Goddess of the Week: Venus

w:Botticelli's The Birth of VenusImage via Wikipedia

This from Posey: "Which goddess, in your opinion, has the most courage and is a strong mother."

Well, Posey, this one took some thinking. Goddesses are, by definition, courageous. You don't get to be omnipotent by running at the first sight of trouble or freezing like a deer in the headlights and waiting to get bowled over. I'm an expert at both so you'll have to trust me on this. Likewise, mama goddesses are tough cookies. You would not want to mess with them or their children. You wouldn't last long.
Still, a choice must be made, and I choose Venus, the Roman goddess of love.

I know what you are thinking. Venus? That floozy? That airy beauty rising from a fricking clamshell? What could I possibly be thinking.

Let me tell you. In a world of war and starvation and suffering and fires and swine flus and countless big and little disappointments, it takes courage to live a life of joy. And that's what Venus does, she lives a life of joy and tells you that you can too. When Zeus made her marry the smith god Hapheastus, a god she was really not suited to at all, although she did like the bling he made her, she did not plop down on her throne and live a life of martyrdom. No. She found ways to have fun. She fooled around, but so did all the gods and most of the goddesses, except for Hera (totally miserable jealous cow) and virginal Artemis and Athena (both of whom defined themselves in terms of male values like martial strength and intellectual cunning. Translation: boring, boring, boring).

Other deities were all "Oh, let me show you the size of my thunderbolt" and "Oh, look how many villages I can destroy with my awesome control over the weather. " But who among them had fun? Who among them refused to give up on joy, on love, on beauty, on the possibility that life can be something more than a wet and muddy ride through discomfort, pain, and suffering? Venus.

Venus gives you permission to pull your head out of the sand and the smoky clouds and the dirt, or whatever gloomy place you happen to find yourself and see the beauty that remains. She gives you permission to walk forward knowing that, sure, good times end, but bad times end too. Somewhere, ahead of you, there is an arrow with your name on it, and it will bring you love, and it will show you beauty, and you will have joy. Maybe these things are sometimes fleeting, but who the hell cares. That's the crocus in winter.

You could, of course, find this small solace, especially when things seem bad. But that's why holding fast to joy and taking responsibility for your own happiness takes courage. And that's why Venus is the most courageous of all the gods and goddesses.

As for the strong mother part, well, that is very easy. The Romans believed that Venus was their mother. They believed that her son Aeneus was the founder of Rome. A Trojan, she helped him escape the pillaging of Troy by the Athenians and led him through a tumultuous journey to the Italian peninsula. She protected him even in death, receiving permission from Zeus to make him a god. Even then, she always looked out after the Roman people, which is why they called her Venus Genetrix, Venus the mother.

Channel Venus: When things look bleak. Claim joy. Claim love. Claim happiness. No one else can do that for you. So take them. Also, when the perils of motherhood seem too steep. Motherhood wasn't easy for Venus; why should it be easy for you. Strength in motherhood comes from finding strength in yourself and the courage to believe that one day your children will be independent and living on their own.

Posey: Whaddya think?

Need a goddess: Let me find you one! Leave me comment telling me what you need. I'll see what I can do.
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... daisy... said...

o_O did you watch the same movie I watched tonight? :-D
Well... Venus! I love Venus...
I go back to my dreams... they feel neglected lately... ;-)

Desiree said...

Yippee! Great post, what a ride!

Lynne said...

Well said! I really enjoyed this one.

Shell Sherree said...

I'm glad Posey asked the question, because I thoroughly enjoyed your reply, Margaret. Funny and inspiring all at once - a bit like chocolate-coated pretzels {which you can't buy in Australia, by the way}.

PaperTurtle said...

Loved it. Thanks once again, Margaret. Beautifully written! :o)

Petrea said...

Margaret, you always nail what needs to be nailed. Damn, you're good.

altadenahiker said...

Is that a thunderbolt in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

Yay Venus! Yay Margaret! I think we're all in search of a little beauty today.

Margaret said...

Daisy: What movie did you see?

Dez and Lynne: Thanks.

Shell: No chocolate-covered pretzels? Do you at least have chocolate-covered potato chips?

PT: My pleasure.

Petrea: Glad you found some beauty, today.

AH: Can't wait to see the beauty you uncover.

... daisy... said...

Yes that's the movie with H. Ledger! I even wrote an English post yesterday: http://moonstruckgreendaisy.blogspot.com/2009/09/close-to-extintion-not-yet-we-need-to.html

gaelikaa said...

Venus definitely had the edge over Minerva and Juno when it came to persuading Paris to hand over the Eos's apple of discord. She used the allure of a beautiful mate and the guy was hooked. Sex won over battle prowess and power. Does anything ever change? Like you say, our problems are timeless!

Jean Spitzer said...

Terrific post. Time for some fun.

smallawei said...


Shell Sherree said...

Please tell me there's no such thing as choc-coated potato chips...

pasadenaadjacent said...

I'm hanging out with the amber goddess of southern comfort and listening to Willie Nelson.

Margaret said...

gaelikaa: You know your myths!

Daisy: That's a sweet movie. I could only understand parts of your Italian post, so I'm on my way to read the English.

PA: You are sounding very poetic.

Shell: This is America. Of course there are chocolate covered potato chips. We excel at maximizing calories and making junk food even junkier.