Monday, June 11, 2012

Goddesses in the Dust: I'm Your Venus

Unearthing the Divine Feminine, one archetype at a time...
The Birth of Venus, detail from the Ludovisi Throne, ca. 460 B.C., marble, Musee de Thermes

On June 5, along with hundreds of other star-gazers, I made my way to a public viewing of the Venus transit. Being the last time for another 105 years, I wanted to see the spectacle of this ethereal planet gliding in front of our sun. It was a gorgeous day with few clouds and dozens of amateur and professional astronomers turned out in our city's park to share their telescopes.

One person mapped the shadow of Venus' progress (tiny dot at upper left.)

I snapped this photo through the eyepiece of another telescope.

A few folks rigged up home-made viewers.

People of all ages had an interest in this celestial event.



Venus - called Aphrodite in Greek - is the Goddess of Love and Beauty.
Aphrodite, Eros and Pan, ca. 100 B.C., marble, National Museum Athens

Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli, ca. 1486, tempera on canvas, Uffizi

According to the ancient poet Hesiod, Aphrodite was born when her father, Uranus, was castrated by Cronus, who threw the severed genitals into the sea which began to foam and churn around them. 
Postage stamp, Cyprus, 1979

Aphrodite was born from the aphros, or foam, as it approached the island of Kythera and then was carried to the island of Cyprus, where legend says she came to shore at Paphos. According to Homer, Aphrodite is the daughter of Zeus and Dione. She is considered to be the personification of the generative powers of nature and the goddess of fertility. She is also known as the protectress of sailors. 


During the Trojan War, Paris was asked to judge which of the three Olympian Goddesses was most beautiful, Hera, Athena or Aphrodite. Even though Hera and Athena tried to bribe him with the power to be victorious in battle, Aphrodite won, offering the love of the most beautiful woman in the world - Helen of Sparta. Aphrodite was married to the lame smith-god, Hephaestus, to whom she was unfaithful with the god of War, Ares (also known as Mars.) 


This lovely structure at the top of our city's park where the transit was viewed is an appropriate spot to search the heavens for Venus, and recalls the lyrics of a popular song: 

Goddess on the mountain top
Burning like a silver flame
The summit of beauty and love
And Venus was her name

She's got it
Yeah, baby, she's got it
I'm your Venus, I'm your fire 
At your desire
Well, I'm your Venus, I'm your fire
At your desire

(From Venus, originally recorded by Shocking Blue in 1969 and covered by Banarama in 1970)

And yes, in case you noticed, I have changed the name of this regular feature on Travels with Persephone, shifting from Dirt to Dust. 

22 comments:

  1. the Boticelli's Venus seems to be one of the most famous Venus's images


    Blog about life and travelling
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  2. "Thanks Teach, I needed that."---seriously, I do always learn something of intrest when i make the "trip" over,,,plus I have a good time doin' it.

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  3. I love the legend of Venus. I especially like Botticelli's painting. I did not get to see Venus's transit. I do not know if it was even visible from here.

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  4. Thank you Amanda, I love this! What a turnout, I wish I had known.

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  5. enjoyed that. and happy writing!

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  6. The enchantment of a Greek goddess, made more exciting by the contrasting stories of her birth. Well done, Amanda.

    As for the Venus transit, far too cloudy up here.

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  7. So these pictures are in St. Louis?
    I didn't get the attraction to the Venus transit, nor am I ever very interested in the eclipses. However, I do find all the people who get excited about these sorts of celestial events intriguing and very cool. I'd rather be watching them than the sky.

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  8. i missed it too :^)

    amanda, this reminds me of the song about haley's comet by mary chapin carpenter. do you know it? it's one of my favorites. 105 years from now your, who?, granddaughter, great grandson, may watch venus come round again and someone may know to tell her or him that you too stood in a field to see it....

    ps any goddess of fertility and regeneration is a friend of mine, as long as passion's involved :^)

    love love
    kj

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    1. kj - i don't know that song, but i love mary chapin carpenter - will have to look it up!

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  9. I totally heard Banarama at the end, there.

    I kept thinking the image of tiny Venus at the edge of the sun looked like a pinprick in an egg, out of which to suck all of the yolk and albumen. Bit odd, I know, but maybe not given all of this deep symbology.

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  10. I love much Greeland, having several friends in this country.
    Nice articles and blog, greeting from Belgium.

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  11. Gif for all lovers Greeceland
    From Louisette Belgium

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  12. Venus rising has captivated us for ever, connected us to our agricultural past, our womanhood, our moods and desires. Only you, Amanda, could connect all of these.

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  13. I really wanted to be on my roof, with my paper cutout and glasses....but I was at an Opera rehearsal....*duty called*...but I saw others' photos later and was enthralled to see it - even after the fact! I am SO HAPPY YOU were there to witness it! I love how you captured all the excitement of the day!

    Oh beautiful Aphrodite....in every age, in every form of Art...she IS the Goddess!

    Wonderful post - as always!

    I am flying to Santa Fe tomorrow (6/13) to spend 5 days with my Ex and our Chocolate Lab. Looking forward to experiencing the beauty of the Southwest again... a few opera rehearsals at Santa Fe and....Margaritas and Mohitos!

    Love,

    ♥ Robin ♥

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  14. I always love reading your posts Amanda. I knew that Aphrodite was said to be the daughter of Zeus and Dione, but I never new about Uranus and the foam bit. Learn something knew everyday :)

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  15. I'm so pleased to see Venus on your post as it was overcast on Maine that day. We got 7 inches of rain in 2 days and missed it! Last summer, though, we got to see Botticelli's gorgeous painting on Venus in Florence. I love how you tied it all together. Sorry to be slow to visit. I've been out of town and offline for the past week.

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  16. Absolutely amazing dear Amanda that you manged to see the passage, as it will occur again first in some 100+ years.;) It was too cloudy here to see it, but many in Denmark could witness the last part of the sighting.;)
    I have seen Botticelli's painting of Venus in Florence as a teenager and always loved that voluptuous beauty. I also did swim around the Aphrodite rock on a beach in Cyprus, when I was 22, as tradition states that those who do, will remain forever young and beautiful.,))
    Have a great weekend and thank you for always leaving such beautiful comments when you visit me,
    xoxo

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  17. so glad you went, and thanks so much for sharing the images with us, and as ever - the gorgeous rich history of our goddesses in dirt and dust and distant heavens x

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  19. My sidebar says that you have posted about Theotihuacan but when I click on that it says that the page does not exist????

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    1. paul, i was editing a draft for a post and it published accidentally - how i don't know. i have been having trouble figuring out the new blogger format. i'm sure as soon as i master this version they will be introducing a new one!

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  20. Well said and presented Amanda! You have to visit though Cyprus...

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Thank you for visiting♡