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MIGHTY APHRODITE:

LOVING THE GODDESS IN YOUR LIFE

from PANTHEON: Archetypal Gods in Daily Life, Richard and Iona Miller, OAK, 1984

The more we develop on the spiritual path, the more we find ourselves lost in
remembrance of the Beloved. We discover that every moment is engaged in his
love. We realize that the most sacred and precious moments of our lives are those
in which we are lost in remembrance of the Beloved
. --Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj

At the highest level of spiritual development this archetypal drive manifests as bhakti, or spiritual devotion.  It is an analogue for the yearning of the soul for unification with God and the Cosmos.   Its spectrum spans from self-indulgence to self-denial -- all in the name of Love.  But its normal expression is much more carnal, and involves lower chakras!  Its like the spoof song, "Gimme Aphrodite in her nightie, that ole time religion is good enough for me!"

The goddess of love, passion and fertility was known by various names at different times and in different places.  In Sumer she was Inanna, while in Babylonia, Ishtar.  Persians worshipped Anahita, while Hebrews and Phoenicians worshipped Astarte, the Egyptians Isis and Hathor, the Indians Shakti, the Romans knew her as Venus.  While in Greece, she was the beautiful Aphrodite.

Aphrodite is the well-known goddess of love, beauty and seductive power.  Beauty is her quintessence; her nakedness is glorified.  She is adored and adorned as feminine consciousness integrated in the body as instinctive wisdom with the interconnecting capacity for deep-felt emotion.  Her presence is both electric and magnetic.  The Hollywood love-goddess is a modern icon of her eternal power.  She inherently possesses the qualities of grace, charm, desire, plus a bright and lucid consciousness.

She is a goddess of passion as well as affection, sensitivity, devotion and inspiration.  The goddess of love and the sacred prostitute belong to one principle, the principle of Eros -- relatedness.  There are pleasures and dangers in her enchanting attentions. Aphrodite inspires a compelling, subjective state.  Euripides called love the "breathes (or blasts) of Aphrodite."  She seeks intimacy, touching the most private aspects of our lives.

Aphrodite is linked with many lovers in different myths.  She is the constant companion of man.  In one version of her life, Aphrodite was married to Ares.  So we see that when we are well acquainted with the Ares principle of physicality, we have an encounter with the sensuous energy she represents.  In another myth,  Aphrodite is said to be the wife of the lame smith Hephaistos.  In this story of adultery, Ares is her paramour of choice.

Aphrodite derives her warmth from a golden, sunlit type of sexuality.  She has the greatest degree of solar qualities in her personality, whereas the other goddesses have greater lunar consciousness.

This solar affinity does not, however, mean that she possesses a superior style of consciousness where self-awareness is concerned.  In fact, she can tend to drift into situations with an aplomb only possible through reckless disregard for the future.  Aphrodite can be the source of envy arising from a pulsating desire for life and love.

The origin of Aphrodite is a peculiar image for the Goddess of Love, since she stems from the violent castration of Uranus by Cronos.  Her birth from the severed genitals of Uranus symbolizes genetically the relationship of this goddess to her father, and by extension with all men.  She is the embodiment of both his cynicism and his phallic sexual imperative.  She is the drive personified in an alluring image.

Sexual desire and amorous pleasure function as aphrodisiacs which lead to fulfillment through the union of male and female.  Aphrodite is the embodiment of the union of opposites wherein the lovers are annihilated.  Venus is a binding force, which may appear as a voluntary involvement or with the strength and dynamism of possession -- even a magnificent obsession.

The paradox of Aphrodite is that she is a loving and passionate wife, but always leaves open the possibility of exploring numerous relationships with gods and mortals.  She is always friendly and intimate, except to those who would usurp her position.  In her, both the love and power drives are embodied in a single goddess.

PHYSICAL FORM

Aphrodite is physically embodied in sex organs, orgasm, and aphrodisiacs (see the Magical & Ritual Use of Aphrodisiacs, Miller).  Finding the god in a disease, she expresses through the aptly named venereal diseases, those sexually transmitted afflictions.

