Pagan Paths

A blog dedicated to the renewal of the ancient Vesta tradition, the “spiritual focus of the home,” in modern households.

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Vesta: Fresh Starts & the Sacred Flame

Today is a big day.  It marks one of the oldest, most celebrated and sacred events in the ancient Roman world: the date on which the Vestal priestesses renewed Vesta’s sacred fire in the Temple of Vesta in the heart of Rome.  

This event marked the first day of the Roman new year.  Renewing Vesta’s fire was a major civic and religious event, and a beloved tradition that spanned from the earliest days of the Temple in the  8th or 7th century BCE (when it was still a wooden structure, the first in the Forum) to the 4th century CE when the Temple was forcibly closed during a brutal policy of Christianization. 

Then as now, the sacred fire – which symbolized the goddess – represented what was nearest and dearest to the ancients:  their way of life, their homes, their families.  Then as now, fire was also symbolic of life itself.  It begins as a spark, burns, shifts and dances, and then finally goes out.  Or does it? 

After all, embers have a way of smoldering until their flames can burn again and I am so happy to see how the Vesta tradition is once again lighting up homes and hearts.  It has been centuries since the flame has burned as strongly as it now does in the 21st century.  I guess the flame of the goddess, and what she represents to so many people, really is eternal. 

2015 marks the third year in a row that I have spent this important day creating my new Vestal candles (they’re curing as I write).  As the ancient Romans said, tempus fugit.  Time flies.  Wow, isn’t that the truth. 

This has been a meaningful day for me.  I’ve been thinking about the priestess Camilla who first introduced me to Vesta so many years ago and who gave me the candle I now treasure.  I’m sure she has been gone for many years, but I regularly imagine sitting down and having a cup of espresso with her.  And tiramisu.  I’ll bet she loved those.  Today I even found myself having an imaginary conversation with her.  Crazy, hey? 

As I always do on this day, I’ve also been reflecting upon everything the Vesta tradition has brought to my formerly anti-spiritual, know-it-all life.  Clarity.  Gratitude.  Faith.  Happiness.  Curiosity and wonderment. New friends. 

Yet this is above all a day of renewal.  And we all need that from time to time, don’t we?  Even the flames of the great goddess Vesta have had a new beginning after spending too long clinging to life as embers.  The Dark Ages that followed the Temple’s closure saw the violent suppression not just of Vesta, but of so many revered, beautiful and old faiths that are once again springing to new life in the 21st century.

So if you’re struggling with something in your life – health, transition, loss, family issues, memories, regrets, whatever – trying using that imagery as inspiration.  Hope, life and light are always there, even if they must at times hide in the shadows to survive.  It’s time for your new beginning, your fresh start.     

Today, March 1st, I am thinking of all Vesta’s faithful, both past and present.  And whether you follow Vesta or practice fire worship through a name or form that is closer to your heart, I hope this is a day and month of both reflection and renewal for you.    All best, in Vesta.  

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Tagged in: new vesta vesta
Debra Macleod, B.A., LL.B. is a couples and family mediator, a top-selling marriage author-expert and a popular resource for major media in North America. She is the leading proponent of the New Vesta tradition and order. Her New Vesta book series and Add a Spark women's seminars "spread the flame" into modern lives and homes.


  • Greybeard
    Greybeard Monday, 02 March 2015

    Hellenist Pagan rituals are being openly celebrated in Athens. Its time for the Temple of Vesta to be re-opened in Rome.

  • Debra May Macleod
    Debra May Macleod Wednesday, 04 March 2015

    Wouldn't that be wonderful? Thanks for reading :)

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