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Olympian Goddess Hestia. Upgrades and Constants

Patron goddess of the home. Sacred flame lit and warmed the heart of our distant parents' communities, long ago. Goddess with a question. The choice is yours.
Title text Hestia

Summary of Contents: Hestia in Mythology | Arrival and Appearance | Fire, Gods and Painlessness | Goddess of the Sacred Flame | Can You Say 'No' to Tests? | Path of the Unknown?

Festival Day - 15 October

Olympian Goddess Hestia Mythological references

Goddess Hestia's high position as first of the Olympians, so Greek legend claimed, was earned because of a solemn vow of celibacy she made to Zeus.

Among the peoples of ancient Rome she was honoured as Vesta, patron goddess of the family home. Symbolised by a sacred flame from which every household's hearth-fire was lit.

“Vestalia”, the great holiday festivities of Rome were among the most beautiful and popular of all occasions when Virgin Vesta’s statue was carried through the streets in grand procession.

Until the year AD 380 when Vesta’s celebration was reassigned to a new human Virgin.

Olympian Goddess Hestia Mythological references

Goddesses, Gods and You

What kind of Heaven do you expect. Soft fluffy paradise of eternity, or oblivion of nothingness? Out-of-body survival expert Margo Williams discovered a surprisingly simple system of management and afterlife recycling.

There are many goddesses and gods in the community. Speaking their name aloud evidently sends a signal; creates a link to wherever they are at any given moment. If it works for you as it worked for Margo, and they respond, be respectful but be yourself. Honesty and thoughtfulness are appreciated.

Sacrifice nothing but your time. Most of them seemed approachable and appreciated being remembered.

The ancient temples that still can be found in some places, although mostly broken, are huge monumental structures; impressive sacred spaces, their scale designed to impress, to be worthy of divine visitation.

However, it is not the size and splendour of any sacred space but the sincerity of the person seeking contact.

Margo Williams in Africa
Margo Williams in Africa
"Does a goddess update as technology changes?" Nick Hammond asked out-of-body survivalist Margo Williams.

Goddess Hestia's Arrival and Appearance

"You mean the goddess of the hearth, in an age when most homes in the community have radiators not fireplaces?

Hestia arrived during an autumn evening. The air changed from cool to noticeably warm as if someone turned up the heating; not too much to make it hot but just pleasant and comforting in the evening chill.

A swirling mist of gold speckled mauve light formed. Graceful it moved, swirling, coalescing indistinctly into a female figure; then swirling mist again.

Sounds of music faintly carried, as if a full orchestra played a symphony some distance away though no tune I recognised.

"My name was mentioned. I am called, so I come. This makes me happy." Her voice a forceful whisper but sounded clear over the music. " You hear the music?" She paused, silent a moment as if listening too.

"I hope you find my presence soothing," she whispered. "Yet I do demand a show of courage. It will not take long. Come."

Test of Fire

I arrived in a large windowless stone chamber lit by a single row of flaming rush torches fixed rising from the stone floor; old-fashioned medieval-type fire lights, seven in a row.

Against the wall stood a marble table on which were a collection of small carved stone statues.

A dark-robed, hooded figure walked toward me, graceful as an empress. Hood pushed back slightly revealing ringlets of dark red-brown hair, striking green eyes; ageless in appearance. She gestured to the torches.

"Five of these flames are genuine; should you touch them they will burn you, badly." She led me along the line. "The other two are not real fire and will do you no harm. Choose which two are these by placing your hand over them."

The torches looked identical, all stood waist-height. I had no idea, so hesitated.

Sudden and with surprising force, she seized hold of my right hand and thrust it out toward the torches; too strong to resist. I stumbled forward, assessing each flame, drawing close to feel the heat each emitted.

"Choose," she said, impatiently.

I put my hand in the fire of the middle torch. Strange, it felt cold.

"One more from the remaining six," she reminded.

The first was a lucky guess. To choose correctly a second time was risky. I knew I must fail. Again I hesitated, stepped back.

She siezed harsh hold, pulled me forward. But this time I noticed a tiny silver light shining in the middle of the fifth torch, something I hadn’t seen. I placed my hand over its flame. Again cold.

"Well chosen. Can you pass a second test?"

I doubted. Half the first was pure luck.

Most Important God

Hestia gestured to the table and its collection of carved stone statues. Each four inches or so in height. Three similar-sized golden thrones stood random placed nearby, one slightly raised on a dais.

All carved with skill; instantly I recognised their faces.

"All you have to do is tell me your favourite," she said.

One statue depicted Poseidon, another Zeus. The seven others were Hades, Hestia, Hera, Demeter, Aphrodite and Selene. A fine statue likeness of Cronus completed the collection.

To the side stood a plain earthenware goblet.

I looked carefully at the statues and considered her question. Gave an answer.

Hestia's shoulders twitched. I sensed my response stirred anger. At that moment I feared the test.

She laughed out loud. "I see you have wisdom."

"Do not include the Creator or the Devourer, or the Lord of the Underworld, choose the most important of the gods and goddesses, and place them on the thrones. The most important on the top."

I stared at the choices. More figures appeared.


They always rushed me. I gave my answer.

