Friday, March 27, 2009

Love and Lovelessness

I was accused recently of not knowing what love is. This happened on facebook by a person who has not seen me in 15 years, who knows nothing of the person I have become since he knew me, and, I should point out, who has become something of an evangelist, as in Christian, and perhaps he thinks that one cannot know love unless one knows Jesus.

I have to leave that idea behind, seeing as it is so obviously ridiculous, but I do have to wonder if I do actually know what love is. After all, the question has been raised, right?

I know love in several forms. And I believe love is never really all encompassing except in it’s purest divine form, and we call that form Aphrodite. Only the Goddess Love herself knows love itself in a pure and all encompassing way because in a very real way, she is that love.

But as a man, a human being, I experience love in a variety of ways, and each of these ways can feel all encompassing in its time and place.

I am not a very physically expressive person. I am not the touchy, feely, huggy type. I think it has caused problems in relationships for me because people expect the soap opera romance novel type romance, but I am very expressive of feelings in other ways. I may not always seem it, since I tend to write in such a dry way which is often a bit blunt, but I am very considerate, sometimes too considerate, and I show people I love that I love them in ways that, I think, many men can relate to. I give my time, I listen, I give small tokens of my affection unexpectedly, and it often strikes people as odd.

If I see a small thing in a store and I remember a friend mentioning it as something they loved and could not find, I will buy it and give it to them. If I have a piece of hardware, like an old laptop, and I know a friend needs one, I will give it to them. I should probably sell it on e-bay, since I am very needy during these financially trying times, but I don’t, because I think it is more in line with what Zeus, lord of hosts, wants from me than just to be pragmatic.

I love my family, though I have trouble relating to them, and if any one of them needed my kidney, my liver, or hell, my heart, I would give it to them even if it meant I would die in the process. Is that not love?

I love my friends, though I have so few of them, because I love that they love me. We may not be constantly on each other the way bffs are in movies, but I will do for them just like I would for family. Maybe not to the extent of giving up my life, but close. They accept and like me the way i am, and I love them for it.

I love the Gods, though anyone reading this silly blog should probably think that obvious, but I think I should reiterate it, that I love the Gods. I may have a very relativistic view of the universe, but I do believe whole heartedly in them, who are of many names and many aspects, and through them I have come to learn to respect others for their beliefs and practices, even when I personally thought those beliefs and practices silly. I think people who have known me for years on the Hellenism lists can attest that I have mellowed out tremendously, though I am still prone to foot in mouth syndrome from time to time because of the way I write and discuss things. I tend to be a bit imperious in writing, though I am not that way when I speak.

I love laughter, music, art, and the human spirit, in both its light and dark aspects, because they are human expressions of a divine reality.

I love, and love, and love, yet, do I actually know love?

Is it possible that I see the love I generate from within me, but seldom notice or acknowledge the love that others show me?

I guess in that way I am a bit of a narcissist that way. I simply neglect to notice others on many levels. Even when I am very considerate to others, it tends to originate with me. It makes me feel good to give people things because it feels good to make others happy. But, is that not the reality of all love? Does not Aphrodite demand that you love yourself, and that by doing so you can then express that love to others?

Maybe I have done this all backward.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Goddess of Beauty

The promise of sexual pleasure is not one Aphrodite actually makes. Aphrodite offered Paris the most beautiful woman in the world. She gave Hera her girdle that Zeus might be attracted to her as he had been once. He gave Pygmalion his heart’s desire, the love of the statue he had so lovingly created.

Aphrodite is said to be the Goddess of Love, but if we explore what this means to a deeper level, it means she is the Goddess of Beauty. Man aspires to beauty, for beauty, and to come from beauty. Men long for beautiful mates, beautiful lovers, and beautiful children, and in these things, Aphrodite is the great promise, the great provider, for the world is filled with her eternal spirit of beauty and the pleasure beauty brings.

Sexual attraction, love, physical desire, they are all tied to beauty. This doesn’t necessarily mean culturally accepted standards of beauty, but a personal, and often subconscious standard of beauty.

When we fall in love, there are always a million things we find beautiful about the person or people we fall for. They are physically attractive to us. They are sexually arousing to us. They are intellectually beautiful. Emotionally appealing. All of these things, are part of our inner beauty, part of what makes us beautiful to others.

It is in these things that Aphrodite is present. It is in these things that Aphrodite forces us to bend to her power, and say what you want, deny it all you want, we are, all of us, powerless against her.

On the bareback conundrum...

This is not a post that would normally end up on both my blogs, because one is dedicated to my religious/spiritual/philosophical explorations and the other to matters of gayness, but in this case, the two have crossed paths.

