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February 19, 2020
There is the heat of Love, the pulsing rush of longing, the lover’s whisper, irresistible—magic to make the sanest man go mad.
-Homer, The IIliad
It is said that flowers bloomed beneath her feet as she walked along the shore of Cypress. In her highest incarnation she is seen as the Mother of All Creation, holding the generative power of the Great Goddess. Boticelli’s Birth of Venus is surely one of the most famous paintings in the world, and this is a depiction of the scene with the Roman version of Aphrodite, Venus. It is of course quite romanticized with all of the Rated R trappings removed, and the idealized femine form emphasized. This is the form which invokes unstoppable desire, which starts wars, and which makes the perfect vehicle for soap opera worthy scandals.
Because Aphrodite was so desirable, Zues was concerned that the Gods would break out into endless conflicts over her hand. He arranged a marriage between her and the mild tempered and unattractive Smithing God, Hephaestus. This arrangement proved to be a bit dull for our passionate heroine who went on to have many lovers and children outside of her marriage. Despite her infidelity, her loyal husband crafted many gifts and treasures for her including her very powerful girdle, which only strengthened her gift of seduction.
The fires of passion ignite not only sexual chemistry, but also the fires of war. Her son Eros, which means “desire” was born of her extra-marital union with the God of War himself, Ares. Isn’t it interesting that the Greek God of Love and Sex, Eros, is born from deities of Beauty and War? Perhaps we have a hint about the true nature of love here. In addition to her rendezvous with the violent Ares, she is also credited with starting the Trojan War when she offered up the already married Helen of Sparta as a gift to Trojan Prince Paris, and the Spartan King sent an expedition to Troy to retrieve her.
There are many stories of Aphrodite punishing those who refused to worship her, or despised her power. She could also be jealous and spiteful, including going to the lengths to make a married mortal woman fall in love with an extra-marital God, or visa-versa. However, those who honored her would receive favors, and she even bestowed gifts of beauty and charm upon them. She was honored with incense, garlands of flowers, and occasionally animal sacrifice.
Aphrodite wielded quite a lot of power over both women and men. There were many groups of women who prostituted themselves in her service, and also many women who pined for her to share the blessing of her beauty and charisma. She was the Patron deity of Courtesans, Prostitutes and Mariners.
According to Plato there were two versions of Aphrodite: Aphrodite Urania and Aphrodite Pandemos. Aphrodite Urania represented transcendent spiritual love, exalted sexual encounters, wisdom, and exclusively love between men. Aphrodite Pandemos inspired was the more common earthly, carnal love which extended into friendship and community as well as erotic encounters.
The annual Aphrodesia Festival which is dedicated to Aphrodite Pandemos is still celebrated in certain parts of Greece, specifically Cypress, during the month of Hekatombaion, which is the Third week of July to the Third week of August.
VESSEL OF FIRE
In terms of consciousness and magick, if you look at the various channels of power held by Aphrodite, you will see that we basically have a body or vessel of fire. Fire is what brings our creative, commutative growth in life, our sense of adventure, our sexuality, our performance, and our desire. It is the animating force of passion on the stage of life. In terms of magick, a Goddess form is an archetype that works like a doorway into the Superconscious or Subconscious, depending on whether you want to work on your light or respectively, your shadow.
At her core Aphrodite’s fire is considered to be the generative force of nature which is the divine fire of creation. This is fire which is in alignment with the entirety of consciousness, the macrocosmic self or God-ess head. It is a burning seed of light in the alchemical cauldron.
Through her story, and her drama her fire is channeled into the various exploits of what becomes her ego-self. The principles of reckless promiscuity, indulgent punishment and magical manipulation of mortals is to align the principal of fire with the lower sensory self of temporal power and tyrannical narcissistic authority.
Neither are bad or good, they are simply different sides of the coin, or the archetype. You may use any of these aspects of Aphrodite in your magick, depending on whether you are seeking sensual enlightenment, or perhaps you just want to add some passionate drama to your story...the choice is personal, and whether it seems holy, or carnally reckless, that is where you are, so honor it!
The first step of the ancient Aphrodesia ritual would be to purify the Temple with the blood of Aphrodite’s most sacred bird, the Dove. Participants would carry images of the Goddess to the altar to be washed. In Cypress there were specific worshippers who’d been initiated into the Cult of Aphrodite, and they would be offered salt, symbolic of her Sea-born origins, and bread baked in the shape of a phallus. Because nothing was permitted to be sacrificed at the altar during this ritual, live white goats were offered as we as fire, incense and flowers.
SYMBOLS AND ASSOCIATIONS
Sera Timms of LVXTENEBRAS is Gemini twin sister, occult and esoteric lover and practitioner, musician, and wise woman from California. Read more about her here, and from her on our blog, Esoteric Insights.
Read more on astrology, horoscopes, occultism, magick & ritual on our blog, Esoteric Insights!
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