The Goddess: Lilith

She Who Is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

 July 1, 2018

LILITH

(Painting by John Collier – Source: Wikipedia)

When my children were small, I was good friends with a woman whose birth family practiced Orthodox Judaism. We had known each other many years, our children were close and we had each been to many family gatherings. One summer, we were attending a pool party at her house and her parents were in attendance. I went to say hello to her father and then asked him about Lilith, as the first wife of Adam. His response was to look at me, say nothing, then turn to walk away. He never really spoke to me much afterward.

THAT is the power of Lilith.

Who was the powerful woman? Was she a demon? Was she a woman that refused to be subservient to a man? Did she leave Eden on her own? Was she kicked out?

Her origins seems to be rooted in Babylonian demonology. In Sumerian, her name comes for “lilitu”, which means “female demon” or “wind spirit”.

In the Sumerian tale of Gilgamesh, the hero (Gilgamesh) goes to help the Goddess Inanna, who was being beset by demons, one of which was Lilith. This part of the tale was added some 600 years after the original.

(Source: YouTube)

In Jewish tradition, Lilith is a dark demon, but others see her as a dark Goddess, but either way, she is ancient and powerful. In the Talmud, she was described as being sexually wanton and the stealer of men’s sperm from which she gave birth to demons. The Talmud, the book of civil and ceremonial law, states, “It is forbidden for a man to sleep alone in a house, lest Lilith get hold of him”.

It is in the Genesis Rabba, religious texts with rabbinical interpretations of Genesis, that we first hear of Lilith as the first woman, created at the same time as Adam.

Adam demanded that she life beneath him and she refused. Adam wanted her to be subservient to him and she refused. She stated, “We are equal because we are both created from the earth.”

(Photo Source: The Lilith Library)

This myth was added to book “The Alphabet of Ben Sira”, which added that Lilith then fled into the desert. Adam complains to God that the woman that was given to him has left. Three angels are sent after her. The angels tell her that she must return but she refuses and says, strangely, that she knows that she was made to harm children, but that if she sees the names of these angels on amulets, then that child will be saved.

Some would say that when she refused to lie beneath Adam, that she was turned into a demon, a succubus, and banished from Eden. For some, she became a sacred whore, beautiful, dangerous, who would seduce men and kill them.

Eve was then created from Adam’s rib, making her made from him, submissive to him and would lie beneath him.

She has been an influence in literary characters, such as in “The Coming of Lilith” by Judith Plaskow, among many other stories, novels and poems. It is said that C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia”, that the White Witch was influenced by Lilith. There is the Lilith Faire, which raises money for battered women’s shelters and breast cancer awareness.

Girl God Publications has the “My Name is……” series, written for children, where Goddesses who have been demonized, have their stories told in a positive, affirmative manner. The third in this series is “My Name is Lilith“, by Monette Chilson, which I highly recommend.

(Photo: Amazon)

Lilith has become an icon for feminists who see her refusal to lie beneath Adam as a call to freedom, a rallying cry to break away from the bonds of patriarchy.

She can be looked to for inspiration in being and accepting who we are – strong, empowered, independent women, making our own choices and living the lives we choose.

Blessings!

The Goddess: Nu Kua

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

 June 1, 2018

The Goddess Nu Kua

(Photo Credit – acutonics.com)

Nu Kua is the Creatrix Goddess of Ancient China.

When the heavens and earth were separated, there were no human beings. Nu Kua was bored and lonely and so made the first humans out of clay made from mud from the Yellow River. Her breath and Yin became the first women; Her breath and Yang became the first men. The first of these were fashioned, and molded, with her hands. However, as she found how tedious and time-consuming this was, she began to drop a rope into the river’s clay and to allow droplets to form and to fall from the rope. Hence, those that were molded became the nobles and those who were unmolded became the peasants.

She is said to have the body of a woman from the waist up, and the body of a serpent/snake/dragon from the waist down. There are also myths of her having the body of a Tortoise.