Her major motivation is the non-rational instinctual procreative urge -- the erotic impulse.  It functions through the glands on an instinctual level, producing pulsating physical desire which acts as a drive.  She herself can become possessed by the passion she arouses in others.  She can even take over the behavior patterns of other Olympian gods, most of whom aren't immune to her charms.

But in her desire and longing she can be persuasive, deceitful or conniving.  She is always the potential lover of anyone she befriends.  Aphrodite is considered a very assertive, active goddess, constantly mobile and advancing.  But when she can't make immediate personal contact with the object of her desire, the emotions of longing or yearning for the absent beloved are part of her emotional affect.  When we are love-sick, she has inspired it.

She inspires not only passion, but also hate, rivalry, vanity and jealousy.  These perils of Aphrodite, the results of unfulfilled desires, show the ambiguity of her gifts.  When Aphrodite manifests as emotional assertion, there is a compulsion to act out her dynamic will in daily life -- to let one's sexual energy run wild.

She is a multi-faceted goddess intimately linked with life (procreation), love (passion) and death (longing for the departed lover).  She is associated with nakedness, special costumes, the artful use of cosmetics and other aids which come under the heading of "the arts of love."  These include courtship and lovemaking and/or the Tantric Arts.

By personifying a transcendent image of the seduction of mortals by a goddess, Aphrodite mediates feelings of immortality to the human from the divine.  This is the oceanic experience of timelessness in orgasm.  It permeates all forms of sacred sexuality in which the human participants become divine embodiments of the God/Goddess.

She joins nature and culture by using love as an artform.  Her well-practiced skills are continually complemented by her attitudes, sentiments, and moral values.  She promotes an aesthetic lifestyle which boldly declares that we should take our fill of love, where and with whomever we desire.  Of course, if we do, we had better be ready to suffer the consequences.

On a very practical level, Aphrodite is embodied in aphrodisiacs and their effects.  The quest for some pill or portion that guarantees better sex or more intense orgasms is as old as mankind's experience of sex.  Now we have Viagra.  Whether these prescriptions work or not is often a mute point.  Since much of our sexuality is psychological in nature, even the promise of enhanced performance may work wonders.

An aphrodisiac might have a variety of effects on either male or female participants.  Some of these include producing erection in the male, stimulation of the genitals or nervous system, relaxing inhibitions, augmenting physical energy, strengthening the sex glands, or preventing premature ejaculation.

Aphrodite is a goddess not only of fertility, but also of a fertile imagination.  There is no sexual organ more important than the human mind.  There is no physical and mental experience more ecstatic and blissful than a complete sexual union between two loving partners.

There are no anaphrodisiacs, dampeners, or desexualizers worse than ignorance, fear, or anxiety regarding the quality and effectiveness of one's sexual performance.  The greatest sexual tonic for us is physical and psychological health so that we can spontaneously respond with depth.  Sex is not mere lust, even if lust is sex.  It transcends the two major animal functions and enters the realm of the cultural and spiritual, promoting feelings of love, consideration and solicitude.

EMOTIONAL IMAGE

"Surely it must have been on one of these shores so filled with grace and frolicsomeness that the miraculous transformation of beast into man took place.  It must have been on such a Greek strand that Astarte of the multitudinous sowlike breasts cast anchor from Asian Minor and the Greeks, receiving the barbaric and coarsely carved wooden statue, cleansed it of its bestiality, left it with only the human breasts, and gave it a human body full of nobility.  From Asia Minor, the Greeks took the primitive instinct, orgiastic intoxication, the bestial shout--Astarte.  They transubstantiated the instinct into love, the bite into kisses, the orgy into religious worship, the shout into the lover's endearment.  Astarte they transformed into Aphrodite." -- Nikos Kazantzakis, Report to Greco.

Aphrodite is an enchanting sexual fantasy.  Her allurement is nearly universal.  She is the appeal behind erotica, even pornography.  The present-day Aphroditic woman is easily recognized.  A stereotypical form is the Hollywood sex goddess who stimulates the desires and imaginations of millions.  This is the very image a Monroe, Madonna or Britney, Pamela Anderson or Julia Roberts have come to exemplify.  She is the fantasy-lover of any whose imagination she stimulates.

