Vesta Full Moon: From the Inside

Dear Friend and Reader:

Tuesday’s Full Moon in Taurus takes place a small fraction of a degree from the asteroid (4) Vesta. This is a remarkable conjunction, and a peak moment of Vesta’s extended stay in Taurus (which extends from June 10, 2019 through March 21, 2020 — notably, the same day Saturn enters Aquarius).

Asteroid (4) Vesta in natural color, from NASA’s Dawn mission.

Vesta is the fourth-discovered and second most massive asteroid, taking up 9% of the total mass of the main belt. (Ceres is the most massive, taking up about 30% of the total mass.)

The Full Moon’s aspect pattern includes Mors-Somnus in a close conjunction, which asks the question, “Is it sleeping, or is it dead?” There is Achilles (false lack of confidence in women), Lachesis (the allotter, who determined the length of life), and Praamzius (named for a Lithuanian god of the sky, peace and friendship). Mercury retrograde is conjunct the Sun, just past the interior alignment.

Many interesting points are gathering in Taurus at this time in history. They include Uranus, and Lempo (a Nordic fertility and sexuality goddess). There is 1992 QB1/Albion (which I consider to be a manifestation of Vesta). And there is Sedna (with a 11,400-year orbit; named for an Inuit creation goddess, and associated with global warming, and the theme of “nobody is good enough for me”).

There’s no succinct “meaning” to this pattern. We just get some themes to look for, in addition to the time-tested ideas of Vesta itself. These include devotion (whether to work, to a cause/purpose, or to a person). There is the experience of holding space for the healing of others; unusual relationship patterns where Vesta is prominent in the natal chart; and the process of unraveling guilt and shame.

I suggest keeping a pulse on the basic themes in the paragraph above. Vesta is best identified by her life pattern, the most common of which involves relationships where someone prepares people for their next partner or lover, who often turns out to be a major relationship. The Vesta person can experience long phases of not having a partner, and some form of abstinence from sex with partners.

The Devotional Essence of Vesta

I discovered the basic essence of Vesta one cold winter 23 years ago. I had just rented and moved into a house with a wood stove, for the first time. We didn’t have enough money to fill the oil tank. The previous tenants had left us a small woodpile, but it had been out in the rain for as long it had been standing there. But it was all we had to heat with, and we definitely needed to do something.

The Atrium Vestae, the ancient house where the Vestal Virgins lived, Upper Via Sacra, Rome. Photo by Carole Raddato.

It was hard work getting soaked firewood to burn. And it is not efficient; much of the heat of the existing fire is consumed drying out the new wood that is added.

So I began a process of bringing in wood and keeping it by the stove so it had a head start drying out. That was not worth much, but it seemed to help a little.

If the stove went out, it would be hard work getting it going again, so I had an interest in keeping the fire alive. To do this effectively, the fire had to be tended about every four hours at the most. So began an around-the-clock vigil to keep the coals hot and burning — hot enough to ignite soaked firewood.

This turned out to be quite an effort, and a work meditation: day after day, night after night, tending both the wood and the fire, including the bit about making sure I didn’t burn the house down if it went out of control.

Slipping into the Vestal Reality

We used a picnic table brought in from the porch in the kitchen (it was free), where the wood stove was. Late one night after tending the fire, I drifted off into half-sleep laying on the bench. I flashed back into some hologram of the Vestal Virgins: the Roman high priestesses whose job it was to keep the sacred city fire going. I slipped into that reality for a moment, and could feel, in my body, the deep responsibility to keep the fire alive, which was the primary, constant responsibility of the Vestals.

The city fire was a symbol of purity and of purification, maintained by virgins, who were by religious definition pure people.

One of the surviving statues at the Atrium Vestae, Rome. Photo by Carole Raddato.

The priestesses had other responsibilities. These included standing on ceremony at state functions, and the preparation and storage of religious substances made from ingredients like spelt and the dried placentas of sacrificed animals. All the time, they were under threat of death. These priestesses were considered daughters of state. Sexual relationships were therefore “incest” and treasonous, punishable by being buried alive or beaten to death. Others self-immolated.

Two who were accused are reputed to have proven their purity: one named Tuccia, by carrying water in a sieve, and another named Aemilia, by rekindling dead ashes with her garment; that is, by miracle.

From what I have read, there was a pattern to the accusations of incest, of which nine are recorded. They typically happened in times of social strife, or diseases and plagues that afflicted women. In essence, the Vestal Virgins bore tremendous collective responsibility — something to look for in the charts of those with prominent Vesta. And in their supposed purity, they were set up to be scapegoated. At times, there was politics involved: including which faction supported a particular Vestal or who one’s relative was.

