In honor of Valentine’s Day tomorrow, I’m reposting my Mythology Monday on The Goddess of Love.
In the distance, a girl stood thigh-high in the ocean, clad in a gown of strategically placed sea foam. Although her back was to me, I could tell she was perfect. The curly ringlets of hair cascading down her flawless cream skin matched the intense orange of the sky as the sun sank in the sea.
I glanced down at my sun-kissed skin. I’d never felt self-conscious because of a tan before but gods. She made pale look really good. A movement caught my attention and I glanced up as she looked over her shoulder, aquamarine eyes meeting mine.
“Who is that?” I motioned at the water. “And why did you send for me? What do you know about Zeus?”
“Look at her. You can’t tell what she is?” Poseidon replied.
I stared at the girl, her red hair swirling in the wind. I could tell she was a goddess, but knew he meant something more than that.
Hades narrowed his eyes and swore. “What has Zeus done?”
I gave the girl a closer look, but couldn’t see anything different.
“You are new,” Poseidon mused, looking me over curiously. “How old are you?”
“She’s Zeus’,” Hades explained, motioning toward the girl on the water.
“Yeah, I gathered that. So have you guys ever seen her before, or . . . ” I trailed off at Hades’ expression.
“No she’s really new.” Hades squinted his eyes against the setting sun.
“She appeared on the waves the day I sent for you,” Poseidon added.
“And you kept her out there? What’s wrong with you?” I demanded. I imagined spending two days in the ocean and shuddered.
“I’m not setting that thing loose in the world. If you can’t see the level of charisma she’s projecting, then I’ve severely overestimated your abilities.”
“She’s never seen another god with charisma,” Hades interjected. “There wasn’t an opportunity to teach her.”
“So she has charm.” I shrugged. “So do I, so does Zeus. What’s the problem?”
“She doesn’t just have charm.” Poseidon laughed. “That’s all she is. She’s a full deity, but from what I can tell, she came solely from Zeus, and charm is all he gave her. He gave her an obscene amount.” He went silent for a moment. “She wasn’t created here. She rose from the sea near Petra tou Romiou.”
Hades swore. I looked at him in confusion. “What does that mean?”
“It’s where Uranus fell,” Hades explained.
Poseidon nodded, looking grim. “The resting place of a fallen god is always rife with chaotic power. I think he used Uranus’ remains to help create her.”
“What would that do?” I asked.
“She has the potential to become more powerful than us,” Hades replied.
I realized what Hades meant, and my eyes widened. Uranus was Cronus’ father. Cronus and Rhea had created my mother, Hades, Poseidon, Hera, Hestia, and Zeus. With gods, every generation is less powerful than the last. If Zeus had imbued her with charm and created her from Uranus’ remains, there was no telling how much chaos she could wreak.
Aphrodite (Venus to the Romans) makes her first appearance in the sequel to Persephone, “Daughter of the Earth and Sky.” Unlike Persephone who really only plays a part in three major myths, Aphrodite has her hand in everything, which meant a ton of research on my part. That research led to a surprising discovery.
There are two Aphrodites! The first Aphrodite predates the Olympians. She was born after Cronus killed Uranus by severing his…. nether bits. The… foam, that rose from said nether bits became flesh and Aphrodite rose from the foam a full grown, beautiful goddess, and the furies rose from the blood in the water.
Isn’t Greek mythology just full of the loveliest imagery?
Anyway, that’s where the famous picture, “The Birth of Venus” comes from. That Aphrodite is the goddess of love of the body and soul.
The other Aphrodite was the daughter of Zeus and Dione. She was also pretty, but she was only the goddess of, well… sex.
Not surprisingly, it became very difficult to tell which goddess was being referred to in the myths, and eventually they became the same goddess to the uniformed listener. I had to figure out a way to be true to both versions of the goddess. She had to be Zeus’ daughter for my story to work, but I had him create her from the “remains” of Uranus. To explain why she’s pretty much only the goddess of love when most of the other gods are in charge of something a bit more tangible, I had Zeus give her charm, and charm alone.
In my series, charm is kind of like compulsion from the Vampire Diaries. That resemblance was not intentional. My series was written well before the show aired. BUT as a kid, I devoured that book series, so it probably was at the very least subconsciously inspired by it.
And here I thought I was so original. Meh, it’s not like supernatural beings being able to control the minds of humans is all that new of a concept.
Anyway, children of Zeus possess charm, or charisma. Controlled, it acts as a sort of mind control. Uncontrolled it could start things like the Trojan War. It triggers and amplifies whatever emotion the victim has toward the deity with the charm. Most deities come from two parents, so they have some other power or responsibility to balance out the charm. Aphrodite just has charm, so it’s very powerful, and everyone she sees has a reaction to her until she learns to get it under control.
Goddess of charm, goddess of love and beauty? It works.
Aphrodite has a part in many, many more myths, and I’ll do my best to cover them in future Mythology Mondays, because her role in the series is just starting.