(Photo Credit: goddesses-and-gods.blogspot.com)

(Photo Credit: opednews.com)

As the myth goes, the monster, Kung-Kung, during a great battle, flattened the mountains, tore a hole in the sky, and tilted the Earth.

Nu Kua came to restore order. She melted five sacred, colored stones and repaired the sky. She took control of water, enabling the rains to fall when and where necessary and put out fires. She put the seasons in the right order.

(Photo Credit: flickr.com)

She replaced the pillars of heaven with the legs of a great turtle/tortoise so that they would not collapse; Dragons on these pillars guard the path of the sun and the moon.

She corrected problems on Earth by quelling the problems of human chaos, by establishing marriage, ensuring that children would be raised correctly.

After restoring order, Nu Kua retreated to her domain, the sky, wearing a compass to symbolize order.

She has dominion over marital relations and fertility. It is said that she responds to prayers directed toward her.

Nu Kua represents order and its’ restoration, is a calming influence in stressful situations and also helps with a positive attitude after negative events.

*******************************

Order

There is a Way

and I am that Way

the Way of Nature that moves in all things

In the beginning

I created the universal pattern

the Way things are

the Way things flow

the Way things need to be

Then

I sequenced the seasons

harmonized the hillsides

organized the oceans

till all was auspiciously arranged

I am the natural order of things

I am the Way

(From The Goddess Oracle by Amy Sophia Marashinsky & Hrana Janto)

(Photo Credit: The Goddess Oracle

by Amy Sophia Marashinsky & Hrana Janto)

Goddess Blessings!!

***

The Goddess: Hippolyta

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

 May 1, 2018

HIPPOLYTA

(Photo Credit: brooklynmuseum.org)

While there may be those who would argue that Hippolyta was not a Goddess, I feel that, since most of her legends describe Her as being the daughter of Ares, She is, indeed, a Goddess.

Hippolyta was the greatest of all of the Amazon Queens. Fathered by Ares, the God of War, who was himself born of Zeus and Hera, She was beautiful and strong, skilled in endurance and weapons. She was a formidable Warrior Woman. It is quite possible that She was trained in combat moves by Ares himself.

Hippolyta and her Amazons lives in Themiscyra, and kept largely to themselves. While they would mate with males from other tribes, they normally did not keep the male children, either sending them to live with their fathers, abandoning or killing them but always keeping, and raising, daughters for future Amazon generations.

Most of the legends of Hippolyta are her being involved in the exploits of men, as one would expect in a patriarchal society. Reading these myths, it makes perfect sense that the Amazons and their Queen would isolate themselves from much of the world.

Hippolyta was in possession of a golden belt, “the magic girdle”, that was gifted to Her by Ares. It was this belt, along with her skills, that made her the Queen of the Amazons.

(Photo Credit: greekmythology.wikia.com)

There are at least two versions of Her story with Hercules The first is that the Greeks decided that they wanted Hippolyta’s golden belt and send a raiding party to attack and rape the women warriors. These Greeks were led by Hercules.

She found Hercules somewhat attractive and, as was Her custom, wish to wrestle with him to determine if he was strong enough and that She would not give birth to a weak child. Her followers thought that Hercules was attacking their Queen and, in turn, attacked him. The women lost the battle to Hercules’ raiding party. One version of the story tells that Hercules killed Hippolyta and stole the golden belt. Another version says that She was not killed and gave the belt to Hercules of her own free will. Yet another, says that it was Hera, always the enemy of Hercules, who disguised herself as one of the Amazons, told the rest of the warrior women that Hippolyta was going to be kidnapped by the Greeks, and this is what started the skirmish between the two parties.

