Mythology | Aphrodite (Venus)

Aphrodite is possibly the most popular and well-known ancient goddess of modern times. Venus is her equivalent, Roman version, while Aphrodite is Greek. In some cases, she is known as “Venus-Aphrodite.” Two other names include Cytherea (Lady of Cythera) or Cypris (Lady of Cyprus.) She can also be compared to Egyptian goddesses Isis and Hathor. Alongside, she shares qualities with Norse goddess, Freya.

Aphrodite is best known as the goddess of love, beauty, and pleasure.

Born from sea foam

Aphrodite was born in Cyprus, the Greek island. There is one myth claiming she was the daughter of Zeus and Dione. The more common (and more interesting) myth is that she was born from sea foam, after Cronus severed his father’s (Uranus’s) genitals and threw them into the sea. That would technically make her daughter of Uranus, with no mother.

It is said that Aphrodite rose from the water and was birthed as a full-grown woman. She never had the body of a child.

Love, beauty, pleasure

Aphrodite is the goddess of love — specifically, the physical and sensual type of love. She is adored and lusted after by nearly everyone. She is beautiful and breathtaking in appearance. She values harmony and despises violence and war. Aphrodite wants to take a hot bath with Epsom salts, devour comfort food, binge drink, get pampered, and be the center of attention at all times. She just wants to feel good!

Her negative aspects are jealousy and lack of discipline. Because she is so pleasure-focused, she fails to work hard, and can be very lazy. Being so charming and gorgeous, many women/goddess are envious of her, and most lovers become possessive over her. Her lustful desires are the source of most dramas.

Adonis

Aphrodite had many, many lovers — one of the most famous being Adonis. He is the god of beauty of pleasure, similar to Aphrodite herself. Her and Persephone had a dispute over him because they both wanted him. One day, while hunting, Adonis was killed by a boar, and Aphrodite gave him his last kiss before he passed on.

Hephaestus

Aphrodite had an arranged marriage to Hephaestus, commanded by Zeus. She was very upset over this arrangement, because she was deeply in love with Ares (her and Ares already had children together.) Hephaestus was likely not in love with her, and made a minimal effort to strengthen their marriage.

During their marriage, Aphrodite was trapped in the house while Hephaestus left for the day, which was Ancient Greek custom. And so, she would invite Ares to come over and sleep with her.

When Hephaestus found out about the affair, he was extremely angry. Although he may have had some feelings for Aphrodite, it was mainly a devastating bruise to his ego. He got revenge by setting up a web over the bed and trapping the two of them. The next time that Ares came over, him and Aphrodite were tied down to the bed, as planned.

Hephaestus, after catching them in the act, invited his family to come see and laugh at them. But instead, his family laughed at Hephaestus, for being the one who got cheated on. Meanwhile, Aphrodite and Ares continued the act, while still tied in bed together, which would lead to another baby.

It is unclear if her and Hephaestus got divorced or not, but at the minimum, they did separate, and Aphrodite was able to move out of the house and be on her own. The two of them never had children together.

This is a fascinating story and certainly does not justify cheating, yet sheds light on human nature. Hephaestus was embarrassed by Aphrodite’s behavior, and by seeking revenge, he only made himself even more embarrassed. While he had every right to be angry, taking the high road would have saved some of his dignity, at least. And Aphrodite seemed to be completely unaffected by his revenge, and used this affair with Ares as a last resort to escape a marriage that she never even agreed to in the first place.

Ares

Out of Aphrodite’s long list of lovers, from mortals to gods, it is clear that Ares is her perfect match. They had children together but never married. These are two free spirits, who are total opposites and therefore complete each other.

In Roman mythology, Mars is the equivalent of Ares. And so, the Roman version of Aphrodite and Ares would be Venus and Mars. That’s right, our two neighboring planets. It’s almost as if they are Earth’s two parents, watching over and protecting us Earthlings!

Ares is the god of war. He is masculine, energetic, possessive, hot-headed, competitive, determined, motivated, action-oriented, and forceful. Meanwhile, his counterpart, Aphrodite is just the opposite — feminine, receptive, cozy, conflict-avoidant, pleasure-seeking, a little lazy, and passive. They balance each other out. Ares encourages Aphrodite to face challenges head-on, while Aphrodite teaches Ares how to cool down.

Why do they never marry? One theory is that Aphrodite remains stuck to Hephaestus. Another possibility is that they simply decide not to — one trait that the two share in common is their shared independent nature. Aphrodite does not want to be stuck at home all day, and Ares has battles to fight and challenges to tackle. They spend a lot of time apart, but always come back together for some very passionate loving.

Ancient Greek culture & feminine sensuality

The story of Aphrodite’s cheating scandal is just one of many — she is known for being unfaithful to most of her lovers. In Greek mythology, unfortunately, cheating is a common phenomenon — for example, you see it all the time with Zeus!

Aphrodite’s connection to love specifically refers to a physical, pleasurable, sensual type of love — not the type of devotional and unconditional love you see with goddesses such as Isis or Parvati.

A fascinating point is that in Ancient Greek culture, along with many other ancient cultures, sensuality between man verses woman was perceived very differently than it is today. During this time, it was commonly believed that women had higher sex drives, were much more likely to cheat, and struggled more with monogamy than men. The justification for requiring wives to stay home all day, to make them cover up their bodies, etc. was because society believed they lacked self-control, that their self-discipline was weaker than men.

Probably around the 17th or 18th century, was when the script was reversed. With a religious emphasis on women’s purity, societal perception was now changed to view women as lacking sex drives, choosing to remain virginal, and even feeling repulsed by physical intimacy — instead, only craving emotional connection and nothing more.

The script-reversal still applies to modern day. The image of women having no sex drive, and men being lustful pigs, has persisted throughout the past century. It really wasn’t until the feminist wave and sexual revolution in the 60s and 70s, when society once again began acknowledging the fact that both men and women have physical needs.

However, even to this day, common belief is that men “only want one thing,” that they are “not designed for monogamy” — while women apparently “have to trick men into committing to them.”

Most people do not even know that before the Victorian era, society deemed women as lust-obsessed, not men. This provides more insight on the history of women, and why men have always feared them so much.

Call upon Aphrodite…

Call upon Aphrodite when you are looking for more pleasure in your life. This can be a sensual type of pleasure, but does not necessarily have to be! If you just want to feel better about yourself, have more confidence, and raise your self-esteem, then call upon this lady!

If you have been overworking yourself, acting out in anger, or dealing with too much drama lately… call upon her! She will teach you how to slow down, stop working so hard, and take a relaxing spa day for yourself. She will show you how to indulge in self-care without feeling guilty about it. She will guide you away from conflict and keep you at peace in your little comfort zone.

Too much Aphrodite can lead to greed, laziness, shallowness, and cowardliness. But everybody needs a little bit of Aphrodite in their lives! You deserve to treat yourself every once in a while. Not everything in life has to be a competition. You should be able to take compliments from others without getting embarrassed. You deserve to be adored, and most importantly, you deserve to love yourself!

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