Welcome back to White Rose of Avalon’s week-long tribute to the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite. For day three of Aphrodisia Week, I have decided to focus on Aphrodite as a mother.
Although we all know Aphrodite as a great lover with an insatiable appetite for amorous activities, she is often less associated with motherhood. Due to her love of making love, the Goddess had many children with several of her lovers. She was also a Goddess who could embody the classically protective mother bear when her children were threatened!
I will discuss two classic mythic examples of her protective motherly nature in this blog post! The first example I will use is the famous tale of Eros and Psyche. Eros was sent by his mother to make the beautiful woman Psyche fall in love with the greatest monster he could find, as Psyche was being worshipped by her neighbors instead of Aphrodite! Eros was so taken with Psyche’s beauty that he accidentally pricked himself with the arrow, making him fall in love with her. He married her secretly, keeping his identity hidden. When Psyche betrayed his trust and found out his identity, he fled in hurt.
Now, Aphrodite is usually painted as petty in this story because of her initial ire at Psyche. When she tested the young woman whom had come to get her husband back, many view this as a petty woman jealous of her son’s lover’s beauty. In contrast, I see this as a protective mother testing her daughter-in-law after she hurt her son. Aphrodite simply wanted to make sure Psyche was deserving of the love her son had for her! To me, this is the classic tale of a mother wanting the best for her son in the love department.
The second example I will be discussing is the tale of the Trojan War. During the Trojan War’s early years, Aphrodite was strictly on the side of the Trojans. This is in part because Aphrodite helped to start the war by pairing Helen and Paris in a love match, although I think Eris is the Goddess most at fault for the war (after all she threw the Apple of Discord in the first place)! In any case, Aphrodite had a soft spot for Paris and Helen, wanting to help them stay together. This changed when she saw that her son, the demi-god fathered by Anchises, Aeneas was in danger of being killed. When she saw her son in danger, she immediately went into mama bear mode and tore him away from the battle. So she left the Trojan War in order to keep her son safe! This is an iconic statement of her love for her children and her status as a mother.
I hope that you have enjoyed this analysis of Aphrodite’s aspect of Mother. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is a painting of Aphrodite and Eros. I found the image on https://arthive.com/artists/4245~Henri_Camille/works/205419~Aphrodite_and_Eros.
- Pagan Portals-Aphrodite: Encountering the Goddess of Love & Beauty & Initiation by Irisanya Moon