Vesta: Everything Old is New Again

An Ancient Flame for Modern Life

Do you long for the comforting richness of spiritual ritual and expression, but reject the religions around you?

Do you feel that you have a void in your life, one that has you searching for meaning, strength or reassurance?

Do you long for the clarity of intuition, the power of positive habits and the energy of inspiration?

Do you feel instinctively drawn to the “old ways” or to the flicker of a flame?

Do you long for a focus in life, one that you can build your life and home around, and one that can timelessly bind you to those you love?

If so, you’re not alone.

There are many people in today’s world who feel drawn to religious ritual and who long for spiritual expression, but who cannot reconcile their humanist values or intellect with religious doctrine that, indirectly or directly, supports sexism, misogyny, exploitation, violence and which acts like a lead weight on the advancement of science and medicine.

There are many people who long for spiritual focus and ritual that can strengthen their family unit, but who are unwilling to outsource the morality they teach to their children. More and more, these people are looking to the past to enlighten the present.

If this resonates with you, I encourage you to welcome
the Flamma Vesta into your life & home.

vesta statue

A Personal Spirituality: The sacred Flamma Vesta symbolizes the soul and the eternal energy that animates our lives. New Vesta rituals – a few of which are outlined below – cleanse and renew the spirit, allowing individuals to find clarity, happiness and meaning in life, and to discover their own potential. It ignites the power of self-intuition and other natural intuitive abilities to enhance awareness and well-being.

Of course, this is only a snapshot of Vesta. As a tradition that reaches back into distant antiquity, it has a long and fascinating history. I encourage you to read more on this website and in my book series. I also welcome you to reach out to me with any questions or experiences you’d like to share. I believe this simple faith can illuminate modern lives and homes – it certainly did that for me – and I believe it can do the same for you.

A Home Spirituality: Today, as in antiquity, the Flamma Vesta serves as the spiritual focus of the home. The simple rituals – a few of which are outlined below – associated with the new Vesta tradition reinforce family solidarity. They strengthen the family unit and bring greater meaning and devotion to the home, thereby reducing divorce and family breakdown. The presence of Vesta’s flame makes every home a sacred space, within which couples and families thrive.

Ready to ignite Vesta in your life & home? Here are some basics to get you started:

modernlarariumA LARARIUM

A lararium or household shrine can be located anywhere in the home, but traditionally it is located near the entrance to bless the comings and goings of family members and to serve as a visual reminder that home really is where the heart is. Your lararium can be classical or modern, hand-made or manufactured. Some people prefer it to stand out from the home’s décor, while others prefer that it blend into the home’s fashion.

Your lararium should hold mementoes of family members, living and dead, as well as sentimental family items. It may also hold a statue of Vesta or pictures of the Temple of Vesta. Because the ancient temple was dressed in laurel leaves, you may also wish to place greenery, fresh flowers or even a small herb garden that contains a bay plant on your lararium. Be sure to create a lararium that you love and that reflects your style and personality. It should make you happy whenever you look at it, and should remind you of the things that are most important to you.

A FLAMMA VESTA CANDLE 

Vesta is symbolized by a sacred flame. A pure amber beeswax candle that embodies her presence should be placed on your lararium to receive offerings or libations (see below). Authentic Flamma Vesta candles are hand-poured every March 1st for those who wish to have a candle from this lineage. The flame and melted wax can be spread to additional candles, oil lamps, fire pots, etc.

An alternative is to find or hand-pour your own beeswax candle and engrave a “V” into the wax, thereby dedicating it to Vesta; in fact, many who practice this ancient tradition prefer to create their own candles.  Click here to see how Flamma Vesta lineage candles are created and to learn tips for creating your own candles using pure amber beeswax.

OFFERINGSbowlofflour

An offering of loose salted-flour may be made to the Flamma Vesta at meal-time, as well as during prayer and times of reflection. In antiquity, this offering was sprinkled directly into the sacred fire. Although some people still offer directly into the flame, setting the offering in a bowl by your candle provides a cleaner and safer burn (and preserves your candle) as debris cannot build-up. Alternatively, round salted-flour mola salsa wafers can be created by mixing flour, salt and water and baking in the oven for a few moments. These wafers can be passed – cleanly and safely – over the flame as an offering to Vesta.

