Poetry by Temple Members

In honor of Sappho, our Temple invited members to submit devotional poetry for Aphrodite. Here, we share some of these works:

 

I deck you with glad garlands,
O Gracious Hostess of the Palace of Love!
Please receive me as your welcome guest
In the Halls of Ecstasy!

Open the Ways of Love to me
As I open my Heart to you
Like a Hawthorn bursting into Blossom, O Aprilis!
Hail to the Lady of Love!

-Molly Blue Dawn


Succulent is your name, and I could here surrender
many terrible, temptatious thoughts that I could yet here render
my impregnable need- my flesh her flesh unspoken
that we lie unstill- our cores fulfill- and leave our hearts unbroken

I would give you love- and yet still unforsaken
cherish any pain you offer, and leave no breath untaken
Pleasure's mine to give, and yours forever- take it

I trust you love, and I give love
I Will Never Fake It.

-Belladonna Atropa aka Sydney Miles


Oh brilliant juicy Goddess of love,
pour down your blessings upon my heart. Let it glow so bright as to become joyfully radiant. 
Awaken my body to sensual delights until I am warm and glowing.
feel me
touch me
embrace me

-Aurora Rose


For Aphrodite
From your Sappho
flowed honeyed words
many of which
spoke in flowering terms
spoke of

flowers and breezes
like golden flowers
flowering fields"
flowering sweet clover
dewy banks of lotus
hyacinth on the mountain
hyacinth-colored egg
violets in her lap
arms like roses
dawn with arms of rose
share in the roses
goatherd [...] roses
roses bloom
rosy-fingered moon
I used to weave crowns
garlands made of flowers around your soft throat
gathering flowers so delicate a girl
oh for Adonis

Adonis, Adonis

Delicate Adonis is dying / What shall we do?
Strike yourself / maidens / and tear your garments

Oh may you grant
this humble poet
a tongue which
might sing such
words of sorrow
and delight
honey this tongue
that it might sing
of that ecstasy
especially yours
yours which loves and suffers
loves entirely
loves in the gardens of Adonia
from beginning to end
like a rose
cut to whither
yet no less pungent
less moon-colored
less thorny
for the fact of its demise
let me be a voice
that informs of the dangers
gives fair warning
so we may knowingly
hazard that path regardless
up the mountain
where flowers are stompt and windswept
spare me not your initiations lady
that I may struggle
to speak the unspeakable
ἄρρητος
mysteries
held in your mirror

-Devin Merget


golden-crowned mother
sweeper of the stars
Venus Ourania
lover of Mars

I beseech thee
bless me with the gift of laughter
bless my home with the spirit of joy
bless my bed with the comfort of a lover
royal, kind, warm, divine
may my soul rejoice and dance
and romp about

-Vanessa Dove


pleasure, light me up
that I may be beautiful
life filled with laughter

-Eileen Hazel


Aphrodite, when first I saw You
standing upon your scalloped pedestal,
powdered with rich pinks and dusty reds like sandstone,
ever-smiling, serene but not aloof,
borne reverently in the hands of Your priestess,
followed by a procession
of those who came to give You homage,
in that charged moment, that καιρός,
I became a multi-tradition polytheist,
I realized that ancestry is cultural,
and that relationship is everything.
I knew in that instant that Botticelli
saw a true vision,
that the Gods, and You especially,
are deathless indeed, that the Italian Renaissance
deserved its name and had no better σύμβολον
than Your own famous birth from the waves.

You answered my prayer that very evening,
though the possibility You opened my heart to
took years to realize, and was never inevitable
(for the tapestry woven by the Moirai shifts
by choice and chance and
in ways unknowable to mortals).
I knew Your awesome power at once,
I joyfully gave you and Hestia,
the hearth-tender of Your tribe,
the hospitality of my home,
a place within it that is still Yours,
I purified myself with glistening water,
I burned sweet myrrh and λιβανωτός for You,
and poured out sea-dark wine and prayers.
I learned to de-armor, piece by painful piece,
and open myself to Your blessings,
to cultivate right relationship
with You,
with the woman I love,
in all the realms
of the spirit which is part of the body
and the body which is part of the spirit.

