Vestal Solstice: The Sacred Space of Self | Monthly Forecast | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

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Vestal Solstice: The Sacred Space of Self


Last Updated: 08/13/2013 3:55 pm

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Let’s take these two factors individually, the Vesta aspect and the Venus/Mars aspect; and then let’s see what they add up to.

Vesta: Tending Fire, Holding Space
I had my first conscious experience of Vestal energy one autumn when I moved into a house in Hurley, New York. I love this experience because it’s an example of how an event in life can open the door to something supposedly mystical or mythological.

At the time we moved in, my housemates and I didn’t have a lot of money, so we couldn’t start up the oil heat; but there was a very nice wood stove and a big pile of wood to go with it. However, the wood was wet, because it was pretty old and the season had been very rainy. We definitely needed heat.

It’s possible to burn wet wood, but it takes a lot of work to get it going, and to keep it going. (It’s also a lot less efficient.) Once the fire was started, it was essential to keep it running hot, and to cycle the firewood into the kitchen so that would have a chance to dry off next to the stove, if possible. This became a 24-hour devotion. The stove had to be tended at least every three or four hours. Being a few years into my astrology work, the Vestal symbolism of tending a hearth was not lost on me. This activity was similar to what the Vestal Virgins had as one of their primary responsibilities: to keep the sacred flame in the city’s central hearth going all the time.

As mystics, we regard outer fire as a symbol of an inner fire. The inner fire is the individual creative source within the psyche. Vesta, the asteroid, is associated with various forms of devotion, such as to work. (Most astrology books you read that mention Vesta will associate it with things like staying late at the office, and avoiding social interaction.) I view Vesta as the place where we must tend to our creative and sexual fires. Basically, it’s how one becomes an artist, a craftsperson, or a lover. One must constantly apply attention the creative flame, otherwise it can flicker out, burn too hot or go out of control. It’s not something you can do occasionally and get the same results. People with regular jobs often think of artists as “workaholics.” But that is an idea that disconnects the concept of work from that of personal development.

Many of Vesta’s best results come specifically from the art of devotion itself. As we progress we learn that we have the choice of what we devote ourselves to.

The flame and embers provide a source of heat, of light and of energy. They become the central organizing principle around which one’s life is organized. We all use Vestal energy, though most people express it in devotion to things that are not necessarily associated with their true calling. So the idea here is to identify some aspect of that calling and then tend the flame continually, a little bit every day. Then true creative gifts can emerge, and begin to take on their vital role in the world.

In the sign Cancer, the focus is on the home. It’s also about cultivating the devotion to self-nourishment. This is about taking care of yourself, not “rewarding” yourself. The work associated with Vesta is of a specifically self-nourishing kind, even though in the short run it may require more effort than seems worth it. The key is to work the devotional angle, rather than the effort angle; Vesta is my college fiction professor saying on the first day of class that to be a fiction writer one must write one word a day. That means, you return to the project daily.

The sexual aspect of Vesta involves making contact with the sexual dimension to all of existence. The inner flame lights up the space inside us, and there, we can do our healing work. It also creates an inviting environment where others can seek contact, healing, and rest. Vestal erotic practices involve holding the space open for others, witnessing their processes and experiences, and giving oneself sexually to sexual pleasure of others, as a gift of healing or love. This has nothing to do with romance, which tends to be narcissistic. Vesta is about standing back a little and allowing others to experience the heat of your inner fire, so that they may experience their own, or light it up for the first time.

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