I sing of Aphrodite, the lover’s goddess,
beautiful, golden crowned, a blossom
riding on the seafoam, resting on the wind.
She comes ashore, and women
in gold bracelets meet her, bearing
silken garments for her lovely body,
copper rings for her shell ears,
chains of gold for her silver breasts.
They lead her from the seashore.
Do not look upon her! Your eyes
would dazzle from such beauty.
But you do not need to see her.
You already know her. It is she
you moves you in your dance.
She is the music of your life.
Do you need to ask her name?
Call her Love. Call her Joy.
Call her golden Aphrodite.
~Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite
This is the season when hearts blossom on stationary and storefronts, when winged cupids dance through advertisements, when we are incessantly reminded of the human desire to love and be loved. But Cupid, for all his omnipresence at this time of year, is not the real deity behind this festival. The great mother of that winged sprite is Aphrodite, the force of love who transforms us all.
The Greeks, from whose tradition comes this magnificent prayer, praised her as the “Golden One,” the one whose presence makes all creation beautiful and whose praises are sung in one of the most beautiful of the ancient Homeric Hymns. As we pass through the season of hearts, let us acknowledge her powerful presence.
By Patricia Monaghan ~