I’ve been enjoying almost a week off from work, and getting to do some projects that I don’t normally have time for. I’ve also been housebound, which is both a blessing and a challenge.
For the past several years, I have been the one who heads off to work each morning, while my husband works from home and takes care of the house and the children. Now, before you comment about what an amazing man he is (and he totally is), he’s not doing “woman’s work”. He’s participating in a partnership.
This past week, our roles have been reversed. He’s been away working, and I’ve been home, taking care of the house and family. It really is a challenging job.
Last night, as I was up stoking the fire, I found myself praying to Hestia, giving thanks for her warmth and her guidance.
Many years ago, I read a wonderful pair of books by Jean Shinoda Bolen: Goddesses in Every Woman and Gods in Every Man. Both are about the archetypes of the Greek Gods, and how they shape our lives. I remember when I was reading them, trying to figure out which archetype suited me best. Being human, I saw aspects of each of the Goddesses in my life. After reading all of them, I felt that Hestia was the one I related to best.
To the Greeks, Hestia was the first and the last, the oldest Olympian – the first-born child of Rhea and Kronus, which also means that she was the first one swallowed by her father, and the last one regurgitated when Zeus defeated him. She had a place of honor in most every home, because fire is warmth and cooked food. She keeps the home fires burning.
Every day, my husband honors Hestia, the Goddess of the Hearth and Home. He (literally) keeps the fire burning, he makes sure we are fed nutritious food, and gets the boys to their activities. He is extremely supportive.
This week, I found the job challenging.
I tend to get lost in whatever I am working on and forget to eat. Thankfully, the boys would remind me with their refrain of “I’m hungry”. I wasn’t anticipating it, though, and I didn’t have meals planned out ahead of time.
I got up several times a night to add wood to the fire. I’m very proud to say I have kept the fire burning for more than 5 days, though it was dicey a couple of times. I’m not so proud to say that what drove me out of my cozy bed was a fear that if the coals died out completely, I would have to start the fire from nothing, and that’s not something I’m confident about doing.
On the other hand, I haven’t been out of my house since New Year’s Eve. (Mostly because my husband has the vehicle, and we live a ways out of town.) Hestia is a home-body. She enjoys quiet, introspective time, and I have to say that this week has been wonderful for that. I feel most comfortable in my own home and surroundings. I’ve pecked away at the household chores, and cleaned and revitalized our home altars.
The flame that I tend is more of a spiritual flame than a physical one. I like to think I help light the way for others, help them shift their perspectives, and encourage them to shine their own lights brighter. In that way, Hestia is always a part of me.
Over the next few months, I’ll be working more closely with Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. I have been given the opportunity to be her priestess and carry her energy in the upcoming Spring Mysteries Festival. Aphrodite is a bit farther out of my comfort zone, so it will be interesting to see where she takes me over the next few months.
As I move forward with Aphrodite, its good to know that Hestia is still with me, keeping the home fires burning, and patiently supporting me however I need. Thank you, David, for keeping a place of honor in our home for Hestia.