Story by Brandon L. Parsons (2015)
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Not every god and goddess in the Greek pantheon was going out on completely mind-blowing and dangerous (for the humans involved) adventures. Some had some serious jobs to do that kept them rather busy, and didn't allow for a great deal of tomfoolery and shenanigans. One of those goddesses that took her job very seriously indeed was HESTIA, the calm goddess of the Hearth and Home.

Ancient Greek hearth...
Ancient Greek hearth...

Before anything else, it must be explained exactly what a hearth is. In an age where we can microwave anything within seconds or use an electric oven or propane grill to prepare food quickly and easily, we tend to forget the the ancient Greeks had to prepare food the old-fashioned way; over a fire. Each home, even the palaces, had a central fireplace, called a hearth, located in the middle of the dwelling where meals were prepared, warmth was found on cold nights and family social life happened. That gives you an idea of how important a hearth was to the average Greek, and Hestia was the goddess who kept it going for you (the fires really never went out in your home's hearth! At least they weren't supposed to!).

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Hestia did far more than that, however. She watched over welfare of the family, keeping track of the health and heartiness of each member and comforting all under the roof. A happy home is a healthy and prosperous home, and Hestia's main goal was to provide that as long as you made sure to honor her properly! Being the goddess of the success of home life, watching over children and the elderly, bringing joy and happiness to all who lived in a house, keeping the hearth lit, and preparing the way for good tidings made Hestia the goddess that most women in Greece honored above all others, even over the bigger heavy-hitters of the Olympian pantheon. She received the first sacrifices of the day before any other god could expect to get their own. As a literal "domestic" goddess, she was also responsible for keeping the pantry and food-storage rooms full of good, solid food (well, the family themselves would have to do that, but Hestia's blessing in that area were always a help!) As far as food goes, one can imagine that Hestia could have probably also kicked the wind right out of ANY of those TV chefs with the big egos and loud mouths, any day of the week and anyplace at all. When it came to gourmet cooking, she was good like that!

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Yeah, its true that Hestia doesn't live the exciting lifestyle that many of the Olympians do, and she plays it fairly mellow. She decided on her own that the drama of relationships wasn't for her, and so rejected several different gods who attempt to ask for her hand in marriage, including Apollo and Poseidon. She never had any children and became kind of the anti-Aphrodite; where the goddess of love was all about the relationships, drama and all of the pretty-pretty involved, Hestia stayed plain, simple and never got involved in the never-ending drama of Olympus and humanity. Even in the Pantheon, the throne room atop Mount Olympus, she took a quiet, subdued and relaxed role in things, didn't have an official throne, and instead sat next to the hearth fire of Olympus, tending to it while her more exciting siblings sat on their giant seats of power. And she was totally cool with that position.

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She was the first of Cronus and Rhea's children and the first to be "eaten" by her dad when he went insane-o-paranoid about his children doing away with him. She was also the last out of his belly when Zeus freed his Olympian siblings from their icky-gastrointestinal prison. So far as all of the Olympians are concerned, she was known to be the kindest, calmest, most rational, caring and compassionate of them all. Hestia was so important that when a new colony or town was built somewhere far from Greece, the settlers would take fire from their original home and carry it to the site of their new settlement, never letting it go out. When they arrived, they would start a new city hearth from the fire of the old, honoring Hestia and allowing her to bless their new home.

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