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MIGHTY APHRODITE:

LOVING THE GODDESS IN YOUR LIFE

from PANTHEON: Archetypal Gods in Daily Life, Richard and Iona Miller, OAK, 1984

The more we develop on the spiritual path, the more we find ourselves lost in
remembrance of the Beloved. We discover that every moment is engaged in his
love. We realize that the most sacred and precious moments of our lives are those
in which we are lost in remembrance of the Beloved
. --Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj

At the highest level of spiritual development this archetypal drive manifests as bhakti, or spiritual devotion.  It is an analogue for the yearning of the soul for unification with God and the Cosmos.   Its spectrum spans from self-indulgence to self-denial -- all in the name of Love.  But its normal expression is much more carnal, and involves lower chakras!  Its like the spoof song, "Gimme Aphrodite in her nightie, that ole time religion is good enough for me!"

The goddess of love, passion and fertility was known by various names at different times and in different places.  In Sumer she was Inanna, while in Babylonia, Ishtar.  Persians worshipped Anahita, while Hebrews and Phoenicians worshipped Astarte, the Egyptians Isis and Hathor, the Indians Shakti, the Romans knew her as Venus.  While in Greece, she was the beautiful Aphrodite.

Aphrodite is the well-known goddess of love, beauty and seductive power.  Beauty is her quintessence; her nakedness is glorified.  She is adored and adorned as feminine consciousness integrated in the body as instinctive wisdom with the interconnecting capacity for deep-felt emotion.  Her presence is both electric and magnetic.  The Hollywood love-goddess is a modern icon of her eternal power.  She inherently possesses the qualities of grace, charm, desire, plus a bright and lucid consciousness.

She is a goddess of passion as well as affection, sensitivity, devotion and inspiration.  The goddess of love and the sacred prostitute belong to one principle, the principle of Eros -- relatedness.  There are pleasures and dangers in her enchanting attentions. Aphrodite inspires a compelling, subjective state.  Euripides called love the "breathes (or blasts) of Aphrodite."  She seeks intimacy, touching the most private aspects of our lives.

Aphrodite is linked with many lovers in different myths.  She is the constant companion of man.  In one version of her life, Aphrodite was married to Ares.  So we see that when we are well acquainted with the Ares principle of physicality, we have an encounter with the sensuous energy she represents.  In another myth,  Aphrodite is said to be the wife of the lame smith Hephaistos.  In this story of adultery, Ares is her paramour of choice.

Aphrodite derives her warmth from a golden, sunlit type of sexuality.  She has the greatest degree of solar qualities in her personality, whereas the other goddesses have greater lunar consciousness.

This solar affinity does not, however, mean that she possesses a superior style of consciousness where self-awareness is concerned.  In fact, she can tend to drift into situations with an aplomb only possible through reckless disregard for the future.  Aphrodite can be the source of envy arising from a pulsating desire for life and love.

The origin of Aphrodite is a peculiar image for the Goddess of Love, since she stems from the violent castration of Uranus by Cronos.  Her birth from the severed genitals of Uranus symbolizes genetically the relationship of this goddess to her father, and by extension with all men.  She is the embodiment of both his cynicism and his phallic sexual imperative.  She is the drive personified in an alluring image.

Sexual desire and amorous pleasure function as aphrodisiacs which lead to fulfillment through the union of male and female.  Aphrodite is the embodiment of the union of opposites wherein the lovers are annihilated.  Venus is a binding force, which may appear as a voluntary involvement or with the strength and dynamism of possession -- even a magnificent obsession.

The paradox of Aphrodite is that she is a loving and passionate wife, but always leaves open the possibility of exploring numerous relationships with gods and mortals.  She is always friendly and intimate, except to those who would usurp her position.  In her, both the love and power drives are embodied in a single goddess.

PHYSICAL FORM

Aphrodite is physically embodied in sex organs, orgasm, and aphrodisiacs (see the Magical & Ritual Use of Aphrodisiacs, Miller).  Finding the god in a disease, she expresses through the aptly named venereal diseases, those sexually transmitted afflictions.

Her major motivation is the non-rational instinctual procreative urge -- the erotic impulse.  It functions through the glands on an instinctual level, producing pulsating physical desire which acts as a drive.  She herself can become possessed by the passion she arouses in others.  She can even take over the behavior patterns of other Olympian gods, most of whom aren't immune to her charms.

But in her desire and longing she can be persuasive, deceitful or conniving.  She is always the potential lover of anyone she befriends.  Aphrodite is considered a very assertive, active goddess, constantly mobile and advancing.  But when she can't make immediate personal contact with the object of her desire, the emotions of longing or yearning for the absent beloved are part of her emotional affect.  When we are love-sick, she has inspired it.

She inspires not only passion, but also hate, rivalry, vanity and jealousy.  These perils of Aphrodite, the results of unfulfilled desires, show the ambiguity of her gifts.  When Aphrodite manifests as emotional assertion, there is a compulsion to act out her dynamic will in daily life -- to let one's sexual energy run wild.

She is a multi-faceted goddess intimately linked with life (procreation), love (passion) and death (longing for the departed lover).  She is associated with nakedness, special costumes, the artful use of cosmetics and other aids which come under the heading of "the arts of love."  These include courtship and lovemaking and/or the Tantric Arts.

By personifying a transcendent image of the seduction of mortals by a goddess, Aphrodite mediates feelings of immortality to the human from the divine.  This is the oceanic experience of timelessness in orgasm.  It permeates all forms of sacred sexuality in which the human participants become divine embodiments of the God/Goddess.

She joins nature and culture by using love as an artform.  Her well-practiced skills are continually complemented by her attitudes, sentiments, and moral values.  She promotes an aesthetic lifestyle which boldly declares that we should take our fill of love, where and with whomever we desire.  Of course, if we