Aphrodite, the Beauteous, born of sea-foam at dawn;
By her ardent persuasion, the hearts are all won.
CHAPTER III: THE EMPRESS
Aphrodite is the well-known goddess of love, beauty and seductive power.
She is the pure erotic impulse, pure libido, pure imagination, fertility,
fruitfulness. The Hollywood love-goddess is a modern icon of her
eternal power. She inherently possesses the qualities of grace, charm,
and desire. She is a goddess of passion as well as pleasure, sensuality,
affection and sensitivity. She can manifest as artistic and aesthetic
inspiration, the desire to give birth to something remarkable.
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. 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 union of male and female. Aphrodite is an
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.
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 love and power
drives are embodied in a single goddess.
Aphrodite is physically embodied in sex organs, orgasm, and aphrodisiacs
(See THE MAGICKAL AND 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 procreative urge. It functions
through the glands on an instinctual level, producing pulsating physical
desire. 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
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.
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.
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.
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 declares boldly
that we should take our fill of love, where and with whomever we desire.
Of course, if we do, we had better be ready to suffer the consequences.
Good sex and good foods have always paired well together, whether a sumptuous
banquet, or merely a delicious tray of fresh fruits and nuts. The
art of kissing probably stems from mouth-to-mouth feeding. Even in
current studies, sexual responsiveness in women is possitively and significantly
correlated with their general positive attitude toward food and eating.
Like sex, you should take time together when eat, slowly, relaxing and
not rushing things. It takes a full 20 minutes after a meal is through
for the body to realize it is full.
To ritualize a meal is to lend grace and style to the action of eating.
It is a way of organizing the experience for the greatest satisfaction
of all the senses; presentation of the food is important to the eyes as
well as palate. Soft music will help slow us down and fill our auditory
sense. Of course, too much food can make us feel bloated and we need
to digest before rushing into sexual activity. Some people prefer
fasting for a time before ritual sex.
Emotional symptoms that affect our attitudes and energy in bed may be part
of a metabolic problem and may be curable through simple dietary measures.
The anxiety reaction, most common of the "bedroom problems," occurs when
the medulla part of the adrenal glands responds to emotional stress by
pumping out adrenaline, which in turn raises blood sugar to get the body
ready for action -- but sometimes it overdoes it, increasing blood pressure
and heart rate. The body releases adrenaline to help you cope.
An outpouring of adrenaline is the body's corrective mechanism for falling
blood sugar. Many people get panic attacks for no apparent reasons,
and this may be caused by low blood sugar. You may get cranky before
you get panic attacks. Such a reaction is hypoglycemic. General
health influences sexual health. The condition of our nerves, blood,
arteries, heart, muscle tone, and digestion can greatly determine our abilities
in bed. Sexuality is not just in the gonads. It permeates every
cell in our bodies.
On a very practical level, Aphrodite is embodied in aphrodisiacs and their
effects. The quest for some pill or potion that guarantees better
sex or more intense orgasms is as old as mankind's experience of sex.
Whether these prescriptions work or not is often a mute point. Since
much of our sexuality is psychological in nature, even the promise of enhanced
performance may work wonders.
An aphrodisiac might have a variety of effects on either male or female
participants. Some of these include producing erection in the male,
stimulation of the genitals or nervous system, relaxing inhibitions, augmenting
physical energy, strengthening the sex glands, or preventing premature
Aphrodisiacs can either increase sexual appetite or ability in the user.
They affect the organs and the sex glands. Some may act as placebos,
since the the primary erotic organ is the brain. Whatever increases
pleasure is an aphrodisiac, including nerve stimulants. They have
been used by priests, priestesses, and sorcerers since antiquity to instill
love and stir up lust, along with traditional love potions. Some
real aphrodisiacs and tonics include yohimbe, kava kava root, saw palmetto,
ginseng, fo-ti-tieng, black American willow bark, cactus flowers, damiana,
and guarana seeds.
Aphrodite is a goddess not only of fertility, but also of a fertile imagination.
There is no sexual organ more important than the human mind. There
is no physical and mental experience more ecstatic and blissful than a
complete sexual union between two loving partners.
There are no anaphrodisiacs, dampeners, or desexualizers worse than ignorance,
fear, or anxiety regarding the quality and effectiveness of one's sexual
performance. The greatest sexual tonic for us is physical and psychological
health so that we can spontaneously respond with depth. Sex is not
mere lust, even if lust is sex. It transcends the two major animal
functions and enters the realm of the cultural and spiritual, promoting
feelings of love, consideration, and solicitude.
The Ritual of Charisma: If you want to be able to walk up and talk
to strangers try something like this method:
To start with recognize that you can prepare for this ritual but YOU CAN
ONLY COMPLETE THIS RITUAL IN PUBLIC. You can prepare for the ritual by
imagining and rehearsing it in your mind (and you'll probably get
some results) but preparing is not the same as doing.
First, stand with your eyes closed and make your statement of intent.
"It is my will to meet, talk and engage with ( X Number of ) people/men/women
for the successful completion of this operation." Then, begin the Breath
of Fire, breathing very quickly from the belly with the stomach moving
in as you exhale and out as you inhale.
While doing this imagine a sacred sphere of glowing yellow that surrounds
you and extends out from you. Bring forth all feelings of warmth, charm,
like-ability and friendliness to everything within or near this circle.
