Interview: Sacred Sanctum of Vesta
As part of Occult Heritage Month PENTON interviewed Sacred Sanctum of Vesta, and here is what they had to say.
Tell us about Sacred Sanctum of Vesta’s beginnings.
“In the six years that I was taught and mentored by Mynie Geldenhuys, I learned that to give is one of life’s most amazing gifts and this is the reason SSoV came to be. I want to give back that which was given to me, freely and with unconditional love. To give to those who are in need of Wicca in their lives as well as to impart knowledge to those who know nothing and those who are willing to learn. As well as to provide a structure of advancement for those who wish to be a part of it, and to emphasize and re-establish the importance of tradition and respect within families and the communities.
SSoV was founded in June 2011 and started out with only two members. Myself and Paul Bouwer (Lord Tumbling Eagle) A few months later Charl Fasching (Lord Seren Dreamdragon) and Annie Pienaar (Lady Dara) joined SSoV and our membership rose to four people. SSoV has since undergone many changes, all for the better. There can be no growth without change.”
Why did you choose the name ‘Sacred Sanctum of Vesta’?
“The Roman Goddess Vesta is the keeper of the Sacred Flame of Rome. She is the protector and the mother of hearth and home. She came to me in a meditation and made herself known to me, showing me the people I will teach. Sacred Sanctum is the home and sanctuary for those who wish to learn from us.”
What are the core beliefs of the SSOV and what makes it unique?
“SSoV believes in family and community. We believe that each and every living thing must be respected. Be it humans, animals or plants. It does not matter to us what your background is, what your belief system is, your colour, your bank account, what work you do or where you live. Each and every one that knocks on our door has the right to learn and the right to knowledge. We believe that Wicca should be part of family life, not something that is done just over weekends so we teach and advise how to do this. Our classes and Esbats are organized in such a way that it makes time for family and friends.”
Pagan groups have a habit of expiring as quickly as they spring up; what do you think keeps the SSOV thriving?
“We believe in the freedom of choices. The choices to make decisions according to the journey you are on. Within eclectic Wicca there is space for self-growth, self-exploration and the way to find your own truth and it is very important to us that members of SSoV grow within their own potential and grow fully within their own gifts.
Members of SSoV are not just members but are family. We look out for each other. Like any other Coven, we have our ups and downs, but I can say with certainty that through it all, we persevere and never give up.”
Has the SSOV played a role in the greater Pagan community in SA?
“One of our goals is to enlighten the public of what Wicca is and what we do. We open our doors to the public at Sabbats so they too can celebrate with us and this is also a wonderful way to explain the inner workings of Sacred Circle and the celebrations of the changing seasons. As part of our community service we offer Handfastings, Wiccanings, Requiems and other life celebrations.”
What are some of SSOV’s most significant milestones?
“Since we opened our doors to new Seekers in 2011 we have grown to 15 members. In 2012 we initiated our first First Degrees and in 2013, our second intake took dedication in March 2013. SSoV has also in 2013 become an affiliated group with SAPC.”
What do you have planned for SSOV’s future?
“SSoV would like to become more involved in charity work and working more with the Pagan youth. We would like to see SSoV become one of the most recognized and solid Covens in South Africa, preserving the Old Gods and guiding members on the path of the Wise. We are working to build a greater congruent community for the benefit of all.”
What ideals do you hold for the future of Paganism and other occult-orientated beliefs in SA?
“That there is a unity between all Pagan groups, solitaries and those of other religions. Working together would use much less energy and effort than working against each other vying for first place, status, prestige and the need to be right. As SSoV believes in community and family, we would like to see more people giving understanding, compassion, tolerance and support to those who seek knowledge about themselves and the world of the esoteric.”