Wading into the water, sun hot on my skin, the reflection of clouds and sky on its surface didn't reveal the currents and life forms swarming underneath. Maybe the moon similarly reflects the sun's light, a diversion that keeps its intentions and secret lives hidden from being known.
An astrologer explained to me once that since my moon (our emotional life) sits practically on top of my rising sign (what you present to the rest of the world) - both of which I have in Leo, ruled by the Sun, the Father Principle - then often my encounters and relationships face a confusion at their core: others will often see their own light reflected back at them, their own desires, priorities and truths, insecurities and fears, and that inability to see past their own reflection means I don't get seen at all.
Sometimes it is an immensely useful circumstance.
A book I read a long time ago described a telltale sign of a witch - when a man can see his own reflection in her eyes. A man can drown in his own reflection, and she knows that, was born with that knowledge. There is no truer love spell.
When Odysseus lashed himself to the mast of his ship and had his sailors plug their ears with beeswax, he was seeking to bear witness to the song of the Sirens without meeting his demise, and he found they too sing of the glory of whoever's ear receives those sounds. As men clamor towards visions of their glorious futures - they drown in it, are consumed by it.
Therapists and parents provide the mirrors we need to be able to see ourselves clearly as we develop a sense of identity and moral grounding, but my mother could only see herself and her needs when she looked at my face. Everyone's face, actually. Like Narcissus, we are all reflective pools for her to get lost in, an ocean of moons in orbit around her desires.
I met a man recently whose presence could almost seem innocuous, if it weren't for gentle, specific questions that seem to fall innocently from his mouth. It took me awhile to realize they were arrows, because I couldn't ever see what he was aiming at. There was no heat of judgement, or clearly discernable facial reactions to give away his thoughts or feelings, and I watched myself unspool in front of him. I listened to the things I allowed myself to say as we worked together, and I started to see the character I play in my life, the stories that I have clung to as definitions of self, I let emotions bubble to the surface that would normally never see the light, and I voiced them for his silent consideration.
I'd met another mirror.
Turns out we were born on the same day.
I usually have such easy access to other people's emotions that I wasn't sure how to respond at first. I tried a few different approaches - being expressive and searching for clues in his body language - then being blunt and straight forward - I even pried gently a few times, but he dismissed most of my attempts to peel back his reflective armor. I'm still bothered and I'm not sure why. Maybe because I don't know what character he is meant to play yet. Or maybe I've anchored myself with a sense of control over everything around me, so the unknowable is naturally disconcerting. Maybe I don't know who I am when I'm not being someone's mirror - I know how badly I want to be seen, known for who I am, but I can't assume he desires the same.
The tide pulls me in, coaxed by the moon, and the undertow tugs me out. Back and forth, rocked by the ocean. Micro-currents and vegetation caress every single part of my body with equal force and focus, as well as complete indifference, but I know myself along all of those surfaces, my unique volume and texture, sculpted by those fingers reaching shoreward and back again. This is how I always want to be held, received as what I am, no more and no less. The ocean doesn't seem confused by me. But human hands have always seemed too focused on very specific parts of me, and I am confused as to why anyone would touch those delicate places with the kind of brutality that they would never use to touch my face, the hollow of my back, the soles of my feet.
I doubt the ocean is pretending to be the sky, or that the moon has a deep fear of being misunderstood. But humans are full of stories, and maybe I play a mirror in the movie of my life as a way of being the thing that I need because I don't trust anyone else to do it, and maybe I touch others with the insistent gentleness I crave - since it means in some small way that I am being touched back, that my hands on someone's body is a two way street, and their skin might yearn towards me subtly, beyond their awareness.
Wading out of the surf, waves coalesce into foam around me, the sand melts away under the sturdiness of my footsteps. It is so easy to forget myself in the ebb and flow of other people's stories, but in the gentle indifference of the water, everything I don't need is washed away, and clarity is all that's left. I know my birthright as I wring water from my hair and a faint salt crust sparkles on my sun-warm skin.
I will wear that salt as long as I can.
Aphrodite is consistently portrayed, in every image and story, as having had no childhood.
In the most famous version of her myth, her birth was the consequence of a castration: Cronus severed Uranus' genitals and threw them behind him into the sea. The foam from his genitals gave rise to Aphrodite (hence her name, meaning "foam-arisen"), while the Erinyes (furies), and the Meliae emerged from the drops of his blood. Hesiod states that the genitals "were carried over the sea a long time, and white foam arose from the immortal flesh; with it a girl grew." The girl, Aphrodite, floated ashore on a scallop shell.
Aphrodite's husband Hephaestus is one of the most even-tempered of the Hellenic deities, the god of blacksmithing/ironwork.