Aphrodisia 2011

Today I celebrated Aphrodisia. I know some friends were celebrating it yesterday, but I wanted to wait for the 8th (and yes I am aware that my blog is posting one day in the future but I hate messing with the time zone stuff) since that is a number significant in the worship of Aphrodite. I was a little worried at first because this morning there was a rather impressive thunderstorm and I feared that the weather would be foul for the ritual. I had been finishing the sculpture of Hera in the morning and it always seems to rain whenever I am working on it. But the weather did clear up so that there was bird song coming through the open door and the temperature was mild rather than being cool and damp or hot and humid.

Sadly I couldn’t find any flowers growing anywhere in the vicinity of where I live. Mind you that in this climate many of the flowers have long since expired by the end of June, and what few wild flowers were growing in the ditch beside the neighbor’s property were mowed down. Add that to the fact that since I do not as of yet have a car I couldn’t exactly run to the florist and get some flowers. However, my mint had some lovely flower blossoms on it. Herbs, unlike the tender spring flowers, flower in summer with musky-sweet blossoms. So I pulled some springs of mint (which had small buds on it but not yet bloomed) and popped them in a vase. I am not aware of any mythic connection between menthe and Aphrodite, but it is a pleasant aromatic plant. I also gathered some clippings of oak leaves from the tree in my yard. This association honors her as the daughter of Zeus and Dione, particularly as she was worshipped at Dodona. Therefore it seemed appropriate. I arranged everything on my floral scarf.

During the ritual I read the Orphic Hymn to Aphrodite, a couple of my own poems (especially the one of Aphrodite Morpho), the hymn to Eros. I finished it up with performing my modern version of the crane dance. Arnold (I can’t remember the first name offhand) in her article regarding the Festivals of Delos spoke of the celebration of Aphrodisia in July on Delos and the performance of the Crane Dance in honor of Aphrodite as it is performed also for Apollon. So my personal  interpretation is, as most already know, a spiral inward movement accompanied by lyre and chanting, and then returning out again.

Afterward a lovely delicacy of ice cream (a perfect summer treat) in honor of the humid-breathing goddess who surely loves such confections herself! Therefore in closing I say Hail Aphrodite! Blessed Aphrodisia!

Upcoming Aphrodisia July 8

I spoke in another post of the upcoming Hyakinthia coming next week, well anothe ritual that is coming up close is Aphrodisia. Evidence provided in article on the festivals of Delos indicates that the Aphrodisia in Delos occurred every July, but it doesn’t specify an exact date that I can remember (and since my portable harddrive has been out of commission for the time being it means I don’ thave access to my notes of even seeing if it does have a more specific date gah). So I have set the festival for July 8th in honor of Aphrodite. According to the article, like at the festival Delia/Apollonia (the name of the festival at Delos corresponding with the Athenian Thargelia), the festival of Aphrodite also involved the Crane Dance. Is this because of the prominant role of the goddess in the Delian legend of the return of of Theseus and th einitiation of the Crane Dance that was continued to be used in the worship of Apollon? It is hard to say for sure. But that there is a link in Delos between Aphrodite and Apollon is quite ascertained by this myth, and the dedication of the statue of Aphrodite carried from Crete by Ariadne.

My plan for the occassion is to purchase some roses (since for the first time in a long time I don’t have a rose bush growing outside my front door heh), and some decent wine that I shall mix with honey for the libation. Sweets for the sweet 🙂 I will also have my painting of Aphrodite holding her pigeon/dove (if you look at the images of these birds on the post cards from ancient Greek wall paintings they look like pigeons rather than the white birds we normally call doves), crowned with eight roses with myrtle in the background.

I also have several poems to Aphrodite of my own composition that will be read in addition to the Orphic and Homeric Hymns to the goddess.

I do wish, though, based on reading a festival of Aphrodite that some have celebrated recently, that I had access to the ocean or to a rose garden (or any botanical garden for that matter!) Living out in the country without a car makes some planning a bit difficult. I would be pleased even to go down to a lake or something. But we will do the best we can. And in any case I am sure it will be a lovely ritual for Aphrodite 🙂