Often the worship we give the gods is built largely on our perception of them, and as such we can become so hooked on singular things under the idea that this best favors the god. I have seen for instance a time where there were those who insisted wine was not an appropriate offering for Apollon, when in fact there is no prohibition against it and he is in fact in the Orphic hymns called Bakkhic, yet a reference to alcohol not being permitted at the Pythian games and nietzchian view of Apollon and Dionysos at one time had some solid support by many worshipers led by the belief of the few who presented it. It is not that there is something wrong with the perception or practice but that as it is often developed from a single source viewing a god or goddess a certain way that it overshadows other ways we may interact with the gods, some which would be more suitable in different situations.
Different situations may not just apply to other ways we could receive benefice from the deity in question, but also situations which is inclusive of a wider community beyond our own private worship. There are those who honor Dionysos with revelry of a kind, for instance, which may not be suitable for a ritual with families, minors or people with substance abuse issues. No one would say that this is all Dionysos is but as a main form if worship for one, it is naturally the first inclination of worship, or can be. But a public focus so directed it is also likely to be divisive in a diverse community, and among newer members cause a rather stereotypical one dimensional worship of the god and relationship of the deity. It should not be mistaken that I think that there is anything wrong with how one worships a deity but that we ought to be aware if potential limitations we may be putting on our own relationship with the deity, and even more so sensitive about worship in a community setting rather than among a very small group of similar minded individuals. For example I have no problem with someone who engages is mastibutory practice to worship a particular deity, but I don’t want to see pictures or videos of you doing it, nor would I want to be around it with my children in worship.
This includes language that refers to deities as strictly hetero-erotic or homo-erotic that is often exclusionary to the participation of fellow worshipers and their feeling if fellowship with other worshipers in the community. This also includes divisive and disincluding practices shared among the community based on sex. One way this has manifested is via CIA-female veneration of certain goddesses or the worship of said goddesses been placed predominantly on women (despite evidence to th contrary at times such as with Artemis).
This now comes around to Aphrodite, the goddess that this post shall now address, for such mindfulness is important especially when dealing with worship of her (but is likewise applicable to others. The case being that how the goddess is honored publically has an easy tendency to become inappropriate or insensitive to others, and in the case of this goddesses has in the past caused insensitivity towards fellow female worshipers. Online there was, for instance, an incident where in a community forum, a man offered up a pornographic image of a woman, not one created by the woman in question as a means of worship, as an offering to Aphrodite. Forthwith a number of men in the group didn’t get why a number of women were insulted by this and several left the group. A feeling of resentful betrayal was already in place which only intensified with several men in the group retaliating against one such woman who spoke up. When it goes so far, and I have seen it happen before at other times when overtly sexual pictures are shared, that their is objection about the in appropriateness of sharing such images, insults get hurled. The most hurtful of all being that if you have a problem with it or with it being seen by your children or co-workers etc then you need to “go back to Christianity.” As a woman being told that you are being too sensitive, or that you cannot object to a woman’s sexuality treated as property of men publically as an offering tears at feelings of community and fellowship, and makes can make us disappointed too in people we admired and respected. And for someone to tell you to shut up and put up about because our objection seeks to ruin a patriarchal religion is fuel for anger and does further damage. Does this please or benefit Aphrodite that an offering to her, which was publically inappropriate, caused such a fracture? Does this benefit other gods whose communal worship was directed by said men that those whose who became disappointed in their mysognistic behavior that they drop out of participating in those communal events? How does this glorify Aphrodite? How does it honor to verbally slap down the women who worship her? Does this suggest that there may be something wrong when I first inclination of praising a god or goddess is publically inappropriate?
Case in point, last year when I was making an invite for a public Aphrodisia, at my house, the first assumption was that it was going to be adults only with overtly sexual participation. The fact that this was the first to come to mind was a bit disappointing, but what was more so was that half the people who said they would come did a 180 when I explained that the Delian Aphrodisia was family safe. Why must it always be overtly about sex?
Sexuality in itself can be implied in ways that would make a virgin blush at noticing it without it being inappropriate. My own teen daughter turned scarlet when she release what a rise bud, viewed from another angle looked like. Let us not forget that Aphrodite was honored as “the black” because sex was considered something private and as such done under the cover of darkness, rather than something in front if everyone in full visibility as the animals do. As such I always got the impression that she found suggestions vastly entertaining….and such is appropriate in public. This doesn’t mean she doesn’t adore the pornigraphic images that you may place upon your private shrine, but that this doesn’t need to be first thing taken up.
we ought to remember that Aphrodite is about more then raw sex, but also all th tender feelings, romance and courtship that leads up to marriage as Homer reminds us in the Iliad when Zeus tries to sway Aphrodite from participating in war. She is also about beauty, and most particularly that beauty which comes from harmony. She is the bestowed of many blessed things, reinforced by her relationship with the Khairities. There have been times when I haves played with the idea that the goddess called Kharus was in fact her in another guise. There are so many ways we can honor her (and other gods) let not the ways which are inappropriate be of foremost consideration in an environment not suitable for them.