- Vesta 4 - Alex's Asteroid Astrology Alex's Asteroid Astrology Vesta 4 Vesta was the Roman goddess of the hearth and home, personified by the fire of her temple in the Roman Forum, the heart of the ancient city.
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- Only Vesta is regularly bright enough to be seen with the naked eye. The following asteroids can all reach an apparent magnitude brighter than or equal to the +8.3 attained by Saturn 's moon Titan at its brightest, which was discovered 145 years before the first asteroid was found owing to its closeness to the easily observed Saturn.
The asteroid Vesta was the last of the four major asteroids to be discovered, in 1807. The mythology of Vesta (or Greek Hestia) is as follows: one of the sisters of Jupiter and Juno, Vesta chose to remain a virgin and not marry. She was the goddess of the hearth fire, which was of utmost importance in ancient times, connoting hospitality and the basic vitality of the home or city-state, and her astrological symbol is the flame. It is interesting to note that Vesta is the brightest of the four asteroids. Her symbolism also suggests the ?vestal virgin? temple priestesses of the ancient Geek world, and their commitment to no man, but to their own inner flame of service to the goddess. Their service might even be of a sexual nature, but they remained untouched by any sexual intimacy with another person.
In accordance with its mythology, the asteroid Vesta is involved with both the signs Virgo and Scorpio. In the astrology of Vesta in an individual chart, these issues of sexuality and completeness unto oneself predominate. Possible associations are the woman (or man) who chooses not a mate, but as a nun or monk takes on a higher purpose than normal family life, also issues of sexuality and who is ultimately served in the process, self or other. Thus when Vesta is prominent in the chart, there may be issues with purity, singleness and sexuality either by abstinence or by one involving oneself with multiple partners which yet leave the individual untouched by relationship. The placement of Vesta by house and sign also indicate the area of life where these issues may manifest.
This asteroid was the 3rd to be discovered and is 9th in mass ranking (1 Ceres, 2 Pallas, 4 Vesta, 10 Hygiea, 511 Davida, 704 Interamnia, 65 Cybele, 52 Europa are considerably bigger and more massive). In mythology Juno is the Roman equivalent of the Greek Hera. Hera was a very important goddess in both Greek and Roman culture. If and when astronomers name an asteroid or dwarf planet after Discordia she will become part of the family tree of Latin/Roman astrology.To understand how confusing life becomes when some astrologers mix up Greeks and Romans – imagine if we used Greek icons like the asteroid 69230 Hermes instead of (or in addition to) Mercury.
The Sacred Hearth Within
“She was the glowing, warmth-emitting hearth.” – James Hillman (Mythic Figures pg 235)
Vesta Asteroid Astrology Sign
Under the darkest of skies, the red planet Mars shines like an orange-red ruby. The jewel in the heavens, no bigger than a small water droplet held on the tip of a finger at arm’s length has a commanding position near the star Spica, rising in the twilight of the evening. Mars and Spica are in the constellation of the Priestess, but they are not alone. Above it and to the left a bit is the brightest asteroid in the solar system: Vesta
This asteroid wasn’t officially noticed by astronomers until 1807 but it is possible that this asteroid was noticed long before it was spied by a telescope. That is possible because it is the only asteroid we humans can see with the naked eye from Earth, but only for a few scant weeks before, during and after opposition with the Sun.
At first, Vesta, along with Ceres, Juno and Pallas Athena, were thought of as planets. Due to the lack of feminine goddesses in the night sky, the astronomers named them after prominent Roman goddesses. It is interesting to note that Vesta was in the sign of Virgo at the time of its modern-day discovery. Appropriate, since the goddess Vesta is closely associated with the Earth Priestess archetypal sign of Virgo. It was only many years later that it was revealed they were not planets after all, but a new type of planetary body called an asteroid.
Mythology and History of Vesta
The Romans, of course, “borrowed” the Greek pantheon of goddesses and gods and re-named them. Vesta was Hestia in pre-Roman times and was the most honored goddess in the ancient households and communities around ancient Greece and areas of their influence. It is written in Homer’s “The Hymm of Aphrodite” that, “In all temples of the gods she is honored, and among all mortals she is venerated.”
Demetra George’s “Asteroid Goddesses” goes into depth about Vesta and Hestia and how she was, “the goddess of the hearth fire”. Hestia’s roots are deep, being born in the pre-Hellenistic Mediterranean world. James Hillman writes in his essay on Hestia/Vesta (In: Hestia’s Preposition) that the “Hearth in Latin is focus, which can be translated into psychological language as the centering attention that warms to life all that comes within its radius.” (pg 235) This is not in the same way as Apollo the Sun God would warm those around him, but more in a way that provides inner focus around the hearth. Her sole purpose was to care for the sacred flame at the center of the home or community/city. Hestia’s priestesses in the pre-Hellenistic world of the Mediterranean were vestal virgins, not because of any vow of celibacy, but because they were sovereign, women who bucked the tide of the rising patriarchy and were, as Demetra George put it, “whole and complete unto themselves . . .” (pg 121).
The priestesses of Hestia did not commit themselves to marriage, instead devoted themselves to the great mother goddess, tending the fires of the hearth and also voluntarily giving herself sexually to visitors as part of a sacred rite to the goddess.
