Goddess Worship In Cypress

Greek History And Culture In Cypress

There is at least 5,000 years' worth of historical evidence indicating a settlement close to Old Paphos, Cypress. 

Numerous female terra-cotta figures from the Archaic and Classical eras have been found during excavations. 

Although it is unclear exactly what name the Goddess was worshipped under, archaeologists think it was here before the Chalcolithic era (3800–2300 BCE). 

Wanassa, Paphia, and Golgia are just a few of the many names for this ancient goddess that have been suggested by the dedications found at the archaeological site. 

Some of the female miniatures showed ladies with raised arms, while others showed expectant women giving birth with raised arms. 

When the Greeks arrived, Paphos was already well-established as a center of religion. 

That is not to say that the Greeks did not leave their mark on Paphos, however, as archeological data seems to indicate that both the independent King Kinyras and the Arcadian King Tegea, who is best known for his exploits during the Trojan War, made contributions to the temple of Aphrodite's history. 

Paphos is the location of a holy forest and a large altar, according to Homer. 

The temple of Aphrodite had a significant role in the holy site's continued prominence in the ancient world up until Theodosius I forbade the practice of pagan worship in 391 CE. 

Goddess Worship At Palaepaphos.

At her temple close to Old Paphos, or Palaepaphos, a city famed throughout antiquity for its extravagant luxury and reputation as a major religious center, Aphrodite, who had been confused for too long as just the "Boudoir Babe," reveals her actual identity. 

Her temple reflected a fusion of Aegean and Oriental style, much like the Goddess. 

This was regarded as her most sacred site since it was thought that she was born here from sea foam, which served as a metaphor for her father's sperm. 

Aphrodite is very ancient, and many people thought that she existed from the beginning of existence. 

She was really a prehistoric global Mother Goddess who most likely came from the Near East and was not Indo-European in origin. 

One of her first temples, according to historical accounts, was in Syria. 

She is older than the Olympians and first appears in literature from Classical Greece before being identified as the daughter of Zeus, which is the position that popular culture today often gives her. 

The mix of customs that make up the Cypriac Goddess, who has been revered here for more than 1,500 years, were profoundly affected by the near vicinity of her temple in Cypress to Anatolia, Crete, and Mesopotamia. 

She is unquestionably more than simply a beautiful lady emerging from the sea foam, the seductress of Paris, or the adulteress Hephaistos' wife. 

Due to the conventional misconceptions that appears to be so ubiquitous, such as her representation in the adored television series Xena, Warrior Princess, her image definitely merits a reintroduction to modern visitors and readers! One thing is for sure: from her refuge on Cypress, Aphrodite is able to project a sharper picture. 

Aphrodite was born in an unusual way, as shown by her Greek name, aphros, which means froth. 

The Great Mother Earth, or Gaia, and her partner, Ouranos, the Heavens, soon gave birth to a large number of sons and daughters, according to the ancient poet Hesiod. 

However, Kronos, the youngest, detested their father. 

Ourano's genitalia were severed by Kronos one evening, and he flung them into the sea after borrowing a sickle from Gaia. 

With this brazen deed, Kronos tore apart Earth and Heaven, shedding light on the relationship between his parents. 

Foam sprang out of nowhere where Ouranos' genitalia had been dropped into the ocean, and a little while later, Aphrodite surfaced from the depths. 

Her birth therefore played a significant role in the early creation myths. 

Petra tou Remiou, also known as "Aphrodite's Rock," is located not far from her shrine in Paphos. 

It is said that here is where she initially emerged from the sea's froth and took her first steps onto land. 

According to legend, as soon as the Goddess's feet hit the ground, grass began to flourish. 

These three sizable boulders that protrude into the bay are visible to visitors. 

The Birth of Venus, a renowned artwork by the artist Botticelli, depicts Aphrodite emerging from a big scallop shell, a motif of female genitalia, as an artistic representation of this birth. 

It corresponds to a version of her birth narrative in which the Hours welcomed Aphrodite when she arrived through her shell on the beaches of Cypress. 

They continued to help her out of the river while dressing her in heavenly attire. 

This account of her birth was crucial to her devotees at the Paphos temple because it clarified some of the rites taking place there and revealed a far deeper significance. 

Her birth from the ocean came to be associated with the changing of the seasons, namely the rebirth of the Earth, which was represented by Aphrodite's virginity. 

