2006, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 50", by Jenny Badger Sultan
Hestia is one of three paintings partly prompted by the title of a book I’d heard of but hadn't read, “Healing Image--the Great Black One.” The series started at the time of the summer solstice, when we start the Journey to the Dark.
First came Voices from the Abyss, then Hestia, and last, In the Garden: Gifts of the Mothers. Each painting began with a black gesso ground, unusual for me.
Hestia was inspired by a brief vision of a large floating black shape surrounded by wings. I was reminded of the bundle in Little St. Bridget and also thought of the Kaaba, the black stone in the central shrine in Mecca.
I worked out a number of ideas in drawings and came up with one of a large woman with a fire in her lap--Hestia, the Greek goddess with whom I identify the most. She became the central figure in the painting. Hestia is meant to comfort, help and heal.
My identification with Hestia goes back a long way. I just came across a dream from August 1, 1991:In a group of people. I don’t recall what goes before--it must be something about talking about who we identify with, or how we see ourselves.
I say "I identify with Hestia, the goddess of the hearth--she (I) likes to stay at home, feels very comfortable in her home, likes to be alone, enjoys the things of home."
Feeling this rather keenly and intensely.