Imagine a crowd of people, perhaps off to the side or in front of you,
that automatically feel warmth, kindness and magnatism toward you and you
feel that toward them. This is your sacred circle that you will work
within and it will be carried with you through this ritual. Imagine anyone
within its influence will turn likable and you will like them. Remember,
to be interesting, be interested.
Optional: If you like, you can invoke a very amiable god figure like Aphrodite,
Apollo, Zeus or even Pan. Do this by imagining the god form and all it's/his/her
positive qualities are moving through you. If you don't want to invoke
a deity then you can invoke a person real or imagined who has the qualities
you want, such as invoking or identifying with the Spirit of James Bond
when it comes to talking to women.
Head out into public. Treat each action of meeting, greeting, welcoming
and talking as a sacred act that must be done with massive friendliness.
Let the energy of the yellow sphere influence them and you. Keep focused
on the intent of the ritual, namely, meeting and talking with people.
When you've completed the ritual banish it with laughter. It'll be hilarious
if you really think about it.
Occupations and preoccupations of Aphrodite include:
Surely it must have been on one of these shores so filled with grace
and frolicsomeness that the miraculous transformation of beast into man
took place. It must have been on such a Greek strand that Astarte
of the multitudinous sowlike breasts cast anchor from Asia Minor and the
Greeks, receiving the barbaric and coarsely carved wooden statue, cleansed
it of its bestiality, left it with only the human breasts, and gave it
a human body full of nobility. From Asia Minor, the Greeks took the
primitive instinct, orgiastic intoxication, the bestial shout--Astarte.
They transubstantiated the instinct into love, the bite into kisses, the
orgy into religious worship, the shout into the lover's endearment.
Astarte they transformed into Aphrodite.
--Nikos Kazantzakis, REPORT TO GRECO
Aphrodite is an enchanting sexual fantasy. Her allurement is nearly
universal. She is the appeal behind erotica. The present-day
Aphroditic woman is easily recognized. A stereotypical form is the
Hollywood sex goddess who stimulates the desires and imaginations of millions.
This is the very image entertainers such as Madonna, J-Lo, and Angelina
Jolie have come to exemplify. She is the fantasy-lover of any whose
imagination she stimulates.
This is the type of allure and beauty which produced classic romances--the
Queen of Sheba, Delilah, Cleopatra, and Helen of Troy embodied many of
Aphrodite's qualities. Helen made the egotistical error of feeling
superior to the divine archetypal Queen who made her pay for her vanity.
Aphrodite's libido or energy should be recognized as a dynamism and domain
that is not to be challenged competitively. She brings life's mystery
with her, and mortals can never possess her fully. Comparison of
Psyche's beauty in the tale of Amour and Psyche initiated her cycle of
trials and tribulation, by which Aphrodite sought to destroy her for her
The Aphroditic woman of today is characterized in Jungian literature as
a hetaira (Latin for she-wolf), or companion to man. She appeals
to him generally through reflecting his personal anima, or unique idea
of his "perfect woman." This attraction includes seduction, flattery,
She awakens a man's perception of latent talents, most of which he will
never have the capacity to develop, since his energy is bound up in pleasing
her. She embodies the dual capacity to delight and lead astray.
She can awaken not only desire, but also resignation and despair.
She appeals to him consciously and subconsciously. She can be a physical,
intellectual, or spiritual companion simultaneously.
With little or no regard for the future, her perception of time is discontinuous.
So is ours, under her influence, as lovers we feel "suspended in time."
Therefore, each moment must be experienced anew, irrespective of past commitments
or consequences. Duration is not valued as highly as the intensity
of immediate experience. Importance is attached to experiencing intensity
of sensation and gratification. The sense of search and urgency for
freedom compel Aphrodite to new affairs.
The hetaira seeks unity, but brings disruption when it arises in us.
She is no respecter of roles. We see her in the student who falls
for the teacher and vice versa. She intrudes in the consulting room
of all professionals. She forces her attentions on the married person,
and makes employer fall for employee. She seeks friendship, if not
overt sexual contact with members of the opposite sex. This alone
can be disruptive to a formerly self-sufficient couple.
When a person is dominated by this impulse for sexual desire and union,
we usually call them playboys or playgirls (when older, dirty old man or
woman).These male or female Don Juans are typically high flyers.
They are impulsive, energetic, enthusiastic, and suggestible. They
seem to lead an exciting, free life, spontaneously realizing their whims.
Changing from partner to partner, these people play a terrible price by
eternal role-playing to the companion of the moment. They can't form
real relationships of any duration because they are in love with their
own shape-shifting projections. Life has no continuity, rather the
person is always soaring off hither and yon to fulfill yet another fantasy
of ideal romance.
Because we are "spacey" under this influence, we transmit a quality of
timelessness which fascinates by challenging our borders and limitations.
Many innovative artists are of this archetypal dominant. They live
close to the archetypal domain of the subconscious and may have mystical
tendencies. They are adventurous explorers, and seek the "rush" of
Those with this drive toward "fatal attractions" eventually come to recognize
the compulsive quality of their elan vital. Then they become guilt-ridden
and have shame and anxiety for their promiscuous behavior. This results
in depression, or desperation because of the inner weakness of an impulsive
borderline personality disorder. What they need is to stop trying
to live in the realm of total possibilities, accept some boundaries and
commit themselves to something or someone.
Another pattern of loving is represented by Aphrodite's kindred, the enchantress
Circe. She is a hetaira, or she-wolf, or colloquially "a bitch."
Her style uses the powerfully divine love sorcery. Unfortunately
this means she compels or manipulates others into loving her for her own
In a direct, balanced love encounter, both power and love are balanced.
