Cleaning for Solstice

I mentioned in my recent post on ancestor work that it’s the season of Vesta.  According to something like Livy’s History of Ancient Rome, the second Roman king after Romulus, a guy by the name of Numa Pompilius, put it into the Sacred Calendar that there were three feasts of Vesta in the first half of June.  At the first festival, the sacred fire was put out (June 7), and the ashes of the fire were gathered up.  At the second festival, Vesta’s Cleansing (June 9), the ashes were carried down to the Tiber river, and the ashes of the old year were dumped, and the vessels washed.  In this way, the detritus of the old year was cleaned away.  On the third day of the festival, Vesta’s Opening —  last Friday, in fact (June 15) — the new fire was laid, and kindled.  The Vestal Virgins would then go through the collections of last wills and testaments, and carry out the instructions of anyone who had died while they had been attending to their annual festivals.

I’ve been busy with the ‘end of the school year’ for literally months. Basically, I came back from DC and never stopped running the whole rest of the year.  The house has gradually fallen into more and more dishevelment (have you ever known a person or place to be in a state of hevelment? Even spell-check thinks it’s wrong), and I’ve finally had enough.  I can’t say that I followed the Roman sacred calendar this year, or even the poetic ‘tradition’ I created for myself a while back, indicated in the links above.  But I did clean the whole house room by room yesterday, after a very busy and very long few weeks.  It feels great to be in a newly-clean house, and the area around the household altar feels especially nice.  I’m looking forward to doing work again very soon.

In particular, it felt great to honor the tradition of Vesta again in my house, and do a thorough cleaning.  Today I’ll light the lamps, and celebrate this festival of light — Saint John’s Day as a freemason and Christian, Summer Solstice as a pagan-friend, and count myself happy to live in a clean house again, with the detritus of the old year swept away.

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