Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Solstice

I woke this morning and began my morning meditations and Hestia, the Greek Goddess of Hearth and Home, came to me. It has been my intention to begin a year long study of the Divine Feminine, beginning with Stehanie Anderson Ladd's "In the Lap of the Goddess." My question this morning was "what do I need to do to get ready, to prepare for this course of study?"

"Clean up your house" came to me right off. And I knew that the Greek God Hestia was first on my list. I've just scratched the surface here, but my plan is to write, paint, collage... to create an alter maybe, or some sort of iconic shrine. We'll see. But she certainly showed up this morning!

Here's just a small bit about her.... I really identify with the introvert and holding space for prayer....
It struck me too, that her festival is held either on the winter solstice TODAY or on December 31st. She symbolizes the time of winter, of hibernation, of going within. She is guardian to our Wise Woman years. (I feel a painting coming on!)

The Burning Bowl ceremony can be attributed to her. In the ceremony we write down what we want to let go of, what we want to forgive, and then we burn it in the bowl, offering the smoke up to the heavens. 

Hestia was the sacred fire at the center of the round hearth, her presence felt in the flames and the glowing coals, the source of light and warmth. She was guarded by the Vestal Virgins. Hestia is the still point at the center of your Self. You yearn for your inner Hestia whenever you need some time and space for solitude. Hestia’s symbolic fire warms and illuminates your mind and body, and gives you a sense of being at home in yourself. The time when your “inner” Hestia comes out is in the waning Moon, during your Wise woman years.

Hestia is beyond the need or delusion that she needs someone or something outside herself in order to be complete. Hestia is perfectly at peace with herself just the way she is. In the period of time when she was a Goddess in Greece, tending the fire and keeping it alive was a serious responsibility, or even a sacred one, as the survival of the group depended on keeping warm. Hestia was also a presence in all the marble temples, because the hearth invited divinity. If the body is to be a temple, there must be a source of warmth and illumination within.

Prayer to Hestia....
Oh Hestia, keeper of the flame
Thank you for teaching us hospitality
Forgiveness, and redemption
Thank you for lighting the way
Illuminating our Wise Woman years
May we be guided by your sacred attention
To the fires that burn within our hearts.

Guide our hears, our hands
To prepare our home and harth
Beautiful, orderly, and serene
That we may know our Self,
In beauty and love.

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