Vesta is the Roman Goddess of the Hearth, Home, and Sacred Flame. (Her Greek counterpart is Hestia.) Daughter of Saturn and Ops, sister of Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Ceres, and Juno. Saturn feared one of his children would overthrow him so he swallowed them each whole when they were born. When Jupiter was born, Saturn was tricked into swallowing a rock swaddled in cloth instead of his newborn son. Jupiter grew up and did indeed challenge his father, and he was made to spit out his children. Vesta was asked what she would like to do with her power as a Goddess (what realm she would like to rule over) and she wished to simply remain pure and serve as gaurdian of the flame. In many ways She IS the flame, and was often simply depicted as the sacred flame of Rome, the Home, and Sacred Divinity.
A virgin Goddess, she did not marry or have children like most of the Roman Gods and Goddesses, yet she is still seen as a maternal, mothering figure. This is because the fire of the Hearth which she protects – was recognized to be an essential part of a nurturing and safe home life. Without a fire in the hearth, families would be cold, hungry, and unprotected.
Today, we don’t have a “hearth fire” in our homes; that has been replaced by a stove and a microwave. Most of us don’t cook our food over an open flame (except for those fun family barbeque nights) and a fireplace is more of a luxury than a necessity for warmth. Although our methods have changed, many Neo-Pagans are still drawn to honoring a Goddess of Hearth and Home. The Ancient Romans would honor Vesta by throwing some of their food into the hearth fire as an offering . . . giving back to the life- force that had provided for them. In Vesta’s temple, a fire was constantly burning. Guarded and tended to by the Vestal Virgins . . . women who had dedicated their lives to honoring and serving Vesta. It was believed that if the Sacred Fire in Vesta’s temple ever went out, Rome would fall and die.
Today, many who call themselves “kitchen witches” are drawn to honoring Vesta (or Hestia) as part of their daily spiritual practice. Recognizing that the kitchen with all it’s modern gadgets is still a center of the home – a place of creation and nurturing, where we prepare our food. Vesta has also been honored as an aspect of the Divine Feminine who holds great power without a male counterpart. She was seen as the great nurturer… as Fire represented not only the means to survive, but also represented wisdom, inspiration, focus, community, purity, power, and even divination and sacred sexuality.
Personally, I work with both Vesta and Hestia as interchangeable; different faces of the same Goddess. I have also found the energy signature of the Sacred Flame to resonate in other Goddesses as well – namely Brighid (Celtic) and Mother Mary (Christian/Hebrew). Hestia and Vesta are both usually depicted as veiled or wearing some kind of head covering, as is the Virgin Mother Mary. They are all virgins, although Mary did bear a child but the stories still depict her as a virgin anyways. Vesta is represented in historical drawings and carvings with an Ass (donkey/mule), and the Mother Mary is also associated riding an ass from when she rode pregnant into Bethlehem. Catholic nuns who devote their lives to service of God, wear headcoverings, and their vows of celibacy bring to mind the Roman Vestal Virgins. I recently found a votive prayer candle in the religious candle section of my local grocery store that depicts “The Sacred Heart of Mary”, with a picture of Mary and the glowing heart within her chest is burning with a bright orange fire. (see photograph above) The connection seems obvious to me and even though I know most pagans are probably not comfortable working within the “Christian Pantheon”, it is something worth considering. Brighid or Brigid also has many similar associations, a fire Goddess who was seen as gaurdian of hearth and home, wisdom, purity, domesticated animals, and the Sacred Flame of Kildare (similar to the sacred shrine of Vesta in Rome). I have found that when I work with Brighid, Mother Mary, or Vesta, I am working with an aspect of Hestia.
Working With Vesta – you can call on Vesta (or Hestia) for all these matters:
- Honoring all that is Divine and Sacred
- Home matters (safety, prosperity, and love within the home)
- Kitchens, food, nourishment
- humbleness and gratitude
- Rebalancing pain or corruption within governments
- protection of cities or countries
- protection from assault or unwanted sexual advances
- forgiveness for crimes and mistakes
- sacred sexuality
- service and sacrifice
Vesta in Astrology
In Astrology there is an asteroid named Vesta (it was recently reclassified as a “baby planet” and resides within the asteroid belt.) Looking to the placement of this asteroid in your natal chart can show you where the energies of Hestia and Vesta are most present in your life. It can show you where you are most likely to place your Devotion and what you honor as Divine or Sacred. It can show you where your connection to the Sacred Feminine originates, and issues around sexuality and Feminist issues. Vesta in your chart can teach you about how you identify with matters of Home, Family, Security, Sacrifice, and our own inner light.
“Vesta is the place in our charts that belongs to us and us alone. She is the inner spark we need to survive all odds, and to keep our spirits intact on the darkest day. She is also the light that guides us and allows us to take joy in our lives, and in our accomplishments. She is our inner light and the life inside ourselves.” ~Isabelle Ghaneh (see more)
It is my hope that this post has helped you understand Vesta and Hestia, and perhaps inspired you to work with them in some way in your life. May your Inner Fire always burn brightly, may you always find home that is warm and safe, and may you find ways to serve humanity and the Gods through your strength and Devotion. Blessed Be!
**COMING SOON!** I am working on an e-course called Hestia & Vesta Dedication Course. In this course you will receive a manual including lots more information about Hestia and Vesta, how to work with them, and some spells and rituals. You will also recieve an astrology reading in which I look at the placement of Vesta and Virgo in your natal chart, and an attunement to an energy system called “The Gems of Hestia and Vesta”. I am so excited about this upcoming course and hope you will join me! Join my Facebook Group – Unwinding The Universe With Hestia’s Muse to get updates, or sign up for my free newsletter if you are not on Facebook.