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Hestia – Personification of the Sacred Fire Archetype

Hestia – Personification of the Sacred Fire Archetype

Another association between Hestia and Hermes refers to the sacralization of the space. In ancient Greece, on the outside of all households as a protection against any invading evil, existed a "Herma", a pillar representing Hermes. Thus, Hermes and Hestia were associated with the protection of a sacred space, while Hermes protected the exterior and the interior space was guarded by Hestia. The pillar and the ring in a circle represent the male and female principles, respectively.

The great paradox was that as many honors as she carried, she was the least known deity of the Olympian gods and was never actually represented in human form, but as a flame in the center of the home, temple, or a city. She had as her symbol a circle, since her original fireplaces were round, as well as their temples. While other deities had mobility all around the planes of existence, Hestia remained motionless on Olympus. This immobility caused her not to be represented performing any role in myth, remaining more as the personification of an abstract principle, the idea of the fire, rather than as a personal deity.

About this peculiarity of Hestia, being the first Olympian paradoxically and simultaneously the most obscure, her image and her place were identical. There were no pictures in her temple, only the sacred fire upon the earth. Hestia representing the interior space is associated with feminine values, the importance of the inner sanctuary, the internalization to finding meaning and peace. The sanctuary of the family without a source of heat is either diminished or is lost. The feeling of a basic connection with others disappears, but also the need of the citizens of a city, country or earthbound by a common spiritual bond.

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