Introduction to Vesta

Sacrifice to the Goddess Vesta

Sacrifice to the Goddess Vesta by Sebastiano Ricci

The following essay is an excerpt kindly provided by Eric Francis. You can read more at his daily astrology website at Planet Waves, and in his subscriber service – from which this is featured – at Planet Waves Astrology News.

In 1801, an astronomer discovered an orbiting body for the second time ever: that was Ceres. She was named for the goddess of agriculture. Two other asteroids were discovered soon after, Juno and Pallas.

In 1807, a German astronomer named Olbers discovered an orbiting body (at the time considered a planet), which he invited a colleague to name: that was Vesta. The brightest asteroid, comprising 9% of the mass of the inner belt, Vesta is supposedly visible without a telescope. We may wonder why the ancients, who had more time on their hands and much darker skies at night, did not note her wandering amidst the stars.

Vesta was the last asteroid discovered for 38 years. In 1845, Astraea was discovered, and the following year Neptune arrived. (This page provides a chronology of minor planet discoveries.)

As an astrological factor, I delineate Vesta as the experience of tending the inner hearth of creativity and sexuality. Her primary quality is devotion. She also represents an organizing principle. Think of how old houses were designed around the hearth as the focal point, and how the hearth is the center of the home’s functions. Vesta describes how we organize physical space, and in a similar way, psychic space. If we devote ourselves to tending our creative processes, to tending our inner flame, we have a way to organize consciousness that is then reflected in our values and our expression of life force.

Follow our tutorial to learn where Vesta is located in your chart >>

People with a strong Vesta placement will almost always have an unusual expression of sexuality. By strong placement, I mean making many aspects, conjunct the Sun or Moon, or placed on one of the chart’s angles — such as the ascendant or midheaven. Their relationship lives will ‘just be different’ than the people they know: the typical models of romance don’t quite work, and they will wonder why. Many with this kind of placement will be inclined to think it’s a relationship issue, and feel inadequate; with Vesta, the root of the matter is often how sexuality is processed differently. There is the element of service, and Vesta may be incarnating in her expression as the sacred prostitute.

Sacred prostitution means offering oneself sexually in the service of creation, or the service of the goddess, as you wish, but often another person is the direct beneficiary. This is the kind of erotic sharing that is neither romantic nor casual. It’s not quite a mutual marriage. It’s part of what I call the Third Way. Many people have touched upon this energy, but in my experience relatively few experience it consciously or consistently. Typically, we lack the language and the support systems that make it feasible, and we tend to take everything — and everyone — much too personally.

With a strong Vesta placement, there can also be an element of celibacy: that is, of long gaps in sexual activity, which can be particularly confusing for young women who are accustomed to getting plenty of sexual attention. It helps to hear about Vesta and the particular type of devotion she describes. This will often key in memories of past lives spent as some kind of temple priestess.

You may read other interpretations of Vesta. Martha Lang Wescott, for example, notes the mundane qualities: an obsession with projects instead of people; emotional distancing; hard work and career demands; being impersonal; sublimation of other interests into the career or vocation; sacrifice/denial of self (by others/self) for a ‘greater goal’.

One author I read in The Mountain Astrologer circa 2000 said he noticed intense experiences of shame around Vesta placements, often relating to sex and inappropriate childhood sexual contact. I think all these concepts are valid, and some are rather perceptive, yet what is central to Vesta — and to any planet — is the process that unites all of the seemingly separate definitions.

With Vesta, that process involves the devotion of tending the inner hearth, be it for creativity, healing or service. At the center of our inner space is the fire of the soul that, in the complexities of physical life, rarely seems to burn on its own — it needs to be tended, loved and honored continually, so that it can thrive and flourish. When the flame is tended, the empire of our lives can thrive because there is integrity at the core of who we are, and fidelity to our purpose.

Read this complete essay, which features an explanation of Vesta’s current transit through Scorpio and her conjunction to Venus retrograde.

Yours & truly,




About the Author

Eric FrancisEric Francis is the creator of Planet Waves and author of Book of Blue. He has worked as a professional astrologer and internationally published horoscope columnist since the mid-1990s, specializing in minor planets. He has presented sexuality workshops and written for such publications as the Journal of Bisexuality, Sexuality.org and Loving More magazine. He writes his astrology columns in his fine art photography studio in Kingston, New York.

