Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty was desired by many. But do you know there were many symbols that were sacred to her. We’ll dive deeper into the symbols of Aphrodite and what they mean.
Did You Know?
Romans used to worship Aphrodite as Venus, she was the god of beauty, love, and fertility.
Aphrodite best known as the Greek goddess of love was among one of the twelve gods who resided on the Mount Olympus. If you read through the Greek mythology you will learn she was actually a goddess of sexual desire and female power. She was said to be one of the most beautiful goddesses and many Olympian gods wanted to claim her.
Her birth is still unclear. Some claim she was born after Cronus cut off Uranus’s genitals and threw them in the sea and she was born from the sea foam. While others say that she was the daughter of Zeus and Dione. Whatever was the case, on laying his eyes upon Aphrodite, Zeus instantly realized that she could be a threat and can disrupt the peace among all the other gods. They were captivated by her beauty and she can create wars in order to get attention. So to avoid all that, Zeus instantly arranged her marriage with Hephaestus who was ugly and crippled. Of course, Aphrodite was not happy with the arrangement, but she went on and had numerous affairs which bore her many kids. Among the lovers she was very close to Ares and the mortal Adonis.
Though many goddesses were envious of her astounding beauty, but nobody resented her, because she had a very calm and helpful nature. She assisted many deities and mortals to find true love. In fact she gave her beautiful girdle to Hera, so that Zeus won’t cheat on her.
Cupid: The god of love
Aphrodite’s most famous and loved son was Eros, we know him as cupid. He was the god of love and helped his mother in most of her work. His job was to shoot arrows at people dipped in Aphrodite’s love potion, which would eventually make them go head over heels in love with the person they saw next. Though this seemed to be helpful but it has broken up many pairs.
Apart from her numerous love affairs, she was also popular because of the various symbols associated with her, that aptly described each and every situation in her life. There are numerous symbols of beauty, power, and love that are used to represent this beautiful goddess. Her symbols can be strongly related with her having emerged from the sea. Let us uncover these symbols and their meanings.
Symbols of Aphrodite
Swine was detested by Aphrodite because it was a wild pig which killed her beloved Adonis. It was offensive to offer her pig as a sacrifice and therefore it was prohibited in her cult. Hare was a sacred animal to both Aphrodite and Eros because it has high amount of libido. In fact they used to exchange live hares as gifts of love. Horse is strongly associated with her. Aphrodite was furious with King Glaucus of Corinth as he did not appreciate her beauty.
She was set to take revenge on him, when he took part in the chariot race of King Pelias, she took her revenge by driving his horses mad and they killed him.
Goose was another sacred symbol of Aphrodite, many times she was depicted riding a goose. There is no particular reason as to why sparrow was also Aphrodite’s symbol, but she considered the bird important. If she was not riding her goose then she was seen riding a swan. Dove being the sacred symbol of Aphrodite symbolized love and care.
There were two flowers dear to Aphrodite and one was the red rose. It is said that the rose was stained with color red when she cut her feet on its thorns while running towards her dying Adonis. Another one was Anemone, it got its red color from her dying lover – Adonis. It was stained by his blood.
Lettuce was important because firstly it caused impotency among men and secondly this is where she kept the body of dead Adonis – on lettuce plants. Apple was another important element as she was awarded with a golden apple as an award from Paris of Troy, though it is another story that she bribed him to win this award. She also gifted Hippomenes golden apples when he won Atalanta. Pomegranate was divine to her, she planted the seeds first on the island of Kypros.
Pearl was known to be the offspring of the water. Some stories claim that when she was born she was adorned with pearls hence it was an important element to her. Girdle had magical powers you see. It had the power to invoke the desire of passion in anyone who laid his eyes on it. Mirror was like a wand and it urged many people to look at themselves and their principles. Mirror also symbolizes truth and who you really are because that’s your own reflection looking back at you.
Aphrodite was constantly depicted to be surrounded by dolphins. Many times she even used to ride them. It is said that Aphrodite was born from an egg which was carried by the fish to the banks of the River Euphrates. Another theory states that she was carried to the island of Cyprus by a huge scallop shell. She was born when Uranus’s genitals were thrown into the ocean. Due to this, a large foam developed in the sea, from there emerged Aphrodite. Her name Aphro means sea foam.
Though she was the goddess of love, she did not live her life to find her true love, the symbols attributed to her really show how important they were to her and how each and every element was regarded with respect.