Hestia, women, solitude

In her book Goddesses in Older Women: Archetypes in Women Over Fifty, Jean Shinoda Bolen uses the image of the Greek goddess Hestia as the archetype of women who have come to appreciate solitude. Robert Graves (in his Greek Myths) finds this reference in Apollodorus: “The self-effacing goddess Hestia resigned her seat at the high table in his [Dionysius’s] favour; glad of any excuse to escape the jealous wranglings of her family, and knowing that she could always count on a quiet welcome in any Greek city which it might please her to visit.”
Hestia’s gesture abandons the contentious to their own world to find her home in the simple. She projects warmth, security, reflectiveness, a sense of accomplishment and contentment with her self. Hestia is the hearth in the home, the centering fire that makes every home a temple and sacred place. As Bolen puts it:

Artemis and Athena were externally oriented, while Hestia’s is an inwardly-focused consciousness needed for meditation, contemplation, and prayer. The Hestia archetype is introverted. She looks inward to intuitively sense the essence of a situation or the character of a person. She has a natural detachment and seeks tranquility, which is most easily found in solitude.