Regenerating Hestia’s Hearth

Hestia (and her counterpart, the Roman Goddess Vesta) were viewed as the “complete” goddess, the goddess who was whole, “one complete within herself”. Fittingly, the circle was her symbol.


Hestia’s Hearth was first created in 2009 when the Soul Food Cafe was still operating as a virtual writing/art group. The archives contain all the posts that members of this site posted at the time.

Consecutive loss silenced me and Soul Food has lain fallow since late 2010! Soul Food and collaborative, virtual retreats such as The Temple of SolaceRiversleigh Manor, the Lemurian Abbey, the Gypsy Camp and the Hearth disappeared into the mists.

Hestia has been calling my name, gently suggesting that I have been with Hel for long enough, reminding me that these places provided sanctuary, that they are life affirming and that they still welcome me and offer sanctuary! It’s a choice to want to heal those hurts that broke me at one point in time. As I restore myself… I emerge  stronger, ready to take on life once again.

Welcome to Hestia’s Hearth, a site designed to promote the virtues of calm, security, stability,  mildness, gentleness, forgiveness,  serenity,  and, above all else the state of being centered.

Heather Blakey

December 26, 2015


Better days for a good friend

My good friend, Kelly the dog, is finally seeing better days.  With much very loud yelping and snarling on her end and heart palpatations on my end we managed to wrestle her down and get her bandage off yesterday.  She’s able to move around more freely now and even go outside again, which means there’s some tail wagging once more, but she’s making it very clear that she blames me for the entire ordeal which means there is NO tail wagging in my direction.  When I come in the house, NO tail wagging.  Anyone else…MUCH tail wagging.  If her tail is wagging for someone else then she will stop wagging her tail as soon as she sees me. 

Oh.  Hurt.  Hurt feelings.  Excuse me for having hurt feelings! *lol*  Who cried when the vet came?  Moi!  Who cried when Kelly cried?  Moi!  Who called the vet four times in the first place until he agreed to change an appointment in his full day schedule to make an emergency house call???  Moi!!!  And no wagging tail?  Crazy dog. 

Crazy owner, actually.  I just got laughed at for going to the store to buy a different jar of peanut butter because she wouldn’t eat the bargain brand stuff that I bought on sale.  I mix peanut butter on her dog food or she won’t eat it.  (uppity mutt) 

I thank you all on Kelly’s behalf for the good vibes and lovely wishes for her speedy recovery.  Animals companions are a very special gift of compassion and humour that fill our lives in ways nothing and no one else can. 


A Star Fell

Last night I had a dream that was certainly prompted by Gail’s poem and all of the – sorry, I haven’t a word special and kind enough to describe everyone’s support.  This dream may interest you; it certainly made me smile.

Last night I dreamt the simple dream that I stepped out of the shower all dripping wet and heard Seanna’s voice mumbling and murmuring outside in what I supposed to be a hallway.  I didn’t recognize the bathroom I was in.  Regardless, I was soaking wet and my purpose was to take care of that problem.  As I began to dry myself I heard Seanna’s muffled voice ‘asking’, “See Steph?  Come in?”  Unsure of what to do, not knowing the rules wherever we happened to be, I didn’t answer.  I felt a great fear.

When I hesitated I heard again a mumbled, “Wanna see Steph,” and I said loudly, “Okay babe!  But I think we have to ask someone first!  There are probably forms to fill out or something!  So wait, okay?!”  But to her that was an affirmation and that was all.  “Yes” is “yes”; there is no “yes, but…”  Instead of coming to the door, however, I heard a rustling under the counter.  Curious, I reached for the door on the far left but it popped open before I could grab the handle.  Seanna?

Yup.  Apparently on the other side of the bathroom wall there was a closet or cubby of some type and she just weasled her way right through the hole in the wall (like the one in her Grandma’s house) and followed it through the base cabinet of the bathroom, knocking all manner of soaps and jars and bottles willy-nilly with a great racket, utterly oblivious to the mess and noise (she never changes…after all, someone else will be picking that up) and was almost all the way into the room, shoulder length chestnut brown hair escaping every which way from her pony tail, mumbling “see Steph?” while I laughed at her customary chaos, when I woke up.  …when I woke up thinking, “Jeez it was nice to see her again!  It must have been all those Soul Food people talking about she and I like that that brought her back.  Especially Gail’s poem.”  Thank you one and all.

