Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Origin of Aphrodite

Most people have heard that Aphrodite was made from sea foam.  In fact, her name means "from the foam."  Honestly, until last week I had no idea where she came from, nor did I care.  Considering that this week is Valentine's Day and love is (hypothetically) in the air, I can't help but think a little bit about the Goddess of Love.

Origin stories are a lot of fun.  If you know where a person comes from, you have an idea of how she got where she is now.  Where you come from is important.  It also seemed at least a little important to the Greek Gods.  Of course there are numerous versions of these stories, as there are with all deities.  I'm taking my first ever mythology class right now and it's interesting, but I'm genuinely grossed out on a regular basis.  God behavior is so barbaric (though I suppose not much has changed, really...but I won't go there...now).  Let's just say that their parenting skills were sub-par and leave it at that.  Last week I was reading creation stories...the ultimate in origin stories, because they discuss the origin of everything.  I found Hesiod's origin stories the most interesting.

In the beginning, we had Gaia and Uranus...Earth and Sky.  They hooked up, possibly because there wasn't anyone else around, and started making beings.  All was good and fine for a while, but...eventually Gaia got tired of childbearing.  I mean, she was literally carrying these kids around...inside her.  So, she complained.  Eventually her youngest son, Cronus, felt bad enough to help her out.  Mother and son conspired to...make sure there wouldn't be any more kids.  Cronus castrated his father and threw his severed member into the sea.

That wasn't the end for the severed member, though.  When it landed in the sea, foam rose.  From that foam came Aphrodite.  How's that for the origin of the Goddess of Love???

Happy Valentine's Day...a little early.  

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