Ovum d’Aphrodite

April 11, 2011

As an artist, if I were to have a “mission statement”, it is to bring an awareness of eros, of love and beauty, feeling and intuition, mystery and passion back into our overly masculine perception of the world.

Empowering the feminine.

Two weeks ago I quoted from a poem by M.C. Richards — “Aphrodite lifts her foaming mouth to the beach and steps from her shell” — and went on to describe how the symbolic meaning of the sea shell, as found in most paintings of the birth of the Greek Aphrodite or Roman Venus, is that it represents the vulva; the external organ of generation in the female.

Richards also uses the word “foaming”. And this comes from the etymology of Aphrodite herself which means “rising foam”. (In Greek, sea foam is called ‘aphros.’) The below painting by Ingres shows Aphrodite surrounded by sea foam.

Most interesting, however, is that the story of her birth all started when Cronus, the youngest son of the Earth goddess Gaia, castrated his father Uranus with a sickle and tossed the genitals into the ocean (or, we could say, back into the feminine waters of Gaia). The sea foam that resulted from this potent mix of male and female energies gave rise to Aphrodite, the goddess of fertility, love and beauty.

All the above is by way of introducing the reader to the finished sculpture I first wrote about in my blog entry of November 29 when it was first being carved.

Four and a half months later, ‘Ovum d’Aphrodite’ is finished.

The finished piece is about the size that the fully mature Aphrodite would have stepped from. But this sculpture nestles Aphrodite — as a fertilized egg — into a stylized womb that itself is nestled into a scallop shell.

Within the inner sanctum of the vulva, the egg of the soon to be born Aphrodite is placed into a chalice that is comprised of two crescent shaped moons/boats that join to create the pointed oval vesica piscis that is often painted as an aureole around the Virgin Mary’s head.

Seen from behind, the sculpture’s labia exude a more visceral, muscled quality.

Seen from the front, the stylized labia can take on the appearance of a fur coat surrounding a neck or head. The question has to then be asked: Are the full lapel collars used in fashion an unconscious representation of the vulva?

Can we start to speak more honestly about the presence of the feminine, hidden or otherwise, in our world?

I guess I just want to say that these old stories, although much forgotten, are still a part of us. They need to be re-membered, made alive once again through the artist’s eyes, hands and heart and given a new life; a new birth, so to speak.

And before any reader starts thinking that I’m just a wimpy SNAG (sensitive new age guy), think again. Aphrodite’s immense, overpowering beauty and her ability to love with deep passion was the result of the union of the masculine (sky god Uranus) and the feminine (earth goddess Gaia).

In nature as in most things, it takes two to tangle/tango.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Rod West May 16, 2011 at 12:26 pm

A profound piece of work. To reveal the sacred, the source of all life and celebrate it is something sadly missing in our world. Instead we seek to hide and treat as somehow unholy that which is most precious.

Bini May 7, 2011 at 7:49 am

What an honor it must be. To be wood. In your hands.
How would it be in the world if human beings could form each other so beautifully…

Glenn April 14, 2011 at 5:59 pm


Your Ovum d’Aphrodite’ is like the retelling of a very old story that has sat quietly for much too long and is once again beginning to awaken in the minds and hearts of folk all over the world. Thank you for being part of that story.

A beautiful piece or art and craftsmanship. It must have been a great pleasure to carve into its current shape and form!

Rock on


Douglas Webster April 13, 2011 at 9:39 am

The images only begin to capture the sumptuous quality of the piece itself. It is truly your most accomplished work to date, Peter, and certainly as important in terms of expressing the Divine Feminine aspects of your output. New visions will spring from this talisman, my old friend. And So Be It and So It Is.

Ann Morley April 12, 2011 at 5:52 am

I hardly know what to say, except that I long to see the sculpture, to touch it and in some way to feel held by it. This is such a beautiful work both in itself and in what it springs from and represents, in the strength of the wood and the softness of the waves and curves you have made so alive.
Thank you Peter

Jerry de Gryse April 11, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Beautiful work Peter…

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