Recovering Aphrodite – why we must embrace beauty
Aphrodite reveals all the secrets of the patriarchy, and it’s central theme: controlling the dangerous sexual power of women at all costs. She is the lost civilising influence of beauty, pleasure, the longing for love and connection. She is the key to recovering our true humanity.
The aphrodisiacal nature of love overcomes the tension between opposites and permits union despite differences. We could do with some of that right now!
But if women bring beauty, pleasure, love and connection, it must be terrifying to contemplate the loss of those things. And so the entire patriarchal edifice is based on subjugating women, lest temptation destroy civilisation. But these vital human qualities are ephemeral, we can’t keep them in the bank or hoard them. We have to breathe them in through each beautiful moment.
When we lose our connection with true beauty, the felt sense of beauty, we lose something innately human.
The ultimate object of human fear is Beauty; nothing is more disarming, more ravishing, than its eruption in our lives.Claire Lejeune
The Quality of Beauty
One of the most profound scientific mysteries in the 21st century is how we behold beauty. Take a moment to look at something you find beautiful. How do you experience this beauty? How do you know that this thing is beautiful and something else is not?
And, riddle me this, why is beauty even a thing? Why did Mother Nature create humans who could appreciate beauty? Is there an evolutionary purpose to it all?
The patriarchy has been intent on stripping beauty from our lives. Or rather, re-purposing beauty to it’s own ends. But when beauty is commodified we don’t experience it in the same way. Wild beauty, true beauty calls up a sense of the sacred, of grace, of courage and vitality, rather than botox and saline implants.
This week, as Venus and Aphrodite come together, I thought it was a good time for us to explore the idea of love, pleasure, beauty and the sacred nature of sex.
Venus and Aphrodite
Venus is one of the usual activations in your Human Design, she represents the feminine aspect (along with the Moon) in your chart.
But, the Roman deity Venus wasn’t particularly important. How did she come to be connected with the powerful Greek goddess Aphrodite? It’s a mystery. There is something cultivated about Venus – we know she ruled over gardens and fields in rural Italy.
Aphrodite, on the other hand, tends more to the wild aspect of female sexuality that roams beyond disciplined cultivation. The Greek ways were always a bit of a challenge for the Romans. This is Roman Senator Cato in 50BC:
Give a free rein to these undisciplined, untamed animals [he’s talking about women here] and then expect them to set a limit to their own license! .. Indeed, what will they not attempt? They will over-run all the laws relating to women whereby your ancestors curbed their license and brought them into subjection to their husbands. Even with all these bonds, you can scarcely restrain them… The very moment they begin to be your equals they will be your superiors.Titus-Livius, Roman History XXXIV (trans. Henry Bettenson
And while Venus has taken on some of the qualities of Aphrodite over the years, she still has a restrained aspect that Aphrodite would simply not abide. I was so struck by a twitter conversation I read this week, a whole lot of women proudly describing how well-behaved the women’s marches of January 2017 were. Although the women’s marches were a powerful statement, I can’t help thinking how this behaviour seems cultivated, obedient. Compare Aphrodite, who doesn’t abide by the self-governing rules women have internalised.
The Birth of Aphrodite
Arising from the clam shell, Aphrodite was the first flowering of humanity that arose from Heaven and Earth. When the sky god Uranus rejected the children he had created with Gaia she called on her son Saturn to cut off his father’s genitals and throw them in the sea. From the resulting sea foam arose Aphrodite, Goddess of Love.
Not so much the child of harmony, but of conflict, Aphrodite brings us clues for how we can heal the rift between the feminine and masculine, between the patriarchy and humanity. She knows how to use the friction and tension of opposites to create new life through play, seduction, beauty, love and pleasure.
When the asteroid named Aphrodite was discovered in 1935, she was in Gate 3 – Difficulty at the Beginning. Gate 3 is the child resulting from the coupling of of Gate 1 – yang (masculine/action) meeting Gate 2 – yin (feminine/receptive), which creates such chaotic profusion of possibility that we have to move slowly to understand what has changed and what we can make of it.
Learning what to trust
In her discovery chart, Aphrodite is making a channel with Gonggong. Today she is also making a completely different channel with Gonggong, the 39/55. Dwarf planet Gonggong used to be called Snow White, who was way too trusting, ate the poison apple, and then fell asleep till she was woken by the prince. Nessus, who is in the same gate as Aphrodite in her discovery chart, is also involved. Nessus persuaded Deianeira to trust him and then tricked her into killing her husband Heracles with poison.
Aphrodite tells us this – we can’t trust what doesn’t bring us pleasure.
This rift is not just about culture. It’s about healing the fundamental nature of duality. Now duality isn’t a bad thing, neither is patriarchy. They have given us a way to experience ourselves as individuals, as thinking and acting beings. But now, the split from the pleasure of being in our bodies is making us insane, as well as driving the climate crisis. Much of humanity eschews their more natural self, as we are subtly but surely commodified, enclosed within the commons of the marketplace.
Creating a new human ecology
We need a new human ecology that returns us to nature, allows us the freedom to loosen the repression on our more natural selves. We don’t need to lose what we have gained in the last few thousand years. Instead we can re-vision, add in beauty, seduction, play, loveliness.
As I write this, Venus is in Gate 38, and Aphrodite is opposite in Gate 39. These are two gates of isolation, struggle, a lack of trust in others. If we don’t feel safe in the world, if our world has become cruel and untrustworthy, where do we find pleasure, connection, love? That is our quest now, to learn again what we can trust, to begin to weave into our own personal ecology the gifts of Aphrodite.
I'm Kim Gould, founder of Love Your Design. I have been innovating and taking Human Design to the next level since 2003.
Beyond Type and Strategy, beyond the keywords and rigid rules, there are Asteroids, Dwarf Planets, Multidimensional Human Design and Holographic Human Design to explore. Come join me!
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