The Priestesses of Vesta, the Roman equivalent of Hestia the Greek Goddess, served in a sacred enclosure where no man - even the Emperor - was permitted to set foot, and all must be untouched by men. After thirty years of vow-bound celibacy they were permitted to marry, but few took the opportunity to leave an honored position in beautiful surroundings in order to place themselves under the authority of a man.
…This nearly implies that Hestia and Hermes are to live together as lovers. However, the two gods are not lovers, husband and wife, not brother and sisters. The ancient Greeks had many reasons to consider these two gods together as examples for them to live by, for the characters of these two gods personify the attributes best found in a wife and husband. Therefore, Hestia diligently watched after the fire in the hearth and cared for everything gin the safe environment within the home, whereas Hermes addressed all of the issues outside he home, alertly taking advantage of all the opportunities and ventures found within the world at large.
Under the sign of Hestia, the family group conceived its unity as a circle closing in on itself as the center and considered the domestic group to be self-sufficient, refusing to take any food with a stranger. Thus, it is said, is how one scarifies to Hestia: by giving no part of he offerings to a person foreign to he house.
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. The Greek Goddess Hestia was seen as not only psychologically "centered", but also as representing the center, the center of the home and family, the city, and even the world itself.
Hestia also symbolized the alliance of the Metropolis ("mother-city") with the smaller settlements which were founded in the colonies. The colonists took fire from the hearth in the prytaneion and kept it burning in their new towns.
Eventually, Hestia actually gave up her spot as one of the Olympians to Dionysus. She was one of the more popular gods- no 'adventures'. She was also rarely written about. After swearing to be a virgin when she gave up her spot to Dionysus, her pictures and statues depicted her with clotehs on, such as veils and cloaks, in order to hide the features of her body. While she was not one of the more popular goddesses, she was worshiped in every home. She is said to be the most upright, honest, and charitable of the Olympians.
Hestia was an eternal virgin, deliberately remaining aloof from the advances of the male gods. It is important to note, however, that both Poseidon and Apollo sought to court her, but she refused them. Indeed, it is also worth mentioning that in the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, Hestia, along with Athena and Artemis, were the only goddesses immune to the passions aroused by the enchanting Aphrodite.
Hestia rules over fires sacred and mundane, from the fire of the temple at Delphi to the public hearth of the city to the private hearth in every home. Her fire was never allowed to die out, and people swore oaths over the flames. Whenever a new village was settled, the central fire was started from Hestia’s fire in the inhabitants’ original home town. When two people married and moved into their own home, the mother of the bride brought them fire from her hearth, inviting Hestia into the new home.
Hestia's legend is simple: she was the first-born of the Olympians, children of Cronos and Rhea, and the first to be swallowed up again when Cronos realized he would be overthrown by one of his offspring the way he had overthrown his own father, Ouranos. When Zeus conspired with his mother Rhea to set his siblings free, Hestia was the last one to be released. So she is both the first- and last-born.
Hestia is the daughter of Cronus and Rhea and the sister of Zeus. She is the goddess of fire, particularly the hearth, the symbol of the house around which a new born child is carried before it is received into the family. [...] Although she was rarely depicted in art, and played almost no part in myths, she was held in high honor, by both the Greeks and the Romans.