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!