Circe disturbsthe balance with love magic, which is her way of arousing
love through power, rather than the spontaneous awakening of love which
has power over both of the pair. Circe is thus a predator.
She is imaged as continually circling on the perimeter of the human world.
From her borderline world she can transform mortals, just as Persephone
transforms them, through a death-like regression to an ugly, animalistic
creature, full of violence and dark passion. She is the ultimate
The ancient Babylonians had a ritual of sacred prostitution where each
woman was required to serve as a temple harlot once in her life.
Through this service she received the highest honor and no social reproach.
Through this impersonal sexual act, she submitted to her instinct, and
renewed her virginity in the sense of being one-in-herself.
She recognized her psychological virginity and received the revelation
of love as distinct from desire. Each woman required personal experience
of this phenomenon in order to be redeemed. Some people might be
pursuing contact with these life-giving symbols today, through both profane
and sacred channels.
The ritual of Aphrodite has moved from single's bars to the health club,
to wherever safe or unsafe sex can be found. When one was in the
ancient temple, those who came to be renewed by Aphrodite's sacred prostitutes
were frequently the dregs of the sexual pool; those who were impotent or
could find no one else for themselves. Acceptance of sex with someone
based solely on availability has an archetypal background.
Those with strong Artemis qualities can balance out with an intensification
of the Aphrodite principle and vice versa. She does not always require
unrestricted sexuality. Internally, it indicates a profound relationship
to that which has beauty, an aesthetic appreciation of the highest order.
Externally, it means extending ourselves toward the object of our desire
with love and abandon--following our "Bliss." Aphrodite not only
engenders, but enlarges life.
Rapport is an empathetic or sympathetic relation or connection with another.
It is experiencing the world through the same portal as the person you're
communicating with. Rapport doesn't require understanding.
Sharing rapport is like jumping inside another's nervous system and suddenly
understanding the way they make sense of reality. Rapport is the
ability to bond instantly with others. In rapport like attracts
like. Rapport reverses the axiom that opposites attract.
When the initial challenge of opposite attraction wears off, we're left
with someone who thinks, acts and behaves unlike what we consider the norm.
Consequently, that means someone who will mostly be out of sync or rapport
with us. Look no further for the cause of broken relationships.
If you are involved with someone and a good part of the time you don't
understand each other, you are out of rapport. And if you are out
of rapport, the chances of your relationship surviving are slim to none.
In fact, the duration of your relationship may be a testament to your persistence
and grim intention. If you happen to fall in love with a person with
whom you have no rapport, you are in a no-win situation, destined for failure.
If you want to love someone who see things differently, or you want to
sell yourself or your ideas to those whose maps of the territory are not
in alignment with yours, you will have to do something you never consciously
did before. That is, create rapport with them by being like them.
People have rapport with others because of the reflection of themselves
When we "fit" well with someone we are more at ease than with someone who
is incongruent with us. We must relearn our communications strategies
so that we relate to others in a manner that fits their map of the world.
That is what rapport is all about, (Brooks, 1989). Rapport is the
foundation of successful, unencumbered communication. It is essential
to being an understanding and empathetic partner and an exciting and satisfying
Empathy in tantra occurs through the immediate 'pairing' or 'coupling'
of the bodies of self and other in action. Through our mirror neurons
we are paired in the biological depth of empathy, at the level of passive
association of living bodies of self and other in embodied action.
At the level of intentionality and conscious mood-matching and emulation
and participation mystique we participate consciously in the tantric process.
The empathic grasping of another as animated by his or her own fields of
sensation has been called 'sensual empathy' or 'sensing in.' It is
a natural ability in all great lovers. The wider one's ability to
sense-in pleasure the greater become the number of possibilities for fulfillment.
Emotions are our value feelings. We experience emotion only in regard
to that which matters. Emotions mark importance, meaning.
It is emotion or value feeling that makes one experientially aware of one's
personal self, the depths of the 'I' from which emotions arise. Emotions,
as value feelings, make possible the evaluation of oneself and the world.
Emotions anchor us to the here and now. The ability to perceive how
a situation affects the well being of all and react appropriately, meaningfully
is the basic emotional faculty of empathy and the basis of morality.
Values transcend personal concerns.
Keywords for Aphrodite and her effects include:
On the positive side Aphrodite is romantic or courtly love; on the negative
side addictive love or co-dependence. These are not only patterns
of behavior, but also concepts based in our belief systems and their mythic
Some might find the concept of romantic love the most emotional of issues,
not an intellectual idea. Nevertheless, romantic love is a notion
which builds certain expectations and follows certain patterns. Romantic
love began with the medieval Troubadours and their tradition of courtly
love. It has so permeated our culture that it is seen as one of the
most desirable forms of possession by an archetypal power--that of being
"in love." This is the same type of love which we say "is blind."
This is the type of love that places the beloved "on a pedestal" through
the projection of our own anima or animus. When we project this element
of ourselves onto another, we experience an exaggerated adulation of the
beloved with a blind eye toward their negative or shadow side. They
become our all, and our attitude toward them has a syrupy glamour.
Call them what you will (Heloise and Abelard, Romeo and Juliet, Tristan
and Iseult) the "star-crossed lovers" is one recurrent theme of the goddess.
They are always with us in literature, movies, and real life.
She is golden or fair, and he is her ideal image of masculinity.
They share the fantasy of romantic love, reinforcing the delusion of specialness.
