Deities Associated With Friday – Aphrodite, Greek Goddess of Love

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Deities Associated With Friday – Aphrodite, Greek Goddess of Love

Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and sexuality. According to legend, she was born fully formed from the white sea form that arose when the god Uranus was castrated. She came ashore on the island of Cyprus, and later was married off by Zeus to Hephaistos, the deformed craftsman of Olympus. Despite being married to Hephaistos, Aphrodite took her job as a goddess of sexuality seriously, and had a multitude of lovers, but one of her favorites was the warrior god Ares.

At one point, Helios, the sun god, caught Ares and Aphrodite romping around, and told Hephaistos what he had seen. Hephaistos caught the two of them in a net, and invited all the other gods and goddesses to laugh at their shame… but they had none whatsoever. In fact, Aphrodite and Ares had a good laugh about the whole thing, and didn’t particularly care what anyone thought. In the end, Ares ended up paying Hephaistos a fine for his inconvenience, and the whole matter was dropped.

At one point, Aphrodite had a fling with Adonis, the young hunter god. He was killed by a wild boar one day, and some tales indicate that the boar might have been a jealous Ares in disguise.

Aphrodite had several sons, including Priapus, Eros, and Hermaphroditus.

In many myths and legends, Aphrodite is portrayed as self-absorbed and cranky. It would seem that like many of the other Greek gods, she spent a lot of time meddling in the affairs of mortals, mostly for her own amusement. She was instrumental in the cause of the Trojan War; Aphrodite offered Helen of Sparta to Paris, the prince of Troy, and then when he saw Helen for the first time, Aphrodite made sure he was inflamed with lust, thus leading to Helen’s abduction and a decade of war.

A festival was held regularly to honor Aphrodite, appropriately called the Aphrodisia. At her temple in Corinth, revelers often paid tribute to Aphrodite by having rambunctious sex with her priestesses. The temple was later destroyed by the Romans, and not rebuilt, but fertility rites appear to have continued in the area.

In addition to her association with the sea and shells, Aphrodite is connected with dolphins and swans, apples and pomegranates, and roses.

 

Author

Patti Wigington, Paganism/Wicca Expert
Article published on & owned by About.com

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The Pagan Calendar for November 9th to November 10th

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The Pagan Calendar for November 9th to November 10th

 

Khalkeia–Old Greek festival honoring Goddess Athena and God Hephaistos for their gifts of crafts and technology. [a/k/a Hephaistia]

 

About The Goddess Athena

Daughter of Zeus, and only by him, the Goddess Athena was not generated by any woman. She leaped from the head of Zeus, already adult, dressed with her armor. But the mother is not completely missing from the miraculous birth of Pallas Athena. According to Hesiod’s account of the weddings of Zeus, the King of the Gods chose Metis as his first wife. She was of all beings “the most knowing” (as the word metis is interpreted), or “of many counsels” as translated in the sense of the Homeric epithet polymetis. As she was about to give birth to the Goddess Athena, Zeus deceived his pregnant wife with cunning words and assimilated her into his own body. Mother Earth and Father Sky had advised him to do this so as to prevent any of his descendants from robbing him of his kingly rank. For it was destined that the most brilliant children were to be born to the Goddess Metis: first, the daughter Athena, and later a son, the future King of Gods and men. In the most ancient account, the Iliad, Athena is the Goddess of ferocious and implacable fight, but, wherever she can be found, she only is a warrior to defend the State and the native land against the enemies coming from outside. She is, above all, the Goddess of the City, the protectress of civilized life, of artesian activities, and of agriculture. She also invented the horse-bit, which, for the first time, tamed horses, allowing men to use them. She is the favorite daughter of Zeus; and that’s why he let her use his insignia: the terrible shield, the aegis and his devastating weapon, the ray. The most used expression to describe her is “the bright eyed”. She is the first of the three virgin Goddesses, also known as Maiden, Parthenos, and from this name was taken the name to the most important Temple dedicated to her, the Parthenon. In poetry she is the incarnation of Wisdom, Reason and Purity. Athens is her city; the olive tree, created by her, is her tree; the owl, is the birth consecrated to her.

 

About the God Hephaistos

Hephaistos was the Greek god of blacksmiths, sculptors, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes; thus, he is symbolized with a hammer, an anvil and a pair of tongs.

According to Homer’s epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, he was the son of Zeus and Hera. However, Hesiod informs us that Hera bore Hephaistos alone. According to an account, after Hephaistos was born, Hera threw him from Olympus because he was crippled; he fell into the ocean and was raised by Thetis and Eurynome. Another myth has it that he once tried to protect his mother from Zeus’ advances and as a result, the father of the Gods flung him down from Olympus, which caused his physical disability; he fell on the island of Lemnos where he became a master craftsman. He was later accepted back to Olympus, and became the craftsman of the gods, creating majestic armors, shields and weapons.

He was married to Aphrodite; after he learned his wife had an affair with her brother, Ares, he devised a plan with which he humiliated both lovers to the other gods.

 

References:

The Shrine of the Goddess Athena

Greek Mythology