Aphrodite (her name means "born of the foam") is a Greek goddess of love, passion, sexuality, sensuality, the arts, pleasure, beauty, fertility, joy and she is, of course, a goddess of the sea from which she emerged. She is the elixir of life, the lifeforce that courses through us all.¹ She is also a death goddess and has her darker side. (Hey, what can you expect from a goddess of love and passion?) To the Ancient Greeks she was known as the Goddess of Death-in-Life, which may be derived in part from the orgasms (sometimes known as "little deaths") that were had in her honor and probably has deeper spiritual connotations, as well. In Athens she was acknowledged as the Eldest of the Fates and sister of the Erinnyes. She was called Melaenis - Black One, Scotia - Dark One, Androphonos - Man-Slayer, and Epitymbria - Of the Tombs. In her lighter moments she was known as Queen of Heaven. She can be traced to the Phoenician goddess Astarte who is associated with the Babylonian goddess Ishtar and has more obscure connections to the Egyptian Goddess Isis who evolved from the Egyptian Goddess Hathor. She was later adopted by the Romans as Venus. The Christian Black Virgin also seems to have roots stemming from the Great Aphrodite and many believe she was the model for what evolved into the Christian Mary, Mother of Jesus and probably the Christian Mary Magdalene, as well. The Spartans worshiped her as a warrior goddess.
are a few stories as to Aphrodite's birth. In the most legendary,
Hesiod's version, she is known as Aphrodite Urania (Celestial
Aphrodite), daughter of Uranus (Heaven) and Goddess of Pure and
Spiritual Love. In this version she is a major player, goddess-wise
having been born from the act that split Heaven and Earth creating the
world in between. She is a Creation Goddess who's been around since
of Earth as we know it in the physical realms. The story goes that
Kronos castrated his father Uranus, tossing
his severed genitals into the sea. The water bubbled around them mixing with his blood and semen, creating foam, and Aphrodite was born of that sea foam. There she magestically arose naked & lovely, from the sea, on a scallop shell. In Homer's version she is called Aphrodite Pandemos (Aphrodite-of-the-People) and is thought to be daughter of Zeus and the Titan, Dione and Goddess of Physical Attraction and Satisfaction. Here she is viewed as a minor goddess and has been downgraded to a more carnal role. More obscure versions say that she was born of Oceanus and Tethys or of the union of Air and Earth (Heaven and Earth - similar to Hesiod's version). It is in the fourth century that she was divided into two and split between the higher and lower realms.