This is not the first poem I’ve written for You,
nor the last, Golden One,
You who are accompanied by the Χάριτες,
Splendor and Joy and Abundance.
The offerings we give to the Gods, and to You especially,
from a simple grain of incense to glittering gemstones,
are objects of Beauty and acts of Love.
To sacrifice is to make sacred,
or perhaps more accurately for an animist,
to make the sacred explicit and exalted and paramount.
Beauty and Love are Yours already,
and reciprocal χάρις too,
but in their gifting and re-gifting,
they gain new stories with each transfer,
like a gold and silver wine bowl,
wrought by a divine smith,
father of the Kabeiroi,
handed from Sidonian host to Danaan guest,
and to another guest-friend in turn,
the great-grandson of the Wolf Himself,
the son of crafty Hermes.
In fulfillment of a vow,
wreathed with rose and ivy,
I gave You a dove
offered by the hands of a King,
witnessed by hopping sparrows,
by Your night-wandering star,
and by persimmon-fiery Helios,
blazing as Nyx baptized Him once again
in the sea whence You emerged
from severance and blood,
a tributary of Okeanos far from pacific.

Ally, as You were named
by both Sappho and the Mantineans,
no stranger to war and warriors,
for You I have fought, and will fight again,
in Your blessings I rejoice and give thanks,
to You I dedicate this poem,
these words that You have inspired,
just as You encourage the rose
to unfurl her crimson banners,
and the apple to ripen upon the branch,
and the clam to bring forth a σφαίρα,
iridescence from irritation,
Love from Strife.
You who set foot first on Cyprus,
where wildflowers sprang from the earth
to celebrate Your arrival,
I hail you now from California,
land of the Black pagan queen of Amazons,
who led man-slaughtering griffins in battle.
Grant to me that I may win this agon,
may my praises of You be acclaimed,
for Your immortal glory and honor.

-Heathen Chinese, written for the 2017 Aphrodite Agon

 

Lighting the Bonfires of our Hearts

Here are my notes for the Autumn forest meditation from last evening's Temple service:

We are getting to the time of year when there is (at least sometimes) a chill in the air, and the sun is setting early in the evening.  As the leaves change colour from Spring green to Autumn flame, the Fire of Life takes a new form.  The trees of Spring opened their green leaves to the Fire of the Sun to feed their Life force, and scented the Air by opening their fragrant flowers for pollination.  The trees of Autumn settle down for a restful season, dropping their crackling leaves at our feet, and scenting the Air with smoke from the Firewood they have provided with the death of some of their dry branches.  Still, they share their vitality and warmth with us, helping us to stay healthy and comfortable, and to enjoy and appreciate being alive!

 

In the spirit of the season, let us withdraw into the centres of ourselves, and light the Fires within our own Hearts to keep ourselves warm and comfortable.  Let’s close our eyes and reach inward with all of our senses, taking a walk in our inner Autumn forest.  Breathe deeply and fill your inner senses with the smell of damp leaves and wood smoke.  As you walk in the Autumn forest, you can hear the leaves crackling and the twigs snapping under your feet.  Feel your face flush with the brisk chill in the air, and also feel the cozy warmth as you snuggle into your coat.  Reach out your bare hand and feel the rough bark of the bare trees which surround you - it’s not quite cold enough for gloves or mittens. Notice the electric feeling in the air.  Nudge aside some leaves with your toe and find a surprise mushroom hiding there!  See your breath mist in front of your face as you exclaim with delight!  

 

Your path through the forest has brought you to a large clearing - each one of us has arrived there by our own path.  In the centre of the clearing, wood is stacked, ready to be lit for our bonfire!  We all gather around, and as the fire is lit, we see the flames leaping around the kindling, then taking hold of the bigger logs.  Soon, the fire is blazing with warmth, and our Hearts, too are blazing with a feeling of joy and vitality!  Feel your Heart leap for joy like a flame!  And now we join the dance of the flames, doing our own wild dance around the fire!  We dance in freedom!  We dance in fellowship!  We dance in sweet aliveness!  We dance and dance, with more and more wild abandon, until we start to tire, and stumble, and laugh with the euphoria of joyous exhaustion!  We help each other with steadying hands and sturdy shoulders, and then we all sit down around the the fire, ready to be still and gaze into the embers, ready to see what visions the fire has to show us.

