Creating a modern Vestalia

I have decided to observe Vestalia this year. As it lasts for nine days, this will give me a good opportunity to figure out how to convert an ancient Roman festival into something one modern American can manage on her own.

I started simply today, lighting a candle to honor Vesta. Holiday though this is, I was planning to go to work and I didn’t want to just cram in a bit of celebration after I got home. A real candle—anything involving open flame—was out of the question, so I used another one of those battery-powered tea lights. I wasn’t sure how well this was going to work. How would it feel to try to honor a goddess of hearth and home in a cubicle at work? Would an ersatz candle just be too fake to take seriously?

To my delight, this arrangement worked out really well. Whenever I caught a glimpse of my little hearth fire, it reminded me of home in a warm, cozy way. On the practical side, I could walk away from my desk indefinitely and leave the candle “burning” unattended. It was a bit of a perk to come back to my desk and find the little fire waiting for me, plus, leaving a fire burning continually is reminiscent of the original Roman practices. It was also small enough to be discreet; if anyone noticed it when they stopped by my desk, they didn’t say anything (something to remember in case I ever work somewhere that is less Pagan-tolerant than my current situation).

Happy Vestalia!

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