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Another rendering of the story tells of King Eurysthesus giving Hercules 12 challenges or labors. The nineth labor was for Hercules to retrieve (read steal) the golden belt from Hippolyta and giving it to his daughter. Again, here, it is said that Hippolyta gave him the belt. The stories differ once again; one says that She gave him the belt because she was so enchanted by him; another says that the challenges were given to Hercules as punishment for killing his own children in madness and rage, a torment brought on by Hera, and that when Hippolyta heard his story, she was overcome with compassion and offered him the belt. Keeping in mind that the Amazons, while being warriors, what they hoped to offer and teach, was peace, making it quite plausible that She gave the golden belt to Hercules.

While Hercules was a demi-god, Theseus was a mortal who also visited Hippolyta at Themiscyra. Theseus, it was rumored, had killed a minotaur. Recalling Her past experience with outsiders, She prayed that no harm would come to her people as She ordered a great feast to be held in his honor. Theseus asked Hippolyta to come on to his ship, which She did. Theseus had fallen in love with Her and asked Her to stay with him. Hippolyta refused, as She wished to stay with Her Amazons. When She went to disembark from the ship, the crew immediately set sail for Greece, with Hippolyta as a prisoner.

The Amazons were furious and immediately followed to retrieve their Queen. Theseus, having no clue he was being followed, started to plan a grand wedding to marry the kidnapped Amazon Warrior Queen. The Amazons planned their attack to take place deep into the night while everyone was asleep, and were able to rescue Hippolyta just in time. Shakespeare tells his version of Hippolyta’s story with Theseus in his “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream”.

Not surprisingly, the Amazons and their Queen became very suspicious and leery of all visitors.

(Photo Credit: screenrant.com)

In pop culture, Hippolyta is the mother of Wonder Woman, who was fashioned a baby from clay and had the life breathed into her by the gods.

Hippolyta – Queen, Warrior, Mother, Goddess

***

The Goddess: Zemyna

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

 April 1, 2018

Zemyna

(Photo Credit – Pinterest)

Zemyna is a Lithuanian Earth Goddess. She is the Mother of all things. As the Goddess of Childbirth, one of Her functions concerns fertility. She creates life out of herself and represents the rebirth and renewal of every living thing.

She is honored at the birth of every child. Offerings to Her are left at stones, near trees and in the water, thanking Her for a new life.

Her name, literally, means “Earth”. She is also called *Blossomer*, *Bud-Raiser* and *Flower-Giver*.

All that comes of, and from, the Earth returns to the Earth and so, She also is related to Death.

She is the personification of the fertile earth and nourishes all of the life on Earth, whether is be plant, animal or human. Trees with three leaves or nine branches were especially connected to Her, the most revered being oak, linden and spruce.

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Her people believed that all plant and human life were connected and flowed together. They believed that souls took up residence in the trees that have died. The souls of women went in to lindens and spruce; men in to oaks, maples and birches, while the ancestors of the village would be within the fruit trees. Birds nesting in these trees became symbols of the force of life itself.

The love that the people had for the plant life of the Earth is in the “dainas”, spiritual folk songs of their culture.

With the people being a part of nature, Zemyna helps and supports those who treat the Earth with respect, and helps Her in Her mission of defending the Earth.

It was a terrible thing to dig or strike into the Earth with an iron implement before March 25, as the Earth is pregnant at that time.

If you were to kill an animal for food, Zemyna would forgive you. If, though, you were to kill an animal for fun, or for the pleasure of it, Zemyna would not let you get away with that, and consequences will surely follow. The more you negatively do to Nature, the more She will make you pay. You can pray, but you will not deflect Her anger.

(Photo Credit – lituanus.orgSculpture by Vytautas Maciuika)

Beyond this, Zemyna is loving and good-natured. She rewarded those who took care of the Earth. She was a source of strength and power to Her people. Respect could be shown to Her by pouring some of whatever you were drinking upon the Earth itself.

Offerings were also left at regular intervals, mostly of bread and ale. If offerings were not made, there could be dire consequences. These offerings were left at Her places of worship, near large stones, which were a representation of the Omphalos, the power center of the Earth.

She may have been married to Perkunas, the thunder God. The wedding is celebrated in the Spring, when the Earth reawakens.

