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    O Blessed Aphrodite, Goddess I adore..
How you have tormented my heart
Brought me to death's door...
   Yet how you have lifted and deepened me
Compelled me to the core
 How you have opened to me
Love's wisdom lore
'Til no matter the thorns
Your roses have in store
           I will still return to you again, again             
           And forever ever more...

           Muse of ecstatic inspiration
           Wash me on your shore
           As through my heart and open mouth
           You make the music pour
           O bless my flying fingers as                      
            They dance  upon your strings
           O bless the stream of poetry
           In praise of thee I sing...

           I take to me thy roses
           That smell so soft and fine
           Their petals and their passing
           Gifts and lessons divine
           Dancing in the moonlight
           And in the shining sun
           For thou art the Dark Goddess
           And thou art the Golden One




Now is the time when the Goddess falls in love.  It is the time of Sacred
Passion when the year swells towards the fullness of Summer.  Flowers are
pouring out their sexual magic and the air is ripe with their perfume.  The
Goddess adorns Herself with their loveliness, and the lush greens are Her
garment.  She is irresistible and Her Divine Lover responds with ardor.

Her Lover could be another Goddess, a God, Herself, or perhaps the
pursuit of Her creativity.  As Mother Earth She is self-fertilized by passion,
and nine months later Her daughter Spring will be born.

In Goddess reality sex and love are never separated.  True lovers are
understood to be blessed by the Goddess of Love, and their lovemaking,
sometimes called The Great Rite, is held sacred.  Touch brings pleasure
and joy, bearing messages from Spirit.  Each part of the body is loved,
full of meaning and messages; each physical touch is also a touching of
the soul.

In some ancient cultures priestesses who served the Goddess of Love were
trained in the arts of love magic.  They would make love with members of
their communities in temples and sacred groves, a ritual consecrated to the
Goddess.  If a man had been to war, he had to undergo this rite, which
was considered a purification, prior to which he was felt to be unfit to
rejoin the community. 

Priestesses learned to be channels of Shakti or Chi energy, and to offer
supplicants a powerful and transforming encounter that would imprint them
for life, and attune them to the awesome beauty of Creation.  In some
cultures this was called The Sacred Marriage or heiros gamos... a profound
joining that was not necessarily meant to be carried on into a personal
relationship.  Both partners became the Deity for a time, afterwards
returning to their everyday selves, yet deepened and renewed.  Ensuing
personal love relationships were then nourished and enhanced, built on
respect, tenderness and mutual regard. Such practices reveal the reverence
and appreciation these societies held towards sexuality, the Goddess,
and women.  How far we have come from them in our world today.

Even more ancient than these heterosexual rituals
were those of sacred lesbian love.  Sappho's
tradition, in her temple school for young girls,
dedicated to Aphrodite as bestower of passion and
Muse of fine arts, was one of the last vestiges of
this path.


In patriarchy women's sexuality may be among the
most cursed of all our Mysteries.  Prostitution, rape,
pornography, meaningless loveless "dirty" sex, abuse,
addiction, manipulation, torture, repression, religious
condemnation, and distorted power games have
corrupted our sexuality.  Venereal disease, sexual
dysfunction, loneliness, and passionless relationships
are the order of the day.  We are deeply wounded
in our sexuality, and in great need of healing.  It
begins with a renewed relationship with the Goddess
of Love, based on the recognition that Her gift of sexual love is sacred, and one of the
greatest gifts of all; that true lovemaking must involve a commitment of heart, mind, body,
energy, and spirit. 

Perhaps this is why it has been said that the pentagram or
five pointed star is one of the emblems of the Goddess of Love.  For
the Star illustrates the Five Qualities we all possess: Air/Mind,
Fire/Energy, Earth/Body, Water/Emotions and Spirit/Soul.  When
Love emanates through all Five arms of Aphrodite's Star as Poetry/
Air, Empowerment/Fire, Beauty/Earth, Passion/Water, and Immortality/
Spirit, then indeed She is present.  We have the option to make this
our standard and our ethic for romantic/sexual love.  We can choose
this ancient way of Loving and make a society of true lovers that is safe
and free.  "Make Love, Not War;" a wiser and deeper phrase than we




                    "A FREE SOCIETY WILL HAVE ITS DAY
                     WHEN APHRODITE HAS HER WAY..."

A society based on the principles of Aphrodite would have Aphrodite ethics.
What would these be like?  People would likely be less aggressive in such
a world, since making love tends to render us open-hearted and
mellow.  The work ethic would be replaced by the pleasure ethic.  Instead
of laboring to justify our presence in the world, we would work at the
things we most love; that give us joy and pleasure.  We would work hard
sometimes for our goals, but we would also take time for rest, poetry, and
smelling roses.  Our world would move more slowly. 

All relationships, whether romantic or otherwise, would be at high priority. 
Matters of the heart would be considered supremely important, and time
would be spent cultivating and nurturing them.  Competition would be rare
and cooperation highly prized.  Since it comes naturally to be compassionate
and caring towards our lovers, we would have these abilities for all relation-
ships.  We would love animals and plants as easily as people.  Since all
children would be born of love, their presence would be understood as
sacred, and they would be treasured and treated well. 

Since telepathy comes naturally between lovers, we would have this skill
available too, thus engendering a psychic web of connection worldwide;
a "psychic internet" as Kelle Green calls it.  In a loving world it would be
safe to trust each other and be open. 

