Venus-Aphrodite, the “Goddess of Love and Beauty,” wasn’t always relegated to surfing naked on that clam-shell. She didn’t always signify youth, embody the culture’s beauty-standard, or reflect back its projected sexual fantasies.
She was The Great Goddess. The All-Goddess. The Primordial Everything. Her realms included all that existed from womb to tomb and back to womb: Medicine, midwifery, math, commerce, wealth, law, justice, marriage, war, government, astrology, religious rites and civic duty, the hearth, the arts, pottery, weaving, agriculture and it’s distribution, animal husbandry and cooking, breast-feeding and menarche, the marriage-bower and the death-bed, burial rites and the underworld, fertility, motherhood, and elderhood.
All. Everything. Total. OMNI-MATER.
She was Whole. Complete. There was nothing she was not.
To explain what happened, how she was reduced (over millennia), would take more space than this little blog post can afford. The point is, Venus-Aphrodite, like so many of the All-Goddesses, was reduced to one of her roles. So much easier to control a frail beauty, a patroness of poets, or jealous-wife-hearth-goddess than The Goddess of Everything that Is, Was, and Is Yet to Be. So much easier to control the human-women who worshipped her, emulated her, embodied her.
I sing the song of Venus-Aphrodite, here, to expose the thousands of years of indoctrination pressing down upon us. The Goddess is The Prime example of how one who is whole and complete unto herself (the original definition of virgin, by the way) can be reduced to a few, middling, parts–fractured into pieces, divided from her Self, her Wisdom and Power.
To acknowledge and live as our whole selves is to refuse fracturing and compartmentalization, to deny false-binaries. To lay claim to the full spectrum of ourselves is to become powerful. To take responsibility for that power, and wield it well, is to liberate our will. When we embrace our whole selves (yes, even those parts), we do so much more than heal ourselves. We uplift other women. We elevate our Ancestors. We restore the Great Goddess within and without. When women remember who we really are, we change the world–past, present, future.