Vesta Roman Goddess Of The Hearth  

Posted by Stella Clark

Vesta Roman Goddess Of The Hearth Image
"VESTA" WAS THE ROMAN GODDESS OF THE HEARTH, THE CENTER OF THE HOME AND DOMESTIC HAPPINESS AS WELL AS THE PROTECTOR OF VIRGINAL WOMANHOOD. SHE WAS THE GODDESS OF THE DIVINE RITES. SHE WAS THE EQUIVALENT OF THE GREEK "HESTIA." SHE WAS THE DAUGHTER OF THE FERTILITY GOD, SATURN AND HIS WIFE, "OPS", THE GODDESS OF ABUNDANCE AND WEALTH. HER WORSHIP SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN THE MOST ANCIENT OF THE RITES OF PAGANISM, AND TO HAVE PREVAILED VERY GENERALLY THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. DONKEYS WERE SACRED TO THIS GODDESS.

"VESTA" IS USUALLY DEPICTED AS AN AUSTERE WOMAN, WEARING A LONG DRESS AND WITH HER HEAD COVERED. IN HER LEFT HAND, SHE HOLDS A SCEPTRE. SHE REPRESENTS SHELTER AND THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF LIFE. EVERY ROMAN HOUSEHOLD HAD ITS HEARTH DEDICATED TO THIS GODDESS, AND DOMESTIC RITUALS WERE HELD IN HER HONOR. SHE WAS WORSHIPPED IN PRIVATE HOUSEHOLDS AND EVERY DAY, DURING A MEAL, A SMALL CAKE WAS THROWN ON THE FIRE FOR HER; IT WAS GOOD LUCK IF IT BURNT WITH A CRACKLE.

VESTA'S TEMPLE WAS SERVED BY SIX CHASTE PRIESTESSES CALLED THE VESTAL VIRGINS. THEY ENJOYED PRIVILEGES THAT OTHER ROMAN DID NOT FOR THEY EMBODIED THE CREATIVE POWER OF THE GODDESS PRIOR TO THE FIRST GREAT RITE OF PASSAGE FROM MAIDEN TO MOTHER. THEIR MOST SACRED DUTY WAS TENDING HER SACRED FIRE AND KEEPING IT FOREVER BURNING. THEY WERE CHOSEN FROM PHYSICALLY PERFECT GIRLS WITH TWO LIVING PARENTS, BETWEEN THEIR SIXTH AND TENTH YEARS. EACH WAS SWORN TO THIRTY YEARS OF CHASTITY AND SERVICE TO THE GODDESS, UNDER THREAT OF THE PUNISHMENT OF BEING FLOGGED AND BURIED ALIVE SHOULD THEY FAIL TO MAINTAIN THEIR PURITY FOR THE WELL-BEING OF THE ENTIRE STATE DEPENDED ON THEIR DEVOTION AND SERVICE TO THE GODDESS.

THE CULT OF "VESTA" MOST LIKELY ORIGINATED IN TRIBAL SOCIETY, WHEN A FIRE WAS THE CENTRAL FOCUS OF THE VILLAGE. THIS MAY HAVE BEEN ATTENDED BY WOMEN WHO HAD BEEN CHOSEN AS ITS PRIESTESSES, POSSIBLY THE FORERUNNERS OF THE "VESTAL VIRGINS". BECAUSE "VESTA "SYMBOLIZES THE PURITY OF FIRE, IT IS APPROPRIATE THAT HER PRIESTESSES SHOULD BE VIRGINS.

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This entry was posted on 30 October 2009 at Friday, October 30, 2009 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the .

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