By Phoenix of Elder Mountain – Sacred rites are returning to Italy today, which is a very important step of the circle of return of the Goddess, rather than just festivals for communities. The video at the bottom of this article, shows the more meaningful return of the ancient ceremonies of the Fire Goddess Vesta, whose sisters were the eternal hearth fires of Brigid of the Celts, Sehkmet of the Egyptians and Durga of India. Vesta is shown with her three modern Priestesses as they perform the Vestalia Rites which were always held between the 7th and 15th of June each year.
Vesta (Hestia) has an earlier role as leader and goddess with her priestesses and a later role as being married with a consort. She was one of most powerful goddesses deities of the ancient world along with Ceres (Mother) and Hecate (Grandmother) and her mother Asteria. This made Vesta a triple “fire” goddess along with her sisters Juno and Ceres.
Her temples were run by the grandmothers and the Vestal Priestesses were adult women, who served the grandmothers They were also the accountants of Rome who handled all the wealth distributions, but also kept the sacred fire lit for the country as a whole.
Vesta’s sacred flame was not only for the continuation of the goddess cultures and pre-goddess cultures, but later was representational of her sacred marriage with her consort Vulcan. Vulcan was also known as Hephaestus and was son to Zeus and Hera, but again, Vulcan was much older than Zeus. In some stories, he was loyal to both his mother and his wife but as the Greeks gained more power to change women and goddess roles in community, he was changed to destroy women with power and serve the Gods.
His elements were metal and gold. As a powerful god of justice and one who obviously honored women, he had a golden throne within a hidden Springs that would trap any god who would sit in it. Hephaestus is associated with Mycenean Greek, A-pa-i-ti-jo, found at Knossos; an inscription which indirectly attests his worship at that time because it is believed that it reads the theophoric name Haphaistios or Haphaistion.
The name of the god in Greek (Hēphaistos) has a root which can be observed in names of places of Pre-Greek origin, like Phaistos. Hephaestus is given many epithets and the meaning of each epithet is:
Amphigúeis “the lame one” (Ἀμφιγύεις)
Kullopodíōn “the halting” (Κυλλοποδίων)
Khalkeús “coppersmith” (Χαλκεύς)
Klutotékhnēs “renowned artificer” (Κλυτοτέχνης)
Polúmētis “shrewd, crafty” or “of many devices” (Πολύμητις)
Aitnaîos “Aetnaean” (Αἰτναῖος), located below Mount Aetna.
The origin of Vulcan through its many changes, the Roman tradition maintained that he was related to Latin words connected to lightning making him a lightning god (fulgur, fulgere, fulmen), which in turn was thought of as related to flames. This interpretation is supported by Walter William Skeat in his etymological dictionary as meaning lustre.
It has been supposed that his name was not Latin but more related to that of the Cretan god Velchanos, a god of nature and the nether world which by all accounts seems the most probable. Gérard Capdeville finds a continuity between the Cretan Minoan god Velchanos and the Etruscan Velchans. The Minoan god’s identity would be that of a young deity, master of fire and companion of the Great Goddess. I too agree with Gérard that Vulcan, the Roman God is really a Crete and Etruscan god that was from the indigenous (archaic eras) before Greece and Roman politics, concerning the gods and goddesses.
Vesta and Vulcan as Fire God and Goddess, were eventually destroyed by the Roman Emperor Theodosius I (Latin: Flavius Theodosius Augustus; 11 January 347 – 17 January 395) who forbid them to be honored and destroyed all their temples. Theodosius was by birth, a Spaniard and migrated to Rome. He became a Roman Emperor and ruled from 379 ce – 395 ce. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire and held all power in a dictatorship.
On accepting his elevation, he campaigned against both the Goddess and the Goths and others who had invaded the empire. He failed to kill, expel, or entirely subjugate the Goths but was successful at destroying the Goddess Temples. This was also with the help of what Dionysus and his cult had begun 400 years early to break the great circle of women’s mysteries by luring the maiden out of the circle with drugs and dark sex magic.
Hephaestus was associated by Greek colonists in southern Italy with the Volcano gods Adranus (of Mount Etna) and Vulcanus of the Lipari islands. The first-century sage Apollonius of Tyana is said to have observed, “there are many other mountains all over the earth that are on fire, and yet we should never be done with itm if we assigned to them giants and gods like Hephaestus”
Vesta and Vulcan return now in full circle as the end of the patriarch has occurred (2012) and as they both return to their divine side after millenniums of corrupted demonization by the shadow sides of Religion, they bring back balance. They were both from a much earlier time before Saturnalia, but still remained in the heart of the area later known as Rome. She originally was honored under a thatched hut with ‘walls woven from pliant wicker’ as a village and then Vesta’s shrine was re built several times, until its last incarnation in the late republic by which time the Romans replaced the straw with ‘roofs of bronze.’
The shrine of Vesta was always a circular sacred space, even in her building, to emulate the earth, according to Ovid. There was no statue of Vesta in her shrine because she was the spirit of mother earth’s fire. Only in the inner sanctum with the sacred flame that never went out, were there certain archaic sacred objects.
On the final day of the Vestalia, the shrine of the goddess was ritually swept out and cleansed. The resulting ‘scouring’ were carefully collected and deposited in the River Tiber so they would be carried away from the city and out to sea. This cleansing at one time no doubt served a practical purpose but it was also symbolic; of our individual spiritual cleansing, with the resulting impurities removed and neutralized by a fast flowing body of water. Water being the symbol of our emotional bodies connection to our soul.
Mothers and maidens wore white in ancient ceremonies and Grandmothers wore black in ceremony (not funerary) as archeologists would have us all believe. Vesta only had female priestesses and grandmothers as leaders. The female priestesses called the vestal virgins (virgin in its origin meaning of a free woman who could own land and be free of a husband if she chose). The priestesses guarded and protected the sacred flame and this freedom of woman. Some sacred objects were in the temple, until the destruction of the cult of Vesta in 394 ce collapsed by the rising religion of both the Dionysus (pan) and Apollo Cults who were inseparable as deities and rising Christian religions.
Vesta was transformed then, into the form of what is called the Holy Spirit of the Catholics, Hague Sophia and Ceres was rolled in to the Virgin Mary. The grandmother, wise elder leader, was destroyed completely. Eventually men took over the leadership of most of women’s temples by the second century bce all over the Mediterranean including Greece, Macedonia, Turkey and Italy. Grandmother was then completely rejected and replaced by the maiden, and a single male figurehead or God such as Apollo or Dionysus as a spiritual leader who was one main Priest, served by only maidens. Mothers and Grandmothers were by law no longer able to lead spiritually or work in their own temples. These were women’s great Greek and Roman Tragedies.
Once wine, drugs and sex were brought into the previously pure temples of women, the slow demise which led to Christian religions overthrowing of all temples began to happen. Only priests were then allowed to do public ceremony which lead to the total transformation of men leadership of the three male god religions, Christianity, Judaic and Muslim religions. Hindu and Eastern Religions fallowed suit as well. Seven centuries later the submission had gone into abuses and violence against women between the 10th and 15th centuries which would remained status quo until the until the beginning of the 1830s.
Now the true sacred circle of woman has truly returned and for ceremonies to the Goddess Vesta and her consort Vulcan, to be in the open public in Rome, and not in a “festival” format, but ritual format, and this is the only confirmation we need to know, that the sacred circle has been mended and is truly healing, in this part of the world.
A beautiful Vesta ceremony…