Paradoxically in this specialness we live out one of the most common patterns
from the repertoire of mankind.
Courtly love idealizes the beloved in a semi-divine manner. We make
our significant other a demigod. The lovers virtually worship one
another. They yearn for one another when parted, and fate seems to
separate them invariably.
These notions of courtly love as the ideal of fulfillment in human life
still pervade our culture and produces tragic consequences in daily life.
When we project our anima oranimus onto mere mortals, our inflated expectations
are shattered. This results in despondency, grave disappointment,
disillusionment from romantic fantasies, and sometimes divorce court.
The tragedy of romantic love is that it is a hindrance to mature love.
The projections of idealized romanticism are based on one's inner life,
and prevent us from truly knowing our partners. Also, romantic love
tends to try to perpetuate itself "when the thrill is gone," by moving
from partner to partner.
The Greeks realized that no single partner could contain the power of anima
or animus indefinitely. That is why they saw the divine archetypal
power of love as a goddess of great force and beauty.
The great stories of literature which concern this type of romantic love
usually involve a complication which keeps the lovers apart, much to their
dismay. By this mechanism they are prevented from really knowing
one another in depth. The fantasy images grows in strength through
reverie and yearning for the beloved. There is no concrete experience
to contradict the idealized image. So the projection remains always
"out there" and is never seen as fascination with an aspect of oneself.
The concept of "soul mates" is an everyday belief concerning fated or romantic
love. Every soul is complete and whole in its own potentiality.
There may be no true soul mates, except in the sense that those to whom
we may readily attach our projections seem to "fit the bill." No
partner can live up to the lofty conception of the projected anima or animus.
This higher aspect of the soul should be given due consideration and attention
Romantic love has an escapist quality and is strongly addictive, much like
a drug. It may temporarily feel good while dulling our awareness
and severely limiting our potential. Love is an exciting, intensely
pleasurable stimulation which we seek intently. It can become an
artificial, self-contained experience when activities, other friendships,
and growth potential are sacrificed for its momentary bliss.
Unless we are prepared to deal with our personal weaknesses directly, love
may become a negative emotional involvement which can never satisfy our
psychological insecurity. It results in rejection, deprivation, and
dissolution, even possible suicide. If constant exposure to a person
is necessary to make life bearable, there can be no real romance, because
of the constant threat of withdrawl.
Addictive lovers use others as objects of their gratification. They
seek to possess people only to fulfill their neurotic need. Love
is the opposite of this misuse of attachment. It is based on the
desire to grow and expand and for the beloved to do the same.
Addictive lovers are not secure in the belief in their own value.
They derive self-esteem from the lover's inflated view of them. Addictive
lovers aren't necessarily improved by their relationship and tend to drag
one another down. They can be toxic for one another, yet be compulsively
They reject other meaningful relationships in sacrifice to the beloved.
They retreat from the world into a fantasyland. They are possessive
and jealous of each other's outside interests. They rarely remain
friends once they split up and the enchantment is lifted.
Addictive lovers may have successive or simultaneous affairs, which are
never satisfying enough. As with drug use, an addictive lover may
develop a tolerance to the beloved, and seek excitement elsewhere.
The constant craving is never satisfied,because it is a dissatisfaction
with our own inner self. Love is used a temporary escape from feelings
Some relationships reinforce neurotic patterns in one another through forming
a consensus of two, "just us against the world." This mutual brainwashing,
or folly of two, is a mutual illusion which can confirm any fantasy, while
inner fortitude remains unchallenged.
Breaking free of these neurotic patterns is as hard as kicking undesirable
habits, and requires conscious attention and continual work. It requires
a sense of self esteem, joy and competence, getting involved meaningfully
with other people in an unselfish manner.
Aphrodite is also the passion in committed love, and also represents mature
love. It is a form of psychological grounding, which reshapes our
motivations, and teaches new methods of coping with disappointment in life.
When we can find true satisfaction in wider life context, we needn't substitute
one kind of compulsive relationship for another. We can meet others
realistic expectations and make reasonable demands as responsible, reliable
Addictive love compels us to deny our past in favor of an unknown ecstatic
fantasy fulfillment. Mature love is grounded in the here and now,
and lacks the neurotic compulsive quality. True love compromises,
endures, comforts, satisfies, relaxes, is consistent, and unselfish.
True love is a value system which places the highest priority on mutual
feelings of respect, responsibility, and follow-through. A lover
must first know their deep self and be honest about inner feelings.
Aphrodite has a place in Hera's realm of marriage as the highest moment
for husband and wife--the pleasure of love. Hera partakes of Aphrodite's
enchanting tricks for the celebration or consummation of her wedding.
When Aphrodite rises our of the sea we are transported to a transparent,
bright and pure dimension. The opposites are dissolved into unity.
The paradox of the Goddess of Love is that she originates from the castrated
member of Uranus, which also engenders the revengeful, vindictive Furies.
Nevertheless, she represents the mystical splendor of love, the most celebrated
yet least understood of emotions.
Like Hermes, the Hermaphrodite, Aphrodite can exhibit a bisexual aspect;
then she is considered a god-goddess. She embodies the golden purity
of male-female wholeness emerging from the union of opposite but complementary
halves. Her primal magic is an enchanting deception which contains
eternity in its depths if not in its duration. Her touch is warm
and genuine, nurturing like the rays of the sun.
As modern people, we recognize the old Greek spirit most easily when we
are captivated by love, for then we surely believe in personal deities.
