Connecting with Aphrodite – First Steps

There are so many joyful and wonderful ways to connect with the Radiant Goddess of Love! I’m going to share a few that helped me to connect with Her in the beginnings of my journey. Many of these are material in nature – physical things that helped me to get into the right headspace to work with Her. Others are more reading and research based. These are not in a particular order – try out different ones and see which works best for you!

1. Knowing Her Stories (Mythology, History, and the Lore)

When I first knew I wanted to work with Aphrodite, I read up on Her stories. There weren’t many modern stories about working with her at all (which is part of my inspiration to create this blog). I read some of the old mythology. Some of it resonated – and some of it didn’t.

As I started to develop a deeper connection with Aphrodite, I discovered more and more dissonance with some of the older tales I read, particularly with her portrayal as being jealous or petty. One thing I love about being Pagan is that we have no official “scripture,” no one holy text. Most of my concerns about people who take the Christian Bible too literally are based in the fact that it was written by people. Imperfect, fallible humans. I had to keep that in mind as I was reading the myths, which had been thousands of years in misinterpretation and mistranslation. Maybe even the original accounts weren’t accurate!

It was at this point in my journey that I realized I had to let go of my scientific research background, and trust in my personal experiences. I couldn’t research my way closer to the Goddess (though being familiar with Her lore is essential and occasionally helpful). I started to trust in my Unverified Personal Gnosis (or UPG), which is a bit of a buzzword in pagan spheres these days. It’s just a fancy term for personal experience that isn’t recorded in the lore, or present in modern texts. Some of my UPG was confirmed by some of the people who sought me out for help connecting with Aphrodite, but it’s still a long way away from being Verified Personal Gnosis.

In short, knowing the Lore helped me to have informed conversations with others, and gave me a reference point for my personal experiences.

2. Rosewater

Ah, rosewater! This is now one of my favorite all-purpose tools. Roses are said to have the highest vibrational frequency of any living thing (or at least that’s what I hear in the paganosphere), which means that they vibrate at the frequency of love! Thus, roses are useful for a wide variety of magickal applications. Roses are also sacred to Aphrodite.

I started using rosewater as a space and energy cleanser. I didn’t really like the smell of burning sage, and using palo santo made my cat sneeze. So I started spraying rosewater in my apartment. It smelled lovely, and the feeling it gave the space was wonderful. I would say a prayer to the plants or to Aphrodite as I misted my home. I would sometimes use it to cast a circle. I would mist the bedroom before my boyfriend came to visit. The smell became synonymous with good vibes and love, and before long, with Aphrodite.

Rosewater is one of the first things I recommend to anyone wishing to develop a deeper relationship with the Goddess of Love. Scent is a powerful sense, and is a great tool to use to get into a higher state of consciousness.

3. Rose Essential Oil

All of the things about the properties of roses and the magick of scent is true for rose essential oil as well. Rose essential oil is rarely sold in pure form, and is generally mixed with a carrier oil (I like jojoba oil, personally). This means that you don’t have to worry about diluting it if you want to use it on your skin. Watch out for fragrance oils! These are not essential oils, and often don’t contain any of the plant they supposedly smell like.

There are two main types of rose essential oil: Rose Absolute and Rose Otto. I prefer Rose Otto (though it is the more expensive of the two), because the distillation process is gentler and uses fewer chemicals than the distillation of Rose Absolute. I like for anything I put in or on my body to be as natural as possible, which made Rose Otto the natural choice.

Every night before I go to bed, I anoint my heart chakra with rose essential oil and I say a prayer to Aphrodite. The scent wafts up from my chest and puts me in a loving state of mind before I drift off to sleep. I use it in my daily dedications. You can also anoint candles with rose essential oil.

4. Rose Quartz

There is so much rose quartz around my apartment! It’s good for all sorts of things, including romance, self-love, emotional healing, and heart chakra work. It has a lovely energy to it, and is beautiful and calming to look at. It comes in all shapes and sizes, and colors range from a deep pink to almost clear.

My “gateway” into the world of rose quartz was a common Feng Shui practice of putting two rose quartz hearts together in the Romance bagua of my apartment (which is said to aid in healthy romantic relationships). I later learned that each room has its own Romance bagua, and I began collecting pairs of rose quartz hearts. You can also use them in spells and other magickal workings.

From there, I branched out to tumbled polished stones. I have a couple of somewhat flat palmstones that I really like. I’ll put one on my heart chakra if I’m laying down for a meditation, or hold it in my hand. Now I’m collecting all varieties of rose quartz, including a candleholder and some larger pieces.

5. Jasmine Incense

Roses had already thoroughly permeated my life when I reached the stage of wanting a particular incense for Aphrodite. Adding rose incense on top of the rosewater and rose essential oil seemed a bit much, so I sought out another fragrance. I intended to use the incense as an offering for Aphrodite, which meant it needed to be something I could easily procure (and of course, it needed to be all natural!) I found a jasmine incense at my local Whole Foods, and instantly fell in love. It didn’t quite smell like the flowers (is there anything that really can?), but the scent was lovely nonetheless.