This is the type of allure and beauty which produced classic fated romances -- the Queen of Sheba, Delilah, Cleopatra, and Helen of Troy embodied many of Aphrodite's qualities and were skilled in the arts and ways of love.  Helen made the egotistical error of feeling superior to the divine archetypal Queen who made her pay for her vanity.

Aphrodite's libido or energy should be recognized as a dynamism and domain that is not to be challenged competitively.  She brings life's Mystery with her, and mortals can never possess her fully.  Comparison of Psyche's beauty in the tale of Amour and Psyche initiated her cycle of trails and tribulation -- mother-in-law problems -- by which Aphrodite sought to destroy her for her pride.

The Aphrodite woman of today is characterized in Jungian literature as a hetaira (Latin for she-wolf), or companion to man -- in ancient times a sacred prostitute.  She appeals to man generally through reflecting his personal anima, or unique idea of his "perfect woman."  She unconsciously knows just what to do to appeal to him.  This attraction includes seduction, flattery, and inspiration.

She awakens a man's perception of latent talents, most of which he will never have the capacity to develop, since his energy is bound up in pleasing her.  She embodies the dual capacity to delight and lead astray.  She can awaken not only desire, but also resignation and despair.  She appeals to him consciously and subconsciously.  She can be a physical, intellectual or spiritual companion simultaneously.

With little or no regard for the future, her perception of time is discontinuous.  So is ours under her influence; as lovers we feel "suspended in time." We lose track of time. Therefore, each moment must be experienced anew, irrespective of past commitments or consequences.  Duration is not valued highly as the intensity of immediate experience.  Importance is attached to experiencing intensity of sensation and gratification.  The sense of search and urgency for freedom compel Aphrodite to new affairs.

The hetaira seeks unity, but brings disruption in her wake when she arises in us.  She is not a respector of roles.  We see her in the student who falls for the teacher and vice versa.  She intrudes in the consulting room of all professionals.  She forces her attentions on the married person, and makes employer fall for employee.  She seeks friendship, if not overt sexual contact with members of the opposite sex.  This alone can be disruptive to a formerly self-sufficient couple.

When a person is dominated by this impulse for sexual desire and union, we usually call them playboys or playgirls (when older, dirty old man, or woman).  These male or female Don Juans are typically "high flyers."  They are impulsive, energetic, enthusiastic, and suggestible.  They seem to lead an exciting free life, spontaneously realizing their whims.

Changing from partner to partner, these people play a terrible price by eternal role-playing to the companion of the moment.  They can't form real relationships of any duration because they are in love with their own shape-shifting projections.  Life has no continuity, rather the person is always off joining someone else's life, soaring off hither and yon to fulfill yet another fantasy of ideal romance.

Because we are "spacey" under her influence, we transmit a quality of timelessness which fascinates by challenging our borders and imitations.  Many innovative artists are of this archetypal dominant.  They live close to the archetypal domain of the subconscious and may have mystical tendencies.  They are adventurous explorers, thrill-seekers, and seek the "rush" of dangerous situations.

Those with this drive toward "fatal attractions" or a bete noire eventually come to recognize the compulsive quality of their elan vital.  Then they become guilt-ridden and have shame and anxiety for their promiscuous behavior.  This can result in depression or desperation because of the inner weakness of an impulsive borderline personality disorder.  What they need is to stop trying to live in the realm of total possibilities, accept some boundaries, and commit themselves to something or someone.

Another pattern of loving is represented by Aphrodite's kindred, the enchantress Circe.  She is a hetaira, or she-wolf, or colloquially "a bitch."  Her style uses the powerfully divine love sorcery.  Unfortunately this means she compels or manipulates others into loving her for her own selfish ends.

In a direct, balanced love encounter, both power and love are balanced.  Circe disturbs the balance with love magic, which is her way of arousing love through power, rather than the spontaneous awakening of love which has power over both the pair.  Circe is thus a sexual predator.  She is imaged as continually circling on the perimeter of the human world.  From her borderline world she can transform mortals, just as Persephone transforms them, through a death-like regression to an ugly, animalistic creature, full of violence and dark passion.  She is the ultimate "fatal attraction," -- the harbinger of disaster.

