Waxing Poetic Heroines: Venus
, beautiful Venus, Roman goddess of Love and Beauty. She shows up everywhere,the best paintings , in the most beautiful poetry, in our favorite myths. She appears in different forms, under different names (the Greeks called her Aphrodite), and in sometimes different costumes, and she’s far from perfect as a character – but what she IS, or IS while and when we believe or tell each other old myths and stories, IS something, someone, utterly enchanting: a human-looking, love-generating, awe-inspiring immortal embodiment of all the things which keep us going forward: LOVE, FERTILITY, VICTORY, TRANSCENDENCE, BEAUTY, REGENERATION (see also SPRINGTIME!!!), PROSPERITY, RENEWAL, WONDER OUT OF NOTHING BUT THE POSSIBILITY OF WONDER, BEAUTY and a particular kind of GRACE.
And so we’d like to say this: LOOK AT BOTTICELLI’s wondrous depiction of her magical ‘birth’ – fully formed, prosperous, beautiful, and floating in on enchanted seafoam in a lovely scalloped shell.
She is both easily accessible and elusive in all her stories. She blesses the rich and poor alike. She helps warriors win just battles, and lends her wondrous, life-affirming aura to all manner of people and situations (so long as they give love back and around those nearby). She forgives slights and helps transform the world for people she formerly feared or felt threatened by. Oh? Yes.
Venus’ son, you see, is the Roman god Cupid, aka Eros. He fell in love with a mortal beauty, Psyche, and she with him—but Venus put some very strict rules on their romance, and Psyche wasn’t allowed to see her husband. She peeked anyway. She broke the rules, and was cast out – but not for long. Venus was willing to be proven wrong, in a way, perhaps her daughter-in-law wasn’t only after her beautiful, immortal son for the chance to become immortal herself, and…after a fair amount of trials (and a lot of help from animals and magic creatures), Psyche proved herself deserving in Venus’ opinion: she had been doing everything out of, and for, and because of, and because she wanted to give back some more…
And so all was forgiven and changed and healed and Eros + Psyche had a beautiful little child which they named PLEASURE, and all of it happened because of LOVE.
Venus is a creature of myth, some might say fiction, but she is also entirely real in so much that she’s the sum of all our best wishes and most poignant heart-ward journeys.
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