Welcome Mythmaniacs!
Aphrodite by Alayna







continued from Chapter Three

Well, you can't really have two very important goddesses engaged in a very public catfight, now, can you?

"Bring it, bitch!" hissed Aphrodite.

Just as things looked like they were going to reach a climax, Zeus sent the Muse Calliope to decide the issue. Wise Calliope ruled that each woman would have access to Adonis for one third of each year, and the remaining third would be Adonis' to spend alone.

(Giving poor, exhausted Adonis time to recover, I suppose, but he chose to spend his own third with Aphrodite. Must have been that golden girdle.)

Calliope's custody ruling made jealous the god of war Ares, Aphrodite's jilted ex-lover. Ares turned himself into a giant boar and killed Adonis. Shame on him. What a jerk!

Ever since I met him, Ares was - and still is - the least favorite of all my Olympian kin. I have tried hard to like the god of war, and I have failed miserably. He was such a brutish thug!

Don't tell him I said that please.

After Adonis' murder, cousin Aphrodite became enraged, since he was now spending the entire year with Persephone in the underworld. She beseeched Zeus, who ruled that Adonis' year would now be split in half; one part would be spent in the underworld, the other among the Olympians. Take that, Ares, you big boar!

(I've often wondered if anyone bothered asking Adonis what he wanted. Not that he had much reason to complain, mind you, but sometimes it's hard being a sex symbol.

(Sure, it's nice being built like a Greek god, but do you get any respect? Noooo...I often wanted to ask him how he felt, but he was always so darn tired, what with the hunting and all.)

In some versions overheard late at night at Thanasi's Olympus, Aphrodite tragically loses the love of her life. I forget whose version this one is.

All the time Aphrodite was with Adonis, she sought only to please him. He was an avid huntsman and many times she would leave her swan-drawn chariot, in which she would effortlessly glide through the air, and join him in the forests dressed like a huntress.

I can tell you she looked stunning in her fluorescent orange hunting tunic.

Aphrodite lived in constant fear of losing her Adonis, and had repeatedly warned him to stick to safer game when hunting.

"Let those fools Perseus and Heracles play the macho games with the boars and the monsters, sweetie," I'd hear her say to him. "Now go out and bag us a couple of rabbits for dinner to go with this Ambrosia. And keep your darn dogs out of my temple until they become domesticated!"

Sadly one day she wasn't with him and he tracked down a mighty boar (boars always got a bad rap in Greek mythology, for some ungodly reason).

For hours Adonis pursued the terrifying behemoth throughout the forests, reveling in the intense pleasure of the hunt. Eventually he brought the exhausted beast to bay with his hunting dogs and hurled his spear at it, but only wounded the animal.

Before Adonis could spring away, the boar mad with pain rushed at him and gored him with its great tusks.

High over the earth in her winged chariot, Aphrodite heard her lover's groans and flew to him. She kissed and cried to him as life softly left him, dark blood flowing down his skin of snow and his eyes growing heavy and dim. She sprinkled nectar on the drops of blood as it painted the earth deep crimson.

And for the first time the goddess of love, who indiscriminately pierces the hearts of gods and men alike, knew how it felt to be herself wounded in the heart, a wound worse than even his.

"You die, O thrice desired,
And my desire has flown like a dream,
Gone with you is the girdle of my beauty,

But I myself must live who am a goddess
And may not follow you.
Kiss me once again, the last, long kiss,
Until I draw your soul within my lips
And drink down all your love."

The mountains all were calling and the oak tree answering,
Oh, woe, woe for Adonis. He is dead.
And Echo cried in answer, Oh, woe, woe for Adonis.
And all the Loves wept for him, and all the Muses too.

A crimson flower sprang up where each drop of his blood had stained the earth. Every year the Greek maidens mourned for him and every spring they rejoiced when his flower, the blood-red anemone, the windflower, was seen blooming again.

Aphrodite's entourage included my second favorite cousins, the Charites, or Graces, who were the personifications of charm and beauty in nature and in human life.

The Graces loved all things beautiful and bestowed talent upon mortals. Together with my beloved favorite cousins, the Muses, they served as sources of inspiration in poetry and the arts.

Their names were Aglaia (Splendor), Euphrosyne (Mirth) and Thalia (Good Cheer), but to me they were cousins Aggi, Efi and Talli.

What a pleasure it was just being with them. They are usually considered the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, or Dionysus and Aphrodite, leading to more late night Apelia wine debates down at Thanasi's.

Either way, you can bet my cousin Aphrodite and her retinue turned a few heads when they entered the room!

Aphrodite's partner in crime was her darling son Eros (Love, Cupid), a very wicked and mischievous boy some say, lacking all manners. The brat amused himself by running all night from building to building, and with his love arrows breaking up respectable homes.

Nobody was immune to his capricious nature, not even Zeus, in whom Eros often inspired sexual desires. (And how!)

Aphrodite's festival was the Aphrodisiac which was celebrated in various centers of Greece and especially in Athens and Corinth, the city that adopted her as their patroness.

Newly-found manuscripts, unearthed when in the name of progress the City of Corinth tore down some useless ancient ruins to build a fast-food restaurant, records the minutes of the Corinthian city council meeting passing the resolution declaring Aphrodite their patron goddess:

"Fellow Corinthian noblemen, after months of strenuous research, we have narrowed down our Patron search to two candidates, the great gods Hephaestus and Aphrodite. Every year we will hold a month-long festival worshipping and honoring all that our Patron stands for.

We asked both gods to appear here today to state their case, and we are delighted that Aphrodite was able to make it. Hermes just delivered word that Hephaestus is still on his way, says he can only walk so fast.

By the way, nice girdle, your majesty."

Can you say "mismatch"? Does "blowout" ring any bells? It wasn't a pretty sight, poor Hephaestus had no chance. I can vouch to the authenticity of the Corinthian transcripts, I was there in disguise at her request, and I cast a vote for my cousin. Not that she needed it, but you know Aphro, she always covers her butt, in a manner of speaking.

Speaking of which, Aphrodite asked me to make it clear that her priestesses were not prostitutes but women who represented the goddess, and sexual intercourse with them was considered just one of the methods of worship.

(Yeah, sure, tell it to the judge, lady...)

My cousin Aphrodite's attributes are the dolphin, the dove, the swan, the pomegranate and the lime tree. In classical art, her connection to fertility is suggested through flowers and vegetation motifs. Those shameless Roman plagiarists called her Venus.