Today is a holiday observed by some in the Pagan community called Vesta’s Opening. Vesta, in simplistic terms was the Roman goddess of the hearth. Vesta’s name roughly translates to “torch,” and she was thought of as “Keeper of the Flame.” If you ever use or hear the phrase, “keep those home fires burning,” you can thank Vesta for that.
Vesta usually appeals to women, as a symbol of domestic empowerment. Me, having a deep connection to my feminine side (there’s no explaining it, I just always have), have a great fondness for Vesta. Actually, my greatest connection is with Hestia, who was the Greek incarnation of the Goddess of the Hearth. I tend to default to the Greek gods and goddesses.
I am in charge of our home. I do the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and most of the home chores. I enjoy doing it, always have, and my wife is delighted about it, as she absolutely hates doing those things. So I’ve always felt an affinity for Hestia.
The Roman version of Hestia, who was Vesta, had her scope of influence widened by the Romans. Not only was she thought of as Keeper of the Flame at home, but they made her a goddess of the community and public fires.
I bring all this up because today my calendar informed me was Vesta’s Opening. In ancient Rome, the Feast of Vesta began on June 7th. On June 9th the Vestal virgins opened the holy sanctuary so women who baked goods could come into the temple and give the baked goods, usually bread, as offerings to Vesta. After 8 days, the temple was closed, it was cleaned, and the temple then reopened.
On the 15th, donkeys (Vesta’s sacred animal) were decorated with wreaths as part of the temple opening celebrations. Thus today’s incarnation of Vesta’s Opening.
So today, if you feel so moved, give thanks to Vesta for your home and hearth. Perhaps light a candle in the kitchen in her honor, and even give that ritual a try later this month.