Hestia, for the Greeks, Vesta for the Romans, is a goddess who symbolizes family ties, the hearth Fire and the city. Daughter of Cronos and Reia, is the older sister of Demeter, Hera, Zeus, Poseidon, Hades. She was a chaste goddess. She rejected all love strokes to remain a virgin, swearing virginity before her brother Zeus, and receiving from him the honor of being venerated in every home and of being included in all sacrifices and remaining in peace, in his palace, surrounded by the respect of others. gods and mortals.
It symbolizes stable housing, where people gathered to pray and offer sacrifices to the gods. So she was adored as a protector of cities, families and colonies.
She was represented as a young woman, wearing a long tunic and a veil over her head and shoulders. As the oldest of the brothers, Hestia was the wisest and most honorable and, moreover, completely avoided power. He had an introverted temperament, whose focus was interiority and spirituality. It was more an abstract concept, the concept of fire, the fireplace, than an embodiment like the other gods.
Hestia is a “homely” goddess, who symbolizes home, considered a sacred center. Its meaning refers to centralization, or rather, the search for the Self. Which can be compared to a return home, to the home, to your most intimate intimacy. The ancients used to gather around the hearth fire to tell stories, in the shape of a circle, resembling a mandala. Gathering in a circle, around a center means accessing the collective unconscious. An allegory of the individuation process.
As an archetype, Hestia represents attention to the spiritual center of the personality. Symbolizing the necessary interiorization for the search for oneself. Since the individualization process is a solitary process. It is not possible to individualize in a crowd, as in a bar for example. Therefore, the myth of Hestia shows us, that moments of solitude are essential for our development and self-knowledge.
Although not an adventurous goddess like Artemis and Athena, Hestia shares the title of virgin with these two goddesses. That is, she was not victimized by male deities or mortals. This gives it a character of wholeness, uniqueness and integrity. Another reference to the totality. Being whole in oneself is the goal of individualization.
Another important feature of this goddess is her connection with fire. Fire is the representative of the passions, the strong emotions that burn the skin, the desire, the libido. It burns, reduces to ashes.
Fire is also an element that operates at the center of things, as it is an element centered on itself. In addition, it is constantly evolving, as it cannot “stay put”. In Alchemy, fire was linked to the operation known as Calcinatio. The chemical process of which consists in the intense heating of a solid in order to remove all its water from it. Removing all the water, is nothing more than simply evaporating the emotions that no longer serve. It is a renewal of emotions, since standing water creates slime, attracts insects and therefore loses its purity, contaminating the psyche with the poison of undifferentiated emotion.
But how can an element that symbolizes strong emotions, destructiveness, libido and even sexuality be related to a restrained, virgin and pure goddess?
It seems inconsistent, but it is not. The Calcinatio process comes from the frustration of hungry and instinctive desires. Enduring the frustration of desire leads to interiorization and to the center of yourself. The burning of affections by fire leads to a disidentification with them.
Hestia, therefore, symbolizes the meaning of the personality, providing an interior reference point that allows the individual to remain firm in the midst of confusion, disorder and day-to-day hustle and bustle. With it we come into contact with the light and the inner heat feeling warmed by the spiritual fire of oneself.
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