Since Aphrodite is also the Muse, we would be a society of poets and
artists.  Our very lives would be works of art, and even the most
mundane and practical tasks would be done with a fine touch.  Since
Aphrodite is the Goddess of Beauty as well as Love and Creativity, we
would seek to live beautifully, to walk in beauty, and to value all things
beautiful.  Not the false patriarchal ideal of "beauty," but the true
beauty of realness, harmony, integrity, health and wholeness. Women
would not be subjected to the patriarchal beauty myth, made to feel
inadequate and inferior.  Instead we would see the beauty in all women,
and knowing they are so loved would make them shine.

A new definition of the word "beauty":  That which inspires love.

Since Aphrodite is a Goddess of abundance, our environments would be
lush and overflowing with resources.  We would honor the trees and take
joy in the wild places, just as we would take joy in our wild passions. 
Since love is related to water and many rivers are named after love
Goddesses, all the earth's waters would run clear and clean, with more
than enough for everyone.  Since our natural passions and our bodies
would be held sacred, all of nature would be revered.  We would be at
peace with our animal selves, and therefore reverent and appreciative
towards all animals.  Cruelty to animals or humans or plants (who are
also conscious beings) would be unheard of.  Our homes and communities
would have many trees around them, and many fountains.  Our gardens
would not be sterile boxes of controlled, clipped uniformity as they are
today.  They would each be unique and overflowing with rich free growth.

There would be no class system in an Aphrodite world.  Since divine
Love would be the basis for social organization, all people would be
seen as equally worthy.  The economy would be a common river into which
all would pour their energies, and from which all would take what they
need.  A "gift economy" based on free one-way giving.  No one would
have to horde huge stockpiles of resources, since all would be available
to all.  There would be little or no crime in such a world, since most
crime stems from scarcity and deprivation.

And Summer Solstice, Aphrodite's time, would be a major holiday.




Painting above: "Sappho" by Charles-August Mengin





"Psyche Opening the Golden Box"
Painting by John Waterhouse

(This writing can be used as a guided inward journey, or enacted as ritual theatre.  It is suitable for any time of year but can be especially appropriate around the Summer Solstice.  Based on the myth of Aphrodite and Psyche.)


Once upon a time there is you, woman, everywoman, a child of the universe, a daughter of the Goddess.  And you seek to know the Mysteries of Life, and you seek to know especially the Mysteries of Love.  And so you pluck a rose and go down to the sea, to the Temple of Aphrodite, the place where Spirit, Fire, Earth, Sky and Water meet.  The place where Aphrodite was born.  And you come to the altar of the Goddess of Love, built of Olive wood and Abalone Shell in a sweet cove sheltered from the wind.  There are dried rose petals burning in a censer, and many roses lavishly laid.  You offer your rose to the Goddess, light a deep red candle, and settle yourself to gaze into its flame and pray.  You call upon Aphrodite with all the longings of your heart and soul, to teach to you the Mysteries of Love.  Beyond, the blue sea whispers and the foam tipped waves dance gently on the golden sands.

As you drift into trance you hear the sound of women's laughter.  Looking up from the altar you see that someone is approaching from the clifftop above.  Seven sisters, each dressed in a color of the rainbow, with cloaks in the shape of wings when their wearers open wide their arms.  They are the Pleides, the Doves, the Priestesses of Aphrodite.   They wend their ways downward along the winding path that has been cut into the hill and down to the beach's sandy floor.  Singing and laughing still, they approach the altar and make a semicircle around you.

"Greetings soulsister!" says the Blue Priestess.  I am Periwinkle, and these are my sisters Rose, Ora, Marigold, Leaf, Lobelia, and Violet.  We "heard" your call to the Goddess of Love, and have come to answer your prayers.  Marigold, all gowned in golden-yellow, takes your hand and helps you to your feet.  "Come with us, dear one, and we will show you the way to understand the Mysteries of Love."

And the priestesses surround you and embrace you in a circle, then guide you and walk with you a very long way.  Up from the shore, up the carven hill-steps, up a winding pathway through trees and slopes and mountains you are led.  You join with the women in singing as you go, and the song is magic and gives wings to your feet.  You feel pulled up the mountain, as though Aprhodite Herself is drawing you to Her by your heartstrings.

 Love called to me
On the wind, on the wind
Love called to me
On the wind
And though I was young
And blind, and blind
I followed Her voice
In the wind...  


TO BE CONTINUED...Watch this page for the remaining paragraphs of "The Wandering Psyche,"
in which Aphrodite is no longer the "overbearing mother-in-law" as She is usually depicted in
patriarchal myth, but Psyche's Priestess of Love's Mysteries.  Learn of the fifth Task, and
what Psyche saw when she opened the Golden Box...


You are in Thealagie Cavelet #7: APHRODITE



Thealagie Cavelet #1
Reframing the Holy Days in Female

Musings and Ritual Material for Holy Days and Sacred Times
Thealagie Cavelet #2 - Hallowe'en

Thealagie Cavelet #3 - Winter Solstice

Thealagie Cavelet #4 - Musea (Candlemas)

Thealagie Cavelet #5 - Koreturn (Spring Equinox)

Thealagie Cavelet #6 - Diana (Beltane)


Keeping Time with the Goddess