As we become entirely obsessed with a passionate desire for the physical
presence of our beloved, we feel like a powerful force holds us in thrall.
Love is a unique emotion which transcends the needs of security and gratification,
becoming an end in itself. We all need love. Love expands us
in unpredictable directions and can puff us up to unpredictable proportions.
Mature love is an exchange of energies, a giving and receiving which is
not necessarily a 50-50 proposition.
We can experience the warm feelings of love even at a distance far removed
from the object of our affection. Visualization of the beloved, thoughts
of endearment, or the loved-one's name all evoke pleasant sensations, and
arouse yearning. This is also the principle of Bhakti Yoga, the yoga
of love. The lover yearns to search out the beloved. The goal
is participation, proximity, belonging, and finally union in which the
emotion of love is experienced intensely.
Mature love has three major aspects: 1) it outwardly directed from lover
to beloved; 2) it is inwardly directed in that the attraction emitted by
the lover is reciprocated from the beloved; and, 3) it is reflexive in
that "being in love" is an inner psychic experience which has value for
the individual lover in his own personal growth cycle and well-being.
he offspring of love is joy, which is experienced as that sense of well-being
flooding the body and soul. There is an increase in energy and spirit,
making life's burdens easier to bear. It prompts feelings of adequacy
and capability, without inflating the ego. Joy has the capacity to
expand into the psychic spheres of others.
But, alas, all love relationships are not so immediately rewarding, even
if they are compelling or compulsive. Aphrodite, herself, was involved
with many Gods and mortals in varied and convoluted relationships.
Hers is a complicated group of myths involving at various time, Area, Uranus,
Poseidon, Hera, Artemis, Athena, Eros and Psyche, and Priapus. She
could be ardent as with Ares, unfaithful as with Hephaistos, or jealous
as with Psyche and Helen of Troy.
Love is not limited solely to human purposes, but is an archetypal dynamism
of its own. It is not an end in itself, but a means to return our
souls to the mythic dimension. It also brings that mythic dimension
into daily life. We can experience our own imaginal essence through
the power of live. It is one style of emotional fantasy or divine
Through love we learn to weather the bad and the good times. We come
to accept the beloved for their real nature, both positive and negative.
We must also accept the possibility of being wrong, and accepting that,
and admitting it. We must learn how to accept freely what is given
by the other, and reciprocate in an appropriate manner. This requires
discrimination, keeping expectations realistic, and disappointment at a
minimum. True love is not so blind, just acceptant.
Further reading on Aphrodite may be found in the following:
THE MEANING OF APHRODITE, Paul Friedrich
GODDESSES OF THE SUN AND MOON, Karl Kerenyi
GODDESSES IN EVERY WOMAN, Jean Shinoda Bolen
THE WAY OF ALL WOMEN, M. Esther Harding
AMOUR AND PSYCHE, Erich Neumann
WE!, Robert Johnson
THE MOON AND THE VIRGIN, Nor Hall
THE GODDESS, Christine Downing
LOVE AND ADDICTION, Stanton Peele
THE CHEMISTRY OF LOVE, Michael Liebowitz
SEXUAL PRACTICES, Edgar Gregersen
Sacred sexuality: The overwhelming
nature of sexual passion has caused it to be deified or divinized or alternatively
feared as evil and demonic. It may seem odd that the same physiological
act can raise us to the heights of spiritual exaltation or plunge us into
guilt-ridden misery. The awe-inspiring force of desire and sex has
played a role in religion, magic, mysticism, occultism, symbolism, and
the whole spectrum of human psychobiological interaction with the transpersonal.
Creation myths are often about divine couplings, and cyclic fertility rites
dramatically reenact this original creative act.
In magical theory the opposites which
exist at the universal level also exist in us as microcosms or miniature
copies of the universe. Each of us as human beings contains all the
opposites, symbolized as male and female, sun and moon, conscious and unconscious.
In balancing and reconciling these opposites we achieve a higher unity.
In marked contrast to the general religious suppression of Eros, tantra
does this by glorifying our erotic and sexual nature.
Sexuality is a sacred ritual of union
through the sensual and ecstatic celebration of differences. It is
the life force. Through the sexual act we seemingly transcend our
isolation and physical boundaries, share in a greater reality. We discover,
if only momentarily, that the Other seems to become part of oneself.
Hence, the erotic language of mystics describing the apprehension of ultimate
Unity, the promised reward God offers the righteous.
If this search for the Beloved is the
major sexual goal, and if it can be gained only partially and fleetingly
with a human partner, then it is quite natural to think of the lasting
and blissful union of the soul with God in sexual terms, as many mystics
have done. This concept of the soul's union with God as a sexual
union is paralleled in the romantic ideal of love with a human partner
as an act of worship. The overwhelming nature of desire leads us
to experience it as a supernatural force. The soul abides in the
heart of the flesh. In the ecstasy of sexual union we rise to the
supernatural level, are possessed by a male or female deity, and mingle
with the divine. Orgasm corresponds to the soul's ecstasy possessed
Tantra is a path of maximally arousing
or filling up the senses creating a true voluptuousness through poetry,
imagination, eroticism, sexuality, trance, hallucination and exaltation.
By honoring the sensual self, the metaphysical nature of surrender to the
erotic impulse is experientially revealed.
How can we escape from the prison of
self-obsession? Real love is quite different from desire, infatuation,
lust, or concepts of romance. Real love means self-transcendence
through mutuality and reciprocation, service to self, others, and world.
