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Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May, John Waterhouse 1909

Hestia, in the high dwellings of all, both deathless gods and men who walk on earth, you have gained an everlasting abode and highest honor: Glorious is your portion and your right. – Homer

Venus into Aquarius semi-sextile Vesta into Pisces (times here) is like the changing of the guards. You see things new: objectivity in the cool, calm, collected Venus and deep compassion and loyalty in Vesta. Friendships blossom and relationship are on the mend. This is an extremely creative combination for writers and artist and it makes for a beautiful energy around the solstice.

Vesta, or Hestia as she was known to the ancient Greeks, was the goddess of the hearth, the flame that burned brightly in every family home. She was also goddess of the sacred ceremonial fires that were used for public rituals. There are almost no images of Vesta, and it is thought that the Vestal virgins, the women that attended her flame, were living representations of the goddess. Plato referred to Hestia as the living flame itself.

Like Athene, Vesta is worshiped as a ‘virgin’ although the original meaning of the word did not imply sexual innocence. A virgin then described a woman who stood on her own, relying on no man for support, identity or companionship. Many of these virgins had lovers and consorts (and children) although they never married or adapted themselves to life ‘with a man’.

But by Roman (patriarchal) times, the Vestal virgins were like nuns, taking a vow of celibacy and devotion to the goddess. Transgressions were punished by slow death. It seems that by the time of Pontifex Maximus, the term ‘virgin’ had taken on its current meaning.

In pre-Hellenic Greece however, the Vestal virgins not only tended the sacred flame but performed a primary role of renewal to guaranteed the continuation of the royal line. As divine harlots, they would initiate men who came to the temple in honor of the goddess. This was not an exercise in sexual satisfaction; it was the symbolic consummation of a sacred union. A child born to a vestal was destined for royal succession if the king had no offspring.

It is said that Vesta was never touched by the spell of love in a personal sense (Venus) although when associated by aspect, there can be a blending, an understanding. Personal love (as directed by Venus) wants intimate encounters and divine love (Vesta) wants to consummate a spiritual union to preserve the flame of life. Really they are not in conflict but thousands of years of repression of the sacred feminine can mean women and men have no creative models for this energy. So let’s build some!

One sure fire way to tap this source energy is through creative expression. Tune into it a la writing, sketching, dancing, imagining and you meet the Muse. Ask what outlets do you have for your loving, creative heart? Can you name some ways, people or ideals that express this powerful energy? Play with it and see what blossoms.

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