I used it for several months, and then another fragrance by the same brand (Triloka) popped up – Aphrodisia! How perfect! It was jasmine with a hint of vanilla, and it smelled delicious! This quickly became my go-to for incense for the Radiant Goddess. Orange blossom and, yes, rose incenses also work well.

6. Researching all about Romance

My research into all things romance-related began more as a consequence of wanting to fix my relationship with my boyfriend after he moved out than from a devotion to Aphrodite (see my earlier post about My Journey to Aphrodite – Part One), but it ended up being a labor of love and devotion anyway. My research into relationships not only helped me to repair my own relationship, but it also enabled me to help others. Before long, my friends were coming to me for advice about romance and sex, and because of my research, I had lots of resources to draw on and books to reference. This reputation soon widened beyond my close friend circle into our larger spiritual community.

Please see the Resources section of my website for some good starting points for your Romance research journey. Coming from a science background, I prefer research and evidence-based practices, like the work of John Gottman and Sue Johnson. Sue Johnson’s “Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love” was the first relationship book I ever read, several years before my journey with Aphrodite began. “Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” by John Gottman was the first book I read after my boyfriend moved out.

7. Learning Her Language

Unlike my romance research, my academic pursuit of learning Greek directly flowed from a desire to more deeply connect with Aphrodite. I’m still definitely a beginner, though the letters look more like letters and less like symbols now, which is an improvement from several months ago. I can’t afford to take a dedicated in-person class, so I have mostly been using free apps and the occasional book. As a consequence, I’m not picking it up as quickly as I did Italian (Surprise! I’m fluent in Italian!), but I’m making progress. I’m studying modern Greek, because ultimately I think it will be more useful in my travels and studies, but eventually I would love to learn ancient Greek as well.

For apps, my favorite so far has been Mango Languages. It isn’t free, but my local library pays for a subscription, so I can access it for free using my library card info. I’ve also used Duolingo, but Duolingo’s grammar instruction (or any instruction, period) leaves a lot to be desired. I also occasionally use Memrise. At this time, the Memrise Greek course is unofficial (I think someone other than the main developers made the lessons), but it is still pretty good.

8. Tantra

Sacred sexuality has fascinated me since I learned what sex was (which wasn’t until I was eleven years old, by the way – It appears that I was the last of my friends to figure it out.) Growing up in the Bible belt American South, sex wasn’t talked about very much, if at all. Even from a young age, I intuitively knew the type of power sex could have (why else would everyone be so secretive about it?), and luckily I was not indoctrinated with the seemingly requisite shame about sex that most of my peers had (Thanks, mom!). Even so, I knew that sex was not something to be taken lightly, and I waited until college to have my first sexual experiences.

My interest in sacred sexuality didn’t really take off until grad school, and it was very slowly at first. After grad school, I was on a mission to learn all I could about sex, and that led me to Tantra. The first Tantra book I ever read was “Urban Tantra” by Barbara Carrellas, and it is still the #1 book I recommend to anyone wanting to start a practice of sacred sexuality. It is just the right balance of serious and lighthearted, which is an excellent starting place for beginners. I learned later (through reading “Tantra Illuminated: The Philosophy, History, and Practice of a Timeless Tradition” by Christopher D. Wallis) that originally Tantra was not all about sexuality, and that this idea largely arose from the Western import of this Eastern tradition.

Tantra taught me more about moving and manipulating energy than countless other witchy or Pagan books. I could actually feel it in my body and direct my sexual energy. This had an amazing effect on my Pagan practice outside of sex. And the sexual experiences were pretty phenomenal, too! It became a natural way to connect with Aphrodite, both through partnered sex and masturbation. Tantra really helps me to tune into all of the pleasure my body is experiencing, and that brings me closer to Aphrodite.

Brightest blessings to you as you embark on your relationship with the Resplendent Aphrodite!

My Journey to Aphrodite – Part Two

This is Part Two in a series of posts about how I came to Aphrodite. Read Part One and Part Three.

After the sexy-underwear-accidental-blood-offering happened, and I thanked Venus and Turanna for all of the blessings and lessons they had given me, I devoted my energy to Aphrodite. I worked with Aphrodite exclusively for the next few months, and our connection became stronger and stronger. Somewhere along the way, a close friend gifted me a spiral shell she had found at the beach under a full moon. She had fashioned it as a talisman on a strand of plastic pearls she had, and gave it to me.

It was a wondrous gift. I could already feel the power it had. I cleansed and blessed it, and started to wear it occasionally. I had some trouble with the clasp because I’m right handed, and the clasp operated with the left hand, so I tried to switch the orientation of the wiring holding on the shell. In the process, I stretched the wire too far and it snapped, though the shell itself was okay. I decided that I should get a proper strand of pearls to wear it on, and some sterling silver wire (I made wire jewelry once upon a time). I decided I would craft the necklace in a formal ritual.

In January of 2018, I did a formal dedication – on accident. I had finally gotten together all of the supplies to remake the necklace, so I cast a circle and began crafting. I ended up not only finishing and blessing the necklace, but also extemporaneously composing a song for Aphrodite and dancing wildly around my living room in celebration of Her. That night, I proclaimed her as my patroness.