Ultimately, the refinement of sacred
sexuality practices is an artistic expression, a form of creativity, even
private performance art. It is a celebration of life and an end in
itself. You might think the practice of Tantra requires a lot
of preparation and props, but ultimately it only requires you to bring
your naked authenticity to the process and be spontaneous. Enjoy
the virtual experience of being Shiva/Shakti. Learn the virtues of
erotic education, of sacred sexuality and how to create that atmosphere
and inner focus.
There are both Eastern (Tantra, Taoism,
Persian) and Western (Goddess worship, Alchemy, Courtly Love, Sex Magick)
traditions around sacred sexuality. Eastern enlightenment comes in
many varieties of spiritual experience and practice. They all express
the pursuit of the One, or the One through the infinitely Many forms of
existence, which are actually only different forms of sacred Emptiness.
Tantra presents the ultimate Nondual reality as the sexual embrace of God
and Goddess, of Shiva and Shakti, of Emptiness and Form.
Neither Ascent (Transcendence) nor
Descent (Immanence) is final, ultimate or priveledged: like yin and yang,
dominance and submission, they generate and depend on each other.
They find their own true being by dying into the other, only to awaken
together, conjoined in Bliss. Lovers become the entire Cosmos, finding
that eternity is wildly in love with the production of time. The non-dual
Heart is radiating as all creation, and blessing all creation, and singing
this embrace through eternity. When we experience this in our own
awareness, this union is the Nondual vision. God and Goddess, Emptiness
and Form, Wisdom and Compassion, Agape and Eros, Ascent and Descent --
perfectly and blissfully united.
The God of the Ascenders is otherworldly,
usually monastic, ascetic, seeking to flee the Many and find the One.
It is purely transcendental, and pessimistic about finding happiness in
this world, shunning time in favor of eternity. Ascension is generally
a via negativa, dampening the senses and strictly channeling internal
perceptions through emptying, devotion, or concentration.
In the other approach practioners of
Descending find the divine embrace through the Many. It is in love
with the visible, sensible God, and sometimes Goddess. It is a God
of pure embodiment, of pure immanence, fascinated with diversity, and finds
its glory in the celebration of diversity. Great variety is the goal
of this God. It celebrates the senses, and the body, and sexuality,
and earth. It is creation-centered spirituality where All is divine.
Emptiness and form are not-two. Emptiness is the immanent ground
of all Form.
Tantra is perhaps the oldest form of
Eastern alchemy. According to tantric philosophy the whole universe
is built up of and pervaded by basic forces which are in intimate and intricate
union. These forces, named Shiva and Shakti, are personified as male
and female deities. Of this divine pair, Shiva is the subordinate
one, for it is the Female Principle that ultimately underlies all manifestation.
There is a tantric saying, "Shiva without Shakti is a corpse."
The core experience of Tantra is revelation
of its sexual secrets. Sexual union symbolizes the quintessence of
the elements. Sacred sex reveals eternal truth and transcendence.
It is a way of redemption -- union of the personal self with the transpersonal
Self. The Diamond Body is the crystallization or stabilization of
the archetype of the universal Self as a permanent part of the individual
Tantra is a philosophy, a science,
an art, and a way of life in which sexual energy is consciously and creatively
utilized. The hidden potency of the sexual act is the blueprint or
seed of all creatvity. When we understand the practical teachings of Tantra,
a whole new perspective and experience of life opens. Tantra is a
process that fosters the holistic harmonization of the male and female
elements of our psychobiological self, ameliorating the war of the sexes.
Through rapport and empathy we come to understand the Other. Empathy
needs a face! Devotion needs a face.
Psychologically, there is a harmonization
of the inner-mate archetypes of Anima and Animus, soul-figures
which function as guides to deeper regions of the psyche. They lead
to wholeness, integration, self-actualization. In Jungian psychology
a man's inner feminine self is termed anima or soul; a woman's masculine
component is called animus or spirit. Their merging creates
a psychological and spiritual androgyny, another expression of wholeness.
Western forms of Tantra include a series
of Sex Magick rituals designed to bring the individual to self-realization.
The central aim of Western magic is to attain or stabilize the emergence
of Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, or the daemon,
one's true spiritual identity. This implies drawing closer to the
consciousness of one's authentic individuality, in contradistinction to
the active conscious personality. We can achieve a form of sacred
marriage with the inner mate, known in alchemy as the coniunctio.
This union produces a Magickal Child that symbolizes our potential for
realization of the Higher Self, self-actualization.
These western alchemical goals and
procedures paralleled Eastern alchemy, with its concern for the elixer
of immortality and the extraction of spirit from matter and its liberation
through meditation. Chinese alchemy is a mixture of alchemy, kundalini
and tantric yoga. Its secret is the great creation of a golden fetus
which represents the seed of enlightenment.
The Chinese view is that every individual
possesses a central core that is an aspect of the universal Tao.
In the Tao, the principles of opposites yin and yang are united.
Spirit and soul together make up the personality and vie for supremacy.
The goal of Chinese alchemy is to free the spirit from its entanglements
with instinctive drives and emotions by providing a place in the human
body where the primal spirit may crystallize and gestate. The beginning
of creativity is called prenatal, (undivided yin-yang).
Personal spirit is joined with transpersonal
spirit and soul then reunited. The product of this union is called
the Golden Flower or the Elixer of Life, literally Golden Ball or Golden
Pill, which ensures the survival of the individual after the death of the
body. "Circulation of the Light" refers to repetitive cyclical mixing
of spirit (psychic) and soul (physical) energies, of the the positive and
negative principles, to create the "yellow bud" or "mysterious pearl."
