Hestia is the anglicised version of her name. Her Greek name - Εστία (pronounced es-tee-ah) - means dwelling. She was the goddess of home, and goddess of the hearth. On Olympus, her job was to take the good stuff from every sacrifice, to any deity, and feed it into the fire on the mountain. And so, part of every sacrifice belonged to her. Every hearth-fire belonged to her too. And, in those days, there were hearth-fires everywhere: in every home, every temple, even up on Mount Olympus.
A lot of plants are dying off or back in autumn, but you can plant stuff too! A couple of weeks ago, my girls and I got busy on the balcony, planting some bulbs in pots. We've got iris, hyacinth and crocus. I haven't planted bulbs since I was a kid, and I'm excited for them to come up!
All my life I have lived near water. I grew up less than 10 minutes’ walk from the bank of the River Thames in England. For five years, I lived on the west coast of Wales. Then, in my mid-twenties, I lived back in England, two minutes’ walk from a lake. Now, I live in Athens … but not in Athens, on the edge of Athens - and that makes all the difference.
Olives, the olive branch and the olive tree are symbolic in many cultures and religions, from ancient Egypt to Christianity to the Arab world. In ancient Greece, newborn babies were presented with an olive branch, brides wore a crown of olive leaves, and olive wreaths were given to the dead. It was illegal to cause damage to an olive tree in ancient Greece - a crime that was actually punishable by death at one point! The olive tree was also sacred to Athena and had a special place in the myth of the founding of Athens, the city I live in.