Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Five Contemporary Ways to Honour Vesta the Goddess of the Hearth

I was wanting to write a monthly blog post featuring the goddess or god I am working with for the lunar month. I didn`t want to rehash the mythology, as it`s pretty readily available, and there's lots of resources that can tell you it much better than I could. I also have no interest in reconstructionism, and trying to replicate the past. I personally believe the gods move with the times too, and don`t demand we do things the way we did then two thousand years ago.

Vesta Goddess of the Hearth

For the lunar month that started on January 27th, I am working with Vesta (also called Hestia) the Roman goddess of the home and hearth. This was a perfect choice as this month I am focusing on the home. She was in charge of protecting the family, the home, and the city of Rome as well. Below are five ways that a modern day person can honour this goddess.

1. Examine Housekeeping Roles
Back in Roman times, and until fairly recently, taking care of the home and family was seen as the domain of women. These days with most women in the Western world working outside the home, it is unrealistic to expect women to be the sole caretakers in this area. Sadly women still take on most of the burden, though luckily this has been changing over time. How much of the housework do you do? Can you ask for help form a partner? Can the kids do more to pick up after themselves? If you're like me you probably work one or two jobs, and can't possibly devote the rest of your time to something as mundane as housekeeping.

2. Clean and Declutter
Okay, so you don't want to spend all your time housecleaning, but take the time you can spend on it, and devote it to the goddess. Make yourself a schedule, or spend time decluttering. An inspiring book I read recently is Spark Joy by Marie Kondo who also wrote the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. When you get rid of the non essential, you open up your space and engage with your home as a sacred space.

3. Decorate 
Decluttering isn't so much about throwing things out, but about keeping what you love. Make your home into a shrine. Show off artwork and objects you love. Do you have comfortable furntiure? Is your place an inviting space? Your place should reflect you and your family's taste, and not be a carbon copy of everyone else's.

4. Light a Candle in Her Honour
Vesta is a goddess of the hearth, and a flame was kept burning in her honour at her temple in Rome. While most of us don't have hearths anymore, and its is unsafe to keep a candle burning at all hours of the day, we can light a candle for her. Oranges and reds are a good choice, as these are her favourite colours. If you do have a fireplace, lighting a fire during the cold winter months, is a cozy way to honour this loving and protective goddess.

5. Get Involved in Local Politics
This may surprise you, as Vesta is the Goddess of the hearth. But she was also the protectress of Rome. She challenges us to think of ways to get involved in local politics so we can make our wider community a better home for everyone. Vote, call your local politicians about issues you care about, stay informed, volunteer, and show up for protests if you can. We may not have a temple with priestesses tending a flame in it, but we can keep the flame in our hearts, and stay active and involved in our local areas.

In what ways do you honour the goddess of the hearth?

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