(This is part two of my personal journey with Hestia–if you missed part one, click here to read that first! Apologies that I’m a bit late in posting, I had a bad flareup and couldn’t do much of anything for a few days.)
As I mentioned in part one, there isn’t a solid blueprint for how to work with Hestia. Many of her more storied contemporaries have resources aplenty to guide a new worshiper in their fledgling practice. Some have whole books dedicated to them! But Hestia only has a handful of myths to go by. She was the firstborn of Kronos and Rhea, the first that Kronos swallowed in his bid to keep the throne from his children, and the last to emerge from Kronos’s stomach. She took a vow of virginity, for which Zeus honored her by promising her the first share of any divine offerings they were given by humans. And then there was a story that I’m not going to go into details about because it’s too trigger warning-y. But just know that a donkey brayed and alerted Hestia to some MAJOR DANGER, for which she gave donkeys special consideration and treatment henceforth.
Maybe that seems like a lot for one paragraph, but consider the dozens and dozens of stories we have about Zeus or Aphrodite. Hestia is woefully underrepresented. On the one hand, that means there’s a lot more space for a new worshiper to experiment and develop a practice that perfectly fits them. On the other hand…WOW that’s not a lot to go on, huh?
CANDLE MAGIC, BUT NOT
My first thought with Hestia was that she’s a perfect candidate for candle magic. She’s the goddess of the hearth, after all–anything to do with household fire, from candles to fireplaces, seems on brand for her. We don’t currently have a fireplace, so that’s off the table. And even if we did, my spouse is very sensitive to fragrances and scents of any kind. Even the smoke from a fragrance-free candle sometimes bothers them. I do still use candles on our balcony occasionally, but in terms of having a candle burning indoors for more than a few minutes, I knew I’d need to adjust my expectations.
The solution came in the form of battery-operated candles. You can get models that flicker convincingly, so it’s most of the ambience of a candle with none of the smoke or scents. Is it as perfectly cozy as the flame of a candle? No. And it also doesn’t work for spells that ask you to drip wax onto anything. But it’s a good alternative if flame or fragrance aren’t doable for you. And as a bonus, you can leave a battery candle unattended and not worry about setting your altar on fire!
Speaking of altars, I have two of them, and both feature nods to Hestia. (I’ve tried to include links to where I got the bits and bobs I mention. I’m not getting paid for any of these shoutouts–I just want to make sure I credit the etsy artists!) On my main altar by my desk, I have a Story Goddess for Hestia (the brown statue to the left of the candle). I have a big carnelian stone on the far right, which does double duty as a Hestia connection and something one of my ancestors has selected as his icon. I also have one of my tapestry needles in my altar cloth. Cross stitch/embroidery has become a small form of Hestia worship for me, so I wanted a reminder of that on my altar. And finally, you’ll see one of those battery candles I mentioned right in the center. That candle stays on at all times in honor of the hearth fire that Hestia kept burning. (I usually change the battery out about every 6-7 days.)
My smaller altar is on my bedside table. Here I have a tile with Hestia’s Greek symbol, and a teeny tiny teapot that sits on top of it (except when I’m traveling–that tiny teapot comes with me as part of my portable altar). Next to that is a Hestia statue. And I have a small piece of artwork depicting Hestia hanging behind. There’s also another battery candle, which has a more specific purpose for my nighttime routine (see below.)
There’s several ways that I incorporate small moments of Hestia worship into my day. The first is particularly simple. When I get out of bed, I consciously wish Hestia good morning. I suppose you could call it a prayer of sorts, but it’s more like a greeting between family members or housemates. I really don’t know when or how this started for me–it just intuitively felt right.
I tend to drink a lot of warm drinks. Mostly tea, with the occasional coffee or hot chocolate thrown in. Tea especially feels like a Hestia beverage. It’s like a magic brew in a cauldron, right? So as an offering, I give her the first spoonful of any warm drink I make. When I have the energy, I do this on the balcony so it feels a little more like giving the offering to the earth. Eventually I want to get a tea pet because that is absolutely Hestia’s vibe. (If you don’t know what a tea pet is, look it up and enjoy. You’re welcome. They’re perfect and I need one.)
Another suggestion I found online was to make offerings of service to Hestia, particularly services related to house and home. So anytime I do housework like tidying up, reorganizing a closet, etc. I take a moment to dedicate the work to her. Even if it’s only five minutes of putting books back in their proper place on a bookshelf, it’s effort expended in her name.
At night, I have two decks that I use exclusively for communicating with Hestia. One is the Herbcrafter’s Tarot, and the other is the Hedgewitch Botanical Oracle. Because so much of my work with Hestia centers around tea and herbs, both of these decks feel right up her alley. I pull a card from each of these decks, and I put them in a display so that they’ll be out on my nightstand until the following evening. I do my best to note these cards down in my journal, though I’m more inconsistent with that than I’d like to be. And finally, I turn on my battery candle and leave it on the nightstand while I sleep. It gives me the image of Hestia watching over me and keeping me warm and comfortable at night.
Sometimes this evening routine is changed up when I’m having a bad flareup. Any extra effort feels like Too Much when I’m in a lot of pain, and my impulse is usually to just faceplant in bed without observing any additional steps. When this is the case, I make a deal with Hestia. I skip the cards and journaling, and my worship that night is just making sure to brush my teeth before collapsing. My experience so far is that Hestia is incredibly accommodating and lovely. She wants me to take care of myself first and foremost. So if flareups tempt me to skip all my evening routines, hygiene and spirit alike, Hestia pushes me to still do the hygiene part even at the expense of the spiritual part. The practical self-care becomes a form of worship.
There are other ways that I incorporate Hestia into my spellwork and rituals, of course, but this has been a basic overview of the daily observations I make in her honor. I’m still very new at the deity work thing, so I’m sure this will continue to evolve as I practice, learn, and grow. I’d love for you to follow me on instagram to see more of the day-to-day ways that I practice tiny witchcraft, both in terms of my Hestia worship and more!