I've had many conversations with the golden goddess of love, beauty, and archetypal femininity. I've actually had many conversations with all of the goddesses. I've written about them, I've spoken about them, I have performed them, and I have witnessed them all in the women around me. But, the goddess of love, Aphrodite, and I often have had late night chats.
Once, in one of our chats, I asked her what makes her so irresistible, seductive and adorable? She replied that, "All women are born beautiful. Knowing that, however, is their choice."
Throughout the ages, the Aphrodite archetype has captured the human imagination and the male and female libido. She is the quintessential lover -- the ultimate seductress who takes endless pleasure in her own physical attributes and in bestowing her gifts upon her lovers. She has been adored by artists from Botticelli's Birth of Venus to Titian's Venus of Urbino, to the Greek Venus of Milo.
Painters have exalted her beauty; poets have written odes, sonnets and hymns to her, and authors have woven her into the fabric of many of our most beloved stories and characters. Such stories as Lady Chatterley's Lover, Romeo and Juliet, Camille, Cleopatra and Maggie from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. And Sex and the City brought her alive in the character of Samantha.
Hollywood has embodied her on the Silver Screen with such stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, Ava Gardner, Brigitte Bardot, Jean Harlow, Jayne Mansfield, Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner and Sophia Loren. Then we have our modern day Aphrodites: Tina Turner and Mariah Carey, Angelina Jolie to Charlize Theron, Salma Hayek, Halle Berry, Scarlett Johansson and Kate Hudson, Penelope Cruz, Katherine Zeta Jones -- the list goes on.
Courtesans have always been the embodiment of Aphrodite. Iconic examples of courtesans who have changed the course of history are Christine Keeler's affair with the British defense minister John Profumo, which nearly brought down the British government in the 1960's. And the careers of many politicians, including Wilbur Mills, Wayne Hays, Gary Hart and John Edwards, were ended by their interest with Aphrodesian women. If you want to watch the most perfect embodiment of an Aphrodite courtesan watch Catherine McCormack's portrayal of Veronica Franco, the Venetian courtesan in the movie Dangerous Beauty.
In the myth of Aphrodite she renews her virginity every spring in a sacred bath at her hometown of Paphos in Cyprus. Every time she comes together with a man, she wholeheartedly gives herself as if for the first time. Each new encounter is fresh and innocent, as though she had never fallen in love before. Therefore, her powers lie in her renewing herself: which is why she is called verga intacta. What an interesting example for us, which metaphorically can inspire us to shed the baggage we carry.
But we modern-day women don't let ourselves have the same freedom, which tends to shut Aphrodite out. And when our relationships don't work for us, we start to build all sorts of assumptions and beliefs, and we exile the goddess. We declare: Love doesn't work. Love doesn't exist. Love just isn't for me. When we do this, we make the ultimate mistake: we judge ourselves as unlovable and undesirable. When that happens, you can bet there is no way that you will ever encounter the magic of Aphrodite! Her cue is: I am lovable -- no matter what! When you believe you are lovable, you do the things that support, enrich and nourish your love-ability. And yes, it does include shopping!
So, how do you bring her into your life?
Suspend your judgments of your appearance and drop the critical voice comparing yourself to others. Let yourself be spontaneous. Give yourself permission to be free, to speak your mind, so you can find your voice. She doesn't care how old you are or the shape of your body. She'll gift you with her eternal youthfulness. She thrives in embracing the unknown. She doesn't worry about 'is he the ONE' because all she cares about is that she is the one. When you are experiencing your aliveness, she will be by your side, whether you are singing, dancing, laughing, or just enjoying the exuberance of the moment. As you stop living in your head and start coming alive in your body. The truth is that she comes in when you are not self-conscious -- when there is a twinkle in your eye, in your creativity. She manifests in your carefree ways She's especially evoked when you embrace your sensuality, whether you are in a sexual relationship or not, and when you feel your vibrancy.
If you are critical of yourself, Aphrodite will never knock on your door! She doesn't care about your achievements or getting done everything on your to do list. She thrives when you are letting go and having fun, when you are experiencing your joy!
Forget the images from history and paintings and Hollywood that have created a false ideal in your head that has imprisoned the true energy of Aphrodite within you. Her life force lies in your energy and not in your shape. Self confidence and self-assurance come from within. Whether you are in a relationship or not, whether a guy is going to take you out for Valentine's Day or not, invite the Aphrodite energy into your life and give that gift to yourself.
The greatest aphrodisiac is loving yourself and allowing yourself to be exactly who you are.
Never alter yourself to fit someone else's mold!
One of my favorite poems is called an "Homage to My Hips," by Lucille Clifton. The title of this poem says something powerful that Aphrodesian women can get behind: Your body is a treasure that deserves the highest praise! As you choose her, she will feel your calling and send you her favorite son, Eros, to hit you with one of his arrows.
And when you choose to have a little chat with her, ask her: What can I do to embrace you more in my life? In one of my workshops, a woman asked Aphrodite, "What can I do to have a better sexual relationship with my husband?" Her answer was "Do not wear socks in bed!" You never know what Aphrodite's answer will be. If you seek her answers, they will be genuine and unique to you. When you awaken the Aphrodite connection, she will take you where you've never been before. You might find yourself going to new places, or you might hear her whisper to you that you were born beautiful and are deserving of love, regardless of the circumstances. So, what can you do to take yourself back?
For this Valentine's Day, my wish is that you will cherish and embrace yourself and get yourself out of the frame you might have put yourself in. Give yourself permission to let Aphrodite surprise and delight you. Let her come to you from the realm of love, awakening your own inner beauty that is far beyond the image in the mirror -- unleashing your soul beauty -- which is invisible to the naked eye.
I'd love to know how you evoke your inner Aphrodite and how she's shown her face in your life -- whether through friends, family, or within yourself. What do you intend to do to wake her up in you?
Read more about Agapi on her website, TheSevenGoddesses.com.
Agapi specializes in working with the archetypes of the Greek gods and goddesses and how they can assist us in fully understanding ourselves and creating the life we want. She is conducting a workshop, "Awakening The Inner Lover" at Donna Karan's Urban Zen on February 18 in NYC.