Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Beltane Goddess: Aphrodite: The Once And Future Goddess
Happy Beltane! It's the lusty month of May so I chose Aphrodite as our Beltane Goddess. Here's something about her from my book, Wisdom's Daughters: How Women Can Change the World.
APHRODITE: THE ONCE AND FUTURE GODDESS
Aphrodite the earth-born Kore is also sea born, as becomes an island Queen, but more than any other goddess she becomes Ourania, the Heavenly One. . . She is the only goddess who in passing to the upper air yet kept life and reality. . . .As man advanced in knowledge and in control over nature, the mystery and the godhead of things natural faded into science. Only the mystery of life, and love that begets life, remained, intimately realized and utterly unexplained; hence Aphrodite keeps her godhead to the end.
Aphrodite of the Greeks, Venus of the Romans, is one of the most vibrant archetypal images of the Goddess that has come down to us from antiquity; the aspect of the ancient Goddess that was never totally forgotten, the form of the Goddess written about and romanticized down through the ages until She truly embodied 'the mystery of life, and love that begets life'. Aphrodite is the Goddess who combines the spiritual and natural worlds, spirit and body. She does this through Her essence, which is Love. She embodies the energy of connection, for She brings everything into relationship, from electrons to people. She is the Goddess of Love, the love that is rooted in the body and which is playful, sensual, and erotic. As Goddess of Sexuality, she engenders all physically passionate love: non-marital and marital, heterosexual and homosexual. As Goddess of Beauty, she connects us to Truth. As Goddess of Wholeness, she drives our individuation and awakens Psyche within us.
As an aspect of Lady Wisdom, she is Aphrodite Ourania, Queen of Heaven, who was in the Beginning and who created all the worlds. She is that spiritual Love we call compassion, the love which unites us in our humanity and makes us all One. She is the Wisdom that teaches us greater consciousness, as we will see in her role as Psyche’s initiator. Her energies fill us with longing to connect with ourselves, with others, and to create Life!
Aphrodite is the Goddess of Beauty, not just physical beauty but the beauty of life itself. She is the love of Beauty which makes great art and music for the healing of our wounded spirits, for She is Love as a creative, cosmic force.
Aphrodite's beauty is this kind of divine beauty: it is a golden, laughter-loving beauty which engenders a warm, life-giving relatedness. It is a beauty which is inherently graceful and enrapturing. "It is the warmth and truth of passion that shine through Aphrodite's nature, as sunlit gold shines through her whole appearance."6 It is the truth of Her passion that is the 'healing of the passion of matter'. We women are so passionate about who and what we love! And yet we often equate passion with ‘too muchness’ in our society.
We women need to stop fearing that ‘the warmth and truth of [our] passion’ is wrong. There is a great strength in the purity of our passion, like the image of the Tarot card called Strength, where a woman gently closes the mouth of a lion. Our feminine strength lies in taming the lion of our passions rather than in killing it, as male heroes do, such as Hercules, who kills the lion and wears its skin as his own. These male myths indicate that it is men who feel they must overcome and kill these passions, not women. Women have a different path, for the ancient goddesses, such as Cybele and Astarte, rode on lions – they rode and channeled their passions.
The Greeks came to regard the ideal form of Aphrodite’s divinity in the beauty of Her naked body, for ancient statues of Her show Her either about to undress - revealing Her mystery - or already undressed. If these forms express Her essence, then it is the realm of body that reveals Her mystery. There is a radiant charm in Her loveliness which draws us into relationship, because the truth of Her Being is embodied. As the archetypal essence of love and sexuality, Her heavenly nature clothes Her instinctual, earthy nature, thereby uniting both realms in harmony. She asks us to love our bodies, knowing that they are truly the temple of Spirit here on Earth.