Aphrodite Doritis: Giver of the Good Things

Yesterday, I invited folks on my Facebook page to privately submit questions regarding love and human relations, and told them I would select one at random to answer in meditation with Aphrodite. As it turned out, I received quite a few along a similar theme, which I have distilled to the following single question:

How can I move past negative patterns from previous relationships to more freely, healthily, and joyfully open to the love that is arising in my present life? What obstacles need to be cleared?

Last night, I placed heart chakra crystals anointed in love oil under my pillow, held this question in my heart, and opened up to Aphrodite's guidance before I went to sleep. This morning, I arose at 5:30 with my beloved, and asked within where I ought to begin. I lit a combination of incenses, dressed a pink candle with pearl powder, and entered my meditation till 6 AM. I bowed to the Morning Star, and then began writing. The following musings on the question at hand are the result of that meditation. May they provide loving relief, a spark of inspiration, or be helpful in some way to you, dear reader.

I find myself turning to the story of Ariadne, priestess of the labyrinth on Crete and associated with Aphrodite in Cyprian worship. Ariadne has many different myths associated with her, but I have chosen one above the others as a means for exploring this particular question. I am looking at a variation on the Pausanius story of Ariadne, Theseus, and Dionysus. Please, go read it before reading this further.

Ariadne is glorious in her own right as a wise woman, a priestess, a sovereign with the capacity to help others tremendously, yet she has a difficult time applying her healing wisdom to herself when it is most needed. Sound familiar? This is one of the most difficult ways a Priest/ess of Aphrodite is born.

Perhaps you have spent years helping others, devoting yourself to caring for those you love. You can't remember when this tendency started in your life, but you know it to be profoundly true: you are a helper/healer. That calling to be a helper/healer is the calling to be a Priest/ess. Perhaps, in the absence of that Temple where you might receive proper instruction on how to heal with your love in a safe and fulfilling way, you ended up expressing that calling in an unhealthy way: perhaps by sleeping with people you didn't want to sleep with but who seemed to "need" it so badly you didn't feel you had a choice. Perhaps you found yourself in a terrible relationship with a very broken person, someone who really needed you, or really needed to make you their outlet for their woundedness. Perhaps you, thinking on some level that you were helping them, stayed overlong in that relationship. Perhaps you, forgetting your own sovereignty, felt powerless to leave it. Perhaps you, being human, still feel a paradoxical love in your heart for someone who hurt you, or you feel fearful that harmful patterns of an old relationship might be replicated in a new one. You know your own story better than I do. Many paths are available within the labyrinth of this question. But the end problem is the same. In the place in your glorious heart where courage and self-determination and self-knowing would usually be, you have fear, hurt, and mistrust instead.

Please know this: holding an abuser or unstable ex responsible for their actions and getting away from the situation is only one step in your healing. The next step is to heal your own relationship with trusting yourself. You won't be able to trust anyone else till you trust yourself again. Forgive yourself for making a difficult choice, for choosing a relationship with a damaged person, for throwing yourself under the bus when you knew better- because, for sure, a time came in the relationship when you knew better and still didn't stop it. You were too afraid. Forgive yourself for that. Forgive yourself for making bad decisions. Give yourself the gift of self-trust once more. Watch self-love bloom into a healthy flower in your life.

Lauryn Hill sings a complicated song called "Ex-Factor" that springs to my mind. Many of the lyrics are relevant here, "It could all be so simple, but you'd rather make it hard. Loving you is like a battle, and we both end up with scars..Cuz no one loves you more than me, and no one ever will...How can I explain myself? No one's hurt me more than you, and no one ever will." I used to think these lyrics meant that no one could ever hurt her more than this person because their relationship was so singular and unique in her life, and because she still loved them so much despite all. But I have a different take on it now. I now take it to mean, "No one has ever hurt me more than you and no one ever will because I HAVE DECIDED THAT I DESERVE BETTER."

