I love to explore the Divine Feminine and write about Goddesses. For a list of those, click on the link: Goddesses. In order to become more balanced within ourselves and, through that, to bring greater balance and harmony to the world around us, we must find greater balance between the masculine and feminine energies within ourselves that each one of us possesses, regardless of physical gender or any other ways of self-identification.
Love & Beauty
Aphrodite is the Ancient Greek Goddess of love, beauty, pleasure and procreation. Mythology tells us that the sky God Uranus was slain by his son, the giant Cronos, while he lay with the Goddess Gaia. His severed genitals were cast into the sea and from his immortal flesh, creating the foam on the crest of a wave, in which Aphrodite grew in and was eventually born off the coast of Cyprus.
Hesiod, in his Theogony 176 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.), tells us:
“[She] came forth an awful and lovely goddess, and grass grew up about her beneath her shapely feet. Her gods and men call Aphrodite, and Aphrogeneia (the foam-born) because she grew amid the foam, and well-crowned (eustephanos) Kythereia because she reached Kythera, and Kyprogenes because she was born in billowy Kypros, and Philommedes (Genital-Loving) because sprang from the members. And with her went Eros (Love), and comely Himeros (Desire) followed her at her birth at the first and as she went into the assembly of the gods. This honour she has from the beginning, and this is the portion allotted to her amongst men and undying gods,--the whisperings of maidens and smiles and deceits with sweet delight and love and graciousness."
Possibly not the best translation, but it shows clearly what the Ancient Greeks saw Aphrodite as. She was pleasure and love, seduction and the epitome of all that the Ancient Greeks considered as the ultimate feminine, beautiful, attractive, sensual and worthy of adoration and desire.
Plato also referred to her two versions as one representing homosexual love (the greater one) and the other, younger version, symbolising heterosexual love (the lesser one). Later, with the advent of Christianity, these two versions were interpreted as spiritual and carnal love.
Worshipping the Divine Feminine
There was also a male version of her, Aphroditus, who was depicted as a bearded man in a dress, holding it up and showing off an erect phallus, which was said to bestow good fortune and abundance to all who gazed upon him. However, as the female version grew in popularity, the male version disappeared slowly, only leaving some signs of cult worship behind. However, the theme of Aphroditus was taken up in later mythology again in the story of Hermaphroditus.
The Goddess Aphrodite was the personification of feminine power in its most pleasurable and loving form, both in a spiritual/emotional, as well as in a physical capacity. Her archetype teaches us to worship our divine feminine energy within and see our bodies as sacred temples of divine creation. If you find it challenging to love yourself as a woman and to embrace the beauty and sensuality of your body without shame or guilt, Aphrodite’s energy is very good to work with, as it helps you to see yourself as the result of divine imagination incarnate in the flesh.
In fact, there is nothing shameful or embarrassing about your body. Whether you’re a size zero (and let’s face it, most women are not), or a size 50, you are worthy of love, being worshipped and adored, and you have every right to take delight in your femininity, on all levels, spiritual, mental, emotional and physical.
Modern religious teachings the world over have suppressed the divine feminine in order to create an imbalance which makes it easier for those in power to manipulate and rule the masses. Men and women alike have followed this belief, which has led to shaming, suppressing and abuse, even hideous crimes like rape, murder and torture. This is not only the case in the monotheistic Judaeo-Christian-Islamic traditions but also in other religions and societal structures all over the world. Men and women alike have suffered greatly from this imbalance and it is time to free yourselves from the shackles of repressive doctrine and embrace your divine nature.
Regardless of your gender in your physical body, all have feminine and masculine energies and if there is an imbalance, where either one is dominant and the other repressed, it causes disharmony in body, mind and spirit. Therefore, it is important to bring back balance for the highest good of all. On a spiritual level, this means, taking inspired, not mindless action, being receptive and connected to your divine source and taking action on those grounds, rather than bulldozing your way through life, regardless of any collateral damages.
On an emotional level, it means, being strong in spirit, yet able to acknowledge and express your feelings and thoughts without going into victimhood or perpetrator mode, but to look at, express and, where needed, heal your emotions and thought patterns. On a physical level, this means, adoring the feminine as much as adoring and worshipping the masculine, being sensitive to your own physical needs and desires, being able to accept love and physical shows of affection, freely exploring your sensuality and sexuality by yourself and / or with a partner in a mutually trusting, respectful and appreciative relationship where none abuses or looks down on, let alone abuses the other for any reason, be it physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. Therefore, Aphrodite is often depicted together with Eros, the God of Love. This union symbolises the balance and union of the divine masculine and divine feminine principles on all levels of existence.
In my romance novel Chopped Encounter, the female MC brings up the discussion of equality and varying perceptions of men and women being sexually active on her first date with the male MC, Wayne, and a discussion ensues during which both lay out their points of view and finally get to a common consensus on the matter.
So whether you are a man or a woman, gay or straight or any other facet of the gloriously radiant rainbow that is existent in the human kaleidoscope, it is worth exploring your own feminine qualities and your perception of the feminine and of women.
Aphrodite is, therefore, a beautiful Goddess to work with to re-balance your own polarities and bring healing to your psyche by teaching you the divinity of the feminine principle. For women who are often encountering guilt or shame about their role in society and their own bodies and sexuality, Aphrodite is a healing agent par excellence and can teach you to be in tune with your body, worship it and delight in all sensual pleasures.
For example, you can meditate on your body, every part of it and think on what brings you joy and pleasure (without hurting yourself in the long-run, so go easy on that chocolate cake). You can explore your body, stroking over your skin, tasting various foods with blindfolded eyes to heighten your sense of touch, taste and smell, for example, find out what gives you the most pleasure in sexual self-pleasure and, if you’re sexually active with a partner, try out some new things together to see where it leads. Massages and caresses are a great way to do this where one is active, the other is passively receiving, so he or she can solely concentrate on his or her feelings, sensations and stimulation points. Later, reverse the roles. And don’t be shy to talk about it and tell each other what you liked most or what not so much, etc.
A great resource for your sacred, divine sexual and sensual exploration is Layla Martin’s Vlog.