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Aphrodite (Ivory)

Aphrodite (Ivory)

Aphrodite, Greek Goddess of Love and Beauty

Size: 8-3/4" tall

Aphrodite is the Cypriot and later Greek form or name of a much older Goddess: she is almost certainly related to the Sumerian Inanna, Assyrian and Babylonian Ishtar, Phonecian Astarte, Phonecian and Hebrew Ashtoreth, Philistine Atergatis, and Hebrew Ashera. These Goddesses have associations with the evening star, love, sex, passion, war, and rebirth. She is also probably related to the Phoenecian and Egyptian Quaddesha and the Egyptian Aset.

Aphrodite ("foam-born") was said to have arisen from the sea-foam near the island of Cyprus, where she was made welcome, and has been the Matron Goddess of the island ever since. According to some Cyprian myths, Aphrodite was an actual flesh and blood heroine who had castles built, fought battles, and eventually died.

Hesiod recounts the story of her birth from the genitals of Ouranos (Uranus, "Heaven") who castrated by his son Cronos ("Time") as Ouranos lay with Gaia ("Earth") and flung into the sea: "And so soon as he had cut off the members with flint and cast them from the land into the surging sea, they were swept away over the main a long time: and a white foam spread around them from the immortal flesh, and in it there grew a maiden. First she drew near holy Cythera, and from there, afterwards, she came to sea-girt Cyprus, and came forth an awful and lovely goddess, and grass grew up about her beneath her shapely feet. Her gods and men call Aphrodite, and the foam-born goddess and rich-crowned Cytherea, because she grew amid the foam, and Cytherea because she reached Cythera, and Cyprogenes ("Cyprus-born") because she was born in billowy Cyprus, and Philommedes (Genitals-lover) because she sprang from the members. And with her went Eros, and comely Desire followed her at her birth at the first and as she went into the assembly of the gods. This honor she has from the beginning, and this is the portion allotted to her amongst men and undying gods,- the whisperings of maidens and smiles and deceits with sweet delight and love and graciousness."

Two other accounts are given of he birth: Homer calls her the daughter of Zeus and the Titaness or Nereid (sea-nymph) Dione, while Hyginus (who as a Roman called her Venus) says she was hatched from an egg that fell from heaven into the Euphrates, was brought ashore by fish and kept warm by doves.

Aphrodite - ("of the sea" or "foam born") is known by many titles: The Goddess of Beauty, The Golden One, The Mother of Love, The Queen of Laughter, The Queen of Heaven, The Mistress of The Graces and of Pleasure, The Lady of Spring, Protectress of Gardens, She of the Beautiful Behind, and The Matroness of Courtesans everywhere. She rules over all acts of love, pleasure, and beauty. She is the Mother of Hermione, Harmonia, Anteros, Deimos and Phobos by Ares; of Cupid/Eros by Ares, Hermes or Zeus, depending on the myth; of Hermaphroditus by Hermes; of Priapus by Dionysus; of Eryx and Rhodes (by Poseidon); and of Aeneas (by Anchises).

Her festivals are April 23rd, June 24th, July 19th, and Her day is Friday. In her temples, her priestesses acted as sacred courtesans, and were revered as embodiments of the Goddess.

Aphrodite has throughout the ages acquired a numerous symbolic associations such as: the cypress tree, myrtle, ivy, roses, jasmine, gardenias, aloeswood, lily, pomegranate, quince, opium-poppy, mandrake fennel, myrrh, cinnamon, doves, swans, geese, sparrows, dolphins, the wryneck, the scallop are sacred to her as well as pearls, emeralds, lapis lazuli, abalone shells, copper, lamp, and a girdle of gold.

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