Her greatest festival is at Summer Solstice. Families bathe in streams and rivers in celebration of the moisture of the earth.

(Photo Credit – Pinterest by Jennifer Kuhns)

The worship of Zemyna is different than that of the patriarchal religions, which state that the Earth is secondary to man and that it is here for man’s consumption. For Zemyna, Her people know that Nature is sacred and permanent. While we, as humans, may die, Nature is always here.

“When we are gone,

they will remain,

wind and rock, fire and rain

They will remain

when we return

the wind will blow

and the fire will burn”

~~ Reclaiming

[youtube]

***

The Goddess: Nammu

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

 March 1, 2018

 

The Goddess Nammu

(Photo Credit: crystalinks.com)

In Sumeria, whose civilization dates back to 3500 BCE, Nammu was the Goddess of the Waters of Creation. She was the great abyss, the endless primeval sea in which the Universe floated, that which She brought forth.

She was also called the “Mother of Everything” and “Mother, First One who Gave Birth to the Gods of the Universe”. According to the An-Anum, the list of Mesopotamian deities, She is called “The Mother Who Gave Birth to the Heavens and the Earth.

(Photo Credit: Pinterest)

Creation came from the Great Goddess, from those Waters of Creation; and so, Nammu is as old as time itself, as She was always there and always will be there. She has no beginning and She has no end; all life is owed to Her. She is the Creation of all things.

Her name was/is written with the sign for “engur”, which is also used to write “Apsu”, the sweet fertile waters.

She gave birth to An/Heaven, a Sky God and to Ki/Earth, an Earth Goddess. An and Ki produced air between them. This air stirred the waters surrounding the large mountains between them and so was separated the Earth and the Sky.

She also birthed the first gods, who represented the ocean water, far down beneath the Earth, which was the source of the life-giving water and fertility of its’ people.

It is said that She also helped Mani, an All-Mother herself, form humanity. Mani was a potter who mixed clay over the cosmic abyss to form 14 images of herself. She put them in two rows, seven on Her left and seven on Her right, and with life-giving incantations, humankind was born.

(Photo Credit: gatewaystobabylon.com)

An and Ki gave birth to the Trickster god, Enki, God of Water and Wisdom. In early traditions, it is said that She is also grandmother to Inanna, a daughter of An and Ki.

With the onset of sky gods, and the very beginnings of patriarchy, Nammu was demoted and Her power stripped away like so many other Goddesses. Most of Her power and credit for Her Creations were then given to Enki.

Nammu corresponds to the Babylonian Tiamat, who also lost Her power and position to Marduk, a sky god, when Babylon took over Sumeria. Allegedly, Marduk created the heavens and earth by murdering Tiamat.

(Photo Credit: Pinterest)

***

The Goddess: Sheela-Na-Gig

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

 February 1, 2018

Sheela-Na-Gig

(Photo Credit: knowth.com)

What better representation of the Goddess for February than Sheel-Na-Gig?

All over Europe, primarily Ireland and England, adorning castles, churches, sacred sites, you will find carvings in stone of the beautiful Sheela-Na-Gig, a big smile on her face, squatting knees apart, exposing her powerful vulva. It is believed that these carvings were done during the Neolithic and Paleolithic eras. There is still and old energy that lies within these carvings.

While many find Her akin to a gargoyle, or a figure of lust. Many women, though, believe her to be an ancient fertility figure and a representation of the Mother Goddess.

The term “gyg”, in Norse, means giantess or a deified female, aka Goddess. It is thought that these carvings were meant for protection and to ward off evil, which goes a long way toward understanding their appearance on ancient churches.

(Photo Credit: www.beyond-the-pale.org/uk)

The vulva is a holy symbol of birth and life; representing regenerative powers of an Earth Mother/Goddess. The vulva of Sheela-Na-Gig is in the shape of a triangle, another hint that She is a representation of the Goddess. The triangle is a symbol of the three aspects of the Goddess – Maiden, Mother and Crone – the full cycle of a woman’s life (yes, I am not including all of the new additions of Queen, etc.)