 

(Rabbit lights the cauldron fire, and we gaze for a few minutes, then share our visions.)

 

Hail the Dance in the Flame!

 

Molly Blue Dawn

 

 

 

 

Aphrodite Philommeides and Laughter Yoga Resources

For the Full Moon in August, I honoured Aphrodite Philommeides, Laughter-Loving Aphrodite, with a session of Laughter Yoga exercises.  Here are some laughter resources for anyone who is interested in bringing more laughter into your lives!

Here is the worldwide Laughter Yoga site:

http://www.laughteryoga.org/english

 

This is the local Laughter Club in Oakland, where I learned and practiced:

http://www.lifefire.com/laughteryoga/laughterclub.html

 

Hail the Laughter-Loving Lady!

 

Molly Blue Dawn

 

Resetting the energy body for Spring

At the last Temple of Aphrodite, there was a brief chat about methods of energetic re-set in the body. One of the methods shared was the following clearing and empowerment of the chakras. There is an extended 8-week practice described here, as well as a more streamlined 2-week practice. Happy Spring cleaning!

Transient

 

You will need:
2 red 7-day candles
2 orange 7-day candles
2 yellow 7-day candles
2 green 7-day candles
2 blue 7-day candles
2 purple 7-day candles
2 white or rainbow 7-day candles
(Please note, these are only approximations of the chakra colors, limited by lack of availability of a wide range of appropriately-hued 7-day candles.)

Yarn long enough to tie around your waist in each of the above colors.

Each day, as you complete the enactments below, envision the approximately-colored chakra in your body lighting up and beginning to glow. That glow suffuses your whole body in light of that color. Wear the colors associated with the various weeks as much as possible.
 

Week 1:

  • Light the red candle, which will be allowed to burn until it goes out. If you need to be careful of fire, you may just light it for at least an hour per day.
  • Tie the red yarn around your naked waist and focus all of your attention on the energetic gathering point at the place where your thighs meet. Allow that energy to grow red in color and chant over and over, "Courage, courage, courage, courage..." Do this for several moments. 
  • Wear that red yarn around your waist for the entire week, visiting the candle and chanting over it 3 times per day. 

Week 2:

  • Remove the red yarn.
  • Light the orange candle, which will be allowed to burn until it goes out. If you need to be careful of fire, you may just light it for at least an hour per day.
  • Tie the orange yarn around your naked waist and focus all of your attention on the energetic gathering point at the place just below your navel. Allow that energy to grow orange in color and chant over and over, "Passion, passion passion, passion..." Do this for several moments. 
  • Wear that orange yarn around your waist for the entire week, visiting the candle and chanting over it 3 times per day. 

Week 3:

  • Follows the same pattern as weeks 1 and 2, but replacing the candle and yarn with yellow, and chanting "Confidence, confidence, confidence, confidence..." as you envision the chakra just above the navel by about 2 inches.

Week 4:

  • Follows the same pattern as weeks previous, but replacing the candle and yarn with green, and chanting "Compassion, compassion, compassion, compassion..." as you envision the chakra at the center of you chest.

Week 5: 

  • Follows the same pattern as weeks previous, but replacing the candle and yarn with blue, and chanting "Communication, communication, communication, communication ..." as you envision the throat chakra.

Week 6:

  • Follows the same pattern as weeks previous, but replacing the candle and yarn with purple, and chanting "Intuition, intuition, intuition, intuition..." as you envision the chakra at your third eye.

Week 7:

  • Follows the same pattern as weeks previous, but replacing the candle and yarn with white or rainbow, and chanting "My Highest Self, My Highest Self, My Highest Self, My Highest Self..." as you envision the crown chakra opening and expanding, with light and joy flooding the body.

