Posts Tagged ‘devotional hymn’
StarFire Alchemy hosted a devotional evening for Hestia, the Greek Goddess of the Hearth, in February and we would like to share this with you. Devotional work can be done with gods, ancestors, elementals, healing guides - if you work with them, then you can spend time with them, developing your relationship and deepening your connection.
The devotional ritual below is a blend of modern day devotional practice and what we we believe the ancient Greeks would have done to honour their household and city gods and guardian spirits. Please do feel free to use the devotional structure and song, let us know if you do, we would love to hear from you!
Hestia is a beautiful Goddess to work with; gentle and powerful, she is both the comfort and strength of home. She is often referred to as ‘First and Last’ because she was the first born of the Olympians but Kronos swallowed each of his children until his last son Zeus defeated him and freed his older brothers and sisters (Hestia emerging last). Her fire is not just the roaring hearth fire we think of today in old country houses, it is also the fire in the kitchen – the centre of the home where food and heat are produced. To honour Hestia regularly you might like to keep a candle or oil lamp in your kitchen, giving thanks to her for the comfort and happiness of home when lighting the flame; appropriate words to use are ‘Khaire Hestia’ (‘Kar-ay Hestia’ – Welcome Hestia) or ‘Hail Hestia, First and Last’. Unless you have an enormous kitchen, however, you will probably want to locate more elaborate devotional work in your regular temple space, by your fireplace if you have one, or in a place which seems to you to best represent the centre of the home.
We began the devotional outside the temple space, washing our hands and changing into our robes. We entered the temple space in darkness and the priestess lit the first candle ‘Khaire Hestia, First and Last’. She then faced east and rang the bell once ‘Hekas o hekas este bibeloi’ (Begone all unholiness) – she then repeated this in the south, west and north. The altar was placed before the hearth, decorated with flowers, flames, and a statue of Zeus who holds Hestia in high esteem. The priestess held a bowl of water over Hestia’s flame ‘Kherniptomai’ (‘ker-nip-toe-my’ – Be purified), she then sprinkled water around the temple space and each participant washed their hands within the bowl; the bowl was then placed outside the temple space, carrying all impurities away. Barley was scattered over the altar to bless and purify it and the first offerings of incense were made to Hestia.
Hestia, First and Last, be with us gracious goddess of the hearth. Golden lady of flame, fill our sacred space and share with us your wisdom and your blessings. Beloved sister of Zeus, keeper of the flame, you who dwell always at the centre, we ask you to be present to hear our words and bless us.
Each participant then knelt before the altar in turn, speaking privately to the Goddess and placing their offerings in the offering bowl (we chose to make offering of money which will be given to the charity Shelter). The priestess then spoke the following words from the Homeric hymn to Hestia:
Hestia, you are the one who takes care of the holy house of sacred Pytho, the house of the archer Lord Apollo, soft oil, flowing forever from your hair. Come into this house, come, having one heart with Zeus, and be gracious to my song too, (Trans Jules Cashford 2003)
The group then sang the devotional hymn to Hestia (see our You tube video above:):
(CHORUS) Hestia we tend your flame,
First and Last we sing your name.
Sacred hearth fire, endless light
Shine upon us Goddess bright
Keeper of Olympus’ flame
Trusted guardian, you remain.
Ancient Goddess, founding light
of our hearth fire, burning bright.
We sang the song until it gradually faded and each participant sat in silence, communing with Hestia.
We then asked Hestia to bless food and wine, reserving a share of each for her. To end our devotional we gave thanks to Hestia and the bell was rung at each of the four cardinal points once more.