“Of Hestia and the Hearth”
3 February 2018, in College Park, Maryland
Of first-born Hestia, I begin to sing.
She faithf’ly tends her flames both night and day:
she does not leave her hearthside couch to join her family when they hold their court with Zeus,
yet has from each of them their private ear.
When Zeus and dread Poseidon meet to speak with their chthonic brother on a neutral ground,
they sit about her flame,
And she serves meat and wine and keeps the peace.
Demeter brings her grain and, queenly Hera at their side,
they bake the bread and speak of how to rear the human race in peace between their brothers’ stormy realms.
brings her friend the Kore to the table of her aunt,
before she journeys to her husband’s land and on returning to her mother’s arms.
Her nephew, Hermes, joins her at his journeys’ ends,
To rest beside her fire’s warmth.
He brings her tales he’s heard at other hearths and news he’s brought from ‘cross the wine-dark sea.
And on those moonless nights too dark to hunt,
the twins from Delos meet beside her fire.
They huddle close and share the stories of the beasts they’ve slain and women they have loved.
On other nights, their hands too sore for toil,
the cousins of the forge and loom join her,
to share the myst’ries of their crafts and tell of wonders they have made and plan to make.
Fierce Ares, though unloved by gods and men,
still comes before her fireside to drink warm wine with Dionysus and to boast of exploits both in war and love.
And even Aphrodite, mistress of the arts for which she has no time or care,
Is welcomed with a warmèd cup and consolation for the sorrows of love lost.
So hail to you, great Lady of the flame,
and first-born of the mother of the gods:
The eldest sister of Lord Zeus,
to whom we mortals give the first drink and the last.
Please bless our hearths and all we gather near!
Note: do I concur with the idea of Hermes being her Nephew?
Hermes is the son of Zeus and Maia, Hestia is the Eldest Sibling of Zeus, so yes, that makes Hestia his Aunt.
They are the twins from Delos mentioned in the above prayer.