In conversation with a friend who recently experienced a dramatic physical transformation, she shared that in looking so much better she finally felt worthy of a loving relationship. I wasn’t startled by this statement, probably because of its familiarity. I’ve heard it expressed in some form by a number of my women friends and unfortunately, it isn’t surprising given the value our culture places on physical looks, especially and unfairly–a woman’s looks.

As she spoke, I was happy for her that she was feeling her best, but I also found myself reflecting on familiar archetypes, specifically Aphrodite (also known in the Roman pantheon as “Venus”). In ancient Greece Aphrodite was worshipped as the ultimate goddess of beauty, femininity, and love. She enjoyed a massive cult following. Even today she is arguably the best-known of the Greco-Roman goddesses, perhaps due in part to Botticelli’s famous painting of Venus/Aphrodite perched atop a scallop shell—an image that is ubiquitous in pop culture.

But Aphrodite was more than just a pretty face. She was a fierce feminine archetype secure in her own agency, and confident in the knowledge that she was beautiful, powerful, and completely worthy of the love and adoration she received. She didn’t hesitate to unleash her wrath onto men and women alike who did not pay her the respect due her. As the personification of feminine power, no one had to convince Aphrodite of her worthiness–she was born knowing it.

And so, with the spirit of Aphrodite in mind, I said to my friend, “I am really, really happy for you, but you know, you have always been beautiful and worthy of love.” I repeated, “You have always been beautiful and worthy of love.” And I’m pretty sure I said it once again, “You have always been beautiful and worthy of love.”

I’m afraid I am often given to repeating myself—forgive me. But as women, as humans, let that phrase be our mantra. You don’t have to look a certain way, especially to meet our society’s ridiculously unattainable standard of physical beauty. You don’t have to do anything or be anything other than authentic—the singularly original you. Trust that this is your birthright as a human: you were born beautiful, and you are worthy of love.

As is often the case when I give any consideration to an aspect of the human condition, I was inspired to create something to help me express it.  This piece is intended to remind its wearer of the Aphrodite archetype and to call on its healing and empowering energies when in need. Along with astonishing power, this goddess also encompasses the maternal paradigm (her counterpart in Tarot is The Empress), which in this design is represented by the fullness of Mother Moon, with the crescent and half-moon shapes as further tribute to her femininity. The form at the bottom is known as the Vesica Piscis, and is perhaps the most sacred and feminine of ancient symbols linked to this deity, symbolizing creation. My hope is that embracing the archetype of Aphrodite will encourage us to work on increasing the self-love that allows self-worthiness and self-confidence to blossom, ultimately creating a more beautiful and abundant life experience.

The symbol for female (♀) known as the “Venus symbol” is also the alchemical symbol for copper. “Aphrodite” is fabricated from recycled sterling silver and copper. The pendant measures one inch wide with a three-inch drop and will be available at the upcoming Kentucky Crafted Market to be held at Alltech Arena in the Kentucky Horse Park, March 12 & 13.

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