“Heavenly, illustrious, laughter-loving queen, Sea-born, night-loving, of an awful mien; Crafty, from whom necessity first came, Producing, nightly, all-connecting dame” (1).
Aphrodite, the goddess of love who was born from the sea foam which came about around the castrated genitals of Uranus, after his son, Cronus, had thrown them into the sea. This is a tantalizing explanation for the birth of a goddess, but what can it mean? To find out we need to understand what principle Uranus represents.
Uranus represents the primordial power of heaven, and therefore spirit, the polar opposite to matter. The castration of Uranus is a symbolic expression to denote the cessation of involution when its time is fulfilled, (2) and which signifies the separation of spirit and matter, for after this event it was said that the “Sky came no more to cover the Earth at night.” (3) The earth is one of the symbols for the lower nature of the soul that becomes separated from spirit at the end of involution and the commencement of physical life, which is symbolised as night. This brings us to the beginning stage of evolution where the creative powers of spirit, symbolised as the genitalia of Uranus, are implanted into the sea of matter.
Another symbol for spirit as it progresses down the planes towards manifestation is air, which represents 'mind', therefore; “A common form of air and water mingled with some violence is foam or bubbles. Froth arises when air is forcefully associated with water. Here beyond doubt is the clue to the esoteric riddle of Greek symbology, which represented the birth of the goddess Aphrodite from the sea-foam. Here is the beautiful poetic figure hinting at the truth that Love is born in the evolutionary process when the energetic injection of god's power of fiery mind into the emotional life effects the blending of air (mind) and water (emotion) in the consciousness.” (4)
A good practical analogy to represent the above idea can easily be shown with a saucepan of water placed on a heated stove. For when the fire (divinity) heats up the water there arises foam/froth on top of the water in the saucepan. “Is not love the product of the conjunction of mind and emotion? Froth would indicate the elevation of emotion to the plane of thought, the injection of mind into feeling. The emergence of bubbles of air to the surface suggests how thought is generated out of the mud (sensation) and water (emotion) of the bodily experience.” (5)
In the Greek Magical Papyri it says : “Aphrodite's name which becomes known to no one quickly is NEPHERIERI – this is the name.” “Nepherieri is the Egyptian Nfr-iry.t, 'the beautiful eye' a suitable epithet for Aphrodite.” (6) If we take a look at the Egyptian version of Aphrodite, most commonly known by the Greek name, Hathor, we shall see that “she is most often shown as a beautiful woman wearing a red solar disc between a pair of cow horns.” Her name in Egyptian is “HWT-HR (Het-Heru) and means 'domain (or mansion) of Horus, which may make her the original mother of the celestial falcon. In the Pyramid Texts, the domain of Horus was a special part of the sky where the dead king would be rejuvenated. As Lady of stars, Hathor was associated with the nocturnal sky. As the Eye of Ra, she could be identified with the solar disk or the morning or evening star (Venus).” (7)
This sounds all well and good, but how does this apply to ourselves from a spiritual perspective? The answer to this lays in understanding how to interpret the symbolism that the ancient Egyptians used. After all, their religion was a very practical one being used to turn the Pharaoh into a god, so everything they have written has a purpose and meaning. Most of this is hidden behind the veil of their symbolism.
In “The Book of Going Forth by Day” commonly referred to as “The Book of the Dead” it says : "Hathor, Lady of the West; She of the West; Lady of the sacred Land; Eye of Re which is on his forehead; kindly of countenance in the Bark of Millions of Years; a resting place for him who has done right within the boat of the blessed; who built the Great Bark of Osiris in order to cross the water of truth." (8) The way to interpret this is to apply the Ancient Egyptian esoteric law of “As Above So Bellow.” In other words one should apply this objective symbolism to the internal spiritual world. (See my previous blog entry on this here=http://theoccultscrivener.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/as-above-so-below.html ) The West is the place where the Sun sets, and the Sun is always the symbol of the divine part of the soul, so in the symbolism of the setting sun it is figuratively explaining the descent of the divine part of the soul into matter. The boat, and the bark is described as a resting place for the divine part of the soul, Osiris. This is because it is the body where the soul rests while sailing across the sea of matter until it breaks free from it, to reclaim its divine rite of rulership in the heavens. This is also confirmed in “The Theban Recension of The Book of Going Forth By Day” where it says : “I know the Souls of the Easteners; they are Horakhty, the sun-calf and the Morning Star.” (9) The souls of the 'Easterners' are those who have realised and awakened their divine state, because the Sun rises in the east, and is therefore used as a symbol of the awakened and risen divinity. “Horakhty is 'Horus of the Horizion' : the sun god, usually falcon headed.” (10) The horizon is a brilliant symbol to use to represent this, because the horizon is the place where sky and earth, spirit and matter, or consciousness and unconsciousness meet to give birth to that third state of super consciousness. This is the divine state of being, also known as the divine son, the product of its Father (spirit) and its mother. (matter)
It is through the beauty of the goddess of love in her many different forms that one can give birth to the divine state of being within ourselves. So let her of the beautiful eye open up to see and feel the love of divinity, so that we may unify the lower with the higher, and become more fully realised spiritual beings.
Dedicated to somebody I used to know ;-)
1. Orphic Hymn of Venus
2. Dictionary of All Scriptures & Myths. G. A. Gaskell. Page 780.
4.The Ultimate Cannon of Knowledge. A.B.Kuhn. Page 138
6. PGM IV. 1265-74
7. Egyptian Mythology. Geraldine Pinch. Page 137.
8. The Book of Going Forth by Day. The Papyrus of Ani. Plate 37. Chapter 186.
9. The Theban Recension. Chapter 109.
10. The Book of Going Forth By Day. Page 174 Chronicle Books.