A few days ago, I was perusing my newsfeed on FaceBook, when I came across a comment on the Classical Wisdom Weekly page: "Aphrodite is a whore."
I saw red and had to stop for a moment. Once I was coherent again, I posted a response. It was only a few sentences. I could have written much more; an essay; a whole book even. Suffice to say, those who would label Aphrodite a "whore" have 1) bought into the sexual double standard and 2) have a very shallow understanding of that Goddess.
Yes, Aphrodite is a Goddess with a keen interest in sex (not unlike Freyja, Inanna and The Kathirat), and sexuality is a vital, integral component of being human. But to see her as only that -- an adulterous nymphomaniac -- is to fail to comprehend even a fraction of her majesty and mystery and power. Aphrodite is sex and passion and the giddiness of a new crush; she is new love and love grown stronger with time; she is the love between friends, love between spouses, between parents and children, between siblings, between grandparents and grandchildren. She is love of the natural world, the link between humans and others. She is the fierce protectiveness and loyalty inspired by love. She is love of and devotion to country and community. She is the Goddess who inspires crazy risks and impulsive leaps of faith. She is the anger and rage born of a broken heart; she is the righteous revenge taken for shattered trust and broken promises; she is the grief and anguish felt for a lost loved one, a lost community, a dying country.