Sunday, June 26, 2011

Exploring the archetypes: Aphrodite

This series of posts is going to be both collections of all information about a particular archetype in one place as well as an ongoing exploration of the archetype, it's mythological history, relations with other archetypes, whatever comes up.


Aphrodite in Myth: a synopsis

APHRODITE was the great Olympian goddess of beauty, love, pleasure and and procreation. She was depicted as a beautiful woman usually accompanied by the winged godling Eros (Love). Her attributes included a dove, apple, scallop shell and mirror. In classical sculpture and fresco she was often depicted nude.

Some of the more famous myths featuring the goddess include:--

■Her birth from the sea foam;
■Her adulterous affair with the god Ares;
■Her love for Adonis, a handsome Cypriot youth who was tragically killed by a boar;
■Her love for Ankhises, a shepherd-prince;
■The judgement of Paris in which the goddess was awarded the prize of the golden apple in return for promising Paris Helene in marriage;
■The Trojan War in which she supported her favourites Paris and Aeneas and was wounded in the fighting;
■The race of Hippomenes for Atalanta, which was won with the help of the goddess and her golden apples;
■The death of Hippolytos, who was destroyed by the goddess for scorning her worship;
■The statue of Pygmalion which was brought to life by Aphrodite in answer to his prayers;
■The persecution of Psykhe, the maiden loved by the goddess' son Eros.

http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Aphrodite.html


From the Library of Halexandria

Aphrodite was one of the three virgin goddesses.  [Only virgin meant, “beholden to no man”.  Slightly different from the current mistranslation!] 

Aphrodite was the Goddess of Love -- the sexual, romantic, platonic, soul connection, deep friendship, rapport, and empathic understanding type, with a desire to know and be known.  Her consciousness was focused, yet receptive, taking in what was attended to, what was affected by.  Her style was to be genuinely, momentarily involved in whatever interested her.  She attended to another person as if he or she were fascinating, beautiful and profound.  She was always present in creative work (including solitary work), and facilitated change and growth.  “Whenever Aphrodite consciousness was present, energy was generated: lovers glowed with well-being and heightened energy; conversation sparkled, stimulating thoughts and feelings.”

Aphrodite as mentor was [and as archetype, is] possessed of the power to transform and was never victimized, valued emotional experience with others more than independence from others or permanent bonds, sought to consummate relationships and generate new life, was a vision carrier with the power of positive expectations on the behavior of others, enjoyed love and beauty, sex and sensuality, was demanding, creative, fell in love often and easily, was loaded with sex appeal, and became a tremendous force for change (because of her passionate creativity), had intense relationships, enjoyed the moment, attractive with a natural unselfconscious sensuality, an innocent flirt, not focused on long-range academic goals or career, unemotional work of no interest, preferred variety and intensity, gravitated toward men who were not necessarily good for her or to her (but may have made major changes at mid-life: ready to settle down with a better choice of males), and had a tendency to act on desires without considering the consequences.

http://www.halexandria.org/dward373.htm


Tarot Correspondences

Each archetype has two corresponding Tarot cards: one from the Minor Arcana, which shows the archetype at it's healthiest - it's the way we can manifest their power and energy. The corresponding card from the Major Arcana, on the other hand, is the divine gift of the spiritual realm that they're seeking to manifest through us.

Queen of Cups

No intuition is more powerful than that of the Queen of Cups. She is the pure force of Water, and her connection with the subconscious is rivaled only by the High Priestess. She is often like a mirror, reflecting the hidden depths of others back to them, so they can see their own mysteries for themselves. However, her cup is closed, and her own secrets remain invisible, even to herself sometimes. Such is the paradox and fluidity of the Water element. A Queen of Cups in the real world feels right at home in the realms of the subconscious. If she is not psychic, she will possess extraordinary insight into the behaviour and motivations of others. As such, she is often a gifted counselor and healer, ready to provide a shoulder to cry on and a hand to hold whenever they are needed. She is beautiful, because her beauty is the purity of her spirit, and such magnificence has a universally recognizable allure. Even when not physically attractive, she still attracts others to her. A Queen of Cups will also be a dreamer, with wondrous fantasies and a vivid imagination.

It is from this that the Queen's more negative qualities arise. She often loses herself in her fantasies and daydreams, and though completely confident in her instincts, more often than not she is totally unable to apply these instincts to anything in the real world. At music, poetry, mothering and artistry, no one can compete with her - in everything else she is mediocre, at best. Spending as long as she does in the spiritual world tends to make her quite uncomfortable when she has to leave it. She places much importance on relationships because she sees herself as unable to stand alone. The gift of the Queen of Cups is to think carefully about how you use the vast stores of spiritual wisdom you have access to all the time. She can be a sign that you should use you intuition to guide you - or she can be a warning that you are thinking too much with your heart and not with your head. This can cause your dreams to grow out of control... and out of reach. Like all of the Cups court cards, the Queen encourages a moderate approach to intuition and wisdom. The heart may see farther, but sometimes you will have to look at things with your eyes.

The Lovers (VI)

The Lovers card is not just about love and sexuality; it has several meanings which are all related to the duality expressed in the image of the card. The image of the two lovers holding hands or intertwined is a powerful symbol for the harmonious union of two beings, but it also stands for the necessity of proper choice, and the relationship of our conscious minds to whatever power brings these lovers together. The Lovers is predominantly a card of the emotions, and it portrays love that is divinely blessed. The majority of its meanings to be associated with the Lovers is about the spirit. The final meaning of the Lovers is perhaps best illustrated by the image of the card, which shows the man looking at the woman, who in turn looks at the divine figure above them both. The man cannot see the angel, and he must trust the woman to see it for him. The woman is the bridge between the man and the spiritual planes. The true power of love: through love we can get a glimpse of Heaven.
http://www.ata-tarot.com/resource/cards/index.html


Aphrodite related posts

The Aphrodite archetype: an in-depth look
Aphrodite in myth
Archetypal relationships: Aphrodite, Hephaestus and Ares
Musings on Aphrodite

Again, much of the above descriptions comes from The American Tarot Association, Goddess Power, The Library of Halexandria and from Wikipedia pages on the various tarot cards. All credit goes to them for their brilliant explorations of the archetypes and tarot cards. Make sure you check them out yourself and get their wisdom first hand (links are over there to the right.)



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