Aphrodite is the goddess of love, beauty and sexuality, which she recognises as a sacred gift and enthusiastically expresses. She is celebrated and loved for her attractiveness, warmth and charm. Today we are surrounded by cultural depictions of Aphrodite, such as the Hollywood leading lady, but they rarely capture all her facets. Aphrodite is driven by gratification of the senses; she appreciates and creates art, she seeks pleasure, and she loves to dress up and adorn herself. She sees life as an adventure, takes advantage of chance opportunities, and has something of the free spirit about her. She is motivated by connection to others, romance and eroticism. Aphrodite is essentially a people person, the goddess of relationships, and she will be surrounded by others in whatever she does. She wants to feel connected and have loving relationships on a social, romantic and professional level – she is truly heart-centred.
However, Aphrodite is a hopeless romantic. Her open and loving heart is both a source of joy and pain. She does not always command the loyalty, generosity and forgiveness that she offers to her lovers, and as a result she frequently suffers a broken heart. When wounded, she also encompasses the properties of secret passion, jealousy and betrayal.
Aphrodite’s sexuality has been exploited, denigrated, and repressed – cultural forces may contrive to deprive female sexuality or else to drive it towards excess. As such, Aphrodite has been both the exploited and the exploiter. She has battled with stereotypes of good girls who withhold and bad girls who are dangerous, reckless, and there to be used. Neither of these stereotypes is true for Aphrodite. Her sexuality is expressive, romantic, and playful. She enjoys connecting with others this way. In the current era, the world is saturated by images of women that serve only to cater to a narrow idea of male heterosexual sexuality. Aphrodite’s objectification is rife and women are being sold the idea that this is empowering. However, Aphrodite is not fooled. She knows that her sexuality is her own to be enjoyed and celebrated. She does not cater for the needs and fantasies of others but for mutual exchanges of pleasure.