Despite being a practicing Pagan for years I’ve never formalized my relationship with a deity. I’ve worked with goddesses in the past. Most recently I’ve spent two years honing my magical practice under the tutelage of Hekate. The focus of study was spellwork, protection, connecting with the elemental powers around me, and tapping into my own personal power.
Over the last few months, though, my need for a sword and shield via my relationship with Hekate has lessened. As the question of home and food and work have been settled, I find I want to nurture this new life. And to that point Hekate has stepped back. In her place another goddess, Hestia, has moved to the forefront of my practice.
I’ve had an affinity for Hestia since the beginning of my spiritual searching. In a spiral bound notebook I recorded my first awareness of her: September 9, 1999.
Scribbled on the other side of the journal page is a poem I found on the internet:
Prayer to Hestia by Roibin
Hestia of the fire,
I invoke thee,
Lo, behold me and hear:
Firstborn of the Olympians, Goddess of Old,
Thou are the flame that dwells within everything.
I feel they presence in the fire,
I feel they essence in the flame,
I feel they presence in the heat.
Virgin mother of Fire,
Mighty and gentle daughter of Rhea and Kronos,
Protectress of the fireplace,
Mistress of the Hearth,
Guardian of he home,
Bringer of heat.
Ancient thou are,
I worship thee within the flame.
Keep away illness from my home,
Keep away anger from my home,
Keep away danger from my home.
I lay before they essence
My deepest prayers for a safe place to dwell.
Grant me my wish:
Keep my home full of laughter and joy
Keep my home filled with food
Keep my home warm and safe.
Since that time, Hestia has often been on the back burner of my mind. So it isn’t a wonder that she is the one that I started to think about more and more over the last few months. All this thought finally turned into action when I dedicated myself to Hestia this week.
The actual dedication was vastly different from the ceremonies outlined in various books. As a solitary Pagan who is extremely self-conscious, ceremony doesn’t appeal to me. The simpler the ritual the better. So, when I made the decision to dedicate myself to Hestia, I went right to the small altar in the kitchen and did it. I lit the candle and said* words to the effect of, “Hey Hestia, I dedicate myself and my endeavors to you. Please work with me to make this house a welcoming place for those who live here and those who come here in need. Also, I’ll probably write about this if that’s okay by you.” I waited for the response. A feeling of rightness settled over me. And that was it.
As Hestia is so low-key she wasn’t depicted by the Greeks as anything other than a flame, I think my unorthodox ceremony was just fine by her.
For many ancient people the home was the most important part of society. Romans had household spirits that were worshiped before all other gods. Ancestor worship taps into that same notion of placing priority on the home. After so many months of dealing with one crisis after another I’m ready for a similar focus on the home and hearth.
Some people choose words at the start of a new year to set the tone and focus for the months to come. For me, for 2019, that word is: Home.
*Okay, not actually said, because of the whole being self-conscious thing, but I thought this.