The month of April was dedicated to the goddess Venus in Ancient Rome, and their word for April, Aprilis, came from the verb aperire, “to open”. The Fasti Praenestini, the Roman calendar, described Aprilis as the time when “fruits and flowers and animals and seas and lands do open”.
When I think of the goddess Venus and her earlier Greek counterpart, Aphrodite, I can see their harmony with the “opening” of April. Venus and Aphrodite are both goddesses of love (love for yourself and others), passion, sexuality, beauty, desire, and pleasure. They are goddesses of opening their hearts to feelings and opening their bodies to sensations. Venus-Aphrodite is an embodied goddess.
Aphrodite was born a fully formed adult out of sea-foam, either the daughter of the primordial Greek sky god Uranus or a daughter of Zeus (who himself was a grandson of Uranus, and son of a Titan). Aphrodite was the lover of Ares, God of War, was married to Hephaestus, God of Blacksmithing, and she had other lovers, both immortal (Dionysus, Hermes, Poseidon) and mortal (Adonis, Anchises). Aphrodite was adapted into the goddess Venus by the Romans and, in Rome, became the consort of Mars, God of War, married to Vulcan, God of Blacksmithing, mother to Aeneas, hero of Troy, founder of Rome, and ancestor of Julius Caesar.
Venus-Aphrodite is associated with pomegranates, myrtle, apples, roses, doves, swans, sparrows, seashells, gardens, and the sea. She is watery and fertile, sea and earth. Sex and beauty, as well as fertile motherhood. Ecstasy and pleasure, as well as war and grief. She is ancient and complex, both a goddess of the common people and the personal divine patron of Caesar.
Before writing this issue of Hag Stone Journal, I never felt any special connection to Venus-Aphrodite, or to any goddess that is so connected to the body. But working on this issue has opened me up to the lovely energy of Venus-Aphrodite and made me feel excited to tune into my body, to love and pamper myself, and to own the power that derives from my body and my heart.