“I also recall from this period (seven to nine) that I was fond of playing with fire. In our garden there was an old wall built of large blocks of stone, the interstices of which made interesting caves. I used to tend a little fire in one of these caves, with other children helping me; a fire that had to burn forever and therefore had to be constantly maintained by our united efforts, which consisted of gathering the necessary wood. No one but myself was allowed to tend the fire. Others could light other fires in other caves, but these fires were profane and did not concern me. My fire alone was living and had an unmistakable sanctity.” C. G. Jung from his autobiography Memories, Dreams,Reflections.
I found this snippet of information from Jung's autobiography particularly interesting. As soon as I read it, I thought of Vesta. She is the Virgin Goddess of the hearth and is symbolized by the sacred flame. Fire was of utmost importance in Vesta's “time.” In early Rome, the temple of Vesta was the only one to be built with a round shape and covered with a dome to protect the sacred fire from rain. The Vestales (Vestal Virgins) were one of a few full-time clergy positions in Roman religion. They were drawn from the patrician class and had to observe absolute chastity for 30 years. Their job was to maintain the sacred flame. At the time of their appointment they were emancipated from their father's and subsequently swore a vow for the 30 year chastity. If this vow was broken, they were buried alive in the Field of Wickedness. They were not to show excessive personal care, but rather focus on the keeping the sacred flame alive.
In the home, Vesta's importance became even stronger, particularly to women of the household. The heath is where food was prepared. Offerings would be thrown into the fire to seek the future from observing the manner in which it burned. The word “focus” is from the Latin for “hearth” and that draws forth Vesta's importance in our individual charts.
Jung had Vesta conjunct Sun in Leo sitting right on his descendant (Sun in 7th house with Vesta on the other side of his DC in the 6th house). Sun conjunct any heavenly body brings that body's qualities into our own personal identity. His focus and dedication to the fires he created as a child echoes this. The statements, “No one but myself was allowed to tend the fire” and “My fire alone was living and had an unmistakable sanctity” show that part of his identity was Vesta.
Even with Vesta barely in the 6th, it was connected to his 7th house sun. When this “ritual of childhood” began (age 7 in 1882) Vesta would have been transiting his 7th house stellium (Vesta, Sun, Pallas, Juno, Uranus and Ceres) in Leo and passing into Virgo. When he concludes this ritual (age 9) Vesta would have moved all the way to Aquarius passing through Jung's 1st house and opposing that Leo stellium. Not only was this representative of Vesta herself but also of Jung discovering and expressing a part of his own identity.
Identity was at the fore for Jung at the time as he speaks of a large rock that sat outside his “cave.” On the same page (and in future chapters) he discusses how he would perch on the rock for extended periods of time and become confused saying to himself, “I am sitting on top of this stone and it is underneath.” But, after being there for an extended period of time, that statement would change to, “Am I the one who is sitting on the stone, or am I the stone on which he is sitting.” In these early searches for his identity, he was finding it.
Vesta in our charts does represent focus. She is currently in Libra and Jung expresses Vesta's transit through his 7th house (Libra ruled) with the statement “I used to tend a little fire in one of these caves, with other children helping me; a fire that had to burn forever and therefore had to be constantly maintained by our united efforts, which consisted of gathering the necessary wood.” He enlisted partners to help him maintain focus even though he realized that it was his sole responsibility to directly tend to the flame. Vesta through Libra calls for us to do just that. It also calls for a focus upon partnership in general.
It's a circling of the wagons, so to speak. A collaborative focus upon relationships and partnerships in which we work together collectively to maintain a common flame. Libra (and her principles) has become a focus to us at any rate in the recent past with the “battle of the Gods” that is Uranus in Aries, Pluto in Capricorn and Jupiter in Cancer. This t-square of planets has a release valve that purges in Libra affecting our primary relationships and bringing them quickly to the forefront when faster moving bodies (Sun, Moon, Venus, Mars) transits through Libra entering the square. It only makes sense that Vesta would be there now heralding Mars' extended stay in Libra through the end of 2013 into the Spring of 2014. She reinforces the fact that we do, indeed, need one another and should have a type of dedication to or, at the very least, acknowledgment of how our actions affect others and how the actions of others affect ourselves. And, this is “others” in the form of either friend or foe.
On a personal level, she is the place where we find ourselves dedicated and focused upon our personal sacred flame. It is where we find divine inspiration and how we protect such.
My Vesta is in the 4th house conjunct Saturn in Gemini. I am dedicated to protecting my home and family. I'm also focused upon learning and communicating. It is part of my identity as well since both make a nice tight trine with my Sun in Libra. Where do find your focus gifted from Vesta? Do you find that personal planets connected to your Sun speak of a certain part of your identity?