Monthly Archives: July 2003

Goddess of the Hearth: Hestia/Vesta

Hestia, in the high dwellings of all, both deathless gods and men who walk on earth, you have gained an everlasting abode and highest honor: glorious is your portion and your right. [5] For without you mortals hold no banquet, –where one does not duly pour sweet wine in offering to Hestia both first and last. ~ Homeric Hymns (29.1)

Hestia is a truly forgotten goddess. If you search for her on the Internet, for example, you will find many hotels named after her, but very little information about her specific role in the Greek religion. She is rarely shown in art, and has virtually no mythology and iconography. Because there is little known about her tales and myths and only a few images of her have been found, one might assume that Hestia was an unimportant deity. But what little we know about her indicates just the opposite.

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Cyber Altars: Using New Technology In Traditional Ways

I grew up in a house full of altars. My nominally Catholic mother would probably dispute my calling them altars, but every flat surface in the house had a grouping of objects that were special. Candles in unusual holders sat next to the flowering violets and small portraits of family members in the hall. Pottery forms shared space with crystals and shells in the living room. Every once in a while my mother would rearrange the furniture and the altars would be changed, moved, reformed into new combinations. I feel like I learned a key lesson about altars: they have been with us for thousands of years, bringing the sacred into our homes in personal, tangible ways.

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