Her expression was unreadable. "Whom do you think is the most important god or goddess of all? And I also want the name of whom you consider the most important monster, as you call them."

"They all have their work to do. Think carefully,’ she gestured like an empress of the universe.

"Do you consider Zeus more important than Athena? Or am I more important than Cronus? Or is Larnatas more important than Diana. And what of the monsters? Is Ceto superior to Circe? This answer has to be correct."

I gave my answer.

Hestia's Bitter Cocktail Mix

"A wise choice, and tactful," Hestia added. "Good." She picked up the earthenware goblet and offered it to me. "Drink this."

The liquid smelled bad. I hesitated, but took a small sip. Tasted of vomit. I put it down on the table.

"Drink it all." Hestia picked up the goblet. "You will never again feel any pain from a god, goddess or monster." She brought the goblet to my lips; not at all gentle. Tried to tip the liquid down my throat.

I resisted, spat out every drop. It was vile stuff. I continued to fight her off until she stepped away and placed goblet back on the table.

"Wise," she said, not a hair out of place from that struggle. "Had you drank it, you would have failed."

No pain. Of course that always would be my choice. Not every God is friendly. Some are monstrous and not gentle, even though they claimed to be.

Anything that blunted their intention would probably result in that God trying harder to make their point.

So I didn’t drink the painkiller and returned to my world.

Goddess of the Sacred Flame

Long ago, a flame was consecrated in honour of Vesta the Virgin. Her sacred flame was believed to be symbolic of the flame of life she kept alight in every human heart. The sacred flame in Rome city was tended by the Vestal Virgins.

Priestesses in Vesta’s temples were famous for their own disciplined vow. In ancient Rome, a girl chosen at the age of between six and ten from a patrician family, was required to renounce all physical love for the next thirty years.

Once that choice was made by her parents or guardians, and the training entered into, punishment awaited any Vestal Virgin who broke her vow of chastity. Her lover too risked serious danger.

Since initiation as a priestess remained a secret, I can only assume senior Vestals passed on to their initiates their belief that Vesta, or Hestia, actually appreciated that sacrifice.

I don’t know if she did, or would have. She didn’t expect that of me so far as anything was said, though for me by then it was much too late.

Not once did she ever make reference to such a vow or choice.

Or make any comment as to whom she is related.

Can You Say 'No' to Tests?

In Hestia’s tests I learned to be aware, to look for clues and trust my instincts even when the logic of reasoning seemed unusual and strange. I don’t know whether purity of body would have provided any advantage.

Perhaps those priestesses of the past did believe it so. I cannot claim purity, I haven’t been chaste throughout my life, but nor did I feel, at any time, Hestia considered me less worthy because of that.

It was possible, so I assumed, to say “No” to taking her tests but guessed that would be the end of things, so far as interaction.

Her final test took place on a high mountain top. Bright sunlight shone clear on the snow-covered peak. No hooded robe, this time instead she wore a pale lilac-coloured gown and something that looked like a half-coronet around her head.

It wasn't cold. As always she radiated warming light. She held something in her hand but I couldn’t see what it was.

Air tasted pure. I took deep breaths. Felt vibrant, so alive. I skipped around in the snow. My behaviour made Hestia laugh.

"It is important to be happy," she said.

So I skipped and danced and giggled and pranced in the snow, and saw what she held in her hand; it was a parchment scroll.

"Which path will you take down from here?" She pointed a direction with the scroll. "The path of perfect peace?"

As if on cue, sounds of soft music drifted up from a track that led down from the mountain top. It looked steep but nothing dangerous and the views were spectacular: mountains, lush forest, lakes and the blue ocean beyond.

A good option I thought, wondering where the orchestra was.

Path of the Unknown?

"Or this." She pointed in the opposite direction, to a winding track that dipped down into a hidden ledge. "Path of the unexpected. Some money, some losses, some love and much hate," she added.

"But sometimes peace. Try it." Hestia unrolled the scroll, opened it fully for me to see.

It was a diagram. Lines of colour criss-crossed, intertwined up and down and sideways. Looked like a big city’s subway map but no writing. I had seen a bigger version of it on a wall in Nemesis’ cavern office.

"Or this path.’ A line lit up as she finger-traced. "Hostility, fighting all the way."

Not that one,’ I thought, not knowing which to choose.

"I know you would not take the path of lies. You probably would take the path of truth." She looked hard at me over the parchment, in interested assessment. "But what of the unknown? Would you take that?"

She returned to reading the scroll. "I think most mortals would choose truth. But the unknown could be paved with gold. There could be great riches as well as sorrow. But think of the gold," she whispered so sweetly it was all I wanted, ever.

"Here is a path." Hestia illuminated three lines from a hub. "Having the gift of hearing and sometimes seeing us. Working for us and yet the knowledge that at any time we will test you?"

I answered.

She closed the scroll. It vanished in her hand. "The choice I hoped you would make. To have faith is a great gift."

Vesta’s temple still stands in Rome in Italy, neglected rather than damaged. So, perhaps respect remains for her gift, somewhere deep and hidden in the eternal city.

Thank you for your company on this short introduction to goddess Hestia. If you would like to know more about Margo Williams' experiences and suggestions for how to survive in the hereafter, read this book. Now available from Amazon.

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Temple of Hestia, Rome.