In the following months, everything in my life started to revolve around sex and love. It had already started doing so to a lesser extent after I had worked with the love goddesses a while, but now my whole life was one giant dirty joke. You can’t make this shit up, either. I went out to eat with a bunch of friends from my pagan group and we all got numbers for our orders. I was a little in line behind them and when I held up my number for those in front of me to see (What was my number? 69. What else?), they all cackled and we had a good laugh.

Little things like that started popping up everywhere. I already felt Aphrodite’s presence on a daily basis in my spiritual life, but she made herself known in all the other areas of my life as well. My friends would send me pictures of crystal dildos, and whenever there was an opportunity for an innuendo, it was made. It was riotous fun, and who knew being spiritual could involve so many dick jokes?

All this continued, and with it came something a bit more serious. My friends started coming to me for help – Sometimes about sex, sometimes about romantic relationships, sometimes about how to connect with Aphrodite. At first it seemed completely normal – I had done a ton of research and reading when my relationship with my boyfriend was on the rocks, so I had a lot of reference material and experience to draw from. I’m also not shy in the least about talking about taboo subjects like sex and relationships, and I realize I am in the minority there. I’ve always been very open with my friends, and I was flattered that some of them sought me out for advice.

Throughout college and beyond (before I found my pagan group and started working with Aphrodite), it was not unusual for friends to come to me for relationship advice or someone to just listen. But this was different, in caliber and in scope. I had people coming to me for advice on how to connect with a Goddess – my Goddess. I was very open that I was new at this and told them what worked for me, but it might be different for them. They came back and said it had worked, and told me all about the relationship they were exploring with Her. I was overjoyed – and a bit dumbfounded.

And it kept coming. With each person, it was different, but it all related back to Her and Her work. One of my friends in my spiritual group told a new member that I was a “priestess of Aphrodite.” I asked him about it, and he said that it was the best term he could think of to describe it to a newcomer, but that yes, he thought that title suited me. This was cause for some serious meditation.

What would it mean to be a priestess? That is not a title I take lightly. If I were going to take on this mantle, I needed to be prepared. I spent the next few months in contemplation – What does being a priestess mean to me? What does it mean for my relationship with Aphrodite? What would be expected of me? What would my community expect of me? I also interviewed my friends and asked them all of these questions as well.

In my spiritual meditations, it occurred to me that I had already planted the seed for this in my dedication. My song to Aphrodite, that I sing to her in the morning and at night, mentions me being a “devoted priestess” to her. “What would you expect of me?” I asked Her. Her response was similar to what I had gotten when I interviewed my friends: There would be more expected of me, but not that much more, and I was already doing what a priestess would be doing anyway. “Okay, I’ll give it a try,” was my response, and I did.

In the next few months, I began to try on the priestess mantle. I became more consistent with my devotions and offerings. I worked to open up a pretty much constant channel, and Aphrodite embedded herself in every aspect of my life. Communication was easeful and I could feel her present with me almost always. With the community, things continued as they had been, and everything went well.

Summer came around again, and this time I volunteered to lead the June Full Moon. I knew the ritual was going to involve Aphrodite, so I put my little “Age 18 and over” disclaimer on the event description. I had trouble writing the ritual, but a week before I sat down and it just flowed… and it was not what I expected. It was about love and fear, and conquering fear with love. It was dark, it was raw, but it was hopeful. I felt the need to warn my friends, who I thought were expecting a fun and raunchy ritual. It was very much not that. Not at all.

I also wrote another song – though “channeled” might be a better term. It was not based off of any tune that I nor any of my friends knew, and (according to my friend who studied music) included microtones that aren’t typically used in Western music… but might be found in music of the Greek persuasion. I was taken aback. I had no way of knowing that. I knew that She was with me, but this really brought it home.

I led the Full Moon, and it felt right – the whole way through. I had some time to myself after I finished setting up the altar. My friends did not disturb me because “something big was happening,” though honestly I couldn’t tell you what it was. Circle began. I called Aphrodite in Greek as I had the summer before, but my lips glided much more smoothly over the language now. I talked for a long time – impassioned, raw, and open. I sang the song more beautifully than I had managed in the last week because my nose had been stuffed up. Everyone came up and got their rose quartz crystal as I walked sunwise around the altar singing. It was ethereal. It was haunting. It was perfect.

After the ritual concluded, two of our members came over and asked if I would be willing to share the text from the ritual with them, and told me how it had touched them. I was honored, and said that I would. A couple other friends also told me (somewhat begrudgingly) that it was what they needed to hear, and it opened the way for some honest conversations. Reflecting back on this later that night, I marveled. I had met a need in the community that I didn’t know was there. And I had done it well.

It was that night that I truly felt like I became a priestess of Aphrodite. I had no formal initiation, no special cord or insignia that I wore. I carry her love with me everywhere I go, and I shine her light in the world. And that was enough.

Until it wasn’t.

This is Part Two in a series of posts about how I came to Aphrodite. Read Part One and Part Three.