Feeding The Sacred Flame Within

As we begin the chapter of 2023 within our lives I find myself profoundly reflecting upon the asteroid Vesta.  One of four asteroid goddesses and a feminine archetype of the hearth, Vesta is not so much the goddess in charge of the hearth as she is the fire itself.  On a certain level she is the keeper of what is sacred to our life force.  Where she lies within our chart illuminates that inescapable urge to do something because you can’t possibly think of doing anything else with your life, though in our rational “adulting” we often try to ignore it because it feels so very risky.  

But this very thing that feels so laden with potential peril and uncertainly is also the very thing that makes life worth living. 

This week in my Artist’s Way group participants were asked to name their dream.  This is almost always somewhat fraught for them because it seems so very audacious. And it seems audacious because usually we have been shamed about our dreams and desires and there is no more insidious and imprisoning emotion than shame.  

Shame tells us that things are “unrealistic” or “irresponsible.”  And the truth is we live in a very shame based culture. We are literally stewing in it all of the time. We are ashamed about our sexuality, we are shamed about our desirability particularly after a certain age. And if we have a dream that falls outside of what our families, friends and culture deem realistic or safe we are often asked if we have thought something through with a well placed doubt by one of  our nearest and dearest who simply “have our best interests” at heart.  

The only cure for shame is love. 

My background is in theatre and film. From the beginning of taking more serious acting classes we were immersed in how impossible the industry was to succeed in.  It always astonishes me to hear very successful people within the industry repeat how hard and impossible it was discouraging any one from even imagining that they might be invited to enter the sacred gate. In some of the opening scenes from the iconic movie Fame, which takes place at the New York High School for the Performing Arts, we move from classroom to classroom hearing the instructors say “Dance is the hardest profession in the world,”  "Acting is the hardest profession in the world,” “Music is the hardest profession in the world”…

This really could be applied towards any profession…I mean seriously how many aspiring doctors don’t get into Medical School each year?  How many stockbrokers actually become the Wolf of Wall Street?  

The subtitle of The Artist’s Way is A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.  At its core the workshop isn’t about teaching you to write of sing or dance, it is actually about relearning how to listen to your inner voice  and redevelop a relationship of trust with yourself. Which of course leads to a different relationship to your creativity.  Which brings me back to Vesta.

Vesta is that inner voice that drives us towards what really matters.  She is the guardian of the sacred flame within and takes her job seriously.  When Vesta whispers, even the softest whisper, you have to listen, because she will haunt you until you do.

Our job is to feed the flame, which means  we must attend to the needs of our soul.  The etymological roots of the word attend come directly from Latin attendere "give heed to," literally "to stretch toward.  

We must stretch towards ourselves.  We must love, as a verb, the inexplicable call of our soul.  That’s what Vesta tends. 

That’s our purpose, which is a question I often receive; “What’s my purpose?”  Personally, through experience, I have come to realize that our purpose is ever unfolding and whatever draws our attention, what we really love carries the answer.  As the poet Rumi said, “Let yourself be silently drawn to the greater pull of what you really love.”

We feed the flame when we make choices that enlarge us rather than diminish our sense of self. We feed the flame when we feel gratitude for the flame itself.   When we honor the flame within our experience of life opens.  It will still be messy and complex, that’s life.  It is a grand adventure after all, a hero’s journey.  In the words of  Joseph Campbell “The journey of the hero is about the courage to seek the depths; the image of creative rebirth; the eternal cycle of change within us; the uncanny discovery that the seeker is the mystery which the seeker seeks to know.”

So as we enter 2023 let us feed our inner flame, our Vesta, and waste our lives on fear no more. 

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