Week 8:

  • You should now have 7 candles left in the same shades as above. Light all of the candles at once, in order, then begin to chant: 
    "Courage,
    Passion,
    Confidence
    Compassion,
    Communication,
    Intuition,
    My Highest Self!"
  • Chant this for several minutes, envisioning each chakra lighting up and glowing softly. Repeat this three times per day until the candles all go out. Note the order in which they go out (which was first, which last? Did any candles get blackened or seem to struggle and sputter? Any relevant noises or pops? Pay attention to these, they may contain useful information about the movement of energy in your body.)

The two-week version of this practice involves the same enactments as above, except that you treat the first 7 weekly tasks as daily tasks for the first 7 days, then follow the same protocol for the second week as week 8.

We hope to see you at our next Temple service on Weds, May 14 at 8 PM, lead by Aurora Rose. Love to all!

Aphrodite Aprilis Information and Meditation

The Romans called this month Aprilis, and considered this month sacred to Venus.  There are two common theories about the origin of the name Aprilis.  One is that it was named for Aphrodite, the other is that it comes from the Latin word aperire, to open, and refers to the opening of flowers in the Spring.  I choose to recognize both of these aspects of Aprilis.  I am dedicated to Aphrodite Aprilis.  I think of her as the one who teaches the flowers to bloom, and who teaches us to blossom in beauty and open ourselves to love.

This is the perfect month to allow ourselves to open like flowers, to burst forth into beautiful bloom, sharing our beauty with the world and also opening our Hearts to receive Love.  In our openness, we are vulnerable and risk feeling foolish, but this, too is perfectly appropriate - Venus’ sacred day in the Roman calendar was the first of April, then called Veneralia, now called April Fool’s Day.  The form of Venus celebrated at Veneralia was Venus Verticordia, the Turner of Hearts.  In the spirit of opening, I think of her as inviting us to turn our hearts inside out, allowing our truest and deepest desires to be our guides in shaping the world we want to create for ourselves.

Later in the month, April 23 was the feast of Vinalia, the wine harvest, also sacred to Venus, and at the end of April, the five day festival of Floralia, also celebrating the blooming of the flowers.  

April showers bring May flowers, and the end of April leads us right to the beginning of May, Beltane, when Maidens go a-Maying, gathering the irrepressibly bursting blossoms of the Hawthorn tree, weaving flower crowns for the May Queen, and also celebrating beauty, joy, love and sex right along with the birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees.

 

Meditation:

Now that we have feasted our eyes on images of blossoming beauty, let’s close our eyes and look within ourselves to find the even greater beauty there.  Breathe deeply, feeling grateful for the oxygen which is a gift to us from the plants, and realize that the plants are just as grateful to receive the carbon dioxide which we breathe out.  Picture the green of new leaves and buds, tender and also strong, so alive!  Feel yourself fill with this growing greenness, this irrepressible vitality.  Feel yourself strongly rooted in the Earth, deeply supported and nourished.  Feel your roots drinking in moisture, feeding you freshness and fulfillment.  Feel the air all around cooling and caressing you.  You are a healthy and happy plant, ready to be radiant!

Picture your Heart as a bud, closed tightly, but full of Life, Love, and Beauty, growing and getting ready to open.  With each breath, feel your Heart fill with more and more Love, Beauty, and Joy!  Feel your Heart swell, sweetly aching, full to overflowing, ready to share all this Love with the World!  You can feel Aprilis approaching, whispering to you from within your own heart, Get ready!  Get ready!  Your moment is arriving!  Get ready!  Get ready!  Now - breathe deeply and... Burst into Bloom!  You are Open!  You are Radiant!  The Sun basks in your Beauty!  The fields are lit with your Laughter!  The Wind sighs with the rapture of your sweet scent!  All the World is in Love with you!  Breathe in the infinite Love which is being offered to you from all sides!  Breathe out your Love into the World, fulfilling the World’s Wildest Dreams!  Your Life is a Gift which you give by Living!  Know yourself to be the Flower of Love, Adored by All!  

Hail Aphrodite Aprilis!

 

- Wishbringer Molly Blue Dawn