“The Goddess Companion”
My lover’s skin glows like the finest marble,
and I burn to touch it. I burn with the teasing
dance of her glances, I am on fire, I am aflame,
I cannot think of anything but love.
Venus has abandoned her island shrine at Cypress
to live with my heart. The goddess will hear nothing
but songs of love now, she will endure no music to stir
the blood toward war, adventure, or anything but love.
Friends, build a green altar right here, and lay me down
upon it. Place sacred branches all around my body,
and bowls of wine, and wand of incense. I am already
a victim of love, a sacrifice to Venus. Now let her hear
my plea! ~Horace
In our times, love is no longer the great ruler of the cosmos but merely a servant of commerce. Sex is used to sell everything from automobiles to zoom lenses. Women’s bodies are no longer temples of the goddess, but products used to sell other products. Venus is no longer ruler in her own temple, much less in our hearts; Moneta, goddess of money, rules instead.
Love poems like that of the great poet Horace can seem, in this context, overblown and overstated. To make oneself a sacrifice for love? isn’t that a bit much? Isn’t that making love more important than it should be?
But our foremothers knew what is often hidden from us: that love is the glue thatholds the universe together. Not simply sexual love, although thatpowerful force binds people at a deep level. The love of parents for children, teachers for students, friends for each other – these relationships are not just human connections. They participate in and reflect the great network of connectedness that is our magnificent universe. By placing the goddess of love once again on the throne of our hearts, we can connect with the great force that sweeps through us and binds us to each other and the cosmos. To sacrifice ourselves for love means, in this context, to finally become whole.
By Patricia Monaghan