In these days of homeyness, Hestia, the Theia of home and hearth rejoices in the times we spend at home, either alone or with family. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have family to spend family-oriented days like Christmas and New Year's with, or even have family they would want to spend the days with. My own Christmas days were varied to say the least. Returning home after days away--no matter how enjoyable they were--is always a wonderful feeling to me, as my home is the place I feel Hestia the most. Today's meditation is to Hestia, applied to a fictional home and adaptable to your own. This is a meditation I use when I'm about to do my daily rituals in a place that is not my home, and am reminded of when I come home and light my candle to Hestia first thing.

"I walk the path leading up to the house, my heart aflutter with the excitement of returning to the quiet and safety of my home. My keys jingle in my pocket as I reach for them, silently acknowledging the overflowing shrine to Apollon, Hermes, and Hekate. To them, I shall sacrifice later, as thanks for bringing me back to my sanctuary. Hor now, I touch the stone of Their shrine and move on, longing for the embrace of my harbor.

As the door opens, I catch a whiff of my home's familiar scent; incense, cat and flowers. Immediately, my posture relaxes, my shoulders sagging. Home is the place I need no pretenses, no mask, nothing to represent who I am besides indulging in things that define me. As the door closes behind me, I lean against it and happily take my home into account. With a smile, I take off my shoes and walk barefoot to my shrine, washing my hands and face with lustral water before lighting Hesia's candle with a chant to Her.

The candle lit, I feel Hestia's hands on my shoulders, a blessed homecoming. She who is home in every home, has been invited into mine. Elated, I turn to the fireplace and build a fire, lighting it with the flame of the candle, dedicated to the Blessed Immortal Lady. As the fire roars, I lavish in its warmth and light, engulfed in the very essence of the Goddess closest to us mortals, She who finds shelter and warmth in every home.

With sure gestures, I prepare Her offering of mixed wine, and once done, I return to the fire, allowing my eyes to open and see beyond the veil. A woman with long, black, hair turns from the fire with the warmest of smiles. She is beauteous, shapely, delicate. The Goddess sitting where She was invited to come. There is a gentile smile on Her ageless features.

As I pour the wine into the fire, she inhales deeply, the uniquely dark scent of burning wine filling the air. As I take my eyes off of Her, I feel Her leave, the veil falling back in place, leaving a hollow in my home. When I turn back, all that remains is the fire, crackling marrily in the fireplace. The place She occupied is empty, yet the fire burns and my home smells of sacrifice, accepted. A shuddering, thankful, breath and then a smile. I am grateful for Her eyes upon me, and give sacrifice to Her gladly. In Her presence, I am truly at home."