“The more we develop on the spiritual path, the more we find ourselves
remembrance of the Beloved. We discover that every moment is engaged in
love. We realize that the most sacred and precious moments of our lives
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.
Aphrodite is physically embodied in sex organs, orgasm, and aphrodisiacs
(see the Magical & Ritual Useof 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
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
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.
"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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
16. Do you feel guilty over past sexual encounters or experience
shame for past sexual adventures which you might now consider immoral or
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?