Have you really decided that you deserve better? Maybe you have. Maybe you think you have but it's still feeling kind of fresh and tentative, and you're not quite sure it will hold up once you're in an intimate situation again. Maybe you are still waiting for the other shoe to drop in a new, healthy situation. Stop waiting. Stop fearing. Stop mistrusting. How? Decide from within and then hold firm. Take as many baths, burn as many candles, say as many affirmations as you need to until you feel confident that you have programmed your mind to trust itself again. Decide where your lines are: what lines can you fully vow will you never, ever cross in love again? What boundaries are you prepared to hold forever for the sake of self-respect and self-trust, even if it means losing a single lover, or many lovers? Choose them with confidence. Decide. Then, go ahead and open up to loving in new ways fully. Know that, while no one can guarantee that there are no other bad apples out there, you can personally guarantee yourself that you will make better choices in the future. Making that decision is the foundation for self-trust, which then will allow you to trust another.

Ariadne, once she completely lets go of pining for the man who betrayed her, then attracts the transcendent love of a god. And, you can see how this would apply to letting go of the love of a woman in favor of opening to the love of a goddess, as well. When you choose to bring your trust back home, when you decide what your basic rules and boundaries are, when you recommit to yourself after healing from the pain of a love gone afoul, when you decide that rather than ASKING for love you will instead BECOME love, you then become a Priest/ess of Aphrodite. All who serve Aphrodite learn this at some point in their journey: that you do not have to give love away in order to heal anyone else. Instead, you choose to emit love freely, treat yourself and others with respect, and lead by example. Others may choose to follow your lead or not, but each needs to learn this from within. You cannot learn it for anyone else. This is the only way for a sustainable love to enter anyone's heart or life.

She's been waiting, waiting.
She's been waiting so long.
She's been waiting for Her children
to remember, to return.

Consider asking Aphrodite to fill the place in your life where pain was with love. Consider asking Aphrodite to fill you with the golden radiance of self-trust. Consider opening to Aphrodite and saying, "I have not made good choices. I have not been full in my power. Please walk with me, strengthen me, and help me craft a finely-wrought sense of self-worth. Please fill my life with positive reflections of the love that I am, and that You are. Please help me find within myself the perfect love and perfect trust that I deserve. Please guide me in discernment to find that love and trust reflected in all of my relationships."

Picture yourself as a fountain filled with an ethereal, shimmering water.

When love goes badly, that fountain gets clogged, green with muck, and stagnant. In opening to self-love and self-trust, you cleanse the fountain and it begins to flow again. When you have given yourself the gift of healing and trust, you then begin to overflow the fountain, attracting the attention of others naturally. The attention you receive can feel scary and predatory after a hurt.

But guess what? Because you have chosen- because you have decided that it will be different this time, it will be. Your thoughts, words and actions must, and will, reflect that. You will hold your boundaries. You will spurn negative attention rather than feeling powerless against it. You will distill the pool of possibilities down to the few candidates who actually qualify to be with a Goddess...that is to say, other conscious and intention-oriented people like yourself. Then, together, you can begin to weave a future of mutual love and trust, sourcing the threads of love and trust from within each of you.

Ariadne is also associated with thread in the story of the labyrinth. Her thread is a guide through the shadowy twists and turns of life, love, and self-development. Your journey down into the shadow of love's worst pain took you past some rough spots. You looked at them as you sailed by, eyes widening in fear, terror growing as you powerlessly journeyed deeper into the darkness of doubt. You will, indeed, have to pass these scary places again on your way out. This time, stop. Clean up. Tend the broken altars. Sweep up the shattered mirror. Take the time to fish the wick from the lamp and relight it. Leave the place better than you found it. Follow the thread of your heart's truth- that it is a glorious gift and deserves to be treated as such by you and all others- back to the entrance of the cave. Make no mistake: you will again in life journey to dark places within. That is the nature of spiritual growth, of the endlessly returning tides. But because you have cleaned up the cavern and left it better than before, you will fear less to enter it next time. Then, the darkness becomes a comforting friend. And that silken thread of your heart's truth comes in handy on each journey.

And now I am complete with this meditation. May there be some benefit in it.

Hail, Shekinah Mountainwater, Great Ancestress and author of Ariadne's Thread. Thank you for the gifts you gave to our community, beloved Priestess of Aphrodite!

Hail, Aphrodite Doritis: Giver of Good Things! Thank you for the blessings of love, dark and bright! Thank you for the journey of the heart! Thank you for the golden future yet to come! Thank you for bliss and pleasure! Thank you for beauty! Thank you for love and trust! Hail! Hail! Hail!