The ancient Babylonians had a ritual of sacred prostitution where each woman was required to serve as a temple harlot once in her life.  Through this service she received the highest honor and no social reproach.  Through this impersonal sexual act, she submitted to her instinct, and renewed her virginity in the sense of being one-in-herself -- belonging to no man.

She recognized her psychological virginity and received the revelation of love as distinct from desire.  Each woman required personal experience of this phenomenon in order to be redeemed.  Some people might be pursuing contact with these life-giving symbols today, through both profane and sacred channels.

The ritual of Aphrodite has moved from single's bars to health clubs, to gentleman's clubs, to online, wherever safe or unsafe sex can be found.  When one was in the ancient temple, those who came to be renewed by Aphrodite's sacred prostitutes were frequently the dregs of the sexual pool; those who were impotent or could find no one else for themselves.  Acceptance of sex with someone based solely on availability has this archetypal background.

Those with strong Artemis qualities can balance out with an intensification of the Aphrodite principle and vice versa.  She does not always require unrestricted sexuality.  Internally, she indicates a profound relationship to that which has beauty, an aesthetic appreciation of the highest order.  Externally, it means extending ourselves toward the object of our desire with love and abandon -- following our Bliss.  Aphrodite not only engenders but enlarges life.

INTELLECTUAL IDEA

On the positive side Aphrodite is romantic or courtly love, on the negative side addictive love or co-dependence.  These are not only patterns of behavior, but also concepts based in our belief systems and their mythic backgrounds.

Some might find the concept of romantic love the most emotional of issues, not an intellectual idea.  Nevertheless, romantic love is a notion which builds certain expectations and follows certain patterns.  Romantic love began with the medieval Troubadours and their tradition of courtly love.  It has so permeated our culture that it is seen as one of the most desirable forms of possession by an archetypal power -- that of being "in love."  This is the same type of love which we say "is blind."

This is the type of love that places the beloved "on a pedestal" through the projection of our own anima or animus.  When we project this ideal image, an element of ourselves onto another, we experience an exaggerated adulation of the beloved with a blind eye toward their negative or shadow side.  They become our all, and our attitude toward them has a syrupy glamour.

Call them what you will (Heloise and Abelard, Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Iseult) the "star-crossed lovers" is one recurrent theme of the goddess.  They are always with us in literature, movies and real life as the problematic, impossible, or tragic affair.

She is golden or fair, and he is her ideal image of masculinity.  They share a romantic love, reinforcing the delusion of specialness.  Paradoxically in this specialness we live out one of the most common patterns from the repertoire of mankind.

Courtly love idealizes the beloved in a semi-divine manner.  We make our significant other a demigod.  The lovers virtually worship one another.  They yearn for one another when parted, and fate seems to separate them invariably.

These notions of courtly love as the ideal of fulfillment in human life still pervade our culture and produces tragic consequences in daily life.  When we project our anima or animus onto mere mortals, our inflated expectations are shattered.  This results in despondency, grave disappointment, disillusionment from romantic fantasies, and sometimes divorce court.

The tragedy of romantic love is that it is a hindrance to mature love.  The projections of idealized romanticism are based on one's inner life, and prevent us from truly knowing our partners as they are.  Also, romantic love tends to try to perpetuate itself "when the thrill is gone," by moving from partner to partner.

The Greeks realized that no single partner could contain the power of anima or animus indefinitely.  That is why they saw the divine archetypal power of love as a goddess of great force and beauty.

The great stories of literature which concern this type of romantic love usually involve a complication which keeps the lovers apart, much to their dismay.  By this mechanism they are prevented from really knowing another in depth.  The fantasy images grow in strength through reverie and yearning for the beloved.  There is no concrete experience to contradict the idealized image.  So the projection remains always "out there" and is never seen as fascination with an aspect of oneself.

The concept of "soul mates" is an everyday belief concerning fated or romantic love.  Every soul is complete and whole in its own potentiality.  There may be no true soul mates, except in the sense that those with whom we have immediate rapport and to whom we may readily attach our projection seem to "fill the bill."  No partner can live up to the lofty conception of the projected anima or animus.  This higher aspect of the soul should be given due consideration and attention for itself.

