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Thoughts on Aphrodite

August 11, 2009

Aphrodite is the goddess of love, beauty, pleasure and procreation. She is the kisses between lovers, the smile on a newborn’s lips, and the endless beauty of all. She is present in anything and everything, and she is a goddess both divine and strangely mortal. She averts unlawful desires and puts a stopper on age and death. She is common to all, the blush in the cheeks of never-been girls and boys alike. She is armed with her unstoppable love, and yet she does not create it: she does not create the spark between lovers, but she massages it, soothes it, until it blazes like a bonfire. She is sensuality and hunger, she is addiction, youth and bounty. She is the goddess of all, of mortality and infinity alike, and she strikes with hard kisses and unrelenting love.

She is not brainless and foolhardy. She is Apatouros, the deceptive one, and she is Makhanitis, the deviser. She laughs and loves with equal vigour. She repays ills in the way she best knows how; she loosens her children on those who would take advantage of her laughter-loving nature, and she presses hazy kisses to those who ask for her love. She does not accept the uglier things; simmering rage and poisoned words have no place in her house. She forgives with readiness and golden smiles, and she plucks at the heartstrings of humans and gods alike. She is born again and again, in the hearts of men and women, in the laughter of babes. She is ever-present, ever-strong, and ever-ready to fall in love, time and time again.

She is not weak. She is a force which threatens even the oldest of the gods. She is born of heaven alone, of fate and prophecy, of the endless sky and the brilliant day. Even the dead cannot resist her touch, her whispers. She is the most loyal subject of Phanes, reborn as her most loyal subject after Zeus devoured him. Perhaps she is Phanes: perhaps she truly is everything. She is music and sex, blood and honey, life and death. She is the climax of passion, she is the beating of hearts. She drives everything, kisses everywhere, touches everyone.

Her children drive the world. Without her, and without them, there could be nothing. There would be no children to spread their fingers and wave at their anxious parents, hovering nearby. There would be no laughter, no desire, no love. Her children and her train are her better sides: it is easy to overlook her birth from fury and blood. She is drawn to the soft curves of her own vengeance – to Adonis, her beautiful hunting boy – and, simultaneously, to the violence and hatred of War. She explodes with life, fills human shells with richness and longing, and she softens it all with her golden laughter. She is guilty of all and yet entirely blameless, a child and a mother, a lover of all.

She brings reciprocal and unrequited love, Anteros; terror and panic, Deimos and Phobos; longing and desire, Pothos and Himeros; harmony and strife, Harmonia and Eris; seduction and fertility, Peitho and Priapos; and love, Eros.

She is the goddess of prostitutes and hermaphrodites, of anyone who would dare to be different. She commands respect without inspiring terror, and she blesses marriages and heroes alike. She is the ally of any who would ask, she joins the Mousai in their dances and song, she plays a role, even, in the workings of the Moirae. She is the unavoidable love, the unstoppable kiss, the endless passion and desire. She is the war and the peace, the terror of oneself and the greater world, she is the child and the crone, the always-ready nursemaid and the patron of voyagers and brides. She pushes for individuality without alienating oneself from one’s family, and yet she smiles and accepts when one reaches one’s limits. She is cruel and gentle, lovely and hateful, and she brings victory in love and war alike with her soft hands and ready smiles.

She is Aphrodite.

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