Cy·the·ra (s-thîr, sthr-) also Kí·thi·ra (kth-rä)
and Kythera (keye-thear-uh) An island of
southern Greece (also known as Cerigo) in
the Mediterranean Sea south of the
Peloponnesus. Southernmost of the
Ionian Islands, it was the chief center for
the worship of Aphrodite.
The adoration of Aphrodite comes from
the East. Phoenicians brought their
adoration to Kythera and her first name
was Astarti. Her full name is Celestial Aphrodite. The name Celestial
connects the Aphrodite with the Phoenicians because the goddess
Astarti was the Phoenician queen of the sky. Also for the Greeks,
Aphrodite was the daughter of the Uranus so the name Celestial is
from that fact. According to the linguists, Aphrodite probably took her
name from the froths of the sea where she was born. Froth = aphros
(Greek) = Aphrodite. Some people say that Aphrodite’s adoration first
came to Kythera from the Assyrians, but Paphsanias says that the
Kytherians learned the adoration of the Aphrodite from the
Phoenicians. Also Homer calls the Aphrodite "Kytheria." According to
Hesiod, Kythera is were Aphrodite was born, whose sanctuary was
considered to be the most respectable. In Kythera Aphrodite was
adorated as the goddess of pure love and in Cyprus as the goddess of
In Greece Aphrodite had many names based on the characteristics
attributed to her personality and her origin. Some of them are:
"Anadiomeni," "Aphrogeneia," "Anosia," "Assyria," "Asiraia," "Bareia,"
"Geneteira," "Galinea," "Doritis," "Etaira," "Erytraia," "Erototrofos,"
"Zirini," "Ira," "Thalassia," "Thalassigonos," "Iostefanos," "Knidia,"
"Kytheria," "Kythiri," "Kypris," "Limenisia," "Melanis," "Morpho,"
"Nimphi," "Nikteria," "Ourania," "Oinobaris," "Olympia," "Pandimos,"
"Psevdonymphephtos," "Pontia," "Poikilothronos," "Philostefanos,"
"Philonymphios," "Philandros," "Rododaktilos," "Stefaniphoros," "Syria,"
"Semni," and "Troizina".
Her attributes are : the dolphin, the dove, the swan, the pomegranate
and the lime tree.
Aphrodite had a great temple on the village "Palaiopoli." Now there is
the church of St. Kosmas, which was built over the ruins of the old
temple and used the marbles of the ancient temple. About the temple
of the Aphrodite in Kythera, Paphsanias says that it was the most
sacred and the most ancient in Greece. Also about 1798, a French
commissar said that he saw a cornice with the inscription "Temple of
the Aphrodite goddess, lady of Kythera and the whole world".
Kythera was one of five oracles like Delphi. There are hieroglyphics
from the first Egyptian dynasty that are in praise and gratitude to the
Priestesses of the island of Kythera for curing Pharaohs and the royal
family through their songs!
In the Louvre in Paris there is an old oil painting there entitled "Kythera:
Journey of the Soul" It is a painting of women Priestesses having a
ceremony on a lush forested island in a Greek temple. The expression
associated with Kythera of "Journey of the Soul" make sense because of
the symbology of Aphrodite's birth. The island would represent matter,
manifestation, physical embodiment. The sea represents traditionally
birth and the emotions. The interaction of earth and water, or our
physical existence and our emotions, would birth Aphrodite, or love.
Eros originally was not profane (that's a modern Christian
interpretation). Eros was the idea of the understanding and honoring
of the sanctity of life, the passion and connection that all manifestation
has with each other..."all life is connected."
"There spread a circle of white foam from the immortal flesh,
and in it grew a girl,
whose course first took her to holy Kythera,
and from there she afterward made her way to sea-washed Cyprus and
stepped ashore, modest lovely goddess,
and about her light and slender feet the grass grew,
and the gods call her Aphrodite,
and men do too,
and the aphro-foam-born goddess,
and garlanded Kythereia,
because from the seafoam she grew,
and Kythereia because she had gone to Kythera."
There are many myths associated with the island. One myth says that
the first sailor in the world was from Kythera! That man was in love
with a woman when Kythera was joined with Peloponissos. A big
earthquake separated the island from Peloponissos and he created the
first raft in the history to go to meet his love!
Other usages of the name Kythera...
Kythera is the name for the melodious sounds (commonly
associated with a harp) in Egyptian.
Tahiti is also called New Kythera.
In Scotland there is a Gaelic word kythe which is the concept of
giving freely of the Spirit, a kyther is one who "gives as the song of the
soul," a poetic coincidence?
Asteroid 570 has the name Kythera.
A seashell has the name Kythera and belongs to the family of
There is another seashell named Cythere or Cytherea that belongs
to the Mollusques (Meretrix) family.
There is also a seashell named Cytherelle, which also belongs to
the Kytheroids family.
A moth has the name of Kythera. Sometimes it is listed under the
name Cerigo that is the alternate name of Kythera.
Kythera, also shares its name with some plants. One kind of
Orchids is named Cytheris, another is Cytheris Lindley in Wall which is a
synonymous for the flower Calanthe.
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