It is thought that graves were built in the shape of the Goddess and that Her vagina was the passageway to regeneration and rebirth.

I believe that it is most likely unknown how many of these carvings there are, but this link will give you an idea of those that are in Ireland: http://www.irelands-sheelanagigs.org/

This article researches those in Southern England: http://www.sheelanagig.org/wordpress/category/southern-england/

(Photo Credit: www.atlasobscura.com)

Some of these carvings may be seen as lying on their side or upside-down, which indicates re-use of the stone which originally held the Sheela-Na-Gig carving.

Many of these carvings were taken down and destroyed with the growth of the church, as well as the beginning and rise of patriarchy. It is believed by many that these carvings of Sheela-Na-Gig gave rise to the demonization of women, and of women being portrayed as an ugly hag or crone.

While there are women who find these carvings grotesque and obscene, women who “know”, see Her as an invitation from the Goddess to explore and delve into their own divine feminine. She is the gateway to new adventures, new projects and new paths.

Sheela-Na-Gig is the invitation, the gateway and the re-birth of women who have the courage to really see Her, choose to delve into Her Mysteries and be reborn, knowing of their own Goddess power within and without.

With the fast and rampant rise of patriarchy, women were reduced to nothing but one who serves at home for their spouse, and as sex objects, which is how many see Sheela-Na-Gig. With this reduction of the powerful force of women and the Goddess, women lost their power.

We, as women, need to remove ourselves from the yoke of patriarchy. The time is now for women to rise up and reclaim the power of the Goddess and the power that is held within them; rise up and proclaim “THIS is our power”.

(Photo Credit: www.beyond-the-pale.org/uk

The Goddess: Themis

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

 January 1, 2018

Themis

Statue of Themis at Chuo University

(Photo Credit: Brittanica.com)

The Goddess Themis – We see her everywhere as the personification of blind justice. Her image is used in courtrooms, attorney’s offices, anywhere justice is served.

As one of the Titans, She was the daughter of Gaia and Uranus, and is the representation of the natural and moral order of everything, which was extremely important to the ancient Greeks.

She was the second wife of Zeus, and as the Goddess of Wisdom, sat at his right hand as one of his councilors.

Her name “Themis” means “divine law”, and it was She who instructed mankind in the laws of justice and morality, those being piety, hospitality and governance.

(Photo Credit: souvenirsofgreece.com)

As the Goddess of Divine Law and Order, She is seen carrying the scales and wearing a blindfold. She also would sit in judgment of those recently deceased, and so She is associated with the Egyptian Goddess, Ma’at. (See: http://paganpages.org/content/2016/12/she-who-is-all-the-goddess-of-ten-thousand-names-22/ )

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

You will sometimes see her carrying a cornucopia, due to Her being the Mother of Seasons through Her children, the Horae, who were the Goddesses of the seasonal, never-ending Wheel of the Year and determined the time of the Earth’s waking and blooming. Through Her children, the Horae, Themis is the Goddess of Moral Order. There are two generations of Horae and they are:

The Horae

First Generation

Auxo – Goddess of spring growth

Carpo – Goddess of the fruits of the earth and She represented Autumn a

Thallo – Goddess of spring buds and shots. She represented Summer

Second Generation

Dike – Goddess of fair judgements, based on laws, and moral order. She protected the wise administration of justice

Eirene – Goddess of peace

Eunomia – Goddess of order and law. The Greeks also identified her as a spring goddess of green pastures

(Photo Credit: britannica.com)

She was also Mother to the Moirae, or the Fates, and through them She was the Goddess of Natural Order.

Moirai (Fates)

Atropos – Goddess of inevitable. She was the oldest of three fates

Clotho– Goddess of spinning the thread of lives, the Weaver

Lachesis – Goddess of destiny. She measured the life spun by Clotho

She was also a Goddess of Prophecy and once sat at the Temple of the Oracle at

Delphi, which was a Temple to the Goddess before it was overtaken by the god, Apollo.