My great panic and assumption that permission and forms were necessary were due to the vicious custody fight that was underway when she died.  The rules of the family court took away all of my access to Seanna except via phone until the custody between birth parents was settled, but she died before that happened.  So now, even now, still, when I dream about her being alive I often don’t see her face but only hear her voice.  I will always hear that voice asking those questions she asked me until the day she died: “See Steph?  Come see me?  Seanna go to Steph?  Now?  Soon?  Please?” 

She was a Babbler with a capital B, but the circumstances in the last months had their value: I can’t imagine the sound of her voice will ever be forgotten by me.  In my mind I held the sounds she made over the phone as tightly in my mind as I would her whole body to my heart if she were in front of me.  The absence of my person did not stop her from bringing me everything of importance to her, either.  She told me everything that hurt and where and when it happened and who she saw and what she did and how she felt and what she wanted and what she ate and what she drank and, and, and…until she cried because I wasn’t there to do it all with her.  Thus was every phone call and there was so much time spent on the phone.  I often thought maybe I shouldn’t talk to her if she ended up crying, but her dad said she cried when I didn’t answer, so I always answered.  I guess I’ll always answer.

Oh…the shower theme.  For our lifetime together Seanna showered with me.  I was the Seanna-cleaner.  I still feel lonely in the shower.


witness and witlessness

Writing openly about my life used to be like water off a duck’s back for me.  I was Say-Anything Steph once-upon-a.  So many battles, big and small, seems to have whittled me down from feeling large to little in a twitchy, embarrassed-for-no-reason kind of way.   It aint purty!  So I’ve been consciously pulling my s___ together for the sake of … pride?  Yeah, maybe pride.  Pride goeth, I know, but there’s something to be said for sparing the world from another simpering, twitching, ever-apologetic mess.  I got down; I can get up.  Me big girl now.  *smile*

The point of this post is to share an experience I had yesterday and take solace here in the temple.  Actually, the experience has been ongoing since April when I begin what was supposed to be a year long “crisis support” program at the local hospital.  I brought them the crisis, but I’m still wondering when they’ll get to the support part. 

At the end of 2006 when I had to leave the house I loved so much because I was being abused by one of my stepdaughters I began do slide into a depression that spiralled as the events following my departure went wildly out of control.  Simply surreal, not to be believed, this is not happening to us, no way Jose kinda stuff.  The depression absolutely buried me when we buried our beloved Seanna last August, and that’s why I turned to the community care centre at the hospital for help in April. 

Every month that I have met the therapist and doctor since I started six months ago I have been asked the same questions about what it is I think is bringing me so down and why it is that I have no interest in life or plans or hope for happiness in my near future.  They have focussed on the depression but offered no grief counselling whatsoever.  In fact, they offer no “depression counselling” either; they just keep asking me over and over why I think I feel the way I do.  The psychiatrist asked me each time for the last three months why I don’t return to my regular activities, my normal life,  and why I am not content once again now that I am out of the depression.  And every time…as I have for six months…I have to remind him that my home is gone, my gallery that was my beloved work is gone, my job as Dorian’s bookkeeper is gone because he is bankrupt, my one stepdaughter (abusive as she was) is gone, and my other child, the child of my heart, is DEAD! THERE IS NOTHING TO GO BACK TO!  IT’S ALL GONE!

Barely controlling my feeling of insult – well, anger, really – that these basic facts of my life cannot be remembered, or least not gleaned from reading a simple chart or file before meeting with me again, I requested a different therapist, a switch that also comes with a different doctor.  If I end up with no “crisis support” from the hospital at all and am not allowed to go back there, I surely won’t be able to discern a difference.  Other than, perhaps, being free from the monthly insult. 

I have been embarrassed to be enduring this nonsense in my quest for solace and really should have just come to the temple once a month instead…heck…you probably would even have let me weep here once a week!  *smile*  You all are so kind that way.  LOL  But for so many years I told myself the story that I was the one holding other people together, my family, my children.  Yeah.  Such fairytales I tell myself!  And believed them because I needed to as a child needs to believe in Cinderella’s prince for a while. 

Nonetheless, here I am, feeling much better though still without any great enthusiasm for living, but I am Alive enough to have regained my sense of the necessariness of bearing witness to the witlessness that We, many of us, have to bear at times in life.  I bear necessary witness here in case someone else in Soul Food has or is being so sad and enduring the ridiculous dismissal of their entirely acceptable and understandable sadness, despondency, or simple exhaustion.

I am grateful for this wonderful temple and the solace of this place.  A place where I know words and tears and fears and questions and weariness and wonder and wishes and women are welcome to wait for healing and love and better days to come.