Wednesday, 24 March 2010

My Journey With Aphrodite

My journey with Aphrodite began the day I was born. I was born under the sun sign Libra, whose ruling planet, is, of course, Venus, but more than that, there were no less than four other planets in the seventh house of Libra on my birth date: Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury and Venus herself! So in total, five celestial bodies were in the seventh house on my birth date. My moon sign is Pisces; fish and water, of course, being sacred to or at least associated with Aphrodite.

So it seems to me that with all this love going on amongst the planets on my birthday that Aphrodite was putting Her stamp on me. It was through astrology and reading about my sun sign as a child that I learned of Venus. I always felt it was special having Venus as a ruling planet because She is the Goddess of Love and Beauty.

It wasn’t until I was in high school that I took a class on Greek mythology and learned about Aphrodite. Although, strangely enough, I don’t ever recall not knowing who She was. I truly loved that class. It was one of my favourite classes ever. Through that class, Aphrodite started to become more prevalent in my life.

It took a lot of time though. I struggled with the idea that a Goddess with such a shallow and sometimes downright bad reputation could be MY Goddess; the one I looked up to. I knew there was more to Her than met the eye, but how could I know for sure? Everything I knew at that point said that Aphrodite was not exactly a Goddess who got much respect. But somewhere deep within me, I just knew – Aphrodite is not a vain love goddess but something more.

I did not speak about my love for and connection with Aphrodite for a long time. I did not feel those around me would understand. Even when I began seriously studying Wicca and Paganism generally, I did not talk about Aphrodite. Everyone else seemed to be enamoured with various well known Celtic deities. Some worked closely with Greek deities, but Aphrodite was never one of them. I felt uncomfortable sharing my relationship with Her openly so it remained private. It was only maybe ten years ago that I began to open up about it.

Despite being more open about Aphrodite, my work with Her remained personal and private. Public ceremonies, or even just group ceremonies in my home or someone else’s home were also focused on, it seemed, Celtic deities or Goddess generally. I was ok with this. There was no question I felt a deep affinity with the Celtic deities as well and I enjoyed calling upon them in ceremony and ritual.

My spiritual path took a major turn when I moved to England. Life with Goddess changed radically. While Aphrodite was always there in the background, it was Avalon that called to me and steadily pulled me in. This, of course, led me to Glastonbury and subsequently to train as a Priestess of the Goddess and Priestess of Avalon with the Glastonbury Goddess Temple.

I must explain something here about this training. It seems that many believe the sole point of the training offered by the Temple is to train people to be Priestesses and Priests of Avalon. Not necessarily. The path as a Priestess of Avalon is a very specific one. It calls for forging a much deeper connection with Goddess as the Lady of Avalon and the Avalon energies generally. Not everyone feels compelled to walk that path, although they may well honour the Lady of Avalon and feel deeply connected with Her. Many who do this training dedicate as Priestesses and Priests of the Goddess who go out and do wonderful and inspiring things to honour and bring back awareness of Goddess in their communities and the world. This may mean they work more closely with a Goddess from another pantheon.

I feel strongly about my path as a Priestess of Avalon and the work I do to serve the Lady of Avalon. However, I also feel very strongly about Aphrodite and as a Priestess of the Goddess, it is becoming clearer with each turn of the Wheel of the Year that I also feel compelled to serve Her in a more public manner. I am beginning to see that through my training with the Goddess Temple and my experience as a Priestess that I am more capable of serving Aphrodite than I might have been before.

At this time, I still also feel very much a student. I am still learning but also creating new ways to honour and celebrate Aphrodite. I honour those who follow a Reconstructionist path, although Reconstructionism is not for me. I honour the path of the Qadishtu. Again, this is not for me. Although I honour the fact that sacred prostitution was an important part of Aphrodite worship, I often feel too much emphasis is placed on Aphrodite as simply a goddess of sexual union when she is much more than this.

My journey with Aphrodite is one of delving in to Her mysteries, to reach back through the mists of time and bring back renewed awareness of Aphrodite’s lesser known aspects. There is no question that She is Goddess of love, beauty, passion, sensuality, sexuality, but she is also a Goddess of the land, the sea and the sky, She who is Mother to us all. Through the bits and pieces I am sharing in this blog, I am revealing the ways in which I am connecting to Her, honouring Her, how I am seeing Her in my life. She has always been there, no matter where I am or what I am doing. I do not profess to know why I have such a strong connection with Her or why I feel compelled to serve Her. I could speculate but these are mysteries I may never solve. As a Priestess, surrender and trust are constants in the path I walk. So it is that I surrender to Aphrodite and trust that She will lead me to serve Her in whatever way She wishes me to.

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