Vesta: The Eternal Flame
Known to the ancient Greeks as Hestia, Vesta is symbolized by the Virgin, who appears as the Virgin in the Virgo pictograph. The Romans worshipped her as goddess of the hearth and keeper of the sacred flame. Vesta is not the largest asteroid, but is the only one bright enough to be seen with the human eye. Vesta is composed of an unusual type of volcanic rock, caused by extremely high internal temperatures, that reflects a remarkable amount of sunlight. The vestal virgins were selected at the very early age and were permitted no expression of individuality or personality. There were severe consequences for loss of virginity: the vestal was buried alive in the "Field of Crime."
The preistesses of Vesta were also responsible for securing legal documents. Octavian was able to secure "Mark Antony's will, held by the Priestesses of Vesta". ("Anthony and Cleopatra" in Civilizations in History, by M. Dale Davis (Toronto, Oxford University Press, 1986) p. 135
She had no iconographic representations and very little mythological drama associated with her. The gentle goddess never participated in warfare, conflicts, or love affairs, activities that were central to the mythology of all the other gods. When Apollo and Poseidon both approached her as suitors, she swore an oath of eternal virginity to avoid an Olympian war between them.
Hestia was placed at the prythaneum, the public hearth which contained the sacred fire. Women leaving home brought fire from their mothers hearths to begin their own, and Greek colonists brought a portion of fire with them to link them to the new homeland.
Because she was the first of the Olympians, the Greeks started a tradition that ceremonies and new enterprises would begin with an offering to the altar of Hestia. Her name was used to seal oaths and faithful dealings. If Vesta is well aspected in the birth chart we enjoy our work, and dedicate ourselves to achieving goals through hard work.
Following the Greeks, the Romans absorbed Hestia, and renamed her Vesta. The sacred responsibility of tending the flames fell to the priestesses of the goddess Vesta, the Vestal virgins. Admitted to the temple at age six, they took vows of chastity and celibacy which lasted for the duration of their 30 year service.
In the chart, Vesta can represent either sexual freedom or repression. Many individuals with prominent Vesta experience shame, guilt and self-denial over their sexuality. Vesta types need to find a balance that avoids the extremes of promiscuity and total repression. There is an association of sex with fear. Extremely high standards concerning sex, modesty and chastity. Most sexual couplings are seen as mundane, unfulfilling, even degrading. The inability to participate in ordinary sex generally results in not much sex at all.
The goddess Vesta represents the human capacity to commit, focus and concentrate. This can manifest as attention on a relationship, a mental subject, a vocation or the task at hand. Vesta is also devotion, purity and the sacred dimension of work and daily deeds, as in karma yoga, where all one's activities contain the significance of prayer.
Vesta will be prominent in the chart when it is conjunct the Sun, Moon, Ascendant, Descendant, IC or Midheaven. Qualities of discrimination, productivity and focus will be emphasized. Work and work-related issues can be significant. The Vesta characteristics of focus, dedication and commitment to doing a good job often produce individuals who excel in their chosen areas: their work is their obsession.
Vesta types have the fortunate potential of being congruent with their work. Vesta needs to be compatible with its work like others need to be compatible with their spouses. Vesta people actually need to love their work, or at least to become completely absorbed in a satisfying subject or activity that consumes them. They like to organized their lives around their work and chores.
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