Devotion and Private Space

The devotional themes of Vesta are fairly easy to work with. The two I find the most useful and interesting are the role of preparing others for subsequent relationships, and the healing of guilt and shame. These are both space-holding functions, about which our society knows very little right now.

Vesta represents sacred space, which we could define as private, personal space held with a specific purpose. Healing generally happens within a space set up to accommodate it, whether we’re talking about a massage room, an operating theater, a ritual fire, or calling in the four directions.

The person representing Vesta is the holder and preserver of the space. To do this, they temporarily set aside their own needs, and focus on facilitating for someone else, or for a larger purpose. To me, Vesta is synonymous with seva, Sanskrit for “selfless service.”

Healing Shame and Guilt

I could write a chapter about each of these themes. But for now, let’s consider one: what it means to facilitate the unraveling of, and the healing of, guilt and shame. In order to do that, the first step would be to stop projecting those things. They need to stop being seen as positive values; as tools, guilt and shame are used primarily for social control.

The ruins of the ancient Temple of Vesta can be seen in the Forum in Rome. This temple did not contain a central image of the goddess. It was the site of the holy fire and a repository of various sacred artifacts. Photo by Peter Unger.

They are among the toxic remnants of childhood, which tend to strongly shape the worldview of the adult. I cover this in the article How To Be Your Own Lover.

However we might heal guilt and shame, it’s essential to remember that this takes space, time, and avoiding repeat injury. The person in the role of healer must be vigilant over their own mind and feelings.

I wish there were an easy way to explain this process, but there is none that I know of. Fair to say that it starts with asking the right questions, and observing how these emotions manifest for oneself. It has to start with you. There are those in a position to help who have either gone through the necessary undoing, or who just intuitively get it.

Today, our society easily becomes engulfed in accusations of sexual impropriety and impurity, which is about the projection of guilt and shame. It helps not to take part in these things, and to recognize them for what they are.

Perhaps the most easily stated element of healing guilt and shame involves turning toward, rather than away from, the supposed source or topic. That calls for honesty and courage, which are often in short supply.

With love,

My chart for the Taurus Full Moon. Please note the position of Albion/1992 QB1 is 8 Taurus 15.

Daily Birthday Readings from Planet Waves

Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019 (The Day of Metamorphosis)

Significant encounters this year could prove revelatory, and offer opportunities to explore aspects of your own psyche that prepare you to engage relationships on a more profound level. Material likely to arise includes attitudes around sexuality, devotion, spiritual wisdom and commitment. Keep your antennae tuned in this direction; there’s information you’re ready to receive that will open your eyes and expand your world. Initiation into some kind of higher understanding is possible.

Monday, Nov. 11, 2019 (The Day of the Underground)

You make an impact on others simply by being yourself, but your words could pack extra punch this year, so choose them wisely. Your birthday astrology indicates intense focus on communication and relationships, with your mind firing on all cylinders and burning high-octane fuel. Self-expression in all forms is favored, but resist snap judgements, including assumptions about those you know well. Make it a point to bring your keen emotional intelligence to all interactions, and you should be in for an exciting ride.

Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019 (The Day of Sensual Charisma)

This Full Moon birthday describes a culmination of one phase in your evolving approach to relationships. Themes you encounter may include the interplay between self-sufficiency and devotion; identity and commitment. Real opportunities available this year to enhance self-worth and security might somehow tie-in to this process. You’ll need to heed intuitive prompts and then actively pursue those leads, but it will be worth it. Wrapping up old business now clears the path for dynamic breakthroughs ahead.

Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019 (The Day of the Commentator)

You have something important to share, and this is the year to let your voice be heard. Stimulating aspects all over your birthday chart indicate strong currents and open channels to express complex thoughts with surprising ease. Your words may have educational value, or studies may dovetail with writing projects that bring considerable creative satisfaction. This could entail revisiting work done previously that you’re now ready to bring to fruition. Seize the day.

Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 (The Day of the Investigator)

Scorpios are not easily fooled. You’re hard-wired to perceive beneath the surface and feel emotional undercurrents that pass right by less canny observers. Let this instinctual wisdom work for you over the coming year. Your birthday chart indicates a potential for wishful thinking or clouded perception, so keep your eyes open, especially when entering into financial or romantic involvements. Lead with integrity and build your self-worth and security on solid foundations. You can harness these same influences to further creative projects to great effect.

