The Birth of Venus

The most famous account of the mythical origin of Aphrodite is the one given by the poet Hesiod (Theogony). When Cronos castrated his father Uranus and threw his genitals into the sea, a shining white foam or "aphros" is produced. From this arises a beautiful goddess who floats slowly to Cyprus where she steps ashore, causing grasses and flowers to spring from her slender feet. Gods and mortals call her Aphrodite because she was born from 'aphros.'

While most accounts translate this politely as "seafoam," the alternative translation of aphros is "semen." Through this translation we can more easily see the origin of Aphrodite as a Greek adaptation of Vedic cosmology where Vena (Venus) is inseminated by Surya (the Sun) and bears life into the sea. Most scientists might even agree with this idea, since light certainly does feed sea plants through photosynthesis, thus supporting the emergence of biological life first in the ocean and then on land.

Interestingly, we find this same etymology in the name of the largest continent on Earth. Given that the mountains of North Africa were named after the Greek god Atlas, it is only natural that Africa (or Aphroca) would have been named after Greek Aphrodite and the aphros of Uranus.

NOTE: The illustration shows Botticelli's Birth of Venus with her invisible Star and golden section added back in.