings for Hestia
Since Hestia presides over all sacrifices to the gods, she obviously enjoys regular offerings from her devotees. When cooking or baking, give Hestia the first bite or sip of whatever you’re making. Or simply leave a cup of water or wine at her altar space. The act of cooking in and of itself is an offering for the hearth goddess.
Any fire ritual or cooking with fire appeases Hestia. She’s present in the kitchen, at the grill, firepit, and fireplace. So keep a fire going in your fireplace this Winter in honor of Hestia. Dedicate your grill-fire to her before grilling. Even keeping a candle lit while cooking or baking in the kitchen is pleasing to her. Traditionally, Hestia’s fire should never be allowed to burn out or be blown out. Only during ritual may it be extinguished and then ritually relit.
Kitchen witches rejoice! Hestia is obviously a deity you want in your kitchen. She presides over all cooking and therefore will aid you in creating magical recipes and even guiding your hands while you work hearth-side. Every time you cook, you honor her. This is probably the easiest way to work with Hestia. Take note, she’s associated with pigs so pork is her jam.
6. Baking Bread
Sources confirm Hestia is also a goddess who presides over baking bread. And bread in general. You don’t necessarily have to be great at making bread but at least give it a shot. You could even try with a bread maker OR choose simple bread recipes like banana or zucchini bread (which requires no kneading). Dedicate the first loaf/slice to Hestia. She particularly enjoys bread with fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, and garlic.
7. Community Work
Hestia’s domain wasn’t just the hearth in the home but also the community hearth. Which means she is present within the community as a whole. To honor Hestia, consider volunteering at a local rescue or shelter. Or better yet, at a local soup kitchen! If you already work with the community, ask Hestia for her guidance and protection.
8. Home Rituals
The goddess of hearth and home is concerned with ALL things in the house. Rituals and charms conducted to protect the home, cleanse the home, and anything done inside the home is done in Hestia’s name. Try making home protection powder
9. Brew Tea
One of my favorite magical things to do at the hearth is brew magical teas. Charge your tea kettle, herbs, and teacups with Hestia’s energy. Make a tea specifically crafted to honor Hestia by choosing herbs and teas the Ancient Greeks might have drank or dedicated to her. Learn more about making tea as offerings here.
10. Recite Hestia’s Hymns
Nearly every god and goddess enjoys hearing our voices in song and prayer. To please Hestia at the hearth, recite a few of her hymns:
Homeric Hymn 24 to Hestia :
“Hestia, you who tend the holy house of the lord Apollon, the Far-shooter at goodly Pytho, 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 24 to Hestia (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th – 4th B.C.) :
“Hestia, in the high dwellings of all, both deathless gods and men who walk on earth, you have gained an everlasting abode and highest honor: glorious is your portion and your right. For without you mortals hold no banquet,–where one does not duly pour sweet wine in offering to Hestia both first and last. And you, Argeiphontes [Hermes], son of Zeus and Maia, . . . be favorable and help us, you and Hestia, the worshipful and dear. Come and dwell in this glorious house in friendship together; for you two, well knowing the noble actions of men, aid on their wisdom and their strength. Hail, Daughter of Kronos (Cronus), and you also, Hermes.”
Orphic Hymn 84 to Hestia (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
“To Hestia, Fumigation from Aromatics. Daughter of Kronos (Cronus), venerable dame, who dwellest amidst great fire’s eternal flame; in sacred rites these ministers are thine, mystics much blessed, holy and divine. In thee the Gods have fixed their dwelling place, strong, stable basis of the mortal race. Eternal, much formed, ever florid queen, laughing and blessed, and of lovely mien; accept these rites, accord each just desire, and gentle health and needful good inspire.”