Friday, Nov. 15, 2019 (The Day of the Encounter)

You can tap into channels of higher wisdom this year, and what you perceive may expand your world-view in ways that help focus your visions for the future. Focus on where you want to go and why, and question beliefs that feed oppressive thought patterns. You’re gearing up for a powerful cycle of dynamic action, and integrating emotional and spiritual insights within your reach will clear that path. Gather clues, pay attention to dreams and seek worthy teachers. Inspiration is knocking on your inner door: let it in.

Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 (The Day of the Boss)

You’re on a path of knowledge, and your emotional compass is your best guide along that road. Part of this process involves gaining perspective on aspects of your past, and becoming conscious of limiting concepts that have held you back. This is your dharma in the coming year, and a profoundly creative, healing process. You’re on a quest: the goal is nothing less than liberation from a worldview that no longer fits who you’ve become.

Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019 (The Day of the Bridge)

Ideas you offer this year can have greater impact than you realize. Educational pursuits and achievement have been ongoing themes for a while, and you’ve reached a stage where you might serve in a teaching or nurturing capacity to others in some way. You’re approaching a major breakthrough, so stay on course. Let any emotional challenges or frustrations you may encounter be as dust in the wind. You have too much to gain and too much to give. Trust yourself.

— By Victoria Emory

Monday Morning Horoscope #202 for Nov. 11, 2019 | By Eric Francis Coppolino

Aries (March 20-April 19) — If you need help putting the pieces of a relationship back together, you likely have it available right now. The question is, what are you reassembling, and why? What, exactly, is worth preserving for the future? The current mood of society places way too much emphasis on relationships and not nearly enough on the process of growth and individuation. The cultural lie is that a person is complete when they have a relationship, and nothing much else is worth working for. This deserves consideration from the viewpoint that self-actualization is all that matters. Your primary relationship is to yourself, no matter how much you might identify with another person, or the concept you think binds you to them. It often seems easier to “see yourself in another” than it does to “see yourself in yourself.” If you’re going to reassemble anything, you’re the place to start that process: you, as an independent being with your own needs, desires and abilities to fulfill them.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — The notion of purity is a difficult posture to balance. But it seems to retain popularity despite the fact that it does not really exist, and is psychologically dangerous. Your primary assignment is to allow yourself the space to be who you are. This would include room to grow, change and experiment. We would do better with a concept like “holistic” rather than pure; that means taking the whole into account. Think of yourself as a space you hold open for a certain experience to happen: an empty stage, a blank canvas, a new notebook, a big open table where you can set up any project you want, and then allow something to come through you. You will have a similar effect on others, providing the reminder and potentially the practical or spiritual assistance that facilitates something new. When you’re doing this with or for someone else, stand back, and subtract your needs from the equation as best you can.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Pay special attention to your dreams for the next few days, as you will get some ideas how best to facilitate the choices you are making. It’s true that plenty is up in the air at this point. You’re not sure how you feel about certain important aspects of your life, your work being principal among them. You do not need to make any life-altering decisions now. And you might take a look at your tendency to think every choice you make is about what you are going to do “with the rest of your life” — relationships included. This would be a good time to embrace the transience of existence, along with its experimental quality. The idea there is to sidestep any dramatic notion of changing everything forever. You might honor the ways in which seemingly small decisions can alter your trajectory. Of equal relevance is noticing how you feel is the single greatest factor that determines what you think is real and valid, and what you think lacks relevance.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You are in an excellent position to be of some public service. It’s likely this will happen whether you intend it to or not. Yet because you are being drawn, pushed or otherwise appearing in public consciousness, you need to stand above the usual polarized mess that this tends to become. That means having a thicker skin than you’re accustomed to as a sensitive person, at the same time thinking beyond your own personal needs, opinions and biases. Remain as neutral as you can in any controversy. This will allow you to facilitate an honest discussion, and be seen as an impartial judge. Meanwhile, you have your own private needs to attend to, which I suggest you keep out of the collective realm. While in the end nothing is really private, you are entitled to your own play space where you’re free to explore and experiment without interference from others. Focus on your own preferences. Leave room for what you really want.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — There are times when your professional calling must stand above every other necessity or involvement, and this may be one of them. You will know this is the right thing because it feels good. You can factor money out of the equation; that is beside the point. The idea is to make sure the right thing happens, for the larger purpose you serve. In this, your instincts and your imagination are irreplaceable. Yet above all else is the example that you set. What you say does not come close to what you do as a teaching method, and you can be sure that others are watching your actions for guidance. And as far as that goes, the primary guidance you are offering is commitment. Your concept of devotion, as you are learning it, is rather different from the prevailing norms and expectations of society. The current obsession with “getting ahead” does not seem like it will do much to help. Just keep on doing what needs to be done.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You are entitled to your opinions, though you would be well served not to be too attached to them. Rather, you might think of your point of view as a probe. You have an idea, and then you test it out in some real situation. Does your concept serve you? Does it get a result? Do you learn something new? Keep the process moving. It’s easy to get stuck, or to latch onto a concept without a review process to determine whether it’s really a useful tool. One way to facilitate this is to notice consciously whether and how your perspective includes new material. This might be the response to a circumstance, a person, a development, or additional information. At the moment, there are a lot of people on the planet who are ready to die for their opinion (which could include a belief, including about themselves). Keep the flow of your mind going; allow yourself to be led by curiosity. That would best include sexual curiosity.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — One important question of your life involves mobility. Are you free to go where you want to go, which implies doing what you want to do? What are the ties that bind you? Take a good look at them as you discover them; this will lead you to make some conscious choices about what you want. It seems clear that your commitment to one particular relationship or situation is under real pressure to change, shift or shake itself up. And at the same time, there is something consistent about your involvement that you want to maintain. There is some tension between those two poles, and therein lies the creative potential. If the question were really a choice between staying put and walking away, that might be easier. What is called for, though, is not compromise but rather design innovation — that is, an invention — that gets the whole equation to work for you, and allows you to work for it.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Someone seems willing to offer their support and even their resources. The question is whether you’re in a position to receive what is being held out to you. You may have your own ideas, and seem to be unwilling to give up your agenda for the sake of anyone else. Yet if you look more closely, you may see that you’re not being asked to change much of anything. Everything comes with some conditions, though this situation seems to be relatively free of them. So you may as well have the conversation. This would, however, require you to state your position and your intentions in plain language, and you might not want to do that. You might feel as if it’s too much of a compromise on your individuality. Yet is that really true? If you assert your reality to others, they get to take it or leave it. In any event, there seems to be a conversation you need to have. This will serve the progress of you and of someone close to you.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — There is only so much meticulous planning you want to do, even if a voice in your mind is telling you that you need a precise strategy. The problem with that is your plans cannot encompass all of the potential you have available. By making plans, you are likely to be limiting yourself. It would make more sense to have some general goals, and some principles you want to live by. Then, when an opportunity opens up, you can evaluate it, and decide whether it works for you. Under some circumstances, it makes sense to have a tight game plan and stick to it. And there are some where it makes no sense at all. For example, many tourists have a set agenda and checklist for what they’re going to do when they arrive in a country they’ve never visited — and they stick to it. Yet when you arrive in a new place for the first time, you will discover things you had no idea existed, and never imagined possible. Currently you are in such a place.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — The recent re-entry of the slow-moving centaur planet Pholus into your sign comes with a reminder: most of “the past” you are dealing with is not your personal past, but rather that of your family and your ancestors. It is still your responsibility and in a sense your possession. Yet whether something is actually about you, or about someone else, can help you determine how to address the matter. The bottom line is claiming yourself from the grip of the past. Yet this implies a confrontation with anyone who might try to hold you to something you did not cause, and which did not originate with you. This is not as simple as a financial transaction, such as taking on someone’s debt. Growth and maturity are involved. Understanding what it means to be emotionally and financially independent are also significant factors. Put simply, you have both rights and responsibilities to take possession of..

