Like mortals, gods and goddesses have fragile (if not more) egos and can get easily offended. If you’re reading this post, you may already know a thing or two about how angry deities can get and what the consequences of causing their wrath are. Humans aren’t the only ones who can make spirits upset, but other “fellow” gods as well, and usually those are the disputes that lead to more catastrophic results. In this post, I’ll be going over one of the most well-known rivalries of the Greek pantheon: Aphrodite and Persephone. If you’re a witch who’s looking into worshiping or working with one or both of these goddesses, keep reading, as this is essential information that will help you keep a harmonious relationship with both of them and avoid energetic clashes in your home.
One of the main reasons why they don’t get along is due to Aphrodite’s jealousy of Persephone’s good looks. (Aphrodite is the Goddess of beauty afterall.) It is not a secret that one of the causes for Aphrodite’s wrath is being defeated in the beauty department. So, it’s only natural that she resents the Queen of the Underworld, for Persephone has been constantly complimented in regards to her grace and delicate features. Moreover, there are two popular myths that provide further explanation about the feud between Aphrodite and Persephone: the one about Psyche and Eros, and the one about Adonis.
In the first myth, we follow Psyche, who was a mortal and the youngest of three daughters of a Greek king and queen. She was so fair that many subjects compared her to the Goddess of Love and Beauty, and sometimes even had the audacity to claim that Psyche was more beautiful than Aphrodite. In spite of her charm, Psyche was the only one who was yet to be married, which was unusual for such a lovely girl, but such was her beauty that men preferred to admire her than to wed her. It is said that Aphrodite’s temples were empty and her devotees were no longer worshiping her because they were too busy admiring the mortal’s gorgeousness. Enraged, the goddess sent her son Eros, God of Love and Sex, to shoot an arrow through the human’s heart and make her fall in love with the most hideous monster on Earth. Eros obliged and went down to the Mortal Realm to find Psyche. The king, worried that his daughter’s splendor wasn't enough to have candidates asking for her hand in marriage, consulted the Oracle of Delphi to find a solution. The Oracle responded that the young princess was destined to marry a beast that even the gods would fret its name, and so, he should dress her in funeral clothes and take her to the highest summit of his kingdom, where she would lay, awaiting her doom. Against his better judgement, the king did what the Oracle had asked. Pysche waited and waited, but the “beast” never appeared. Eros finally found her and, like the other mortals, also was mesmerized by her beauty. Instead of obeying his mother’s orders, he took Psyche to his palace, where she moved in after their wedding. The princess ignored the real identity of her new husband, for he wore a helmet and had warned her to never see his face or speak his true name, but still she grew fond of him, eventually. On one occasion when Eros left the palace, Psyche’s sisters paid her a visit and filled her mind with doubts about who she had married. They convinced her to take a peek at him when he was asleep. Psyche’s curiosity got the best of her, so she did what her sisters’ had suggested. When she got close enough to see his face, Psyche became aware of who her husband truly was. She gasped, which caused Eros to wake up. Devastated by his wife’s betrayal, the god vented to his mother and Aphrodite decided to have her fun with the mortal who had broken her son’s heart.
She put Psyche through four trials, one more difficult than the other. For her last and most difficult task, the princess had been asked to go down to the Underworld and get Persephone’s beauty. The Queen of the Hades, moved by the mortal’s determination to accomplish her mission, gave her a box that she said contained what the Goddess of Love had requested. Close to finishing the task, Psyche decided to take a look inside the box, but when she opened it, she discovered that what it contained wasn’t Persephone’s beauty, it was a deep slumber. Having forgiven his wife, Eros saw to her slumber and took her to Olympus, where Zeus assigned her the title of Goddess of the Soul and turned her immortal. Eventually, Eros and Psyche resumed their marriage and lived happily.
In the second myth, we learn about a very handsome young man called Adonis, who Aphrodite had found as a baby and took care of him for a while. Unable to continue to nourish him, the Goddess of Love and Beauty took him to the Underworld and asked Persephone to take him in temporarily until he became a grown man. Years after, when Aphrodite returned to the Realm of the Dead, she realized how attractive Adonis was and fell in love with him. The problem was that Persephone had also fallen for him and refused to let him go. Seeing that the dispute between the goddesses would end in chaos, Zeus decided to interfere and arranged that the mortal would spend one third of the year with Aphrodite, one third with Persephone, and the last third with anyone he wanted. As he was also in love with the Goddess of Love, Adonis decided that he would spend the remaining third of the year with her. In the end, neither goddess got to keep Adonis, for he had been killed while he was hunting. Some versions of this myth claim that he perished in Aphrodite’s arms and as she cried, her tears mixed with his blood brought to life an anemone flower. The Goddess of Beauty had loved him so much that she even held celebrations in his honor.
Now you know why these two goddesses should be treated with caution, and are aware that working with them (especially at the same time) is not going to be a piece of Olympian cake. You can clearly see how competitive they can get with each other and how far they can go to outsmart the other. Please note that I don’t mean to discourage you from working with any of them. Actually, it’s the opposite. Spirits can be quite volatile, so, being prepared is always a good idea. As I’ve mentioned earlier, because of Aphrodite and Persephone lack of sympathy for each other, dealing with their energies simultaneously could be hectic, and by knowing all of this beforehand, you can make sure that you will create a space for them in which peace and harmony will prevail. If you are still interested in deity work, please check out our Working With Deities, A Beginner's Guide to Deity Work, and Signs Persephone Is Calling You posts, where you’ll find more tips and information. In spite of their rivalry, these goddesses are capable of separating their devotees from their personal quarrell. Therefore, don’t be concerned about Persephne not wanting to work with you because you are already working with Aphrodite, or vice versa. Each of them will teach you something unique. Be mindful, though, of having separate altars for them and not invoking them at the same time.
I hope you’ve found this information highly useful. Let me know down below if you have worked with any of them or are planning to reach out to them!