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Examining the mind through myth
When Venus saw, she with a lowly look, Not free from tears, her heav'nly sire bespoke: "O King of Gods and Men!”1 Venus2 is the Roman Goddess of Love, Sexuality, Beauty, Passion and the Sea. She is believed to have been born of many existing goddesses such as Sumerian 'Inanna', Phoenician 'Astarte', Armenian 'Astghik', Etruscan 'Turan' and Greek ‘Aphrodite'. The story goes, that Cronus3 cut off the genitals of Uranus and threw them into the sea. Venus was born in the sea foam, rolling on the shore.
The Aeneid, Virgil The Aeneid, Virgil 3 Cronus (Ouranos), leader of the first generation Titans
"Ouranos (the Sky) came, bringing on night and longing for love, and he lay about Gaia (the Earth) spreading himself full upon her. Then the son [Kronos] from his ambush stretched forth his left hand and in his right took the great long sickle with jagged teeth, and swiftly lopped off his own father's members and cast them away to fall behind him . . . 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 Kythera, and from there, afterwards, she came to sea-girt Kypros, 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 Aphrogeneia (the foam-born) because she grew amid the foam, and well-crowned (eustephanos) Kythereia because she reached Kythera, and Kyprogenes because she was born in billowy Kypros, and Philommedes (Genital-Loving) because sprang from the members. And with her went Eros (Love), and comely Himeros (Desire) followed her at her birth at the first and as she went into the assembly of the gods. This honour 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."
Her attributes, include vanity, greed, envy, and vengeance. Men fear her because they feel helpless to her power to bring them to her service. She is both beautiful and powerful. Deceits with sweet delight.
"To Sea-set Kypros the moist breath of the western wind (Zephryos) wafted her [Aphrodite] over the waves of the loud-moaning sea in soft foam, and there the gold-filleted Horai (Seasons) welcomed her joyously. They clothed her with heavenly garments: on her head they put a fine, well-wrought crown of gold, and in her pierced ears they hung ornaments of orichalc and precious gold, and adorned her with golden necklaces over her soft neck and snow-white breasts, jewels which the gold-filleted Horai wear themselves whenever they go to their father's house to join the lovely dances of the gods. And when they had fully decked her, they brought her to the gods, who welcomed her when they saw her, giving her their hands. Each one of them prayed that he might lead her home to be his wedded wife, so greatly were they amazed at the beauty of violet-crowned Kythereia."
Every man and woman holds the attributes of Venus within them. When you feel envy, wanting what another has, seek vengeance for a wrongdoing or when you wish to be acknowledged for simply existing… This is the essence of Venus. Its primal forces are deep within, occult in nature. It is for this reason that all over Italy, a seashell is worn to represent the wisdom of the oyster…It’s pearl.
Theogony, Hesiod, 8 Century B.C., Greece th Homeric Hymn 6, Greek Epic, 7 century B.C., Translation by Evelyn White
Psyche is born, when a raindrop falls to the earth. A mortal woman of such beauty that it made the gods jealous. She was courted by many men, but she didn't seem interested. She was playing deceitful games with her affections. This angered Venus so she placed a curse on her. No suitable husband would ever be found. Her son Cupid6, refuses to shoot any arrows in protest. This will no doubt cause the temple of Venus to fall. After months of no man or animal falling in love, Venus is willing to listen to Cupid's demands. He desires Psyche, and this angers Her. She will not submit to his desires, until he resumes shooting his arrows and all is right in the world. All continue to admire Psyche's beauty but none wish to take her as a wife. Her parents are gravely concerned, so they seek an oracle. The oracle tells them to leave her by the mountain side for the gods, for no mortal man is suitable for her. She is carried off by the West Wind to a secret valley where servants she cannot see tend to her. She is married off to a groom in darkness and she is told never to light a candle nor lamp to see her love. So each night he sleeps with her, and is gone by daylight. She is brought back to her home at dawn, she tells her sisters of the great marriage. Jealous, they convince her that it's a trick, and she is actually married to a serpent that means to devour her. They convince her to hide an oil
Theogony, Hesiod, EROS
