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Steep Your Inner Aphrodite In Self-Love.

If you want to hurt my feelings, call me shallow.

Deny my depths, mention that you have decided to dismiss me based on this momentary assessment. The words will sting. I will cringe. My stomach will feel like metal, and I won’t be able to finish my dinner.

I will consider your statement in every cell of my body, run it past the processors in my gut and my toes, turn it over in my mind, and finally offer it to the fire in my belly, to be incinerated with the heaping pile of many untruths I’ve discovered over the course of my life.

I have never met a shallow person. I have met people who want to appear shallow, people who try to spend all their time at the edge of their skin, and people who bounce and giggle and laugh easily like a creek crossing over coarse rocks. But each of us has the same capacity for depth.

Each of us has roughly the same majority of water, blood and lymph coursing through veins and sloshing through muscle, skin and bone marrow. We are essentially water beings.

And because we are mostly liquid, we conduct emotions, move energy, and morph to fit the container around us.

No element exists in a vacuum. Especially not water. I am beginning to wonder if women are actually more fluid than men. If their liquid portion is higher.

How else can we, as a culture, explain why women in particular seek external approval and are so thoroughly thrown off center when they are insulted?

As a transparent liquid, water is highly influenced by the surrounding elements. In the earth, water turns to mud; in the presence of fire, she boils over; in cold air, she turns to ice.

Water loses herself easily when she comes into contact with other elements, as does the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite.

Aphrodite is a water goddess, born from the discarded genitals of Uranus that are thrown into the sea. As a goddess of fertility, she bestows humans with grace and desirability. She is the force of creation. Aphrodite is the charge between positive and negative ions that cannot resist one another.

In the psyches of both men and women, she is the will to live, she is what animates us and brings us into the world of beauty and passion. Aphrodite is so closely entangled with our life force that she is difficult to see as something separate.

If she leaves us, our breath gives out, our hearts stop, and we die.

Christine Downing calls her Aphrodite Automata: one who is spontaneously giving, but also never possessed. She lives in humans as their quality of personal charisma — bestowing warmth, availability and a golden hue to all interactions. She is an enchantress and a storyteller.

Aphrodite lives entirely in the realm of feeling. She moves through the world with a finely tuned discernment about her senses. Aphrodite stands for the qualities in humans, and especially in women, who need to see themselves through the eyes of others.

She needs constant reflection to see, to feel who she is. When out of balance, she is dependent on being liked and admired (as I have demonstrated above). When balanced, she trusts what arises from her body, and she knows sensations will not steer her wrong.

She is the ground of the river, the lower organs that touch the earth and use tactile muscles to make their way from one place to another.

Unlike the humble, modestly robed Virgin Mary, Aphrodite (also known as Venus) is almost always depicted naked (a la Birth of Venus). She is unashamed of her body, and willing to be fully seen.

I can hardly imagine the immense shift in the collective human psyche when the pantheon of gods was replaced with monotheism. By the time of Constantine in the 4th century, the image of a goddess of fertility is effectively usurped by a virgin who gives birth without sin.

But Aphrodite’s innocence and vulnerability are unstained by lovers. She is a virgin in the pagan sense of the word: a woman who always belongs to herself.

Aphrodite inspires those who seek her to let down their body armor and wake up to sensuality in their skin. She is loved because she inspires us to reclaim the eros in erotic.

She lessens the toll that constant interactions with machines take on our human softness, our fluid-ness, and our aliveness. Our bodies are our homes, so she teaches us to inhabit them.

Often that means being willing to look back at the places we’ve left: the dusty corners of our psyche we avoid; the painful, stuck spots we’ve repressed because we have been told at some point, “Shame on you.

Shame is placed on us by others, and remains with us because we accept it. Let’s learn to refuse it as easily as we would a drink offer from that creepy guy at the end of the bar. No I’m sorry, just a No, thank you. A goddess does not need to explain herself.

Aphrodite is an energetic signature within each of us that invites us toward the freedom of actualizing our own internal sense of authority. She shows us that we do not need a lover to show us who we are. We steep ourselves in self-love.

We become full of ourselves so no one is needed to patch the holes. When we celebrate this wholeness, we are willing to be naked in front of the world without apologies.

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EilaCarricoEila Carrico grew up in rural central Florida, and her curiosity led her down a meandering path of discovery from a young age. She was inspired by her studies in journalism, anthropology and religion to travel around the world and teach in Paris, Ghana, Thailand and India. She studied Yoga and embodied archetypes for nine years before completing a master’s degree in Engaged World Psychology and then an MFA in Creative Writing and Consciousness in San Francisco. Eila is a weaver and wordsmith who delights in the mystery and magic of landscapes and memory. She lives in Berkeley with her partner and their baby boy, where she teaches Yoga and weaves stories. Eila’s first book, ‘The Other Side of the River’, will be published by Womancraft Publishing in early 2016. You could contact her via her website or Facebook.

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