Aphrodite (Venus) the Greek Goddess of Love and Beauty
There are many stories surrounding the Goddess Aphrodite. The Olympian goddess was usually seen with the winged Eros, and was always a very beautiful woman. She was attributed with a dove, a scallop shell, an apple and a mirror. There were many sculptures and paintings of her that showed her nude.
Some legends tell of how Aphrodite came from the sea foam, which was created by the dismembered parts of Uranus that had been tossed into the sea by Kronos. Homer tells us that Aphrodite is actually born of Zeus and Dione, and later stories tell how she was Kronos’ and Euonyme’s daughter. (While Socrates reminds us in the Symposium along with many other scholars and ancients--that the reason for this--may very well be that there are really two Goddesses; dual Aphrodites--perhaps dual manifestations of Aphrodite; the one who exemplifies the Earthy sensual down to Earth manifestations of love, and the other who celebrates the heavenly qualities of love where love is celebrated as a cosmic union).
No matter what way she came into the world, everyone was always very struck with her beauty once they saw her, and every man desired her for his wife. She was believed to be the mother of every living being. Something of this can be seen in the contest between Typhon and the gods. Here, Aphrodite changed her form into a fish, which was thought to contain the most generative powers.
Because of her ability to excite passion in all the hearts of men and gods from the Greeks’ description of her, she used this power to rule over all of living creation. There were several stories where it says that Aphrodite punished the ones who neglected worship of her or hated the power she had, and other stories where she would protect or favor the ones who paid homage to her and got caught up in her beauty.
This essay (along with others) is included in my latest essay collection: More About Goddesses! (which you can purchase in the left margin of this blog!)`--TK