Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke

3 out of 5

A serviceable account of a first contact story with aliens called “Ramans.” I would’ve rated it higher if there were more character types besides scientists in the story. It’s supposed to be epic in scope and a game changer for humanity but the lack of regular people made it feel like an isolated event.


A Hestian Parodox

Olympus celebrated their new addition by savoring his latest brew. Bacchus’s vintage was always potent and never soured. This was enough to get him considered divine by human and gods alike.

Hestia enjoyed a goblet as much as anyone else, but wondered why Zeus was looking at her so strangely.

Unless he thought her vow of chastity was tantamount to a vow of temperance?

“I want to talk to you,” Zeus said as he led her to an alcove.

Hestia sighed

Perhaps he thought a virgin goddess shouldn’t drink wine? Yet Athena and Artemis had drank more goblets than her. She didn’t see why he’d lecture an older sister and not his daughters.

He took her to an alcove to speak to her in private. She was expecting a reproof but Zeus asked her a question. “Have you ever wanted to revoke your vow of eternal chastity?”

Hestia frowned, “No.”

He touched her hand and flinched when he came away with burned fingers. It was a pity Hera didn’t have the same trick when she needed it.

“Don’t ever forget I’m a fire goddess, Thunderer. Even if I prefer to keep my flames within a hearth.” She muttered to him.

Hestia prefers to stay in the background yet gives vital support to other Olympians. You can see what role Hestia plays in the Ambrosian Mysteries in my A Heart for Hubris release.

Hestia the Goddess of Paradoxes

Hestia, the Goddess of the Hearth, is the most domestic of the Olympians, but she is full of paradoxes.

She was the firstborn of the Olympians. Her father was worried his children would overthrow him and devoured his wife’s babies whole. Zeus rescued his siblings and the fact she was the first swallowed meant she was the last to emerge. That’s why she’s called the “first and lastborn of the Olympians.”

She is the most domestic of goddesses but took an oath to remain a virgin. This makes her domestic yet unmarried.

The fact she is a goddess of the hearth makes her a fire goddess. Fire gods and goddesses in other pantheons are often temperamental. Yet she is the steadiest and most sensible of the Olympians. She is known for visiting mortal towns but there are no stories about her striking anyone down in anger. She treats her visits as pleasurable, harmless outings. No worse than a modern housewife enjoying a shopping trip to a market she likes.

The fact she remains in the background means these paradoxes are often unnoticed. Her attributes portray a balanced approach to power. This was Ancient Greek’s ideal for civil society and authority. She kept things running so smoothly her presence was barely noticed.

She was called “Vesta” in Roman Society. Vestal virgins served in her shrine for a 30-year term. When they retired they were allowed emancipation from their fathers. Perhaps the fact they were one of the few women allowed autonomy meant they were the only women trusted with it. Sensible Hestia was a fitting patron for such women.