Vesta, the Goddess of Hearth, Fire and Earth. Home turf, indeed. I had imagined the fireplace in my home as the hearth, and would give offerings on the mantle. I realized not long after, that the hearth was in the kitchen. My swanky kitchen with modern stove, moreso than my brick fireplace, is the hearth. It is the center of our home. It is the first place we go in the morning. It's also the first room we enter from outside. When I get in the door, especially when it's cold outside, I'm instantly warmed and grateful to be Home. My offerings to Vesta, and the spirits of my home, now happen in the kitchen.
The position of Vestal Virgin was a sweet deal! The women were picked as children, had all the rights of men, were treated as royalty, lived in a mansion, and after 30 years could retire and marry and have kids. However, retiring meant giving up all of your freedoms. I wonder if any of them did. Some did break their vow and were buried alive for it. One Vestal, who allegedly broke her vow, Rhea Silvia, Gave birth to Romulus and Remus. I suppose if you break your vow with another deity, it doesn't count against you!
In Rome, the home of the Vestals was just reopened to the public after 20 years. I want the sacred flame rekindled. Nice timing on the reopening too, right before midwinter. Brigid's flame was rekindled in Kildare. I want Vesta's flame back!
Here's a fun video with the story on the reopening: