Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hestia's Oath--a short ritual play

Scene opens with Zeus sitting upon the high seat at Olympus. He holds the aegis across his lap.
Hestia, Goddess of Fire enters and walks toward Zeus.

Hestia: Greetings, Brother Zeus, Lord of all Olympians!
Zeus stands to greet her.

Zeus: Greetings, dear Hestia, First and last born among us. To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit this day?

Hestia: Long have I tended the Flame of the Olympians.

Zeus: (nods head) Aye, you have done wonderful work for us.

Hestia: Thank you. As I am sure you know, Poseidon and Apollon have both asked my hand in marriage.

Zeus: So I hear! (Places his hands on her shoulders) You must be so happy. Either of them is lucky to have you, should you bless them with your love.

Hestia: And therein lies my trouble. You see, my heart already belongs to another.

Zeus: Ha! (Claps hands) Well, tell me then, dear sister, who has won your love?

Hestia: Brother, I wish not to wed Mighty Poseidon nor Wise Apollon, because my heart belongs among the men and women of Earth.

Zeus: Is it a mortal whose love you seek?

Hestia: (Shakes head) No, Brother. I wish never to marry and to remain a maiden all my days.

Zeus: You know what you ask me...

Hestia: Yes, Zeus. I know, and I am prepared.

Zeus: So be it. (Zeus holds out the aegis and Hestia places her hand over the head.)

Hestia: So by the River Styx do I swear:
Henceforth shall I remain maiden-fair,
Untouched and pure as the Fire I embody,
Unscathed by the torment of love,
Unhindered by lust and desire.
My love shall be the Fire.
My life shall be the Fire.
My soul shall be the Fire.

Zeus: Esto. (They embrace. He keeps one hand upon her shoulder as he speaks definitively.) Hestia, you have served well among us, freely and with love. If you will not allow a God to love you, then I shall make it so that all beings will love you, Fire Maiden of Olympus. Your domain shall be the hearth fires of all temples, all sacred shrines and all fires among mankind. All first offerings shall go to you, and you shall be Chief of the Goddesses in the hearts of mortals. No offering shall come to us that does not pass through your Flame or travel upon the smoke of your Fire, for all fires shall be your fires. The richest portions shall go to you, and the essence shall be sent to the Us. Do you accept this charge?

Hestia: (Smiles broadly) ‘Tis a gift, not a charge. May I serve well the houses of Gods and Men. Thank you, Zeus, Mightiest of the Olympians.

Zeus: So be it!


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