Romantic love has an escapist quality and is strongly addictive, much like a drug.  It may temporarily feel good while dulling our awareness and severely limiting our potential.  Love is an exciting, intensely pleasurable stimulation which we seek intently.  It can become an artificial, self-contained experience when activities, other friendships, and growth potential are sacrificed for its momentary bliss.

Unless we are prepared to deal with our personal weaknesses directly, love may become a negative emotional involvement which can never satisfy our psychological insecurity.  It results in rejection, deprivation, and dissolution, even possible suicide.  If constant exposure to a person is necessary to make life bearable, there can be no real romance, because of the constant threat of withdrawal.

Addictive lovers use others as objects of their gratification.  They seek to possess people only to fulfill their neurotic need.  Love is the opposite of this misuse of attachment.  It is based on the desire to grow and expand and for the beloved to do the same.

Addictive lovers are not secure in the belief in their own value.  They derive self-esteem from the lover's inflated view of them.  Addictive lovers aren't necessarily improved by their relationship and tend to drag one another down.  They can be toxic for one another, yet be compulsively attached.

They reject other meaningful relationships in sacrifice to the beloved.  They retreat from the world into a fantasyland.  They are possessive and jealous of each other's outside interests.  They rarely remain friends after they split up and the enchantment is lifted.

Addictive lovers may have successive or simultaneous affairs, which are never satisfying enough.  As with drug use, an addictive lover may develop a tolerance to the beloved, and seek excitement elsewhere.  The constant craving is never satisfied, because it is a dissatisfaction with our own inner self.  Love is used as a temporary escape from feelings of inadequacy.

Some relationships reinforce neurotic patterns in one another through forming a consensus of two, "just us against the world."  This mutual brainwashing, or folie a deux, is a mutually-shared illusion or delusion which can confirm any fantasy, while inner fortitude remains unchallenged -- neither ever gets quite "real."  Denial runs rampant.

Breaking free of these neurotic patterns is as hard as kicking undesirable habits, and requires conscious attention and continual work.  It requires a sense of self esteem, joy and competence, getting involved meaningfully with other people in an unselfish manner.  Serving mankind, passion becomes compassion.

SPIRITUAL MYTH

Aphrodite is also the passion in committed love, and represents mature love on the positive side.  It is a form of psychological grounding, which reshapes our motivations, and teaches new methods of coping with disappointment in life.  When we can find true satisfaction in a wider life context, we needn't substitute one kind of compulsive relationship for another.  We can meet others realistic expectations and make reasonable demands as responsible, reliable adults.

Addictive or narcissistic love compels us to deny our past in favor of an unknown ecstatic fantasy fulfillment.  Mature love is grounded in the here and now, and lacks the neurotic compulsive quality.  True love compromises, endures, comforts, satisfies, relaxes, is consistent, and unselfish.  True love serves.  It is a value system which places the highest priority on mutual feelings of respect, responsibility, and follow-through.  A lover must first know their deep self and be honest about inner feelings.

Aphrodite has a place in Hera's realm of marriage as the highest moment for husband and wife -- the pleasure of sacred love.  Hera partakes of Aphrodite's enchanting tricks for the celebration or consummation of her wedding.  When Aphrodite rises out of the sea we are transported to a transparent, bright and pure dimension.  The opposites are dissolved into unity.

The paradox of the Goddess of Love is that she originates from the castrated member of Uranus, which also engenders the revengeful, vindictive Furies.  Nevertheless, she represents the mystical splendor of love, the most celebrated yet least understood of emotions.

Like Hermes, the Hermaphrodite, Aphrodite can exhibit a bisexual aspect; then she is considered a god-goddess.  She embodies the golden purity of male-female wholeness emerging from the union of opposite but complementary halves.  Her primal magic is an enchanting deception which contains eternity in its depths if not in its duration.  Her touch is warm and genuine, nurturing like the rays of the sun.

As modern people, we recognize the old Greek spirit most easily when we are captivated by love, for then we surely believe in personal deities.  As we become entirely obsessed with a passionate desire for the physical presence of our beloved, we feel like a powerful force holds us in thrall.

