Never had there been such sensual beauty and impeccable taste, born of the sea foam created by the mutilation of Uranus by his son Kronos adorned in birth with pearls scallop shells and clams. A new era of love had been introduced! Henceforth there would be candlelit dinners, heart-rending arias in operas, high-heeled shoes and bright red lipstick (not to mention soap operas). Romance was here and planning to stay. A goddess so beautiful and divine, flowers sprang upon her every footstep. Goddess of Love and Beauty indeed. Every Greek god and goddess was dying to meet her. The Horae (Hours) welcomed her to step ashore and adorned her with the finest gold ornaments and cloth, then brought Aphrodite to Mount Olympus to present her to Zeus and the other gods and goddesses.
Zeus, in his infinite wisdom, instantly recognized the threat this beautiful goddess to the welfare of all of Olympus, with her extreme beauty that captivated any eye that saw it, she caused many fights in order to gain her much wanted attention. Zeus mandated she must be married at once (in an attempt to quell any conflicts over her) and awarded the goddess to his son, Hephaestus, god of the forge. It was pretty good for Hepheastus, who got hooked up with one of the most beautiful goddesses ever known, but not so much for Aphrodite who was stuck with…. Hepheastus, the lame blacksmith, who wasn’t the most attractive of men. However Hephaestus was a reliable and hardworking, and worked tediously to make his wife beautiful jewelry, including Aphrodite’s famous girdle, which made her even more beautiful and irresistible, which wasn’t the greatest of ideas on Hepheastus’s part. The Greek goddess Aphrodite, however did not want to be stuck with plain Hephaestus all her life. Aphrodite was well renowned for her numerous love affairs she’s had which resulted in many offspring by her various lovers. Her most notable lovers were the gods Ares, Dionysius, Hermes, Poseidon, and the mortal, Adonis. Except for a few occasions when he was overwhelmed with jealousy or resentment, Hephaestus seemed to accept this arrangement, happy to just have and hold her when he could. Indeed, their marriage seemed companionable, with little passion perhaps, but little conflict as well.
Aphrodite was seen as a Goddess who had but one purpose and her purpose was to make love. Her purpose was also her gift and was so special that no one seemed to resent it. While many other gods and goddesses were busy with their numerous divine duties, the goddess Aphrodite’s only duty was to bring love into the world!
It’s evident that many women were very envious of Aphrodite’s abounding beauty and her easy-going life, but none were resentful. She was seen as friendly, kind and even generous. She helped bring both deities and mortals to find true love, and even lent her beautiful girdle to the goddess Hera to try and prevent Zeus from cheating on Hera, lot of good that did, but it’s the thought that counts. Although Aphrodite’s various and numerous love affairs were accepted to a certain degree they still caused much trouble for her.
One of Aphrodite’s closest lovers was Ares, and it was known to almost all of Olympia their adulterous affair. Though usually very even-headed, Hepheastus was furious. Thus using his wit and his crafting skills he fashioned an unbreakable net and trapped the two lovers while they were in bed and dragged them to Olympia. Hepheastus demanded punishment but the Gods’ laughed and thought him foolish. In the end nothing was done and things went back to as they were before, and Hepheastus learned to accept Aphrodite’s adultery. Although Aphrodite was detached to many of her love affairs, one serious affairs with the mortal Adonis caused great suffering on her part (mortality and immortality never mix well). When Adonis was killed by a wild boar (Adonis was a big hunting enthusiast), his cries were heard by Aphrodite and joined him at this side at his dying moments. She grieved deeply and cursed the Fates ordained his demise. In memorial to his love Aphrodite turned Adonis’ dripping blood into wildflowers.
Aphrodite's most famous son was Eros (also known as Cupid), the god of love, who helped her with her work. An archer, his job was to shoot arrows dipped in Aphrodite's love potion, hitting her unwitting victims, causing them to fall madly in love with the next person they saw, which in many cases created some of the greatest love stories in Greek mythology, however more often than not it caused great mischief and had broken up many respectable homes. The influence of the Greek goddess Aphrodite can be seen as generative, far beyond that of romance, love, or desire alone. She is associated with the life-giving sea. Just as the waves lapping on the shore refresh and renew the beach, Aphrodite brings us hope and the awareness of the transforming power of love and beauty.