Of course, if you were a Goddess, it wasn't impossible to restore virginity once lost! (Obviously, a Goddess' virginity had a different significance than that of a normal human.) In reality, the Hours were the seasons, who, with the help of the Graces, would help celebrate Aphrodite's birth as the Maiden, or a metaphor for spring. 

This was most likely performed by ritually washing and dressing an Aphrodite statue or Aphrodite's priestess, who served as the goddess' earthly embodiment. 

During the excavations, a terra-cotta bathtub was discovered in a religious structure. 

Aphrodite naturally shares characteristics with the Semitic Ashtoreth, Philistine Atargatis, Phoenician Astarte, and Babylonian Inanna/Ishtar due to the likelihood that she is of Oriental origin. 

The celestial planet Venus, or Aphrodite as she was known to the Romans, was seen as having three manifestations: Aphrodite, Isis, and Inanna/Ishtar. 

The tale of Aphrodite's son-lover Adonis is similar to that of Attis, Cybele's consort, as well as Dumuzi and Tammuz, the consorts of Inanna and Astarte, respectively. 

It is hardly surprising that she shares multiple titles given her closeness to the Middle East. 

She is once again linked to Asherah and Astarte since she is the daughter of Heaven and the Sea (Lady of the Sea). 

Aphrodite was a creatrix, just as life began in water. 

The Aphrodite rituals established here were observed during the time of the fish, or Pisces. 

Naturally, the net—typically worn over her robes or tied around her waist—became Aphrodite's other nautical symbol in addition to the fish. 

Her priestesses, in turn, often wore the same attire, but some were known to cover their heads with the nets. 

Doctor describes "The Language of the Goddess" According to Marija Gimbutas, the iconography on the internet is from the Neolithic period and may be connected to the vulva of the Sea Goddess. 

As a result, she starts to be associated with "Living Water," the revered primordial liquid from which all life first emerges. 

Particularly those around the eastern Mediterranean Sea beaches, many of her temples and shrines were covered with seashells. 

She shares both a title and a characteristic with the Egyptian goddess Isis. 

Her son Eros and spouse Adonis, both vegetative gods who occasionally appear as bulls and represent dying and emerging vegetation, are frequently likened to Isis' son Horus and Isis' husband/brother Osiris, respectively. 

It should be mentioned that Eros (Cupid), popularly known as the representative of Aphrodite who pierces his victims with enchanted arrows and wounds them with the gifts of desire and love, has older beginnings than Classical Greece. 

Some myths describe Eros as a much older god who arrived on the scene shortly after the beginning of creation rather than the child of Aphrodite, making his actual identity a little bit mysterious. 

Although the details are obscured by the passage of time, scholars have sometimes hypothesized that he, too, may have played the part of the son-lover. 

In order to maintain the fertility of life and the land, the worship of these deities by their people and the holy union or marriage between these Goddesses and their consorts, or Lords, came to signify a covenant between man and the Divine. 

Scholar Miriam Robbins Dexter offers another intriguing comparison between Aphrodite and Eros by comparing their frothy births in ancient myth and literature to that of Shri Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess, and Kamadeva, her son and the "love deity." The commonalities in belief across continents and ages become more apparent the more one examines. 

Although Aphrodite had several facets, by the fourth century BCE she had come to represent two distinct facets. 

She is connected to loftier aspirations, divine love, and soul-stirring inspiration in her Aphrodite Ourania side. 

Similar to Ishtar, she is worried with mundane issues pertaining to her people's survival as Aphrodite Pandemos. 

She is a Goddess whose priestesses perform holy prostitution since it is thought that she rules over the world of the lower chakras. 

It should be recalled that Paphos was known as such a temple of holy prostitution; yet, the context in which this phrase was used has nothing to do with what it means in modern use. 

No simple brothel, temple prostitution bore actual religious significance, whether conducted literally or metaphorically, to ensure reproduction, attaining enlightenment, or possibly a greater relationship with the Divine. 

Over time and space, her perception has changed. 

She and Astarte both appear in imagery with beards, suggesting that they may have traits in common with bisexuality. 

One depiction of Aphrodite shows her coming from a scrotal sac, which may be connected to her roots as a goddess of male genitalia (philomimedes), which means "to her belong male genitals." In the past, she was revered in Paphos as a conical stone, which historian Merlin Stone recalls was anointed during yearly Cyprian festivals. 

Her iconography often depicts her semi-naked, wearing exquisite robes with copious quantities of jewels, semi-naked with long, flowing locks in a bun, or completely nude. 