I am currently exploring the domain of Aphrodite, of love and sex, of sensuality and sexuality, of beauty and pleasure. So, of course, questions about sex and the dangers of sex are bound to arise, and this week I found out that a very good friend of mine has become HIV positive, or rather, that he has been HIV positive for a long time but has continued to indulge in dangerous behaviors. Behaviors that are dangerous both to him and to his partners.

As a man with HIV, his immune system is in danger. True, drug therapies today can make a big difference, keeping people from converting to full blown AIDS status, but the immune system is still in potential danger, and exposing oneself to diseases that can be, and often are, very dangerous is not a smart thing to do even when you are not already infected with a virus that targets and destroys the immune system.

It bothers me that he, like many out there, are buying into the denial that HIV is not what the government tells us it is. These conspiracy theorist deniers who will stop at nothing to indulge their fantasy that HIV is caused by drugs rather than an actual virus, or that AIDS does not exist, are so unwilling to face facts that they are taking themselves down, and with them, others who they are indoctrinating into their fantasy.

At a spiritual and philosophical level, I have to ask myself, is sex, sexuality, pleasure, and the beauty inherent in these acts more holy if it is 100% natural? Are these people indulging in a natural and beautiful thing untainted by latex? Or are they ignoring the aspect of our spirituality, as human beings, that demands we be moderate in our thinking?

I am a Hellenistos, and I struggle with one of the “commandments” of Apollo (Not really Commandments, but we can get into that some other time) which demands that we do nothing to excess. In other words, that we be moderate in our actions, our thinking, and our indulgences in the domains of the Gods.

There is wisdom to be applied here. No matter what religion you are, the Gods have always demanded that we think. That we look at things and keep in mind that overindulgence in anything, be it food, sex, or morality, can lead to disaster. It is all about balance.

But for these people, I have a sense of fear and yet I almost envy that they can live in such denial. Not that I could live this way. I need to jump into most things with my eyes open, even if not always wide open. I wonder if it is possible for me to enjoy sexuality to its fullest if I am bound by the rational in such a way that I have to behave responsibly, and I always have to answer yes, because in the end, I get to live another day to explore and enjoy the possibilities and joys of love, sex, and desire.

Be smart, people, condoms are cheap, and they are easy to use. USE THEM!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Exploration of my own aspects...

It is important to try to understand the Gods, which is why I have been doing this little blog. It is a way for me to reach out to them, but there is more to this blog than that. I am also exploring myself.

Like the Gods, we are aspected creatures, we humans, we have different forms for different occasions, and we allow or disallow behavior that is otherwise natural to us based on where we are and who we are with. We even see the Gods this way, as we reach out to them depending on our needs and desires.

I am, of course, no different. In this part of my exploration I am forcing myself to explore aspects of my sexuality and emotional self that I tend to keep to myself, usually. And in keeping them to myself I have also damaged myself. I have not allowed myself to feel things, both emotionally and physically, that I really should have.

Perhaps as a means to protect myself.

But what is it Aphrodite wants me to understand this time as I see the things I have chosen not to do or allow myself to feel? What does she want from me?

Does she want me to jump in with both feet and fuck like a mad dog? Does she want me to not do that, so as to learn to appreciate it better? Does she want me to detach emotion from sex, or to attach more meaning to it?

To some these things may seem easy enough, but not to me. I have lived a life of some misery till now, but I have also had some great times. I have laughed and felt good things, and I have fucked and loved and been heart broken. Now what am I supposed to feel? How am I supposed to enjoy the sexuality I have taken so much pleasure in in my life, and not have it become just another throw away thing in my life?

All of these things I will have to try to answer for myself as I try to explore her and all she represents.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Not just erotic, though

The erotic nature of Aphrodite is not limited to the erotic itself. Eroticism is the art of sex. Titillation, teasing, flirting, and even things like obsession and lust are all part of the erotic experience.We are, all of us, victims to its power. We all remember that man or woman who you just couldn’t get out of your mind. We all have that memory of that one man or woman who touched you one day, and the very touch of him made you react sexually, even if there was no such intent.

The erotic nature of Aphrodite extends to the concept of sensation and all that means. The feeling of a penis in your hands is erotic, but so, I might add, is the taste of a cold orange. You might wonder how this can be, but that’s not hard to explain, because sex, as a part of the erotic art form, is all about sensation. It is all about pleasure, and sometimes, eating a cold orange is almost as intense a pleasure as sex is. “That was better than sex!” is the expression.