Love is a unique emotion which transcends the needs of security and gratification, becoming an end in itself.  We all need love.  Love expands us in unpredictable directions and can puff us up to unpredictable proportions.  Mature love is an exchange of energies, a giving and receiving which is not necessarily a 50-50 proposition.

We can experience the warm feelings of love even though from a distance far removed from the object of our affection.  Visualization of the beloved, thoughts of endearment, euphoric recall or the loved-one's name all evoke pleasant sensations, and arouse yearning.

The natural inclination toward love is also the principle behind Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of love.  The lover yearns to search out the Beloved.  The goal is participation, proximity, belonging, and finally union in which the emotion of love is experienced most intensely.

Mature love has three major aspects: 1) it is outwardly directed from lover to beloved; 2) it is inwardly directed in that the attraction emitted by the lover is reciprocated from the beloved, and 3) it is reflexive in that "being in love" is an inner psychic experience which has value for the individual lover in his own personal growth cycle and well-being.

The offspring of love is joy, which is experienced as that sense of well-being flooding the body and soul.  There is an increase in energy and spirit, making life's burdens easier to bear.  It prompts feelings of adequacy and capability to expand into the psychic spheres of others.

But alas, all love relationships are not so immediately rewarding, even if they are compelling or compulsive.  Aphrodite, herself, was involved with many Gods and mortals in varied and convoluted relationships.  Hers is a complicated group of myths involving at various times Ares, Uranus, Poseidon, Hera, Artemis, Athena, Eros and Psyche, and Priapus.  She could be ardent as with Ares, unfaithful as with Hephaistos, or jealous as with Psyche and Helen of Troy.

Love is not limited solely to human purposes, but is an archetypal dynamism of its own.  It is not an end in itself, but a means to return our souls to the mythic dimension.  It also brings that mythic dimension into daily life.  We can experience our own imaginal essence through the power of life.  It is one style of emotional fantasy or divine madness.

Through love we learn to weather the bad and the good times.  We come to accept the beloved for their real nature, both positive and negative.  We must also accept the possibility of being wrong, and accepting that, admit that.  We must learn how to accept freely what is given by the other, and reciprocate in an appropriate manner.  This requires discrimination, keeping expectations realistic, and disappointment at a minimum.  True love is not so blind, just acceptant.

DIALOGUE WITH APHRODITE

We all experience the personal aspects of Aphrodite as love and lust, and all forms of sensual pleasure.  Neither men, women, nor the gods were immune to the charms of this goddess.  In women she appears as the irresistibly attractive "other woman," mistress, flirt, or gold-digger.  She creates the Don Juan type of personality.  More positively she manifests in the deep physical and spiritual love between spouses, and in the perfect host or hostess, socially.

In projection, she appears as that other whom we find irresistibly attractive and sexy, despite social sanctions against such feelings.  Through psychic invasion and possession we become that magnetic personality.  Those who act out her promiscuity expose themselves to the danger of various venereal diseases, including aids, legacy of the sexual revolution.

By ceasing to identify exclusively with this archetype, we can dialogue with her in active imagination.  She can inform us of the subconscious aspects of our relationship to our own sexuality.  Aphrodite is one of the most active and pleasantly aggressive of the goddesses, so she is easier to connect with than a remote goddess like Artemis.

When anima is projected in the physical world, she appears in three stages of development: 1) naive or elementary, 2) manipulative, flirt, 3) conscious or inspirational.  Aphrodite corresponds with the sophisticated manipulator, she uses her sexuality to get what she wants--that is her script and game.  She employs emotional rackets to get her way.  She is no innocent thing, unaware of the devastation her charm can wreak.  She knows what she has and uses it to her advantage at every chance.  She is dark, full-blooded and passionate.

When we are unconsciously identified with her, we are controlled by her unconscious power motives.  Someone may lure us into an enchantment by being very charming at first.  Perhaps the aim is immediate sensual gratification, or worse, aiming to disrupt a marriage.  This type then uses seeming indifference to make themselves more desirable.  They use wiles and tricks to attract another's attention, gifts, and emotional strokes.  They deliberately exploit the anima/animus projections of another onto themselves, using it for personal advantage.  This is the motivation of the flirt and the sexual performer.  It's all an act.

