from ““Immanent Blessings: Sponsorship and the Archetypal Goddess” by Celia Bockhoff.

Included in Walking in Two Worlds: the Relational Self in Theory, Practice, and Community, Gilligan and Simon, Editors, Zeig, Tucker, and Theisen, Inc. Publishers, 2004

“An old Greek proverb says, “Start with Hestia.” Hestia is the first of all the Olympian gods. She is the hearth, the sacred circle of the home: the center of spirit. As we begin, we invoke this first, primal goddess archetype: the circle.

In Self-Relations psychotherapy, this “living mandala” of the circle can be described as the relational field, a ‘living nurturing presence that supports a person in her awakening process’ (Gilligan, 1997, p.23). It is the context, the space, and the connection to a greater energy. It is the experience of belonging to something more.  A felt sense of belonging in the relational field may be experienced as ‘self-transcendent’ or ‘communion’ with a greater power.

“In invoking Hestia, the Greek goddess whose form is a circle, we invite the relational field into ourselves in the shape of the feminine.

“While the words ‘relational field’ or ‘greater power’ are by their nature abstract, the goddess is a tangible embodiment of that concept. If we found a different symbol to make the relational field concrete, would it be the same as invoking a goddess? At the core of this question is how the archetypal divine is perceived.”