Driven Towards the Sacred: Vesta (Part Two)

Please read Part One of this piece HERE.

Vesta’s no-gray-areas approach applies to any planet it touches, but especially when Hearth Firealigned with the relationship planets. Vesta has a habit of cyclical withdrawal; we will pull back in order to meditate on what it is that really matters, what it is that she wants from us. We use the word ‘focus’ all the time now, but that word, drawn from the Latin ‘foci’ for ‘hearth,’ was actually first introduced into the lexicon by astrologer and astronomer Johannes Kepler in 1604 (he who gave us the extended aspects, amongst other things). It has grown in meaning over the years, taking on the concepts of clarity and concentration, but as it was first introduced it meant, “any central point.” When Vesta is awakened, what she pays attention to what is central to our lives, or should be. And in order to provide the proper focus, we need to withdraw for a time from the distractions of the world.

Those who have Vesta conjunct a relationship planet, natally, will have a need to pull back from time to time. These are not folks who have a frivolous attitude to relationship. Mostly, they would rather do without than cope with the stresses and distractions of unsuitable partnership, and they can often fall into a habit of retreat, tending the sacred flames of the idea or concept of relationship without getting their toes dirty in the always muddy water of human interaction. Far from being virginal and/or uninterested in partnership, the importance of relationship can become so exaggerated that it can dominate and hijack the whole psychological mechanism of relating. We can become the kind of person for whom relationship becomes so heavy with meaning that we give up pursuing a ‘real’ relationship completely, preferring to keep the dream of partnership alive.

On the other hand, it’s possible that Vesta in line with the relationship planets was meant to have those ‘alone’ times in order to alter and correct other relationship dynamics in the chart. Vesta can often be the saving grace in a chart that is unbalanced. It can cause us to withdraw and teach us where we need to readjust our behaviour. The asteroids provide details to the action of the main planets, and don’t carry as much weight in and of themselves, but sometimes those details are just the thing we need to hear. A chart that is too obviously Libran, for example, with a load of planets in the 7th, or sacrificial Neptune in key places, is often ‘saved’ by having Vesta in something independent like Aries or Sag, or in tight aspect to a key planet like Saturn. The intensity of Vesta can go a long way, when it’s activated, to correct an imbalance inherent in the natal. Vesta by progression will throw us into periods that are marked by their inward focus and the lack of need to interact with the world at large.

However, when taken to extremes, or when prominently placed by progression or transit, Vesta can also go a little haywire. When Vesta really runs amok, it shuts the windows, locks the doors and throws the keys away. Sometimes, when Vesta is having an ‘off’ day, she doesn’t want to be touched, and anyone who tries to get in there will be shut out for a long time, if not for good. To Vesta, any invasion of this inner core, at the wrong time, will feel like rape. If you want to really offend someone so that they oust you from their lives, try and violate their Vesta. Tell them that what they cherish and find sacred doesn’t matter. Tell them they’re wasting their lives pursuing something that will never happen. Tell them that you think they hold dear is all nonsense. Then tell me how far you got before you got tossed out. Vesta in synastry is tricky, because on some days that contact with Vesta is going to feel fantastic–the intimacy, the devotion, the feeling of being a member of an exclusive club for two. On other days you will not be allowed in. Vesta has levels of intimacy that get peeled away with maturity. But a young Vesta may not allow you in to the sacred spaces until much time has been spent together and trust has been built. Or she may not let you in at all. Vesta is often the place where things are so sacred that we dare not speak of them at all, even to our significant others. A test of intimacy is often, “How much of your Vesta are you willing to show me?” Again, if you try to violate the boundaries, you will be shut out and down.

