Sunday, December 16, 2007

Today In Arcane Deities

Today’s arcane deity is…HESTIA! (I spent 6 hours baking cookies today, that’s why)

Hestia is the Greek goddess of the hearth, the home, and domesticity. She was also supposedly a virgin (because how’s a lady supposed to keep the gee dee house clean if she gotta look after some kids?). Hestia and ten of her eleven brothers and sisters had the confusing and nasty experience of being eaten, and then later vomited up, by their father Cronus. She was Cronus’ first child, but the last to be upchucked. So she holds the odd distinction of being considered both the youngest and the oldest of Cronus’ twelve kids. (Zeus, the head honcho god, is Hestia’s brother. He was born last, but never eaten. In fact Zeus was the one who tricked Cronus into throwing the eleven other siblings up. See? Christmas with your family won’t be that awkward. )

So, Hestia’s virginity. Apparently, not one but two of her brothers were interested in, ahem, getting to know her better (Poseidon and Apollo). Hestia was not down, however. She appealed to Zeus, and he said she didn’t have to marry any of her brothers if she didn’t want to – she could tend to Zeus’ hearth instead. (that’s not a euphemism for having secret sex.) It actually turned out to be a pretty good deal – as goddess of the hearth, she had a place of honor in every other deity’s temple with an altar hearth or flame. She also had a place of honor in every public building with a fire burning as well. Obviously she had a special place in every home too. So that meant she didn’t have a lot of temples dedicated solely to her. She didn’t seem to mind, though. When she's brought up at all in myths, she's generally described as refreshingly level-headed and modest, pretty uncommon for Greek gods.

1 comment:

Alex said...

I am mystified (but also edified) by your arcane deities series. Where is this byzantine knowledge coming from? Are you like the rainman of classical pantheism?

Strange to say, but I actually knew all about Mithras. He figures heavily in Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy (I am a nerd)

Sometimes I feel compelled to engage the local christians and proselytize on behalf of Thor.

"No, he does not turn the other cheek. He will smoke your ass with lightning and then get stinking drunk. Oh and he also smells like herring."