Love and beauty are often tied hand in hand. These attributes are personified in highly attractive deities of both genders. The most recognizable is Aphrodite (Venus) in Greco-Roman mythology who was famously depicted by Botticelli as rising naked from the ocean while standing on a seashell.
Aphrodite (Venus) was sensual in both form and nature. She was known for her wandering eye, always searching for a better suiter worthy of her physical attributes than her crippled husband, Hephaestus (Vulcan). She was repulsed by her husband’s physical deformity and pursued far more “beautiful”, so to speak, males. One of her many illegitimate children was Eros (Cupid), god of sensual love and desire. Eros is a fitting offspring genetically linked to the goddess of love. Hermaphroditus was another child of Aphrodite from her tryst with the god Hermes. The boy’s name comes from blending both parents’ names. The sea nymph Salmacis fell in love with him. She prayed to the gods to unite them forever and their two forms blended into one. The term hermaphrodite comes from his name and refers to a person born with both sets of genitalia.
Though these Greco-Roman deities serve as the main basis of the Theriomorph representation of love, other mythologies have notable versions as well. In Nordic mythos, Freya is the goddess that represents love and beauty. Like Aphrodite (Venus), she could not stay faithful to her husband Odr, but this will be discussed further in a future blog. Ishtar from Mesopotamia was not only the goddess of sexual love but also—strangely enough—the goddess of war. In the Ancient Egyptian pantheon, multiple gods and goddesses represent love including the cow headed deity, Hathor; the cat headed goddess, Bastet; and Min, the god always depicted with an erection.
In Theriomorph mythology, the bachelor god Himeros originally oversaw love. He was eternally attracted to all that was beautiful. Eventually his eye landed upon Slypher, the goddess of earth who was the mate of Valcum, god of fire. Himeros would not be kept from his desire and raped Slypher when Valcum was away.
Crocotta, queen of the gods and guardian of mating rights, conceived the perfect punishment. As a result of that heinous act, Himeros would be transformed into a female and married off to Ucrin, god of the sea, whose harsh temper was known to all. Himeros became the goddess Frij who was also associated with hermaphrodites.
This episode, though brutal, was also influenced by another Greek story. The blind prophet Tiresias who appears in many ancient epic poems including Homer’s The Odyssey and work by Hesiod, was once transformed into a woman for seven years by Hera, queen of the gods, as punishment for attacking a pair of copulating serpents.
Himeros/Frij is a god/goddess both worshiped and despised by Theriomorphs. He/she earns as strange a respect as his/her life’s story. This deity of love and beauty is a truly unique representation in this archetype.
Please note that these images came from: http://invocation-rituals.blogspot.com/2009/07/invocation-of-god-and-goddess.html and http://tl.fanpop.com/clubs/hades-and-persephone/images/41679798/title/hades-persephone-fanart