Most people know of Aphrodite as the goddess of love. She is that, but she’s also much more. She is the mistress of all kinds of love and passion – passion for art, a special interest, friendship, romantic love, and self-love.
The earliest myth of the birth of Aphrodite comes from Hesiod. Ouranos (Heaven) forbid his offspring with Gaia (Earth) to see light, the space between Heaven and Earth. One night when Heaven lay with Earth, their son, Chronos (Time), harvested Heaven’s genitals and threw them into the stormy sea. From this immortal flesh mixed with sea foam, rose the beautiful Aphrodite who inspired love in everyone and everything that came into her presence.
Aphrodite’s innocence – her virginity – was renewed on an annual basis. At her temple on Crete, her priestesses carried her statue into the sea for a ritual bathing. This act was a re-creation and restoration of Aphrodite’s virginity by the Graces. Once she was caught by her husband, Hephaestus, making love with her lover, Ares, God of War, and he humiliated her before the other gods. Aphrodite fled to Crete where the Graces washed and anointed her with ambrosial oil, restoring the goddess to her original state of purity and virginity.
This return to innocence is one of Aphrodite’s many gifts to you. Yes, you can be restored from the wounds of heartbreak, regret, guilt, and shame. Your past does not need to be your present. But for healing, you must first love and honor yourself.
The personal transformation that comes from self-care and self-love is another one of Aphrodite’s gifts. Many images depict her gazing at herself in a mirror, or bathing, or luxuriating with her nymphs. Some of us work-aholics and self-beraters might view her with contempt for being so self-indulgent. But there is a much deeper message in Aphrodite’s love for herself and her body. She appreciates what her body does for her and she loves to be adorned with beauty. For beauty is inspirational. It enables us to get a taste of the sublime.
Too often we are so hard on ourselves. The comments some of us make about ourselves we wouldn’t even say about someone we didn’t like. Too often we deprive ourselves by not getting enough sleep, or enough nourishing food, or time for pleasure and play. Instead we may work way too hard depriving ourselves of some of our basic needs.
Aphrodite’s message is that when we do take care of ourselves we feel so much better. Our souls are more joyous. We sleep better because we aren’t so stressed. Play and pleasure gives us joy, which dispels anxiety and worry. Our relationships are more rewarding because we aren’t grumpy, fatigued, and short tempered.
Self-love is taking care of ourselves so that we can show up as a happier, more joyous person. It actually enables us to be more effective and productive because we are more able to find joy and passion in what we do.
Relax. Choose an image of Aphrodite that appeals to you and gaze upon it. Visualize her energy flowing into you. Feel her divine energy of love and healing embrace you. Allow yourself to feel Joy.
If you are in the Sacramento area, then please join me for an evening of circling with Aphrodite. Listen to her myths that have messages for contemporary women and participate in a self-blessing ritual.