By Trista B. Cook
Hestia, highest Goddess among both mortals and immortals You in your eternal home are the one most revered of all
Without you, we can hold no banquet, for yours is the first drop of sweet wine Poured out on the ground, and yours is the last drop, too, O’ Hestia – Homeric Hymn to Hestia
I am the candle burning softly, I am the hearth, the heart of the family and the pulse of the community. A home is not sanctified until I am brought there, carried by the daughter from her mother’s home. I am the heart of the home. I am the warmth, the light and the wisdom of the home. Without me, the food is raw, the home dusty and the family divided. (From: The Goddess Companion by Patricia Monaghan)
I am known also as the Pytantis, for the Prytaneion is my public temple. A town is not blessed until this hearth is lit. Villagers would do well to light the home fires from the Prytaneion. The Bride brings her mother’s hearth fire to her own, in the old ways.
I am the first goddess born to Rhea and Cronus, and the last freed from his belly. In this way, the first and last are mine. The first toast of the feast is mine, as is both the first and last libations poured. When you worship me, you worship the beginning of all things. For I am the beginning. And I am the ending. I am the Crone, the Grandmother, and all things known to women are known by me. When you need wisdom, guidance, familial love and companionship, it is I you must seek, first and last.
I am the Mother Goddess of both home and community, as I bore no children, choosing rather, to be mother of all children who have need of me. I invigorate the community, serving as Leader. I stand tall for those who cannot. I protect the sanctity of the home and all whom live there. I am the fire, the flame, the spark of divine inspiration, I am the serenity of the home you carry within your heart. Have you lit the fire within? Do you tend the hearth? Are you secure in your family’s love? Is your home kept well? Do you serve the community? Are you a caretaker of children? Do you give your love freely to all? Are you humble? Do you seek refuge? Do your inner fires burn brightly? Or are you in need of a spark to light those fires? Have you cleaned your room? Have you been a good host? A good guest? Do children run to you for healing? Does your spirit keep you warm? Has your hearth grown cold?
The Dedicant Blessing: (Give each dedicant their gift of the red candle and have them hold it out in front of them. Light their candle from the Prytaneion flame, as you repeat the below)
I give you now my spark, to light the fire within, for I am the Crone who protects and guides. Use my fires to energize and to inspire you, for my fires will not harm if they are tended well. Take my passion into your community. Bring me into your home. Warm yourselves with my fire. Take care of yourself and those you love, for my anger rises only to those who mock the responsibility of tending the hearth. (Replace flame on altar)
Listen to the dedicant and offer advice, as required. When done, pinch off their flame and cover their hands with yours. Look deeply into their eyes and state clearly:
Light my hearth fire when you have need of me. See me in the flame and know that you are home