|"Venus healing Aeneas" by Blondel (19th century)|
Love in her most high and divine state is freehearted and generous – this is why the ancient myths so often depict Venus as licentious. Love only becomes impure when it is stained by our fragile egos and selfish, grasping desires which give rise to shameful (and selfish) concepts of love. Regardless, love distilled is a supreme virtue.
In Greco-Roman mythology only Venus has the power to disarm Mars, whom we associate with violence, or to sooth Vulcan’s destructive and potentially life extinguishing fires. Even today, the white doves of Venus are the foremost symbol of peace. Venus also shared her love with the quick-witted Mercury and thereby bore he whom we think of as the masculine aspect of love – Cupid. Another of their children is one who transcends gender, Hermaphroditus. Interestingly in Germanic mythology we see a related pairing – Woden, God of wisdom (equated in ancient times with Mercury), is paired with Frija, Goddess of love – surely Venus in another guise. It seems to me that when the two Gods merge we find the highest state of being arises – the Buddha himself said that wisdom (prajna) and love (maitri) are conjoined paths to enlightenment.
This ability of love to lead to a higher spiritual state was expressed in the ancient world most famously through Plato’s writings on a higher and ennobled form of love, from which the concept of “platonic love” derives. This was a species of Eros (ie, Cupid). Likewise, Apuleius wrote of love’s ability to transform in his Metamorphoses, whereby, through love, Psyche achieves spiritual ascent. In Hinduism we find a similar vehicle of divine love, known as bhakti (devotional love for a God, guru, etc, which leads to spiritual ascent).
Of course, as Plato’s musings suggest, love need not be sexual, but that does not mean we should despise sexuality, for sex is a legitimate and natural expression of love. Except of course when it is not legitimate, because it has become poisoned by selfish desire, by a lust for power and control, by exploitation, by violence. And of course sexuality demands that its participants be ripe. Children are unripe and far too green for sexual expression. They are not naturally sexual beings, only the degenerate thinks them so, and when their sexuality emerges it is fragile and rightly shared only with others as young as themselves. Thus the pedophile is the enemy of love, for he mistakes selfish exploitation for love. Love is compassionate, generous and kind – always, otherwise it is not love, but a sick and deranged imposter wearing the mask of love but lacking her substance.
How much sweeter is the world when we feel loved, and when we give it generously. Though we crave it and we need it, so often we give it all too little. Small-minded, frail egos imprison us in this profane human realm, but if we are receptive and our egos are not too bruised we see that Venus lights the path to the divine through her healing love, kindness and compassion.
“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind [Shakespeare].”
|"Venus preventing Aeneas from killing Helen" by Ferrari (c. 1650)|