About Eric Francis

Eric Francis is the creator of Planet Waves and author of Book of Blue. He has worked as a professional astrologer and internationally published horoscope columnist since the mid-1990s, specializing in minor planets. He has presented sexuality workshops and written for such publications as the Journal of Bisexuality, Sexuality.org and Loving More magazine. He writes his astrology columns in his fine art photography studio in Kingston, New York.

Comments

  1. That explains a lot. I have Vesta in Scorpio and can identify with all of that!
    Thanks Eric, for helping me to understand myself.

  2. my vesta is also in scorpio, but doesnt form any aspects.

  3. My Vesta is heavily aspected, Sun, Moon, Mars, Neptune, Pluto…

    Combined with a heavily aspected Venus ( in Aquarius), it all makes sense. My chart just seems like a broken record.

    Thank You,

  4. I have Vesta in Scorpio, trine my Ascendant (pisces), in my 8th House. I have heavy aspects in my 8th house, including my Sun, Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter. there’s not much out there regarding Vesta, frankly. And if she has such an impact on our lives I wonder why this is so. It’s the same with Lilith.

  5. SeduceMySpirit says:

    How do you find your Vesta?

  6. SeduceMySpirit says:

    Never mind! Located it…How does one learn how it is ‘aspected’?

  7. @SeduceMySpirit the bottom of the chart on astro.com has an aspectarian, a grid table. You locate Vesta and then move along the squares. When you see a symbol. you look at the other axis to see which planet Vesta intersects with.

  8. SeduceMySpirit says:

    @ Jeffrey Kishner
    Thanks so much!

  9. My Libra Vesta is sandwiched between Pluto and my Moon in the 5th. This article really nails my relationships!

  10. My mother has vesta conjunct ascendant, and through her i feel this energy.

    the words “At the center of our inner space is the fire of the soul that, in the complexities of physical life, rarely seems to burn on its own — it needs to be tended, loved and honored continually, so that it can thrive and flourish. When the flame is tended, the empire of our lives can thrive because there is integrity at the core of who we are, and fidelity to our purpose.” still give me an itchy feeling, like i am not allowed to tend my own innergarden… freely enjoy.

    My vesta is on my 3rd house cusp, trine my Sun and Moon opposite Lilith.
    I feel this blowing by like a breeze, i understand it but it is not someting that keeps me busy.

    But to admit: i have felt this sacred prostitution, (at one point sex felt like this for me with my 4y relation boyfriend, have experienced it more often. Like it was a way to connect to someone and help them because of that. really weird to ‘say’ that out loud actually.

    ~ keep the flame flaming ~

    This is a wonderful piece to read! thanks

  11. Having just realized I have Vesta conjunct my Sun/Mercury and trine my Moon, I’ve been trying to figure her out. Reading this article I had to stop every three sentences and hit my forehead. This is the missing piece I’ve been looking for–everything from uneven gaps in sexual activity, devotion and healing being my primary erotic interests, earlier experiences with abuse and shame, a strong sense of mission and calling in my creative life. I’m interested in lovers who are collaborators, first and foremost. The project is always what comes first. I’ve tried fumblingly to explain to several lovers how I identify as a temple prostitute, knowing how ridiculous it sounds outside the context of, you know, a temple per se. And as for the keeper of the hearth, I have friends who need a hot bath everyday or a walk in the sunshine. I need fire–woodstove, fire pit, or bonfire. Burning candles will do in a pinch, but the best is a real fire. Times in my life when I can’t build a fire everyday are characterized by longing.

  12. Fireopal09 says:

    CD, I totally get what you are saying. I have Vesta in Virgo conjunct my Virgo ascendant along with a plethora of other aspects. The sacred prostitute is hard to explain to others. LOL! That description definitely resonates with me. The person I am with now I think instinctually understands this without me having to verbalize it.

  13. I have Vesta conjunct my sun in Virgo.I always have been extra picky in food and cleanliness matters and most of all in love matters.I can practice celibacy for extra long periods of time but when I find my ideal person-only two men had this priviledge during my 47 years-I feel totally burned into the flames of love!I’m interested in all kinds of meditation,religious procedures,spiritual renewal methods.I adore candles,incense burning rituals.I have never married and though I am not against marriage,I don’t think the sacred union I pursue,is necessarily reached inside the wedlock.I absolutely believe in the soul’s life after death and respect the souls who yearn to eventually become one with the Supreme Being-or the Creator

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