She appeared to have a special affinity towards jewelry. 

Similar to Artemis and Cybele, Mistress of the Animals, she is seen at Aphrodisias, Turkey, with a polos, or tower, on her head and a body covered with registries of animals. 

This moniker belongs to Aphrodite since it has been thought that she calms the wild animal and encourages breeding between them rather than predation. 

Animals are said to adore her and follow her across the wilderness. 

The dolphin, swan, goose, goat, and dove are her pets. 

She is often seen on the back of a huge bird, perched on a swan, or carrying a box containing the gifts she gives to the world. 

She develops ties to the Virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit via her bond with the dove, an animal that has long been associated with goddesses. 

Readers are brought full circle toward comprehending the gifts and attractions of a more real Aphrodite when they learn that she has a magical embroidered girdle, or kestos imas, that stimulates "beguilement, ardent discourse, desire, and love." She is the Goddess of Love, but not just any love—sacred, euphoric, heavenly love—the kind that can be lost in modern culture. 

She symbolizes "humanity's need for reunification with the entire," as well as "playful tenderness and exhilarating delight, combined with wonder and reverence," according to Anne Baring and Jules Cashford. 

They quote Erich Neumann, who claims that the patriarchal sexualization of the feminine has destroyed Aphrodite's divinity, leaving us to forget who she really is. 

Aphrodite is an unabashed love and sex appetite. 

She is the wisdom-wrapped, sweet-smelling gardenia. 

She elevates life and makes it lovely. 

She bestows her bright laughter onto humanity. 

Sappho's poems claim that she guards against the sorrows and tiredness of life. 

She represents the Sacred Feminine, the delightful aspect that was filtered away with the advent of Judeo-Christian ideology. 

Humanity was left with a loving mother who lacked sexuality, cutting them off from nature and the sensual and sexual joys of life, which are an essential aspect of Goddesses, especially Aphrodite. 

At Palaepaphos, excavations started in 1888, and they uncovered the earliest sanctuary, which was built about 1200 BCE. 

The Late Bronze Age complex, which according to archaeologists like Franz George Maier, who has authored numerous books on the location, has deteriorated over time, although it was formerly composed of a wide open temenos and a smaller, covered inner sanctum. 

The complex is further dated to the 12th century BCE by the discovery of Mycenaean pottery in tombs that are contemporaneous with the first hall and temenos. 

The religious complex, which includes a court sanctuary and includes such architectural features as horns of consecration, stepped capitals, and ashlar masonry, reflects these influences because this first Aphrodite had an unmistakably Oriental character. 

Paphos's megalithic temenos wall and the pillared hall that it stood next to to the north were two notable features. 

It is believed that it served as the storage location for the conical stone that represented the Goddess. 

When the earthquakes of 76–77 CE damaged the shrine, the Romans arrived and had it restored. 

The Late Bronze Age Sanctuary was only partially integrated into the Roman structure. 

The 86 × 73 yard (79 x 67 m) Roman Sanctuary of Aphrodite was constructed perhaps towards the end of the first century CE. 

It was originally made up of a complicated collection of structures from several eras, including a hall and a section of the temenos from the sanctuary from the Late Bronze Age. 

Romans also built raised platforms around banqueting halls with mosaic floors. 

There were several altars and sculptures in the temple, but the shrine lacked a statue of Aphrodite in human form; instead, it was assumed that her conical sign stood in the Roman Court or in the temenos of the former sanctuary. 

It is now housed at Kouklia's local museum. 

On Cypress, Aphrodite never had a traditional Greco-Roman temple. 

Even though it is not in its original position, the massive monolith that is seen at the temple site today was once a Bronze Age temple. 

Even though the temple is in ruins, it is holy and deserving of being included in our exclusive list of 108 places since Aphrodite is significant both historically and now. 

How to reach Palaepaphos. 

The third-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Cypress lies only 74 kilometers (51 miles) south of Turkey and is readily accessible by boat or airplane. 

The current settlement of Kouklia, which is 14 miles (21 km) southeast of the contemporary city of Paphos, and the Temple of Aphrodite are both situated on the western side of the island. 

The excavation site is home to two museums. 

Visitors must come by cab or private tour since there is no direct public transport service to Kouklia as of this writing. 

Be sure to stop by Aphrodite's Rock on the road between Paphos and Limassol, her baths, which are situated 8 miles (13 km) west of Polis, and an Astarte temple that is located right inside the city of Larnaca.

~Kiran Atma