Updated: Jan 12
She is the essence and embodiment of Love and Beauty. The universal symbol for femaleness, is an adaption of the shape of her mirror. Her name, Aphrodite; rings as one of the most well known Goddesses in history. She is the original morning and evening star who lent her Roman name to the brightest and hottest planet in out solar system, Venus. Typically described as the Goddess of Love and Beauty but she is also a Goddess of the Ocean and the Heavens.
Aphrodite might be one of the most popular Goddesses in the Greek Pantheon, however her origins do not begin in Greece. The cult of the Love Goddess begins in Mesopotamia; you know, where the first civilization began. In the north, her name was Ishtar, in the south it was Inanna and in Egypt, her name was Astarte. Historians are torn between who came first and who assimilated into who, but it is commonly agreed upon that they did (assimilate) enough that their names and a lot of symbols are shared between the Goddesses. Her earliest descriptions show her in the form of a mermaid, as Atargatis, the Phoenician Goddess of the Ocean, Fertility and Love. As the trade for goods began to expand West from Mesopotamia, so did the people and their spiritual beliefs. When the Middle East meets Greece, Astarte becomes Aphrodite, and her fins turn to feet.
The Greek version: She was born from a castrated penis. Okay, let me give you some context… the Titan Cronus castrated his father Uranus (sky god) and threw the severed genitals into the Sea. Now, that was a very magical penis because once it hit the water it turned to sea-foam and from a scallop shell emerged Aphrodite, adorned in pearls, barely dressed and instantly the baddest bitch in Mount Olympus. Now, she didn’t emerge immediately, Aphrodite was said to be carried to the island of Cyprus by the wind Zephyr in a scallop shell. There, the Horae dressed and adorned her with jewelry and enchanting perfume before they presented her to the Gods. She is one of the most important deities in Cyprus, born of the Sea and Sky. This is why Aphrodite is not only a Goddess of Beauty, but of the Ocean and Heavens as well.
The Middle East Version: The Syrian story of the birth of Astarte says the goddess was born from an egg carried to the banks of the River Euphrates by a fish. Similar to how Aphrodite sprung from a scallop shell the way a pearl would. "Astarte" was first recorded around 1478 BC but the Cult of the Goddess was already established by then. Another form of the Goddess Astarte was Atargatis, the Fertility and Love Goddess of the Phoenicians who had the form of a mermaid.
Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful
Aphrodite was said to have a very charming and loving nature. She may be the fairest one of all, but she was adored by all, men, women and Gods. She was said to be vengeful only when her beauty was challenged. There are tons of stories about the Love Goddess punishing those who did not admire her with respect.
Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who's the fairest one of all?