” …hearthkeeping is a means through which a woman puts her self and her house in order.” – Jean Shinoda Bolen, Goddesses in Every Woman
When I wrote two weeks ago about going into the flames, I was fully committed to following the fire wherever it led me.
I should have known better.
Just before I began my research into the connection between women and fire, three different things happened. The first thing was a conversation between my husband and I as I stood in the kitchen, barely containing my rage. Why was I so angry? Because I was cooking.
I hate cooking. I hate doing the dishes. I even hate helping someone else in the kitchen. I have written about this before, but believe me when I say that this is real. When I have to do anything in the kitchen I seethe with resentment. I have been known to burst into frustrated tears over getting breakfast on the plate. Me in the kitchen is not a pretty thing.
So there I was, standing in the kitchen, up to my eyes in gluten free béchamel sauce and stuck-together gluten free lasagne noodles, on the verge of hysterical tears, and my long-suffering husband says, “You know you are going to have to deal with this at some point right?”
The second thing happened the next morning when I got on the scale and found that even after almost 2 months doing the exercise program Insanity, I hadn’t lost a pound. Not one. (And yes, I realize that lasagne wasn’t the best choice on a diet – but still!)
The third thing happened only a few hours later. I opened the first book in my research pile and met Hestia.
Hestia: the first-born Olympian. Goddess of the hearth. Hestia was rarely personified. Her symbol and her presence was the hearth fire. Hestia is domesticity, home-keeping and hearth-tending. In her book, Goddesses in Every Woman, Jean Shinoda Bolen says, “In order for a house to become a home, Hestia’s presence was required.”
I am about as far removed from Hestia as it is possible to be. If I was to choose an archetype to symbolise me, she would not be the obvious choice. But as I sat there, following my heart to the fire, I knew that I had to start somewhere I hadn’t expected. I knew I had to start with me.
If I want to lose weight, I have to take responsibility for my own nourishment. If I want to find a home, I have to create one. If I want to build a fire, I have to light the match.
Before I can gather women around a fire, I have to take responsibility for my own hearth.
Welcome, Hestia. I’m ready.