I learned about Aphrodite in 6th grade History class. Since then, I have felt compelled to learn more about her. This year, I was finally able to do it. She has been in so many different encounters and researching it has been entertaining and informational as well.

Birth and Arrival

Some say that Aphrodite is the daughter of Zeus – like told in Homer’s Iliad. Other sources tell of a darker, distorted tale. Kronos, the father of Zeus, was in conflict with his father, Uranus. Kronos used a very powerful form of torture against his father – castration. After de-manning Uranus, Kronos threw the mutilated parts into the ocean. Out of the sea foam of which the genitals were disposed, Aphrodite eventually rose. She became identified as the most beautiful goddess ever to be formed. Shortly after ascending from the sea, Aphrodite jac.JPGapproached the island of Cythera – hence the nickname Cytherea. This is a viewpoint of the famous storyteller Homer and many other sources. Also told by Homer was that as Aphrodite walked upon the coast of Cythera, “flowers sprang up under her feet,” (Atsma).
In traditional Greek myths, Aphrodite is known as the goddess of love and desire. According to the cosmogonic definition of nature “[Aphrodite] was the personification of the generative powers of nature and the mother of all beings,” (Atsma). It is said that in a contest between Typhon and the gods, Aphrodite transformed into a fish. The reasoning makes sense to me, but I can see why the Greeks would refuse to believe such a tale. The amount of power she held to people makes you think that she could be so kind and gentle with any living thing – which she was.

"Feel My Wrath!"

Aphrodite was generally a kindhearted goddess. She did favors for people, usually men and there’s no need to go into detail. In spite of her compassion and kindness, Aphrodite punished people who deride her power. There were 3 parts on the website that talked about Aphrodite’s “wrath.” The very last example was of her encounters with Psyche. In a story told by a woman in a novel by Lucius Apuleius called The Golden Ass, Aphrodite was jealous of the beauty of a mortal woman, Psyche. Aphrodite used Eros (a.k.a. Cupid, her son) as a weapon, so to say. She wanted him to shoot his golden arrows at Psyche so she would fall in love with the world’s ugliest man. In the process, Eros fell in love with Psyche by accidentally pricking himself with an arrow. He slept with her each night at the peak of a mountain. He forced her to keep the lights off,
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Aphrodite
refusing to show his true identity. Psyche’s jealous sister’s convinced her that her lover was a monster and that she should strike him with a dagger. When, one night, she lit a lamp in the room to kill him; she recognized Eros and dropped the dagger. “Love cannot live where there is no trust,” Eros called, fleeing from the mountain (Atsma). Psyche searched all over Greece for him, and was sent to visit Aphrodite for Eros might be there. Aphrodite, still jealous of her beauty, gave her tasks that she felt were impossible – but she succeeded in each of them. Aphrodite was convinced that her beauty was disheveled due to the stress of caring for Eros. She sent Psyche to the underworld to ask Persephone for a bit of her beauty. Psyche, wanting some of the beauty of her own, opened the box and found a “Stygian sleep,” which caused her to fall into a deep sleep immediately. Eros flew to her and woke her, begging Zeus and Aphrodite for a wedding. All ends well in this tale, as you can see. But it also shows how when Aphrodite is jealous she can find surreptitious ways of demonstrating her wrath.

In my Opinion...

The way I see it, Aphrodite is a blonde woman who looks like she’s in her early or mid-twenties. She has blonde hair and a defined face. Her body is curvy, but at the same time she is built and strong. Most sources usually depict her as being nude, but in modern times public display of nudity is usually frowned upon. I see her as being elegantly dressed with makeup on, but classically applied. A lot of people nowadays like girls who wear tons of makeup. I say that natural is the way to go; less really is more. “My” Aphrodite could get any man she desired. She isn’t married but holds relationships significantly well. She is faithful in her actions but when she feels the need to move on, she isn’t hesitant to do so. She is kind at heart and does well for people and helps the environment. She is all of your fantasies molded perfectly into one beautiful woman.

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Eros (Cupid)
I have reached my goal of learning about my favorite Greek goddess. I also found a girl that I know that represents an Aphrodite to me. I feel that my opinion has been changed about her; I’ve gained more respect for the goddess and people like her. She makes sense and I think I can relate to her in some ways. Maybe not physically, but the way she acts is how I sometimes perceive myself. I have learned a lot of historical things and things about myself as well in this process.