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Posted on February 14, 2018

Valentine’s Day was born of two martyrs named Valentine and a ritualistic pagan festival of purification and fertility. But not for me. For me, it’s all about the Goddess Aphrodite and a celebration of the senses. Here’s why I’m awakening and crowning my inner Aphrodite today — and how you can too, whether you’re celebrating alone, intimately with a partner, with your kids, or with your friends.

Tracing the Roots of Valentine’s Day

Nearly all modern day holidays have their roots in ancient festivals. Today (Valentine’s Day) can be traced back to the execution of two men (both named Valentine) on February 14 in two different years in the 3rd century AD, as well as the ancient pre-Roman Lupercalia — festival of purification, health, and fertility. (The instruments used for purification, called “februas,” gave February its name and included sacrifice, drunken celebration, and some pretty brutal rituals of matchmaking.)

Pope Gelasius I later combined St. Valentine’s Day and Lupercalia as a means of eradicating the pagan rituals and re-branding the festival as an honoring of the Valentines’ martyrdom, and a watered down celebration of love and fertility. (Around the same time, the Normans celebrated Galatin’s Day. Galatin means “lover of women.”)

The Alchemy of Aphrodite

Aphrodite is traditionally celebrated on both of the 4th of each month and during the full Aphrodisia festival in July. But for me, Valentine’s Day all about Aphrodite. Out of all the goddess archetypes, I find myself most easily and comfortably slipping into her shoes, and today feels like her day.

Aphrodite is the Greek Goddess of Love and Beauty … also known as the Roman Goddess Venus. She was born of the frothy sea foam produced by the blood of the severed genitals of Uranus after his son castrated him — or so the myth goes. Let’s linger there for a minute: This most beautiful, most sensual, most loving goddess was born of the milky froth of the ocean, produced by the blood of a castrated god.

So, I ask myself today: What is the blood of castration in my life from which true beauty may be born? What aspect of the masculine is begging to die within me today that I may birth my own feminine beauty, sensuality, and unconditional love in this sea of potential?

Over and over again this past three months, I have been asked to surrender to the flow. To lay down my plans, my mental machinations, my aggressive analytical anticipations … and just let it all unfold. Today I place the crown of Aphrodite upon myself as a final sealing of my commitment to stay in the flow. Not just in my professional work, but also — and especially in — my marriage.

Awakening Aphrodite: Beauty’s Sensory Bliss

Aphrodite asks to be awakened using the senses. Above all else, this day is about Beauty … beauty beheld by the eyes, the nose, the ears, the skin, and the palate. Today, I’m asking myself:

  • What beauty do I see? What beauty can I create to be seen? … I am feeling particularly called to beauty myself and the house today: Paint my nails … adorn the dining table with hearts and decorations … and take in the image of Aphrodite to be seared into my mind and heart.
  • What beauty do I hear? What beauty can I create to be heard? … The music will be ON today! And tonight!
  • What beauty do I smell today? What beauty can I create to be sniffed? … I will anoint myself and the house with the scents of jasmine, rose, and geranium. I’ll bask in the scent of my daughter’s sweet bedtime head.
  • What beauty do I taste today? What beauty can I create to taste? … I’ll cook a delicious meal, hand in hand with my husband and savor every bite. I’ll taste his lips and his skin, and be reminded of the taste-scent pheromone connection of romantic love.
  • What beauty do I feel today? What beauty can I create with touch? … I’ll cover my daughter in hugs and kisses, and when she’s in bed, my husband and I will practice the art of touch. Friendly touch, loving touch, intimate touch, sensual touch. 

Crowning Aphrodite: A Ritual for Love

Usually depicted nude, Aphrodite’s symbols are the dove, the swan, the winged godling Eros/Cupid, scallop/conch shells, apples and roses. Today I will embody the the sumptuous beauty and sensual pleasures of Aphrodite by working with her symbols to crown myself in her honor, in her resonant energy frequency. At the time of this writing, I am not sure exactly how this will manifest:

Will it be an actual homemade crown of roses? Will it be an energetic crowning of our family’s home in love and bliss? A ceremonial sharing of an apple in nude ceremony with my husband?

However this unfolds, it will be in reverence for the beautification of life, a surrender to the flow, a celebration of the suppleness of romantic intimacy, and in total faith of the power of love. Ah, the countless expressions of Aphrodite… the countless expressions of beauty and love.

Happy Aphrodite’s (Valentine’s) Day!