(Roman name; known in Greek as Hestia) Hestia is the gentle, virgin goddess of the hearth-fire (both private & municipal), the home and family. She voluntarily relinquished her position as one of the twelve Olympians in place of Dionysos. As recompense she was made goddess of the sacrificial flame and granted a portion of all sacrifices to the gods. She is clearly a symbol of the the, the root fire of all that exists. She was highly honored in every household from early times to the beginning of Christianity, when her worship was outlawed. Her public cult maintained a sacred building in which her priestesses, the vestal virgins, tended the communal hearth and fire, which was never allowed to die out.
"To Hestia, fumigation from Aromatics. Daughter of Kronos, 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.” –Orphic Hymn 84 to Hestia
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