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Keep your interests close to home these days. Spend a little time inside your four walls, and then make your way out among your friends. Certain career or professional matters seem to be calling for your attention, though this is time for a review more than it is to take action. Review means pondering the events of the past year, and deciding whether there is something you could do better in the future. One central question is about why power is the only thing that seems to matter — whether it’s about your power over someone, or theirs over you. That is a crude way to view the world, and a political framework that will not serve you. You are a social person, and this is more useful than any concept of might and right. Any benefit that comes into your life is going to be offered to you voluntarily. It won’t be about anyone having to do anything. That said, one foundation of success is taking your responsibilities seriously, to yourself and to others.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Your perspective is widening, rather quickly these days. Things you didn’t consider possible are suddenly appearing as potentially viable options. It’s as if some obstruction was moved out of your way and you have a clear view out to the horizon. What is actually happening is that you’re recovering some of your former outlook, and your sense of possibility. So while you’re looking ahead, you’re using resources that have served you well in the past — and you can keep doing that. Take some time and remember what tools and skills you possess. There is another factor propelling you, which is gaining, regaining or recovering your self-respect. An important element of this is what I would call sexual self-esteem. As a Pisces, your sexuality is your most important connection to the wider world and, as it works out, your tap into universal energy. While others would make this topic out to be about power or politics, do not fall for that deception. The pleasure and beauty of experience are not matters of public policy or social justice. They are your personal reality, to experience and share as you wish.

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