The Goddess Hestia – Guardian of Fire

In ancient Greece neither the house nor the temple was considered sacred until Hestia had entered. Is this not also the case with humans?

The Goddess Hestia – Guardian of Fire

I love flats and houses. When I enter rooms that someone else inhabits, I intuitively grasp what kind of person he or she is. Flats and houses are mirrors of the soul. As inside, so outside.

I recently moved to a new house. It is a privilege and I am very grateful. Every morning I go from room to room, greeting each room, opening curtains and shutters and letting the light in. My home is my castle – or more precisely: My home is my temple.

Since my youth, I have been accompanied by the book Goddesses in Everywoman by Jean Shinoda Bolen, a Jungian psychoanalyst and wisdom teacher. Thanks to this book I know that I owe my love of dwellings and houses to an archetype working in me: the Greek goddess Hestia, who is rather less known in our country.

Hestia was worshipped in ancient Greece as the goddess of the hearth or the fire that burned in the house on the hearth or in the temple sanctuary. The goddess was thought to be present in the living flame at the center of the house, temple or city. Neither the house nor the temple was considered sacred until Hestia had entered.[1]

For me, living in the 21st century, Hestia is the archetypal force that ignites, sustains and reignites the fire inside me, in my heart, whenever it threatens to go out. For me, she represents feminine spirituality, the impersonal divine love that dwells in silence. If I am connected to her, then SHE connects me through the light, the power and the warmth of her sacred fire with the cosmos, with creation, with everything that is.

As a counterforce to our noisy, materialistic-utilitarian Western culture, characterized by one-sided male rationality and increasing inner alienation, Hestia seems to be awakening in more and more women and men at the moment. Her silent presence leads to a turning inwards, to the center of one’s being … to a deeper process of self-reflection, combined with a search for new expressions of community and connectedness, for a simple life close to nature. The end of this journey, individually and collectively, is open.

I feel a fire within me that I must not let go out, that on the contrary I must stoke, although I do not know where this will lead me (Vincent van Gogh).[2]

Again I walk through the rooms of my new house. Many things still need to be furnished, rearranged, purchased … And the rooms are always in need of care, cleaning, creative design. I ask myself: Will I succeed in making my house a home, a home for myself and for others?

I am convinced: without Hestia, this will be a difficult process.

As outside, so inside. Even my inner house cannot become a temple in which the divine soul can dwell without the connection and devotion to the sacred fire in my heart – the flame of the Spirit. The purification and transformation of my being required for this can only be accomplished through the light, warmth and power of divine love.

[1] Jean Shinoda Bolen, Göttinnen in jeder Frau (Goddesses in Everywoman). Psychologie einer neuen Weiblichkeit. Sphinx Verlag, Basel, 1986.

[2] Vincent van Gogh: Feuer der Seele (Fire of the Soul). Gedanken zum Leben, zur Liebe und zur Kunst. Insel Taschenbuch, Frankfurt a. M., 1990.

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Date: November 5, 2023
Author: Silvia Matentzoglu (Germany)
Photo: explosion-Gerd Altmann auf Pixabay CCO

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