Print this page

Symbols - What does heaven look like

Aphrodite

The Greeks and Romans recognised three aspects of love and personified them as

  • Aphrodite [Greek]/Venus [Roman] – feminine aspects of love
  • Erotes [Greek]/Cupid [Roman] – masculine aspects of love
  • Eros [Greek] – divine love, the Romans had no equivalent personification for divine love

Aphrodite [Greek goddess] was the female goddess of  love, beauty and fertility.  She is the female equivalent of the Erotes, but symbolises the feminine aspects of love – charm, erotic power, female passion, tenderness, reproductive desire, sensuality.  There is thus the recognition that feminine love is different from masculine love.  In both Roman and Greek myths she was born of Water – meaning that the activities relate to human activities not divine love.

Both the Greeks and the Romans also further personified aspects of Venus – that is love – that they perceived.  In other words, identified other qualities of love and gave them a name.

  • Venus Acidalia wasis derived from the Greek acides (άκιδες), i.e. cares or troubles.  In effect the pain and heartache of love

John Dryden
Pains of love be sweeter far
Than all other pleasures are

  • Venus Cloacina/Greek AphroditeAgape ("Venus the Purifier"), probably referred to pure love unconnected with sexual love.
  • Venus Erycina/Aphrodite Pandemus  - embodied "impure" love, and was the patron goddess of prostitutes.
  • Venus Felix ("Lucky Venus") was possibly meaning someone lucky in love, someone who love favoured
  • Venus Genetrix ("Mother Venus") was Venus in her role as the goddess of motherhood and domesticity. Thus motherly love. 
  • Venus Libertina was, it has been suggested, more likely Venus lubentina meaning "pleasurable" or "passionate". 
  • Venus Murcia merged the goddess with the little-known deity Murcia or Murtia. Murcia was associated with the myrtle-tree.
  • Venus Obsequens  - yielding compliant love.  This may mean selfless love, love which sacrifices its own desires for those of others.
  • Venus Verticordia "Venus the Changer of Hearts" – the heart turner - in other words charmer, seductress
  • Venus Victrix ("Venus the Victorious") this title is often used in the sense of 'Venus Victorious over men's hearts'
  • Venus Amica - "Venus the Friend" – love in friendship

Shakespeare - The wound’s invisible that love’s keen arrows make

 

Observations

For iPad/iPhone users: tap letter twice to get list of items.