Through a coniunctio, inner
copulation of positive and negative "crystallization" occurs as the appearance
of inner light, white like moonlight. In the next step, the resulting
light is reddish yellow. The union of the two lights produces the
immortal seed. Golden light within the white light between the eyebrows
means primal spirit is forming the immortal fetus and the Elixer of Immortality.
The primal spirit emerges from the fetus and leaps into the "great emptiness"
through the gate at the top of the head, forming an indestructible Diamond
Body. In sex magick, the same is known as the Babe in the Abyss (of
the Transcendent Imagination).
In magical theory a sexual working
will not succeed if the aspirant is swept away in the thundering surf of
desire and orgasm. When partners are in balance, neither strives
for pleasure independently of the other. Mastering the force we have
aroused, we can direct it at an objective, such as enhacing integrity,
clarity, and wisdom. The element of pleasure is secondary; any idea
of shame is banished. It is a means to the goal -- sacramental significance,
not the goal itself.
In Virtual Tantra, there's no
Reality, only perceptions of flowing process-- and refined perceptions
can enhance the ecstatic state for unique expressions of self-fulfillment
and spiritual experience. All attitudes and thoughts are psychobiological
events, and a shift to the tantric perspective allows you to enter the
virtual realm of sacred sexuality, to break down barriers between the ordinary
and the extraordinary, to embrace the Divine.
The acts of the lovers mirror the primordial
creation and subsequent fecundity. In desiring his opposite, the
Supreme Being impregnates Nature. The attraction of the two principles
for each other engenders all life. Neither asleep nor awake the spirit
is set free by perfect exhaustion of the body. Through tantric sex
a twilight state is produced. Then there is a dramatic paradoxical
shift from sympathetic arousal to the afterglow of parasympathetic tranquility.
This "calmed violence" is the essence of the Real.
Coniunctio is an alchemical
term symbolizing the unification of opposites, like yin and yang unite
in the Tao. When the opposites to be united are the masculine consciousness
and the feminine unconsciousness, embodied symbolically as lovers, the
union is termed the Royal Marriage. This royal marriage of the Alchemist
and his Soror Mystica, the King and Queen, sun and moon energies
is a transcendent symbol of the self and embodies psychic totality, or
wholeness. Caresses are a way to wisdom.
This psychosexual energy is the principle
element behind contemporary magic. It is known as kundalini, or the
serpent power. Sex is the single strongest intensive, euphoric, even
hallucinatory natural emotion alterant available, channeling the sexual
energy into a mystical process of self-development. It is the foundation
The spectrum of tantric practices includes
not only sexual trance, but physical culture, breath control, superconcentration,
mental and spiritual discipline, and the mystic arts. Much like Western
magic, tantra employs candles, incense, bells, magical wands and
chalices, spells, magic circles or mandalas, bodily postures, occult gestures,
symbolical designs, and words of power. These are employed to enhance
and bring bodily functions under the control of the will and exert a subtle
inner alchemy. There is a hermetic distillation of a quintessence
from the bodily fluids which reinvigorates the physical body.
Tantra works within the natural cycle of ergotropic and trophotropic processes,
governed by the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. They mediate
cycles of arousal and calm, and are therefore implicated in a variety of
mystical experiences and also disorders which display states of hyperarousal
and hypoarousal. They are mediated by the neurotransmiters noradrenalin
and serotonin. The interhemispheric balancing mediates the harmonization
of the left and right hemispheres of the brainmind. They mediate
fight-flight responses, and pain-pleasure cycles. They can be chemically
related to cycles of inflation, desire, acting out, guilt, remorse, high
wellbeing, self-acceptance, and self-esteem. At their extremes, meditative
and exalted states reflect as psychological and physiological paradox.
An even deeper, more therapeutic level of rapport available to lovers is
a shamanic state we can call co-consciousness. Through it, you can
blend your sacred energies, your soul energies, by mixing your energy fields
in the sexual sacrament. We've seen how hypnotic realities -- spontaneous
and induced -- influence us consciously and unconsciously at the physical,
emotional and mental or mythic level.
Co-consciousness, the shared virtuality of the journey process, is a telepathic
rapport wherein both participantís alpha and theta brainwaves become synchronized
or entrained, in essence, into a single holographic biofield. Co-consciousness
might be measured via the observation of spontaneously shared, matching
or resonating brainwave frequencies. It is very likely to be present
in lovers after mutually satisfying sexual experience, in the "afterglow"
or reverie period.
Western, Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist alchemy have made extensive use of
the sexual act as a means of personal transformation, culminating in a
celebratory Royal Marriage with the Cosmos. Like the Taoists, Western
alchemists have always worked with a female partner, the Soror Mystica,
mystical sister or wife, who is the living embodiment of the Feminine.
The Great Work can not be done without her.
Xochipilli, Tlazolteotl (Mexican)
DIALOGUE WITH APHRODITE
We all experience the personal aspects of Aphrodite as love and lust, and
all forms of sensual pleasure. Neither men, women, nor the gods were
immune to the charms of this goddess. In women she appears as the
irresistibly attractive "other woman," mistress, flirt, or gold-digger.
She creates the Don Juan type of personality. More positively she
manifests in the deep physical and spiritual love between spouses, and
in the perfect host or hostess, socially.
