Tag Archives: Vesta

The Olympians: Hera & Her Sisters

Hera (Juno)

Mount Olympus

When Zeus overthrew his father Cronos, he rescued his brothers Poseidon and Hades and sisters Hera, Ceres, and Hestia. Together, they cast Cronos into Tartarus. Then, they all ruled the world from Mount Olympus.

With her marriage to Zeus, Hera (Juno) became queen of the gods. She was also the goddess of the sky and heavens, women, marriage and family. Her symbols included the peacock, pomegranate, crown, cuckoo, lion and cow.  She was usually depicted as a beautiful woman wearing a crown and holding a royal, lotus-tipped staff. She was accompanied by a royal lion, cuckoo or hawk. She was known for seeking revenge against her unfaithful husband Zeus’ girlfriends and their families. 

Hestia (Vesta)

Hestia (Roman Vesta) was the goddess of the hearth, architecture, and of the right ordering of domesticity and the family. She received the first offering at every sacrifice in the household.  She presided over the cooking of bread and the preparation of the family meal. Hestia was also the goddess of the sacrificial flame and received a share of every sacrifice to the gods. She never married, despite being pursued by Apollo and Poseidon.  Instead, Zeus allowed her to reside at his royal hearth. Hestia was depicted as a modestly veiled woman sometimes holding a flowered branch. A kettle was her attribute.  The community hearth of a city served as her official sanctuary. With the establishment of a new colony, flame from Hestia’s public hearth in the mother city would be carried to the new settlement.

Demeter (Ceres)

Demeter (Ceres) was the goddess of fertility, agriculture, nature, and the seasons. Her symbols included the poppy, wheat, torch, and pig. Demeter was depicted as a mature woman, often crowned and holding sheaves of wheat and a torch.  As an Earth Mother figure, she was honored for providing food for the people of Earth. 

When Hades kidnapped her daughter Demeter and carried her to his realm as his queen, she wandered the earth searching for her daughter and mourning her loss.  Seeing the destruction she was causing, Zeus decreed that Persephone return to her mother IF she had not eaten anything while in the Underworld.  Since she had consumed six of the twelve seeds of a pomegranate, she had to remain with Hades for six months of the year.  Demeter mourned her loss, which is how winter came to the earth.

Tomorrow, The Olympians, Gen #2      Rita Bay

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