Welcome to White Rose of Avalon’s week-long tribute to the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite! For day one of Aphrodisia Week, I have chosen to focus on the aspect of Aphrodite known as Aphrodite Ourania. This is the heavenly aspect of Aphrodite! The term Ourania referred to her most famous birth story of being born by the severed genitals of Ouranos when they were thrown into the ocean by Cronos.
It makes sense to view this aspect as the heavenly one, as Ouranos was literally the embodiment of the starry sky! Another reason that this heavenly Aphrodite is associated with this particular birth story is that she did not have a traditional birth by a mother. She arose fully formed as a woman from the sea foam. This makes her an even more divine figure, not one that can be easily related to her worshippers. It is this distance that shows her as heavenly, as opposed to her aspects of being “of the people,” which we will cover another day of Aphrodisia Week.
It is this aspect of Aphrodite that would go on to be associated with the Virgin Mary during the Christian Era. When Christianity took over the Temples of Aphrodite were often taken over in honor of the Virgin, which is seen as ironic by many people. Yet, when we look at her aspect of Ourania we can see why a heavenly Aphrodite may have been seen as vaguely similar. It certainly does not mean that this aspect of Aphrodite was virginal, just that she symbolized divine love, instead of simply romantic love or familial love! Another commonality between Aphrodite and the Virgin is the association with doves. These birds have long been symbols of Aphrodite, sacred to her, and they are also symbols of peace that can be associated with the Virgin! It is an interesting connection to note.
I hope you have enjoyed learning about the Ourania aspect of the Great Goddess Aphrodite in this brief post. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is Aphrodite with a dove. I found the image on https://www.greekboston.com/culture/mythology/all-about-aphrodite/.
- Pagan Portals-Aphrodite: Encountering the Goddess of Love & Beauty & Initiation by Irisanya Moon