Hestia evolved to Vesta in the Roman years, moving into virgins who were celibate for certain number of years. After the Roman time, patriarchy continued to transform and take hold of power amongst the genders, placing women into a class below that of men and even fearing them. This fear led to religions in Europe, North Africa and Asia that contorted the goddess Hestia and Vesta, where the priestesses (Nuns) not only had to be celibate but devoted to only one god, nearly completely removing any feminine sovereignty over her own mind, spirit and body.
Fortunately, in today’s world there is a great expansion of knowledge, history and deeper understanding of humanity’s roots. Revolutions appear and help being about a movement of greater balance where all of us can tap into the sovereignty of the feminine or anima.
THE MOVEMENTS AND RHYTHMS OF VESTA
Like all planetary bodies, Vesta has a rhythm and language all its own with connections to the sacred fire that burns within us all. Vesta’s orbit is such where it commonly returns on a person’s birthday at ages 11, 18, 29, 40, 51, 58, 69, 80 and 87. As one can see, the numbers 7, 11 and 29 are the most common numerically (which are also considered Prime Numbers in mathematics). Some of these ages correspond with cycles within the Shamanic Timeline, like big Saturn Returns, the mid-life cycles and the first Nodal Return. Vesta’s role at those times assist a person in unearthing emerging qualities that need to be nurtured and held sacred within our person.
Vesta’s movement has a close connection to the movement of Saturn across the night sky. It takes Vesta 3.6 years to orbit the Sun and 2 of those orbits are equal to ¼ turn of Saturn around the sky and around the astrology chart. And hence they come together often, especially during the first two Saturn Returns in a person’s life at 29-30 and 58-59 years of age. Because of eccentricities in Vesta’s orbit, it can also return at age 11, 18 and 40, 51 and 69 as well, but not as close as Venus does every 8 years.
These returns of the asteroid Vesta allow for a person to realize the sacred within themselves, the organic patterning that is vital in the long-term of health of our being. Vesta is a ‘feminine-esque’ archetype, but it resides for both men and women and applies the same for each gender (as would Jupiter, the Moon or the Sun) in Shamanic Astrology.
An example of how Vesta works in Shamanic Astrology is in my own case. I was born with Vesta in Aquarius at about 13 degrees. When I turned 18, Vesta was just going into (ingressing) the sign of Aquarius. Some months after my 18th birthday and during this Vesta return cycle (and before the Lunar Nodal Return) I had my first real connection with the stars. I saw the entire starfield for the first time in my life and it had an enormous impact in my life. I will note also that Vesta’s natal placement is only 5 degrees from my North Node in Aquarius.
But how does one know the timeframe of a Vesta Return? It begins when Vesta is in opposition to the Sun (similar to Mars) and ends at that time as well. It takes anywhere from 16 to 17 ½ months for Vesta to go from one opposition to the next one. And within that 16 or 17 month timeframe is when a person can go through a Vesta Return. If you are age 11, 18, 29, 40, 51, 58, 69, 80 or 87 and your birthday falls within that range then you are experiencing a Vesta Return. Some of those Vesta may not fall as close as it does on the 29th or 58th birthday, so it may be that we consider them more in the “minor return” category (like age 51’s return).
I have only done in-depth work with this asteroid but have begun an initial look at the asteroid Ceres. It has some interesting return cycles for a person at ages 23 and 46, but Ceres is not visible naked eye. It will be worth examining, just the same on how it fits on the timeline. But Vesta’s initial importance can be seen in every chart that I looked at and for anyone interested in learning what role Vesta plays in their life.
One can think of Vesta like the rhythm of the heart or the pulse of matter within self. Hestia/Vesta gave mortals and immortals alike a place and be in space to feel that rhythm of the home, community and self. In can be summarized as “Sacred Province or Devotion to . . .” The blank part of that is the archetype/sign that Vesta occupies at the time of one’s birth. There are many ways to look up your Vesta sign, but an example for asteroids is: http://www.true-node.com/eph3/#names
Vesta is new to Shamanic Astrology and the most recent edition to this paradigm since Chiron was brought into the fold in the early part of the first decade of this millennium. I brought it forward into Shamanic Astrology after noticing Vesta appearing to come back to its natal position near the time of my client’s Saturn Returns. I had originally been led to believe that the orbits of asteroids were too erratic and not worth seeing their return cycles. But, of course, I know now that is incorrect.
Opposition happens with the Sun on April 13th, only 5 days after Mars’ opposition with the Sun and all in the sign of Libra. I wrote extensively on Libra in my Mars article last week(click here to read about it) so I will mention that Vesta’s presence in Libra is drawing attention to the formulation of relationships going forward. What is sacred about your out relationships? What about with a spouse or partner or even our own “inner other”? Are you honoring yourself in those relationships? Or are you sacrificing more than 50% of your being to be in that relationship?
Furthermore, while not visible for most of its orbit, it is significant enough that we see it with our own eyes to experience something that can’t be experienced with the other asteroids.
As we look up into the night sky and make an intention to find Vesta in the constellation of the Priestess, we may pick up a bit of knowledge or a flake of the wheat shaft she is carrying. We may see something new that adds insight into our lives that the other planets have yet not provided. Human history is written above our heads. All we have to do is gaze and ponder, opening up to what the cosmos can tell us to hear that history and ancient wisdom.
Vesta Asteroid Location
– Erik M Roth, Shamanic Astrologer
Asteroid Goddesses by Demetra George
The Asteroid Ephemeris by Rique Pottenger with Niel F Michelson
Essay on Hestia/Vesta, “In: Hestia’s Preposition” in the book, Mythic Figures by James Hillman