Pouring oil

LIBATIONS

A libation is simply a liquid offering. The decision of whether to make an offering or a libation is a matter of personal choice. In antiquity, a libation of olive oil, milk or wine was sprinkled into the sacred fire. Although some people still offer a drop of libation directly into the flame, setting the libation in a bowl by your candle provides a safer and cleaner burn (and preserves your candle).

IGNITING ANCIENT INTUITION & AWARENESS

Fire symbolizes eternity, the soul and universal energy. Indeed, fire worship — including the deification of fire and related rituals — is the oldest form of spiritual expression known to humankind. This tradition continues today. A core meditation-type ritual involves burning a Flamma Vesta candle in a dark, silent room and focusing on the amber glow of the flame, the fragrance of the beeswax and the crackling sound of the wooden wick. Hands are placed over the flame, just low enough to feel and absorb the ancient energy of the Flamma Vesta. The purpose of this ritual is to ignite intuition and awareness by illuminating the most primal part of one’s being, while at the same time connecting with the universal energy.

A PERSONAL SYMBOL

A Vestal symbol isn’t just a way to show your faith: it is also a way to feel the presence and power of the Flamma Vesta in your life on a daily basis. Common Vesta symbols are pendants in the shape of a flame or the letter “V.” Original ancient or reproduction Roman jewelry (necklaces, brooches, pendants, bracelets, glass beads, etc.) can also be worn, as can certain gems that symbolize the sacred flame, such as fire opal or Dragon’s Breath.

Women may wish to wear white accessories – from pearls and scarfs to sweaters and handbags– to honor Vesta. Men may wish to wear a ring with fire imagery or the name Vesta engraved on it, or to wear an original ancient or reproduction Roman ring. Wearing ancient-styled jewelry is a testament to the time that Vesta’s flame first burned in the lives of women, men and children.

THE CONSCIOUS USE OF TECHNOLOGY

Remember that “Life” doesn’t need to be plugged in or hooked up to WiFi– although it does at times need to be recharged. Face-to-face interactions, the lost art of conversation and the warmth of laughter between family or friends can recharge the spirit in a way that mindless Internet surfing, constant texting, compulsive email checking, pointless social media updates and TV binge-watching just can’t do. Of course, there is much about technology that is wonderful – it’s a matter of balance. Those who burn the natural Flamma Vesta in their homes are conscious of the ways that technology can cause us to disconnect from those we love – as well as from ourselves.

PIETAS & FAMILY SOLIDARITY

shutterstockpicfamilyblurredThe meal-time and other rituals observed by men, women and children who honor Vesta, goddess of the home and hearth, are ancient ones that have nourished the love and solidarity of couples and family units for millennia. Marital devotion and familial ties are considered to be one’s sacred duty whether one is in a nuclear, blended or extended family situation (this is different from some religions where a “god” comes before family). This sense of sacred devotion – a virtue called pietas in Latin – sustains couples and families through the good times and bad, leading to stability and long-term relationships. A strong sense of family heritage, including the respectful honoring of ancestors, is part of this virtue: it gives families a sense of history, pride and shared identity, which in turn strengthens their “roots.” This element of the Vesta tradition often appeals very strongly to modern men, as well as to those who are estranged from living family members but still wish to connect with their ancestors.

A REVERENCE FOR LIFE

Vesta is a dynamic spirituality that co-exists with other belief and non-belief systems and encourages kindness and respect for all life on Earth. Those who honor Vesta strive to make informed humane food and clothing choices, respecting the inherent value of all life: this builds on Vesta’s ancient roots as a “bloodless” religion.  A peaceful, non-judgmental and intelligent spirituality, Vesta is a humanistic faith that supports such things as gender equality, personal autonomy and reproductive rights, same-sex marriage and the right to die with dignity.  

Planetary symbol for the Vesta 4 asteroid: Note the flame rising from the hearth

While observance of Flamma Vesta rituals can unify a family, the Vestal worldview is opposed to the indoctrination of children into any belief system, including its own.  It rejects superstition and “pseudo-science” while encouraging the advancement of medicine and real science as we strive to improve the lives of those who suffer, and explore and understand our place in the universe.

In keeping with its reverence and wonder for life, the Vesta worldview tends to be more concerned with this life than the next; however, those who honor the Flamma Vesta have varying beliefs about the afterlife. Some do not believe in it all. Others believe in reincarnation. A belief in the Elysian Fields is common: this is a beautiful meadow where loved ones reunite in the afterlife, choosing to either stay or reincarnate.

Want to learn more about the history of Vesta, as well as modern practice and contemporary issues?