In projection, she appears as that other whom we find irresistibly attractive
and sexy, despite social sanctions against such feelings. Through
invasion or possession, we become that magnetic personality. Those
who act out her promiscuity expose themselves to the dangers of various
venereal diseases, including aids, legacy of the sexual revolution.
By ceasing to identify exclusively with this archetype, we can dialogue
with her in active imagination. She can inform us of the subconscious
aspects of our relationship to our own sexuality. Aphrodite is one
of the most active and pleasantly aggressive of the goddesses, so she is
easier to connect with than a remote goddess, like Artemis.
When anima is projected in the physical world, she appears in three stages
of development: 1) naive or elementary, 2) manipulative flirt, 3) conscious
or inspirational. Aphrodite corresponds with the sophisticated manipulator,
she uses her sexuality to get what she wants--that is her script and game.
She is no innocent thing,unaware of the devastation her charm can wreak.
She knows what she has and uses it to her advantage at every chance.
She is dark, full-blooded and passionate.
When we are unconsciously identified with her we are controlled by her
unconscious power motives. Someone may lure us into an enchantment
by being very charming at first. Perhaps the aim is immediate sensual
gratification, or worse, aiming to disrupt a marriage. This type
then uses seeming indifference to make themselves more desirable.
They use wiles and tricks to attract another's attention, gifts, and strokes.
They deliberately exploit the anima/animus projections of another onto
themselves, using it for personal advantage. This is the motivation
of the flirt.
In an egotistical identification with Aphrodite, a person becomes a lady-killer
or man-killer, the stud, sex kitten, gigolo, whore, or other role-bound
image. The strength of the identification depends on what others
archetypes are at work in the soul.
For example, a strong Hera aspect would constantly be urging toward marriage
rather than remaining as mistress or philanderer; Athena would caution
consideration of the implications on career of promiscuous behavior or
reputation; Artemis would move us to be more modest and pious if not chaste.
On a more pragmatic level, Artemis might say that to steal another's man
violates the sisterhood all women share.
Considering the various aspects and manifestations of Aphrodite, think
back over all the ways she has entered your life over the years, creating
pleasure or leaving a trail of pain. Remember your sexual awakening,
first love, your rivals, attention-getting gambits. Consider what
areas of your life are in disharmony with her principles, or where you
may have identified with her too exclusively. Consider how your attitudes
toward sexuality may have changed over different periods in your life.
Sitting quietly in a dimly lit room with your journal open, visualize any
of the familiar images of Aphrodite or Venus from sculpture and paintings
of the masters. Alternatively, she may take a modern form as an admired
actress or actor whom you think is irresistible, but this mortal form could
never carry all of the archetypal potencies, so it is best to work toward
visualizing a traditional forms. You may also use a Tarot card such
as THE EMPRESS, which corresponds with her.
Greet her and begin discussing those questions that are unresolved regarding
your physical and aesthetic passions. Then let her speak about any
subconscious patterns she may know about you. Be careful--she may
try to seduce you or use her wiles in any number of ways. She will
guard any attention you shower on her jealously, unless your inform her
about certain aspects of your mortal life. Let her know your human
limitations and your ethical standards within which she must learn to operate.
She is passion personified.
APHRODITE IN YOUR LIFE
1. What were your emotional reactions to your first sexual experience?
2. Have you ever fallen in love-at-first-sight? Did the other
reciprocate? How long did this feeling last? Did it develop
into mature, realistic love?
3. Have you ever been addicted to any sensual pleasures?
4. Have you ever felt insecure about your looks or attractiveness
and been compulsively driven to prove that you were sexy or desirable ?
What effect did this have on those around you?
5. Were you ever the "other woman" or "other man"? How did
you feel about it?
6. If you have ever ben "dumped" by a lover for another, what qualities
of the goddess did that other embody that you weren't manifesting with
7. Is there a "lost love" for whom you still yearn or feel nostalgia?
8. Are you considered vain person by friends or foes? How much
time and money do you spend keeping yourself attractive? Are you
frequently before the mirror, primping and fussing? Do you worry
about the physical results of aging?
9. Is courtship or romance an extremely important aspect of love
to you. What types of situations do you consider romantic?
10. Describe your romantic ideal: age, style of dress, behavior,
education, income bracket, etc.
11. How many times a day do you become conscious of your sexual
fantasies? Do you dream about sex frequently? Describe a recent
sexual fantasy or dream.
12. How do you feel about pre-marital and extra-marital sex?
Have you felt differently about this at other times, depending on your
evolving morals or whether you were married or single at the time?
Do you feel different about sexual standardsfor yourself and others?
13. Have you ever had a strong physical attraction for another who
was socially forbidden to you--a teacher, doctor, employer, psychotherapist,
14. Have you ever had to learn how to sublimate sexual feelings into
a more platonic type of relationship? or toward a higher ideal than
15. Have you experienced the excitement of illicit or secret sexual
relations? Were you addicted to this intense feeling of potential
danger? What events brought the situation into the light of scrutiny
16. Do you feel guilty over past sexual encounters or experience
shame for past sexual adventures you might now consider immoral or ill-advised?
17. What is the balance between power motives and devotional love
in your current relationships? Do you try to manipulate your lover(s)?
18. Do you use affairs or sexual fantasies to escape from the pressures
of other aspects of life which seek your immediate attention for your development?
19. How are your mothering and nurturing qualities qualities being used
right now? What creative prpjects are growing and developing?
What are you attracting to you? Who is inspiring and nurturing you?
How are you indulging your senses?
File Created: 3/17/02
Last Updated: 7/20/02