Reclaiming Hestia: For queerdos and weirdos everywhere who still crave home
I grew up in a pretty unstable home, and for a long time that seemed to have had polar effects on my sister and I. She wanted to become a wife and mother as quickly as possible. Me? I moved 1,500 miles away and just accepted that in this economy you moved every year. I prefer saving for travel to recarpeting my floors. Queerness, I am sure, played a part of this ambivalence about having a steadfast home too. Every happy family on TV was a mom, dad, some kids they'd had since those kids were babies. None of them looked like me, and I knew family sit-com life would not be mine. This is nothing I was bitter about, but it also meant I had no reason to aspire to those things. I didn't have an aversion, per se, to home, it just didn't resonate. I didn't care.
That is, of course, until I did. My queerplatonic partner and I have been us for weeellll over a decade. Somehow in between all of our romantic break ups with respective partners, toxic roommates coming and going (plus some good ones), and all kinds of art happening within our walls we became family. This was a healing and affirming and beautiful realization but suddenly home meant something. Family wasn't some far off thing I would start building once I found the woman or non-binary person of my dreams, it was something I was already building. It was something I had probably always had.
Then just as this became important to me, we were homeless for a summer. Now, we were staying with very good friends and things could have been a lot worse, and for that, and for them, I am eternally grateful. As I was putting together and practicing some pretty intense witchcraft, desperate for a place to call my own though, it felt different than it ever had before. I didn't just want a space big enough to see clients. I wanted a space where my queerplatonic partner and I (and our family that is right now just cats but won't always be) could stretch out and grow. We want romantic partners. We want foster kids. I really want a rabbit. This latter fact is maybe a point of mild contention. I didn't want a space to sleep at night and keep my stuff. I wanted a home. Once I realized that, everything felt different, including the things in my spiritual practice. Suddenly not only was I, former Queen Vagabond, looking for a home, but I was finding my solace in Hestia.
When I first started studying and learning witchery, I was very attracted to the Greek pantheon, probably because it was the only one I really knew. I hadn't looked at it or touched it in years though, with the exception of Hecate who has remained the primary source of my prayers and devotion. Even when I was working with very Greek energy though, Hestia never hit my soul. Probably for the reasons outlined above: home didn't mean a lot for me, so why would a Goddess charged with keeping homes happy and prosperous and home-oriented? Yet when my life was falling apart just as I realized how important my family having a home was, Hestia came to me. Nothing explicit or overwhelming, and sometimes it was a Celtic or Welsh version of her. Yet there she was, with all her hearth-loving glory, listening to my prayers and flickering in my candlelight, promising that she would find us a home, a very queer one, for our very queer family.
My story ends happily, with my queerplatonic partner and I in a very wonderful three bedroom with two bathrooms and plenty of space. Hestia has her own altar here. She not only keeps us organized and grateful, but she ensures that she's keeping this space as weird and queer and artsy as we need it to be. For us this means:
On her altar, I light two candles. One for general blessings and prosperity, and one for weirdness and queerness and magick. That one may or may not have Wednesday Addams on it.
Doing regular love spells to bring us each queer lovers and eventual romantic partners.
Cooking with intention; what will make us feel good and taste good?
Being very intentional about who we let into the space. My boundaries have been violated in my own home more times than I'd ever have time to recount. We want to be kind, and generous, and wonderful to people who deserve it. The best way to do that is not to let those don't in.
We keep it much, much cleaner than we used to. Some of this is because of the way my OCD and anxiety have manifested later in life, but I also do think it honors the construct of home a lot better to respect the space.
If YOU want to reclaim or honor Hestia (or any!) gods of the home, you don't have to think big. The bulk of my spiritual practice revolves around ancestral, environmentally inspired, or spirit work. My primary Goddess is still Hecate. I work with various entities and with specific spells. A home diety practice should be simple, albeit mostly daily. Here's how to get started.
Build a small altar with a plant, an incense that smells homey to you, and a candle. Small tokens like charms of houses, hearths, hearts, etc. should be added. If you aren't good with plants, get a succulent or a small terrarium instead.
Add to the altar anything that specifically speaks to whatever you want said Goddess or God to nurture in the space. For example, we keep some things meant to inspire and bring in romantic love and sex for each of us, some charms that symbolize friendship, and some things that represent spirits of our loved ones that have passed. We keep lots of artsy and witchy things too, such as a charm with drama masks and a pen to represent writing opportunities. I keep a small charm of a car to represent my free spirit and traveling soul. Being full of wanderlust and having a safe, warm home base to come back to are not mutually exclusive.
Keep your windows free from things that block your view outside. (By which I mean remove stacks of books or furniture blocking the window. You can obviously have curtains.)
Keep your house as clean as you need it to be to feel homey and cozy. Everyone's tolerance for this is different but if your kitchen stresses you out, it's time to start cleaning it often enough that it doesn't get to that point.
Prep or cook food sometimes! Even if you're like me and the cost analysis for a single pringle such as yourself says it's actually cheaper to eat a Hot Pocket and a cup of yogurt for lunch or even run across the street for a $3 sandwich, the kitchen is very important to most gods of home. You don't have to be a master chef, but taking a few meals a week to put care into what you're eating makes a huge difference where both self and spiritual care are concerned. The idea of family meals at home, even for queerlings like us, is also really important.
Final addition/starting point for your home diety worship? Something to represent “keep us queer, keep us weird.” We have the aforementioned Wednesday Addams candle and a whole host of other bizarre goodies we keep on or near our workspace for Hestia.
This post won't resonate with everyone. Had I read it five years ago, it wouldn't have resonated with me. In five more years, it may not again, but this is where I am today: staring in the face of the Goddess of Hearth and Home who is trying to help me, love me, and keep me safe, and deciding to reclaim her.
Blessed be y'all.