lamp and a knife in her bed chamber so that when her husband returns, she might reveal the trickery. She follows their advice, and lights the lamp to reveal his identity. She recognizes him as a god Cupid, but pricks herself with one of his arrows by accident. She is consumed by her desire for her husband, she kisses him and a drop of lamp oil lands on his shoulder and wakes him. He flies away, and she sobs at the window until she falls to the ground desperate with heart-ache. Psyche later finds her deceiving sisters, convincing each of them that her husband waits by the mountain to marry each of them instead. Each of the sisters goes to the mountain top, only to fall to their deaths. Psyche searches everywhere for her lover. She enters one of the temples of Venus and finds it in disarray. Ceres appears, advising her that she must call to the goddess who has forsaken her. Psyche calls to her and pledges her devotion, Venus assigns her with tasks which only seek to increase her suffering. There could be no love suitable for her son. It wasn’t until Cupid plotted with his own deception on his mother, that Psyche was taken into Olympus, and embraced as the goddess of soul. How ironic, that the only one that can help Psyche is the very goddess who forsook her for her beauty. Psyche, is an allegory for the human soul. How tortured it must be. Venus represents the feminine aspect of human identity. Both men and women hold this quality, and the Psyche within. Tattoo, SIN JONES
Femininity evolves, as we each go through stages and rites of passage. Utilizing the Venus/ Psyche dynamic one can identify with the chronological stages of self-development. Utilizing Mythologies, you will see that Psyche must complete 4 tasks set forth by Aphrodite, if she fails any of them she will die. The tasks such as sorting seeds, collecting a golden fleece, filling a crystal goblet with water from the river Styx, and collecting a cask of beauty ointment from Persephone, goddess of the underworld. Venus is often merciless with her lessons, but she teaches humanity a lesson none-the-less. Each task, stages in femininity. Choosing one of the many seeds to begin life, the challenge of acquiring the fleece to demonstrate a necessary masculine quality to survive life, realizing the
focus on one small object (the goblet) vs. the entire river represents the vast choices available to us in this world. Mythology can be utilized to understand the human psyche. Rich in metaphor and allegory, you can make great realizations about yourself and those you interact with. The trials and tribulations in ancient worlds, aren't so different than they are today. Understanding our own stages of development, will aid us in relating better to our fellow humans. For instance, how do you deal with greed, envy, suspicion, expectations, and love? In examining how you digest these emotions, how do you believe others might manage these very human emotions? The Greeks utilized mythology and metaphor to teach valuable lessons about humanity, the Romans adopted many if not all of the Greek Myths and characters, and cross-pollenated through Romanization. In modern society, we do much of the same. Example Attributes of Psyche that women hold to compel actions: 1. Taking the man's surname in marriage 2. Allowing the man to dominate the household 3. Shirking certain responsibilities, calling them 'a man's job' 4. Behaving like the archetypal damsel in distress Then later, back at the reality-farm, women may have resentment towards the men they place in the centers of their own universe. They blame them for their own behavior, and psychology then wonder why they are misunderstood. The dynamic of woman from Venus and men from Mars rings true in most cases.
SHE, HE by Robert A. Johnson
I recommend it to both men and women as a spring board to understanding the self and how we relate to each sex. There is being 'in love' and 'loving'. When one is 'in love' they see right through the person they are in love with. They are 'in love' with the idea of being in love, vs. loving the person. When one is 'loving' they see the person for who they are, and all their attributes. They are 'loving' all aspects of that person, vs. being 'in love' with the idea of that person. When I look back to the relationships I have been in in the past, I have often made the internal complaint 'You are in love with the idea of me, but not me specifically'. The relationships always ended badly, because the person was trying to possess me, control me, shape me to the idea they have of me in their head (imaginings and projections). That's not ‘loving’ me, that is being ‘in love’ with the idea of me.
"There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness."
Further Reading: The Greek Myths, Robert Graves Origin of the Gods, Richard S. Caldwell Website sources: Exploring Greek Mythology: http://www.theoi.com/ Study Guide: Classics Open Discussion: Paganspace.net: paganspace.net - Mythology: Psychology
SIN JONES The Poison Apple www.the-poison-apple.com
Botticelli, Birth of Venus Johann Heinrich Fussli, Amor and Psyche iii Louis-Jean-François Lagrenée, Mars and Venus