In ancient Rome, the keepers of the city’s flame were 6 women, known as the Vestal Virgins. They were of various ages, but every one of them was required to remain a virgin for the entire length of their 30-year service.
Why would a warrior society leave the highest spiritual duties and lavish high status upon a small group of women, when this society considered the status of womankind to be barely above that of a slave?
Vestal Virgins were selected between the ages of 6 and 10. Upon entering the cult, they were required to agree to always remain a virgin for the duration of their service. From the day of their installation, the Vestals wore a wedding dress and an elaborate 7-braid hairstyle to symbolize their marriage to the sacred duty of keeping the flame of Vesta/Hestia, the goddess of the hearth, alive.
The duties were divided into 10-year sections. The first 10 years was spent learning the prayers and practices of the cult. The next 10 years was spent being responsible for the flame and the duties of the sanctuary. The last 10 years was spent teaching the new girls, leading public prayers, and giving advise to those who requested it.
It was believed that to harm a Vestal would jeopardize the wellbeing of the state. Which is why the Romans did not physically harm a Vestal even when she lost her virginity. They buried her alive and unharmed. In this way, they could convince themselves that they did not have the blood of a Vestal Virgin on their conscience. Vestals were also allowed to speak in the Senate and they were given the best seats at all state games and sacrifices.
When we review the Way of Grace or the Path of the Virgin, we see that the flame of Passion is ignited only after the spiritual system or inner sanctum is completely cleansed by the Grace of God. This flame, once kindled, is pure and devoid of ego or desire. It was believed that only a woman was capable of traveling the Way of Grace. So, only a woman could kindle and tend a pure fire that symbolized the Power and Passion of Rome. These women tended the flame of Rome for over 1000 years until the 4th century AD when pagan worship was outlawed and all pagan temples were closed.