Mistress of the Maiden’s Sensual Allure
Eternal Venus of Beauty & Grace
Dancer in the Light, of every Woman’s Eye
The Maiden Who lives within Mother & Crone
Feminine Sensuality Eternally Re-born in Woman
— © Invocation to Aphrodite, by Abby Willowroot
As we celebrate the Spring and the Maiden aspect of the Goddess, we honor Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty. Her origins, being brought forth from the sea, are thought to be as a result of when Uranus was castrated by His children, the Titans. As His genitals fell into the sea, the last of His seed impregnated the ocean, and gave birth to the beautiful Aphrodite who rode in on a mussel shell, to be greeted by the Kharites (Graces).
She was given in marriage to the ugly and deformed God of the Forge, Hephaestus, so no one could really blame Her for the many love affairs She enjoyed. In fact, She was never a pawn in the many ongoing Olympian intrigues. Her favor among the Olympians was proven when Her jealous husband managed to literally ensnare Her in flagrante delicto with a golden net He had made. He brought Her, still captured with Her lover, Ares, before the Goddesses and Gods of Olympus so that they could pass their stern judgment on Her. Instead, they chided Hephaestus for being silly and overreacting.
She successfully balanced the interconnectedness of the Olympian pantheon, Her relationships with Her many lovers, and Her own individual identity. She was never ashamed of Her body, Her hungers, or Her sensuality. Her openness, kindness, and lack of deception endeared Her to men and women alike.
Often known as “The Golden One,” She was worshipped with gifts and ornaments of gold, which, like Her eternal youth and beauty, never tarnishes. Doves and lovebirds were also often associated with Her because of their gentle natures. She is a Goddess of flowers, as well.
Aphrodite reminds us that honest, heartfelt love is not diminished or changed by the numbers to whom it is deeply given. She embodies the link between sexuality and spirituality.
Later classical Greek philosophy had a big problem with this, for during this time spirituality was being divided from the physical, even as women’s roles were being diminished and subjugated to patriarchal systems. In fact, Goddess scholar Patricia Monagham tells us that “She remained so problematic that Plato distinguished Her by two titles: Urania, who ruled spiritualized (platonic, if you will) love; and Aphrodite Pandemos, the Aphrodite of the commoners, who retained Her original character in debased form.
“In this form She was called Porne, the ‘titillator.’ ”
But Aphrodite, in Her greater, original form, reminds us that our bodies are holy, and that our sexuality is a great gift of the Divine within us. After tomorrow’s discussion of the Tarot Card of the Week, I’ll return to this discussion, and suggest some ways we can incorporate this lovely Goddess’ presence in our lives.