Her symbols are the Scales of Justice and the Cornucopia. Her Festival day is

September 23rd.

(Photo Credit: fr.fotolia.com)

***

The Goddess: White Buffalo Woman

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

 December 1, 2017

White Buffalo Woman

(Photo Credit: ancient-origins.net)

The legend of White Buffalo Woman is an old one and centers around the spiritual practices of many Native American tribes of North American. It centers mostly around the Lakota Nations, but She is also central to other Tribes, including the Sioux and the Oglala. It is important to know that the buffalo are sacred, representing abundance and harmony.

White Buffalo Woman, also known as Ptesan-Wi is a strong, powerful woman, bringing to the North American Native Americans some of their most sacred ceremonies.

The myth, as it is told, tells of two warriors sent out from a Lakota camp, looking for food. Appearing before them was a white buffalo, which transformed into a beautiful woman, dressed in white. One of the men found himself overcome with her beauty and wished to possess Her. He ran to her and they were covered with a black cloud. When the cloud dissipated, the remaining man found his fellow warrior was nothing but bones. She turned to the second man, explaining that his friend had bad intent and that she would not hurt him. She told him to go back to the campsite and build a tipi with 24 poles; adding that She would come to them in four days.

In 4 days’ time, She approached the campsite, once again in the form of a white buffalo, whereupon She turned from white to black to yellow and red before appearing again as a beautiful woman. She carried a bundle, along with a fan of sage leaves.

 

(Photo Credit: white-buffalo-calf-woman-sings.blogspot.com)

She walked four times around the central fire, walking the sacred and endless circle. As She did so, She filled the sacred pipe – the chanunpa – saying that the smoke was Tunkashila’s breath, the living breath of Grandfather Mystery. She sang a pipe-filling song to the Sky and to Grandmother Earth and to the four directions.

She showed them how all things were connected and taught them about the Earth, their Mother and about Her Mysteries and urged them to always honor Her. She told them that they were to be the caretakers of the Land and to follow the Earth path and to walk it as a living prayer.

As She taught them how to pray with words and gestures, She also brought to them the teachings of the Seven Sacred Rituals, which are the following ceremonies:

Purification Ceremony/Sweat Lodge

Naming Ceremony

Healing Ceremony

Making of Family (Adoption) Ceremony

Marriage Ceremony

Vision Quest

Sundance Ceremony (the people’s ceremony for all of the Nations)

White Buffalo Woman stayed with them for four days teaching them all that She would.

She left Her sacred bundle and the White Buffalo Woman Pipe in their care.

 

(Photo Credit: Pinterest)

She told them that one day she would return to bring harmony, peace and balance to the world. She prophesied that one day a white buffalo calf would be born and this would be the sign that She would soon be returning.

As She left, She rolled over four times, once again changing from black, red, yellow and finally to white; it was then that a great herd of buffalo surrounded the camp, that was used as food, clothing and bones for their tools. The Lakota honored the Pipe and the buffalo were plentiful.

It was told that next time there is

chaos and disparity,

she would return again.

She said she would return as

a White Buffalo Calf.

Some believe she already has.

Words of Chief Arvol Looking Horse,

19th Generation Keeper of the

Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe

of the Lakota Nation

*******************************

“A white buffalo is the most sacred living thing you could ever encounter.”

John Lame Deer

******************************

A white buffalo was born in Wisconsin in 1994. Some say this was the fulfillment of the prophesy; some not.

With Mother Earth in danger and climate change getting worse on a daily basis, when Tribal lands are ravaged to put in pipelines, when administrations dismiss scientific claims, maybe this is the time for White Buffalo Woman to return and bring balance, peace and harmony to the world, and to help save Mother Earth beneath our feet.

