Aphrodite = the Virgin Mary?

So the other day, I was sitting at the kitchen table attempting to take notes on Eliade’s book when suddenly I was surrounded by children. I had a moment of sympathy for Harriet Beecher Stowe and then gave up my academic intentions and started showing them pictures from my Gallery. My mythically inclined nephew T-, who asks me to tell him myths whenever we drive anywhere, wanted to see pictures of monsters. So I began with the Hydra, Echidna, and Cerberus. At that point, L- sat down with us. L- is the totally awesome ancient wrinkled lady who is deaf and mute and so full of joy and was adopted by my husband’s family three generations ago here in Ecuador. She doesn’t have any formal sign language, but still makes herself more or less understood. So do we. So with the help of the pictures, I started to explain who these monsters were to L- as well as T- and I-, the oldest niece. We moved onto Medusa, the Sphinx, then the Sirens.

At that point, I started to forget what other monsters I- could show (no internet to remind me of the lists I’ve made!) and I- started to get bored. Instead I- asked to see some pictures of the goddesses and I was happy to oblige. When I got to Aphrodite I remembered to explain to L- who she was, so I made as if to pray, then vamped a sexy sort of beauty as best I could. We continued and eventually the kids got bored, but when I turned to L- she asked to see the images of Aphrodite again and again until my laptop ran out of batteries.

Ecuador is about 90% Catholic and there are images of the Virgin Mary everywhere. It occurred to me after that since L- can’t read, and DOES know Mary, it is highly likely that the two have been conflated in her head. Maybe this makes me a bad person, but secretly I think that is AWESOME.


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