A Book Recommendation: The New Vesta Secret

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A Book Recommendation: The New Vesta Secret

Postby Gaius Florius Aetius » Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:43 am

I just finished reading the book "The New Vesta Secret" by Debra May MacLeod, and since I found reading it very enlightening (no pun intended) I thought to share some insights from reading it.

Now the book is almost entirely a biographical story of the author, how she came from an atheist student over time to grow more and more into the Roman Religion, specifically the Vestal idea. Now the main point why I highly recommend this book for everyone here to read is, it shows very well on what sort of road people come to Polytheism and/or "Indigenous" Religion, and I found the lesson extremely valuable. When someone is a Priest and "Pagan" for so many years as I am (Asatru for 30 years, prior to becoming a Cultor), then it becomes often difficult to put yourself in the perspective of a person, who is still on the way.

All too often I have seen Cultors and Roman Sacerdoti, when meeting "noobs" hand them expert advise, long lists of rules and complex details. And while this is surely meant well, I assume we who walk a priestly path or expert path a long time, have at some point a great difficulty to grasp how processual the adaptation of a Pagan religion in modern time is. (I use the term Pagan to indicate the common ground with European indigenous religions.) This book describes the entire journey, the inner motivations and changes over time in a very detailled and sensible manner. In German we have the saying "Menschen da abholen, wo sie sind" - picking people up, where they are. The author describes how she grows into her practice very slowly. First, by just adapting the Candle and lighting it at Vesta Day. And from there she gradually grows into her approach of the Vestal idea, ever more elaborate.

I think it is a book from which we can learn a lot, because in the three decades I am a Pagan/Polytheist, the overwhelming number of people that came to Paganism/Polytheism were similar. They did not want a read 24/7/365 all encompassing system of rituals from day one dropped at their feet. They wanted to gradually grow into a way. As Sacerdotes it is, as I think, not only our duty towards Gods, but also towards our fellow men and women, to build a bridge between the two, picking people up where they are in their individual journey. The author makes a really charming approach how to recreate a Sacred Idea, that of the Flamma Vesta, in modern life. It is an ecouraging story that give me hope, showing how a Religion is integrated into the daily life and restored as part of your individual personality of a modern day person.
Advice is judged by results, not by intentions.

- Cicero
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Gaius Florius Aetius
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