Today I would like to look at sacred objects to goddesses! In particular I will be focusing on sacred objects to Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love and beauty.
Aphrodite had two origin stories, either she was the daughter of Zeus and Dione, or she was born of sea foam. The sea foam birth, as a daughter of Uranus (when his seed was spilled into the water, she sprung up a fully formed woman) is the most commonly discussed. Her name even means foam-born. This birth is said to have taken place on the island of Cyprus.
Sacred items to Aphrodite include doves, goose (or swan), hares (rabbits), roses, anemones, myrtle tree (and myrrh bush), pomegranate, apples, pearls, a sacred girdle, and her mirror. Doves, geese, and swans were shown in depictions of transportation for this goddess. She had a dove drawn chariot, and rode either a white goose or a swan side-saddle! Hares were sacred to both Aphrodite and her son Eros due to their high libidos. Aphrodite was certainly in favor of anyone having sex like bunnies!
Roses and anemones both were sacred to her due to the connection to her lover Adonis, roses were colored red with her blood when she rushed to his side as he lay dying, and her tears mixed with his blood to form anemones! The myrrh being sacred comes from her curse upon Adonis’ mother, Myrrah (who was transformed into a myrrh tree to protect her after this curse, Adonis was born from this tree)!
The pomegranate was a sacred fruit for Aphrodite as it symbolized loss of virginity in marriage, and was considered a symbol of fertility. The apple was sacred because of the connection to the myth of Paris of Troy judging a competition of who the most beautiful of the goddesses were. He gifted the winner, Aphrodite, with a golden apple. She won after she promised him the love of the most beautiful woman in the world. That woman was, of course, Helen of Troy! So yes, a goddess of love actually started the Trojan War by making Helen and Paris fall in love and run away together!
Pearls as a sacred object refer to her birth from the sea. They are beautiful gems that are formed in oysters, and are considered a stone of love! Another stones associated with her is rose quartz, as it is a powerful stone of love, and self love.
Aphrodite’s girdle was a magical totem that was said to be woven with powers of love and desire! She used the girdle to compel people to fall in love (much like her son Eros used arrows). Lastly, her mirror was a symbol of sexuality and beauty. It is also the inspiration for the female symbol, which has a top half that looks like a mirror!
I hope you have enjoyed learning a little bit about some of the sacred objects to the goddess Aphrodite. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is a beautiful painting by Lindsay Rapp. I found the image on mymodernmet.com.