HERMETIC - ESOTERIC - MYSTICAL PHILOSOPHIES
HERMETIC - ESOTERIC - MYSTICAL PHILOSOPHIES
THE ESOTERIC MYSTERY OF APHRODITE IN THE INNER PROCESS
Aphrodite goddess of love and beauty emerged from the froth of the sea in Paphos on the island of Cyprus in 3200 B.C. She was given many names, one of which was Anadiomeni, which in Greek mean "the one who emerges."
Most of the time, she was depicted as an innocent virgin with an incorruptible ethereal body, a naked body filled with divine radiance. As an invincible, irresistible and enthralling goddess, Aphrodite exerts her great powers over human beings as well as animals and plants, maintaining and sustaining life. Most of the time, she is portrayed in beautiful, alluring clothes woven specially for her by the Graces. Sometimes, she is depicted as a temptress because she excites human instincts, thoughts and emotions.
Ancient Greek hymns dedicated to Aphrodite always praise her beauty and splendour. She is also mentioned as a goddess of light, the "shining star of Heaven," Ourania (daughter of heaven) and wife of Hesphastios /Vulcan, the god of celestial fire, the lame and ugly son of Zeus and Hera, who represents another symbol of the "inner process" in which the qualities of fire, both celestial and terrestrial, work within human and divine nature. Hesphastios is an embodiment of the flickering and changing aspect of the flames that transform and transmute into the "heat" of life.
Mostly known as Venus/Aphrodite, her most popular portrayal is as the goddess of love and fertility, beauty and regeneration, who calms the sea and pacifies nature, meaning that her qualities balance and harmonize human instincts and emotions. The symbols associated with Aphrodite include the swan, the dolphin, the rose, and the dove. Hence, she is called Galinaie and Efrlia, meaning "the one who brings calm and the protector of safe journeys and ships." She is also the goddess of spring and, each spring, reunites with her Cypriot lover, Adonis, who dies at the end of each summer only to resurrect every spring and reawaken nature from its winter sleep.
As an archetype of beauty and love, Aphrodite always wore a beautiful wreath (efstefanos in Greek). Through her attributes, she represents the feminine aspect of Eros, the part of love and beauty that has plunged in the darkness of matter and unconsciousness, awaiting her emergence from the unconscious sea of the instincts. Her materialization signals the appearance of her real uncorrupted essence pure love.
Aphrodite is the pure essence of beauty and love that redeems the dark matter of unconsciousness and ignorance, for just like her son, Eros, or the great Phanes/Eros, she represents the divine power within her celestial virgin nature that attracts and guides human consciousness from within back to its source. She represents the divine and transcendent nature within humans as it emerges from unconsciousness. Eros, on the other hand, represents the magnetic force that activates the soul’s qualities of Divine love and beauty that extend and manifest in human nature. Eros, the pure essence of love and beauty, descends from Heaven, as Aphrodite, our divine Nature within, ascends. Both are part of the same inner process and together they guide human consciousness back to its source. Thus some myths portray Eros as the son of Aphrodite.
In her myths, Aphrodite rules over the heart of all humans and, according to her will, she either saves people from their trials and ordeals, or recklessly pushes them into adventurous love affairs that usually end up disastrously, such as those of Helen of Troy, Medea, Phaedra, and Pasifae. The hardships, ordeals and trials are those that every sincere and earnest seeker must go through. Indeed, they are the purification trials and initiations of the elements, (fire, water, air and earth) that each seeker must experience in order to overcome his animal nature, as depicted in the sixth card of the Tarot’s Major Arcana.
In Sumerian mythology, Aphrodite/Venus was called "she who shows the way to the stars." She was the Moon’s daughter and the Sun’s sister and, since she appeared at dawn and dusk (as a star), it was only natural that she be regarded as some sort of link between the deities of light and darkness. So, although the Sun was her brother, she had the underworld goddess as a sister. The Sumerians knew her as the "Valiant One" and "the Lady of Battles."
The Orphics called Aphrodite Pontogenis, meaning "born from the sea." She was not seen as a goddess who rules over carnal love but rather as the cosmogonic goddess who gives the irresistible urge to the Ether/Zeus to create forms out of the substance of the Earth. In another tradition, Aphrodite was born from a dove’s egg that fell from heaven.
Intuition tells us that Aphrodite is the mistress of thought-forms, who governs human etheric and astral bodies. Hence, her inner process cannot be separated from that of Eros as they both, through their individual powers and essences, refashion the etheric and astral bodies of the seeker according to a perfect archetypal model.
As part of the inner process, we know that Mars, the god of war, was captivated by Aphrodite’s beauty and charm. In esoteric psychology, he represents uncontrolled emotions and thoughts, and blind force and power within human nature. Hence, at a certain level of the inner work, we interpret this description of Mars as representing the uncontrollable instincts within the psyche. He must let himself be attracted by Aphrodite’s charm and be overwhelmed and tamed by her compelling and magnetic appeal.
The myths concerning Aphrodite also show us that she has power over the sexual and carnal urges of the energy of love, which is why she has control over the instincts and emotions of the psyche, specially in seekers as they become more aware of their inner processes. Depending on their behaviour and reactions, she imprisons them in their animalistic instincts, or transforms them into heroes, rewarding them with precious gifts.
According to Plato, love is attributed to Aphrodite, prophecy to Apollo, the mysteries to Dionysus and poetry to the Muses. Plato tells us that the most important of these divine gifts is Divine love for two reasons. Firstly, without pure love’s impulse, the other gifts prophecy, mysteries and poetry remain uncreative, inactive, and sterile. They need the vibrant, pulsating impulse of Divine love so as to be constantly nourished and sustained. Secondly, because only the essence of love can carry the lover into the beloved, and as long as that love is directed to the sublime, it unites the mind of a seeker more closely.
HYMNS OF ORPHEUS TO APHRODITE
Hymns of Orpheus