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84. Ἑστίας

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Introduction to the Orphic Hymn to Æstía

Æstía (Hestia; Ἑστία) is the mighty Olympian Goddess of Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion. Many practitioners of the modern religion have been taught that she is like a humble little grandmother cooking in the kitchen, but this idea is preposterous. Yes, Æstía is at the center of the home, like a hearth-fire, and she has an interest in the success of the family and things domestic, but she is also the navel of the city and the country, indeed, her Fire is the axis of the universe, the very fire of Life. And as regards the practice of religion, Æstía is again at the center for it is she who officiates over our rituals; she teaches them to us and conducts the rites. It is for this reason that we have in our possession her beautiful Orphic hymn. We recite this hymn at the beginning of every Tælætí (Telete, Rite or Ritual; Τελετή), without exception, and by doing so, we humbly ask the mighty Goddess to preside over all our proceedings and to sanctify them.


The Original Ancient Greek Text:

84. Ἑστίας, θυμίαμα, ἀρώματα.

Ἱστίη εὐδυνάτοιο Κρόνου θύγατερ βασίλεια,   
ἣ μέσον οἶκον ἔχεις πυρὸς ἀενάοιο μεγίστου,
τούσδε σὺ ἐν τελεταῖς ὁσίους μύστας ἀναδείξαις,
θεῖσ’ αἰειθαλέας, πολυόλβους, εὔφρονας, ἁγνούς·
οἶκε θεῶν μακάρων, θνητῶν στήριγμα κραταιόν.   5
ἀϊδίη, πολύμορφε, ποθεινοτάτη, χλοόμορφε,
μειδιόωσα, μάκαιρα, τάδ’ ἱερὰ δέξο προθύμως,
ὄλβον ἐπιπνείουσα καὶ ἠπιόχειρ’ ὑγίειαν.

Reuchlinian transliteration of the ancient Greek text:
(See this page: Transliteration of Ancient Greek)

 Æstías, thymíama aróhmata.

Istíi evdynátio Krónou thýgatær vasíleia,   1
i mǽson íkon ǽkheis pyrós aænáïo, mæyístou,
tousdæ si æn tælætais osíous mýstas anadeixais,
theis' aieithalǽas, polyólvous, éfphronas, agnous;
íkæ thæóhn makárohn, thnitóhn stírigma krataión.   5
aïdíi, polýmorphæ, potheinotáti, khlöómorphæ;
meidióöhsa, mákaira, tád' iærá dǽxo prothýmohs,
ólvon æpipneiousa kai ipiókheir’ iyíeian.


Ἑστίας - Ἑστίας is the gen. of Ἑστία. Titles in ancient Greek are usually placed in the genitive case. 

θυμίαμα, (incense) ἀρώματα. (aromatic herbs or spices) - The author of the hymn is suggesting an incense offering of aromatic herbs or spices.

Ἱστίη (voc. of Ἑστίαεὐδυνάτοιο (mighty) Κρόνου (Krónos) θύγατερ (daughter) βασίλεια, (queen) - Queen Æstía daughter of mighty Krónos,

 μέσον (middle) οἶκον (house) ἔχεις (hold or keep) πυρὸς (fire) ἀενάοιο (everlasting) μεγίστου, (vast) - You dwell in the center of the home with your vast everlasting fire.

τούσδε (this) σὺ (you) ἐν (in) τελεταῖς (rite) ὁσίους (make holy or pure) μύστας (Mystics, initiates) ἀναδείξαις, (show forth, reveal) - Purify the initiates of these rites (and)...

θεῖσ’ (inspire) αἰειθαλέας, (ἀειθαλής is masc./fem. nom., evergreen) - inspire endless youth

πολυόλβους, - wealth,

εὔφρονας, - benevolences (and)...

ἁγνούς· - holiness.

οἶκε (home) θεῶν (Gods) μακάρων, (blessed) – (You are) the dwelling-place of the blessed Gods...

θνητῶν (mortal) στήριγμα (support) κραταιόν. (strong, mighty) - and the strong support of mankind.

ἀϊδίη, - (ἀΐδιος is fem./masc. nom.) Eternal

πολύμορφε, - (πολύμορφος, fem./masc. nom.) many-formed,

ποθεινοτάτη, (epic fem. nom., ποθεινός [fem./masc. nom.] more usual) - beloved,

χλοόμορφε, (χλοόμορφος is fem./masc. nom., grass-green, like grass) - verdant.

μειδιόωσα, - Smiling (μειδιόωσα is participle of the verb μειδιάω/μειδάω, smile.)

μάκαιρα, (fem. of μάκαρ, blessed or happy) - happy one, 

τάδ’ (these) ἱερὰ (sacrifice or offerings) δέξο (accept) προθύμως, (with kindness) - accept these offerings with kindness.

ὄλβον (happiness, wealth) ἐπιπνείουσα (blow freshly upon) καὶ (and) ἠπιόχειρ’ (with soothing hand) ὑγίειαν. (health) - Breath upon us weal and soothing health.

All this work yields a more literal translation of the hymn to Æstía:

84. Æstía, Incense, aromatic herbs. 

Queen Æstía daughter of mighty Krónos,   
You dwell in the center of the home with your vast everlasting fire,
Purify the initiates of these rites,
Inspire endless youth, wealth, benevolences, and holiness.
You are the dwelling-place of the blessed Gods and the strong support of mankind.   
Eternal, many-formed, beloved, and verdant.
Smiling, happy one, accept these offerings with kindness, 
Breath upon us weal and soothing health.

Much of the theology of our religion has been preserved in fragments: The Orphic Fragments of Otto Kern.

The story of the birth of the GodsOrphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.
How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods.


The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætilía (Petelia, Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase (Γῆς παῖς εἰμί καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος) are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara, κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, Ὀρφεύς). 

PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as 

, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.

The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

SPELLING: uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages: 

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