O, Agia Sage, be with us.
In our religion, we believe in using only Living Stream Images or Forms for Dea. For Janites, it is the Divine Sophia. Using only Living Stream images is one of the things which separates us from Neo-Paganism/Wicca. It does not matter what religion They are from, They simply have to be Living Stream. These Goddess Forms have had an unbroken line of devotion up until recent times. Examples of Living Stream Goddesses are the Celestial Mary, Sophia, Tara, Amaterasu, the Hindu Goddesses, Brighid, Quan Yin, etc. Now, we must consider Ourania Aphrodite.
Aphrodite Urania (Ancient Greek: Οὐρανία) was an epithet of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, signifying “heavenly” or “spiritual”, to distinguish her from her more earthly aspect of Aphrodite Pandemos, “Aphrodite for all the people”. The two were used (mostly in literature) to differentiate the more “celestial” love of body and soul from purely physical lust. (1) She was known as the Queen of the Heavens.
It was sometime last year when I saw a documentary (it might have been on youtube) about a group of priestesses in Greece who were conducting a worship service in honor of Aphrodite. They were not Wiccan or neo-Pagan. I don’t know if they were Hellenists or just goddess worshipers. I was quite taken with the level of respect and depth of true devotion they were exhibiting both during the ritual and afterwards, when they were being interviewed. They spoke about Aphrodite with the same awe and reverence we use when we speak about Dea. It was very different than other goddess rituals that I have witnessed. It left a deep impression on me.
Not too long ago, I learned of an underground priestess Order who have been worshiping Venus (Roman name for Aphrodite) going back to ancient times. I hope that someday soon, they will let the world know about them. If this is true, then this means that Aphrodite/Venus is a Living Stream goddess.
Just this week, we have learned of the former Church of Aphrodite which was begun by a personal physician to the Tzar and his family during the early 20th century.
Imperial Romanov Family
Dr. Gleb Botkin left Russia to come to the U. S. shortly after the terrible tragedy in Ekaterinburg, where the entire family of Tsar Nicolas was executed. (The family has since been canonized in the Russian Orthodox Church.)
He incorporated his Church of Aphrodite in New York in 1939 (not sure when it was actually founded) and it lasted until his death in 1969. What is most amazing about his legalized Church, was that it was monotheastic. This was long before neo-Paganism and the modern goddess movements began to gain a foothold in the U. S., and certainly long before the modern Madrian/Filianic movement.
The Church was more Goddess-monotheistic than polytheistic:
Aphrodite, the flower-faced, the sweetly smiling, the laughter-loving Goddess of Love and Beauty, is the self-existent, eternal and Only Supreme Deity, Creator and Mother of the cosmos, the Universal Cause, the Universal Mind, the Source of all life and all positive and creative forces of nature, the Fountainhead of all happiness and joy.
The only independent and inexhaustible Generator of Love – its Prime Source and Ultimate Object – is the Supreme Deity and Creator. Indeed, the Supreme Deity is also the Creator precisely in virtue of being the Generator of the basic creative energy in the cosmos. Parenthetically, that fact is in itself a sufficient reason…for visualizing the Supreme Deity, not as a Father God, but the Mother Goddess. Indeed, the process of an energy’s emanation from its source is an organic one. Hence, the cosmos must be regarded as the fruit of the Divine Organism – not an arbitrarily created artifact; and needless to say, it is only a feminine organism which is capable of bearing fruit…
- Gleb Botkin on Love (In Search of Reality, pp. 1-7):