Friday, 29 October 2010

Aphrodite Epitymbria

Ah!  How long it's been!  So many times I've had thoughts to come and write and yet the busy-ness of life overtakes me and my motivation that I have had to hold my thoughts in my heart and be satisfied.  


Aphrodite Epitymbria has been with me since the last new moon when I honoured Her in ceremony for a women's moon lodge which I co-facilitate.  


Today, with it being Aphrodite's day, I feel Her still with me as Epitymbria.  The moon is waning, Venus is retrograde and Samhain is fast approaching.  The energies of Aphrodite Epitymbria feel strong today.  


In my own research about Aphrodite's Epitymbria aspect, I found the following passage about doves from Barbara Walker's book, "The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets":-


"Aphrodite's totem, the bird of sexual passion, symbolically equivalent to the yoni. In India, too, the dove was paravata, the symbol of lust. Joined to her consort the phallic serpent, the Dove-goddess stood for sexual union and "Life"......


Aphrodite as a bringer of death, or "peace", sometimes bore the name of Irene, Dove of Peace. Another of her death-goddess names was Epitymbria, "She of the Tombs". Romans called her Venus Columba, Venus-the-Dove. Her catacombs, mausoleums, and necropoli were known as columaria, "dovecotes". Thus the soul returning to the Goddess after death was again envisioned as a dove. From this image, Christians copied their belief that the souls of saints became white doves that flew out of their mouths at the moment of death. In the Catholic ceremony of canonization, white doves are released from cages at the crucial moment of the ritual."


It was very interesting to me to see how Aphrodite's dove symbolises sex and death (or love and peace) at the same time.  It was also interesting to learn how the dove was viewed as a yonic symbol.  Upon thinking about it and the way a dove's body is shaped, I can totally see it now and wonder why I hadn't thought of it before!  And how appropriate that it is, in essence, symbolising a yonic gateway to the Goddess!  


I feel today is a good day to honour past loves; those loves that came and went, unrequited loves, lovers who were only known for a short while then faded into the mist.  They all brought me lessons (sometimes very harsh ones) which in turn brought me self-awareness and healing.  The journey with these past loves has led me to a path of greater love for myself and with someone else.  So I honour with gratitude my past loves for touching my lives and the blessings they have brought.  


For today's Friday Flower, I thought I'd share a poem by Walt Whitman that reminds me of the loves lost.


To a Stranger


PASSING stranger! you do not know how longingly I look upon you, 
You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking, (it comes to me, as of a dream,) 
I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you, 
All is recall’d as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured, 
You grew up with me, were a boy with me, or a girl with me,
I ate with you, and slept with you—your body has become not yours only, nor left my body mine only, 
You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass—you take of my beard, breast, hands, in return, 
I am not to speak to you—I am to think of you when I sit alone, or wake at night alone, 
I am to wait—I do not doubt I am to meet you again, 
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.


--Walt Whitman