How bright the fair Paulina did appear,
When hid in jewels she did seem a star!
But who could soberly behold
A wicked owl in cloath of gold,
Or the ridiculous Ape
In sacred Vesta's shape?
So doth agree
Just praise with thee:
For since thy birth gave thee no beauty, know,
No poets pencil must or can do so.
~The Lancasta Poems by Richard Lovelace~
I hope that by now you're curious as
Offering to Vesta
Vesta, in all dwellings of men and immortal
Yours is the highest honor, the sweet wine offered
First and last at the feast, poured out to you duly.
Never without you can gods or mortals hold banquet.
virgin goddess of the hearth, home, and family, was popular in Roman
mythology. However, much of her is a mystery since she had no distinct personality,
was not mentioned in myths, and was not depicted as the other goddesses were.
As Goddess of the
Hearth, she was particularly important to the women of the
household since it was at the hearth all food was prepared and next to it was where
the food was eaten. Offerings were thrown into the fire in order to see how it
burned. This allowed the future to be seen.
Supposedly she originated through the resources of King Numa Pompilius (715-673
BCE). Symbolized by her sacred flame that burned at her hearth and temples,
Vesta maintained the sacred fire of the Roman state through the use of her Vestal
Virgins. Every March 1, the fire was renewed until approximately the year 391
CE when Emperor Theodosius I banned public pagan worship.
Every Roman home had a hearth that was sacred to Vesta. Its flame was never
permitted to go out. A newborn child had to be carried before the family hearth
before it was received into the family.When a new city was established, coals
from another city were taken to the new so that Vesta's blessing was brought into
Her main temple, located on the Forum Romanum, was built in the 3rd century
BCE and did NOT contain a statue of her. In fact, none of her temples did. On
Vestalia, June 7 - 15, the inner sanctum of her temple was opened to women
bringing offerings while barefoot. On the last day, the temple was ritually
Vesta's sacred animal is the ass whose braying kept Priapus away from
who remained a Virgin. Her Vestales (Vestal Virgins) guarded the fires at her temples.
They came from the patricians and observed chastity for 30 years. If they broke
this vow of chastity they were buried alive in the Campus Sceleris (Field of Wickedness).
They lived together in the Atrium Vestae under the supervision of the Pontifex Maximus.
By the way, one of the most famous Vestal Virgins was Rhea Silvia who
with Mars and thus conceived Romulus and Remus (the founders of Rome).
She is most likely to be one of those buried in Campus Sceleris.
Hear, Ye Ladies
Hear, ye ladies that despise,
What the mighty Love has done;
Fear examples, and be wise:
Fair Callisto was a nun;
Leda, sailing on the stream
To deceive the hopes of man,
Love accounting but a dream,
Doted on a silver swan;
Danae, in a brazen tower,
Where no love was, loved a shower.
Hear, ye ladies that are coy,
What the mighty Love can do;
Fear the fierceness of the boy;
The chaste moon he makes to woo;
Vesta, kindling holy fires,
Circled round about with spies,
Never dreaming loose desires,
Doting at the altar dies;
Ilion, in a short hour, higher
He can build, and once more fire.
Daughter of Saturn, venerable dame,
The seat containing of unweary'd flame;
In sacred rites these ministers are thine,
Mystics much-blessed, holy and divine
In thee, the Gods have fix'd place,
Strong, stable, basis of the mortal race;
Eternal, much-form'd ever-florid queen,
Laughing and blessed and of lovely mien;
Accept these rites, accord each just desire,
And gentle health, and need full good inspire.
~The Hymns of Orpheus, translated by Thomas Taylor~
AS VESTA WAS FROM LATMOS HILL DESCENDING
As Vesta was from Latmos hill descending,
She spied a maiden queen the same ascending,
Attended on by all the shepherds swain,
To whom Dian's darlings came running down amain,
First two by two, then three by three together,
Leaving their goddess all alone, hasted thither;
And mingling with the shepherds of her train,
With mirthful tunes her presence entertain.
Then sang the shepherds and nymphs of Diana,
Long live fair Oriana!
~ Elizabethan Madrigal, composer unknown~
||Ceres, mother of the Earth
Athena, of cerebral birth
Juno, queen of all the gods
Vesta, pure against all odds
Virgo woman, life bequeaths you,
Standing proud amongst your sheaths,
Wisdom, loving gifts of grace,
In all fields is your place
To give of virtue, mind and soul
You plant the seed. You help it grow.
You till the soil and prune and weed.
You are the soil. You are the seed.
A snow-white light on field's relief
To countenance divine belief.
The image of a wishful star;
A steady shine -- but still so far.
The nights of hope; the days of pain
And on and on, that old refrain
We are the heart, the soul, the spleen
We are all we've known, done and seen
We are the time that marches on
With much to do before we're gone.
Pictures of Temple of Vesta (reprinted with permission)
copyright Hrana Janto, used by
permission of the artist.
Printed with permission
THE NEW VESTA
Discovered March 29, 1807 by German astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers, Vesta is the second most massive object in the asteroid belt. It is also the brightest asteroid and the only one (besides Ceres) visible to the naked eye from Earth. Used in Astrology, it is represented by a stylized hearth.
In Astrology, Vesta rules devotion, sexuality and health. It is known as The Virgin and The Sister. As such she represents a powerful woman who sees beyond herself and looks for the goodness and fulfillment of a greater cause such as was portrayed by Princess Diana and Mother Teresa in their concern for others.
Vesta encourages us to revere our bodies by eating right and staying active. She oversees medicinal traditions especially homeopathic. She is confident in her sexuality and is devoted, dedicated and powerful. A Vesta woman has strong spiritual convictions and remains focused.
One of my favorite methods of
divination is the Witches' Runes.
Created by Silver Ravenwolf and
Nigel Jackson, this deck portrays
life based on the Runes and their
subsequent meanings. When I read
about Vesta, their representation
of Beorc reminded me of the Vestal
Hearth and all it means.
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you enjoyed it!