When Vesta is involved with the relationship planets, it raises the bar. Only the serious and the well-intended, the purest of heart, need apply. When Vesta is tied to Mars, sexual partnership is a priority, and the choices of partner for that person may be more black and white than they are for others. Again, a touch of the absolute. The Vesta/Mars person may not incline towards a partner for years, then know, instantly, when the one arrives who is meant to take them further down the path. Vesta/Venus, as he or she matures, knows that love, in both the greater and the lesser sense, is sacred, and that it is also a connecting power, one that must be wielded wisely. Vesta/Moon gives honour to the sense of belonging, and to the day to day familiarity we share with those we love. Vesta/Moon puts great store by emotional honesty and will not tolerate a relationship that does not allow this. Vesta/Saturn will have a strong sense of what he or she will need to accomplish within this lifetime, but will also have a sense of responsibility towards others that will lean towards the devotional. Vesta in contact with any relationship planet, or with the Descendant, will incline towards sacred sex, because the deep intimacy of relationship is a necessity, and the exchange of sexual energy is a holy ritual. But I say ‘incline,’ because these drives are easily thwarted by fear and avoidance, (those shut doors again) and the acknowledgement of the need for intimacy depends on Vesta’s placement in the chart. In order to grasp the asteroids, we need a mature handle on the world; if we are not ready, they are easily avoided and turned aside.

Where Vesta resides, we must allow the other person to see what we hold most dear, and that is often where we are the most vulnerable. If Vesta is strong and willing to share, it can add a beautiful dimension to a relationship. Vesta can be the key to the kind of devotional bond that many of us crave. Often, the planet person honours the Vesta person by becoming the ‘keeper at the gate.’ The unacknowledged promise is, “I love what you love; therefore I will honor it by protecting it. Mars/Vesta, in particular, or Saturn/Vesta enjoys taking on this role, especially once they have given up trying to invade the deepest parts of the fortress (Vesta will always try to keep a little part of herself to herself). Venus to Vesta will share in devotion and are naturally drawn together by shared values and tastes. Moon/Vesta, with its fourth house connotation, is a natural partnership which honours the space we occupy. In all of these cases Vesta adds the extra dimension of a sacred and inviolable understanding. If, for some reason, any Vesta partnership of planets is violated or betrayed, the end is final and often dramatic. Again, all this depends on how strongly Vesta is placed in the natal chart. For some, Vesta will be a key to life choices. For others, less fortunate, less honourable, her secrets will remain a mystery.

Commonly, we refer to choosing what the heart wants, over what the heads tell us to do. Vesta has a lot to do with understanding the heart. With Vesta, the only fire that exists is the one in the deep, rich resources of the soul. Learning how to tend to this fire gently, with care and intelligence and grace, is a lifelong challenge worthy of only the most devoted.

Some Prominent Vestas:

Grace Kelly: the cool, contained, perfect blonde, had Vesta on the MC in regal Leo, squaring the Nodes; ice on the outside, fires within.

Hugh Hefner: Has Vesta on the MC; the real fire here is ambition.

Albert Einstein: Vesta on the Asc. Einstein stuck to his guns many times over the years when he was challenged about his theories, certain he was right (sometimes not having the math to prove it). His unalterable belief in himself saw him through.

Katharine Hepburn: Vesta in the 7th, conjunct her Sun. Her tireless and willing support of a chronically drunk and abusive Spencer Tracy until the end of his days is legendary. If anyone ever wondered how an early-liberated Kate could put up with all that, look no further.

Bruce Springsteen: Conjunct the Desc, in visionary Sag. His championing of ‘other,’ of the down and out and those who need a voice, is astrologically genuine.

Stephen Sondheim: also on the Desc, in creative Leo. Sondheim often ponders the survival of relationships in the modern world.

George Harrison: the ‘quiet Beatle,’ conjunct Venus in the fifth.

Some might be amused to know that Patricia Routledge, who plays the fanatically proper Hyacinth Bucket for the British/PBS comedy, “Keeping Up Appearances”, has hers in late Aries in the sixth.

Laurence Olivier, conjunct Mercury in Taurus, in the 12th, allowing him to tap into the universal and embody multitudes. .

Emily Dickinson, reclusive poet, has Vesta conjunct both Pluto and Mars in the fifth.

William Blake, poet, visionary and mythologist, had a wide Saturn/Vesta conjunction in the eighth house opposite a Mars/Neptune conjunction in the second. Without Vesta, you might never understand how Blake was driven to share the visions and insights of his 5th house, Sun/Jupiter conjunction in Sag.

Buddy Holly: Uxorious Virgo, musician, workaholic, in the 6th, on the Desc.


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