In an egotistical identification with Aphrodite, a person becomes a lady-killer or man-killer, the stud, sex kitten, gigolo, whore, or other role-bound image.  The strength of the identification depends on what other archetypes are at work in the soul.

For example, a strong Hera aspect would constantly be urging in your self talk toward marriage rather than counseling you to remain a mistress or philanderer; Athena would caution consideration of the implications on career of promiscuous behavior or reputation; Artemis would move us to be more modest and pious if not chaste.  On a more pragmatic level, Artemis might say that to steal another's man violates the sisterhood all women share.

Considering the various aspects and manifestations of Aphrodite, think back over all the ways she has entered your life over the years, creating pleasure or leaving a trail of pain.  Remember your sexual awakening, first love, your rivals, attention getting gambits.  Consider what areas of your life are in disharmony with her principles, or where you may have identified with her too exclusively.  Consider how your attitudes toward sexuality may have changed over different periods in your life.

Sitting quietly in a dimly lit room with your journal open, visualize any of the familiar images of Aphrodite or Venus from sculpture or paintings from the masters.  Alternatively, she may take a modern form as an admired actress or actor, or musician you find irresistible, but this mortal form can never carry all of the archetypal potencies, so it is best to work toward visualizing a non-personal form.  You may also use THE EMPRESS tarot card which corresponds with her.

Greet her and begin discussing those questions that are unresolved regarding your physical and aesthetic passions.  Then let her speak about any subconscious patterns she may know about you.  Be careful -- she may try to seduce you or use her wiles in any number of ways.  She will guard any attention your shower on her jealously, unless you inform her about certain aspects of your mortal life.  Let her know your human limitations and your ethical standards within which she must learn to operate.  She is passion personified.

APHRODITE IN YOUR LIFE

1.  What were your emotional reactions to your first sexual experience?

2.  Have you ever fallen in love-at-first sight?  Did the other reciprocate?  How long did this feeling last?  How did you feel in the various phases of the relationship?  Did it develop into mature, realistic love, or eventually disintegrate?

3.  Have you ever been addicted to any sensual pleasures; did you admit or deny the component of lust present?

4.  Have you ever felt insecure about your looks or attractiveness and been compulsively driven to prove that you were sexy or desirable?  What effect did this have on those around you?

5.  Were you ever the "other woman" or "other man"?  How did you feel about it?

6.  If you have ever been "dumped" by a lover for another, what qualities of the goddess did that other embody that you weren't manifesting with your partner?

7.  Is there a "lost love" for whom you still yearn or feel nostalgia?

8.  Are you considered a vain person by friends or foes?  How much time and money do you spend keeping yourself attractive?  Are you frequently before the mirror, primping and fussing?  Do you worry about the physical results of aging?

9.  Is courtship or romance an extremely important aspect of love to you.  What types of situations do you consider romantic?

10.  Describe your romantic ideal: age, style of dress, behavior, education, income bracket, etc.

11. How many times a day do you become conscious of your sexual fantasies?  Do you dream about sex frequently?  Describe a recent sexual fantasy or dream.

12.  How do you feel about pre-marital and extra-marital sex?  Have you felt differently about this at other times, depending on your evolving morals or whether you were married or single at the time?  Do you feel different about sexual standards for yourself and others?

13.  Have you ever had a strong physical attraction for another who was taboo or socially forbidden to you--a teacher, doctor, employer, psychotherapist, family member, etc.?

14.  Have you ever had to learn how to sublimate sexual feelings into a more platonic type of relationship?  or toward a higher ideal than personal desire? How did you deal with or channel that energy?  How did you feel about it?

15.  Have you experienced the excitement of illicit or secret sexual relations?  Were you addicted to this intense feeling of potential danger?  What events brought the situation into the light of scrutiny by others?

16.  Do you feel guilty over past sexual encounters or experience shame for past sexual adventures which you might now consider immoral or ill-advised?

17.  What is the balance between power motives and devotional love in your current relationships?  Do you try to manipulate your lover(s)?

18.  Do you use affairs or sexual fantasies to escape from the pressures of other aspects of life which seek your immediate attention for your personal or spiritual development?



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File Created: 2/14/02         Last Updated: 2/16/02