But the erotic, as an expansive explanation or definition of pleasure, is always with us. Aphrodite adores sweet scents and flavors as much as she loves the ac of love making, and we often forget this in our looks at this bright and broadly encompassing goddess.

Her nature is one that demands that you be aware. If you are not aware of how much you love a feeling, a taste, a smell, you may never learn to appreciate it. You may never learn to see that pleasure and thus acknowledge that part of yourself. This is an aspect of the goddess as Ourania, or Celestial. This aspect of Aphrodite is often seen as a higher aspect. One of the mind, of consideration, and of the soul. But this is a false assumption based on the Judaeo-Christian ideal. An ideal that sees the body, sex, sexuality, and eroticism as bad.

Not that Christianity is alone in this, the Greeks had philosophies of this type too, as do the Hindus and Buddhists. Philosophies in which the body and its pleasures are said to hold down the soul, keep it from flying free when life has ended.

To me, this is simply a falsehood. The great goddess of love is not intimately tied to both love, an emotion that is very much a high one. One that requires a person to sacrifice and think of another before him or herself, and to lust, the emotion that focuses on the bodies instinctive sexual reactions, for no reason. The great goddess love is tied to these for a reason, and that is that Ourania is not an aspect that is as a separation of purity and carnality, but a symbiosis of the two, a combination, a harmonious union of the purity of emotion and the carnality of lust.

Aphrodite lusts after Ares, and Ares lusts after Aphrodite. So the myth goes, and in that myth lies an interesting answer, for the goddess of love and lust and the god of war, and the restless emotional warrior spirit are joined and give us Harmonia. Love and Lust, bound together into Harmony.

Amen, brothers and sisters :-)

On Eroticism

Eroticism is one of those topics that is sometimes hard to discuss. In our culture, as Judaeo-Christian as it is, the idea of sexuality is taboo as a topic of conversation, but as a people who are searching for truths from the Gods, not from the Bible, we must come upon this topic and try to handle it with grace and truthfulness.

Eroticism is multifaceted and extremely complex a topic, and I am not expert, but as a human being, I am intimately aware of it. It permeates our natures because as mortal life forms, it is necessary for our survival as a species. But sex, sexuality, and eroticism are actually three separate things.

Sex is the act of sexual contact between people. Genitals in contact with genitals and the act of ejaculation are just base acts of instinctive nature. We are all capable of sex, and nature has made sex enjoyable because as thinking creatures, we have the capacity to ignore our instinctive urges.

Sexuality is the complex of feelings and impulses that accompany our psychological need for companionship to produce sexual attraction. This is also very much evolutionary. Physical sexual attraction is as instinctive as is sex itself, because we tend toward the beautiful, which in evolutionary terms suggests genetic health, and therefore the survival and prosperity of our species.

Eroticism, however, is a different matter all together. Eroticism is not really evolutionary, it is psychological (which is itself evolutionary, mind you) but it is possible to think of eroticism in terms of art. If sex and sexuality are the clay and tools, then eroticism is the artist, for that is exactly what eroticism is, an art form.

Aphrodite is the goddess of this art form. Hers is a combination of all things erotic, of the sex, the sexuality, and the ability to instill thought and higher feeling into these for the sake of a better experience. We humans, under her tutelage, have made of sex an art, a philosophy, and a playful expression of our inner selves, and in so doing, we have made it into eroticism rather than just sex.

How we apply this art form to our lives is based on how we accept the goddess of love and eroticism into our lives, and how we are willing to express that which is deepest within us to another person or people.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Erotic Aphrodite

The most oft illustrated aspect of Aphrodite is her erotic one. Her harlot aspect, as I sometimes call it. She, of all the Goddesses, embodies “The Whore” so perfectly that she has basically become a symbol of it. She has become the epitome of what it is to be a “whore.”

The word whore itself is rife with negativity in Judaeo-Christian culture, of course, because sexuality itself is looked down upon as sinful and evil to these people. Most of us grew up with this attitude, and we have been acculturated to it so that the word whore is an insult to all of us. It is a word that denotes a woman of ill repute, a tramp, someone who indiscriminately has sex with anyone, showing no sense of decorum or standards.

If this is how we in the Western World (and most patriarchal societies) see the whore, then this is not really Aphrodite at all. Aphrodite is not an indiscriminate whore, Zeus might be more of a whore than she is, but rather she is that woman who is fully aware of her power over those who find her attractive and utilizes that power. She is beautiful, and knows it, and is not afraid of that beauty. She is sexual, horny if you will, and is not only not afraid of that, but proudly makes it known.

She is sexually vibrant, sexually powerful, and sexually free, and she teaches us that this is not something to be afraid of, and especially, not something to be ashamed of.