***********************************

“Now, more than any time in history, we need the sacred feminine to balance our lives and to balance our world. We must be spiritual warriorsculling the profound and important aspects of the power of feminine wisdom and directing them toward peace within, as without, and utilizing the energies of the goddess and all mythical women and spiritual heroines to help direct the course of history.

Laurie Sue Brockway

“A Goddess is a Girl’s Best Friend”

(Photo Credit: Youtube.com)

***

The Goddess: Hestia & Vesta

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

 November 1, 2017

Hestia & Vesta, the Goddesses of Hearth & Home

 

As we enter into that time of the year when folks gather together with family and friends, what better time to honor Hestia and Vesta, the Goddesses of Hearth and Home, in Greece and Rome respectively.

 

 

(Photo credit: goddessgift.net)

Hestia is the Greek Goddess of Hearth and Home. She took no human form, but was only seen in the fire of the Hearth.

Homes were built from the center outward; this center always being the hearth, in which Hestia was always welcome. She was honored each morning and evening with an offering from each family, at their respective hearths, Hestia’s sacred place. Hestia was the embodiment of family unity.

If each hearth was the center of the home, then the hearth’s flame becomes Hestia’s altar. Every woman who was in charge of her own household, therefore, becomes a Priestess of Hestia.

There was also a public hearth, where Hestia was also honored and worshiped. This was the eternal flame, the “prytaneion”, which was never-ending and where the first fruits, wines and oils were sacrificed to Her. This public fire represented the energy of all life.

 

(Photo Credit: greekgodsandgoddesses.net)

Her name means “the essence”, as in the truth of all things. She was one of the most revered Greek Goddesses. She was gentle and kind, loving and forgiving, peaceful and dignified.

She was both the first, and last, child of Chronos and Rhea (Titans). She was the firstborn, and was promptly swallowed by her father, who had a prophecy that one of his children would be stronger than he. He did this with each subsequent child. After Zeus was born, Rhea tricked Chronos into swallowing a rock wrapped in a blanket. He promptly became sick and vomited up each child. Hestia being the first child born and swallowed, became the last child to be brought back up. Hence, the name of “Hestia, First and Last”.

Hestia was courted by both Apollo and Poseidon, but She swore to never be married, to always be true to Herself and make Her own choices, a true Sovereign Goddess.

Her temples were located at Olympia and at Delphi. It is said that the source of Her sacred fire was the lava at the center of the Earth, which connected the Oomphalos to Delphi, which was a city of great energy and wisdom. Her festival day was held on June 8th.

 

 

(Photo Credit: commons.wikipedia.org)

Of Vesta, it was said, that She was fire and that fire was She. Worship of Vesta dates back to the 7th century BCE.

She, also, did not take human form, although She was later seen as a veiled figure on Roman coins.

Vesta was also honored each day at Her sacred place, the hearth of each home.

(Photo Credit: alamy.com)

In public, She was worshipped at the only round Roman temple, which was at the Forum Romanum. It also had it’s eternal flame. This flame, and the temple were tended by the Sisterhood of the Vestal Virgins. Once a year, on March 1st, this flame was put out by the Vestals and re-lit.

Vesta’s other sacred day was on June 9th, the festival of Vestalia. Food baked on all hearths, was offered to Her, as well as the sacrifice of salted cakes baked on Her sacred flame by the Vestals. Offerings would take place for 8 days, whereupon the temple would be closed, cleaned and re-opened.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo Credit: alamy.com)

 

It was considered bad luck and an ill omen for either of these sacred flames to go out.

Vesta and Hestia also shared common symbols, fire and a circle, the circle representing that they were complete Goddesses, in and of themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the following is for Hestia, from The Goddess Oracle by Amy Sophia Marashinsky, it is also true for Vesta.

I am what’s at the core

the indescribable

the elusive

the living presence

that inhabits and transforms

a building

a dwelling

an edifice

taking it from the realm of

marble

stone

or wood

and with its hearth fire lit

making it a home.

May the Goddesses of Hearth and Home, Hestia and Vesta, bless you and yours during the upcoming holiday season.

 

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