You’ve heard the phrase ‘Vestal virgin,’ and you’ve probably always wondered what it meant, right? Well, wonder no more. The phrase derives from Vesta, the Roman Goddess of the Hearth and Keeper of the Sacred Flame.

Vestal Virgins (of whom our Vesta was one) were workers in the sacred temples. They were called virgins not because they lacked sexual experience, but because they were dependent upon no one: The temple provided for them.

As you might suspect, a temple worker was dedicated to a life of purity, devotion and commitment to a single purpose. Sexual rites were indeed part of the temple rituals -- when a soldier returned from war, say, and stopped by the temple for purification before returning to the bosom of his family.

This archetype of sacred sex can become important for persons with Vesta prominent in their charts. There can be great awareness of the mystical, spiritual aspect of the sacred sexual act, which is forgotten or judged harshly by the general populace.

Perhaps more important was Vesta’s role as the Keeper of the Hearth. It was common in ancient times to have a family hearth that was dedicated to Vesta, and each community had a shrine to Vesta in the central public courtyard. This practice speaks to the crucial importance of fire, the flame and the hearth as the center of civilized life. Vesta represents nothing less than the cohesion of family and state.