The Birth of Venus, by Sandro Botticelli c. 1485–1486.
The Painting: A depiction of Hesiod’s version of the birth of Aphrodite “based on the derivation of her name from aphros ‘foam’, by which she emerged fully grown from the sea at Paphos in Cyprus or on Cythera. For when Cronos had cut off the genitals of her father Uranus, he flung them into the sea; the foam gathered around them and they were transformed into a woman.” From: Who’s Who in Classical Mythology. Oxford University Press 1993, p36.
The elusive Roman presence: A dear friend and frequent reader has proposed that a Roman commander was responsible for the creation of the temple beneath the undercroft of the chapel at Crag Abbey. Certainly Romans of some sort were responsible as they are Roman Goddesses. Perhaps I do have a Roman military commander to thank for the temple to Venus and the other goddesses surviving after the roman invasion. Although, as I’ve written elsewhere modern scholarship has the limits of the Roman Empire in the British Isles being well south of Loch Ness.
Or, perhaps it was retired Legionnaires who married into the community and then moved north who claimed the spring for their own and built the temple over it in this easily defensible location. Be that as it may the leader who had the temple constructed has not introduced him to me nor have I felt his presence when in the temple or elsewhere in the abbey. But I will be on the lookout for signs of his presence.
A handmaiden of Venus: In the temple and elsewhere I see myself primarily as a handmaiden of the Roman goddess Venus (who to the Greeks was Aphrodite) the Goddess of love and giver of beauty and sexual attraction. Of course I can’t make every woman beautiful, but I can work with individuals to make the best use of their physical and mental gifts to be as attractive as possible to men. And I see this role as fully compatible with being a Druid Priestess in the service of the Earth Mother where my job is to encourage men to plant their seed and multiply
As for the other temple deities, I don’t relate strongly with the other three Goddess depicted in the mosaic, but do take strength from some of their attributes. My not being virgin nor chaste nor wanting children hasn’t seemed to have affected my relationship with the others. Perhaps they can see my usefulness to the time in which I live and the lifestyle I lead.
- I’m not close to Diana/Artemis because of her association with virginity, except for her protection of children and wild things.
- I’m not close to Minerva/Athena goddess of the household and craftsmen and in the case of her Greek forebear, War.
- I’m not close to Juno/Hera Goddess of Childbirth, marriage and woman’s life and a strong believer in chastity.
Seduction in gasmasks: The girls and I got some of our toys out of the boxes we had sent ahead. The thing I like about girls in gasmasks is that sometimes they can hide our identities especially if the men who are seducing us aren’t very familiar with our bodies. Bea, Tanaquil and I are very close to the same size, weight, body shape and have very similar voices. Willow and the Swan twins are quite similar in physical and vocal patterns and tone so with our rabbit fur hoods hiding our hair, M10 gasmasks hiding our faces and no tats or birthmarks to help tell us apart we can cloud if not hide our identities. For the Swan twins and I gasmasks have additional desirable attributes in that even with the cheek filters removed they are hot to wear and have a heavy musky, rubbery scent in addition to making it a bit more difficult to breathe during orgasm when trying to scream and gasp for breath at the same time. I love times like that being filled with semen while struggling to breathe with rubber protecting my identity while the silicone rubber Oves or diaphragm protects my cervix while a lover does his biological best to seduce and impregnate an attractive woman whose identity he doesn’t know.
Ballet boots at Crag Abbey: It must be the masochist in me that I’ve decided to wear ballet boots for a few hours each day to give myself a bit of BDSM that I’ve begun to miss and to keep my calves in shape for ballet heels. With the rough wooden and uneven stone floors and staircases I’m wearing heel guard to prevent getting a heel stuck in a floor board or turned on an uneven stone. The good news is the stone staircases are marvelous exercise running up and down them in ballet heels. The laces have to be extra tight and I’m wearing a pair of thick woolen socks to get my insteps wedged properly into the boots for running, such as it is. Actually, running isn’t my problem as much as trying to stop w/o falling.
Of course if pursued in ballet-boots I can’t run as fast as when in pointes, but still I’m surprisingly fast. I have to remember not to fight using my heels because if I drop the heel guards I can ruin attackers’ legs with a single slash and with a dancer that would be a great shame as there are too few men in ballet as it is.
Shopping in Inverness: Some of the other girls and I went shopping in Inverness since we were beginning to get cabin fever regardless of how amazing the sex or opulent our surroundings at the Abbey. After a Christmas of lingerie, perfume and sex toys I was in the mood for something outrageous. While the other girls went looking for handmade woolens; sweaters, scarves and gloves I went off on my own.
Jack suggested I look in on a tiny jewelry shop in the High street. The owner is an elderly jewelry maker and uses some of the Scottish gold from the mine on one of His Grace’s estates. He knew immediately I was from the house-party at the Abbey and even who I was, but then I’m the only redhead in the group. Gossip is as fast in the Highlands as anywhere else in the world.
When I asked to see his pieces made Scottish Gold the owner said he had been expecting me since the Autumnal equinox which gave me a chill. None of the Scottish gold pieces were on display. He said they were for special clients. He went in to the back and came back with a small velvet box. The item of Scottish gold I bought was a high relief depiction in exquisite detail of Aphrodite rising from the sea and it weighs about 1/2oz of 18 ct. gold. It came with a matching 18 inch chain of the same gold. It looks magnificent around my neck and I decided to wear it out of the shop. After I’d paid for the pendent he wrapped the box for me and as I turned to leave he put his hand on my arm and stopped me. He called me priestess Jillian and said the Earth Mother wanted me to have a pendent sufficiently large for all to see during my ceremonial activities and had blessed him with the task of providing such a ceremonial pendent He had Made what she wanted me to have years ago and had been waiting for me to come to him because the Earth Mother told him I would.
He locked the door to the shop and took me in the back room where he opened the large safe and withdrew a large flat ebony box. He opened it and there was a much larger pendent depicting a scene identical to the one I’d just bought, the birth of Aphrodite. The larger one weighs a bit more than 2 oz. and is also of 18ct gold with a massive chain rather like medieval chains of office. The old man said the Goddess wants me to wear the larger pendent on ceremonial occasions such as the celebration of astronomical events in my capacity as a priestess. There is no clasp. It fits over the head. When he put it over my head the wide chain links on my shoulders support the weight of the massive pendent on my chest and I could feel it pulsing as though it was alive. I was in tears as we both briefly admired my reflection in a mirror then he helped me take it off and place it carefully back in its box.
When I asked how much it cost he said it had been paid for. I was speechless and pondered how the Goddess works in strange ways as he wrapped the ebony box and its treasure. I thanked him with a kiss and went off to find my friends. The smaller pendent I’ll wear daily as a talisman of my dedication to Venus/Aphrodite while the larger I will keep safe and wear only for celebrations when I’m the Goddesses representative in appropriate ceremonies.