My own recent creative dry spell has had me thinking about the nature of the dry spell, and how to escape it’s clutches. In my meditations on the issue, I began thinking about Aphrodite, and what her story might have to teach us about the impact of dryness on creating something new.
Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty. She is one of the earliest of the traditional pantheon. Her story began when, at the beginning of time, Gaea (Earth) and Uranus (Sky) were still fused together, to the point that their children could not be born. Gaea asked her son Cronus to separate them, and Cronus took a blade of adamant and sliced off Uranus’ genitals, finally separating the two. When Uranus’ semen mixed with sea water Aphrodite was born of the sea foam.
Like many early goddesses, she is associated with fertility and fecundity, and this is an important part of her aspect. She creates the desire to reproduce, which is an essential aspect to fertility.
She is also associated with flowers, for both their beauty and scent (as well as their function as sexual organs).
Finally, she is considered the goddess of moisture, as in the morning dew, and the moistness necessary for fertility. Both plants and animals require moisture at appropriate levels in order to create new life, and it is in this space that Aphrodite rules.
What can we learn from Aphrodite about creativity? Of course, creativity and fertility are related concepts, as they both involve bringing a new life into the world, whether it’s a child or a new idea or piece of art. When we reflect on Aphrodite’s archetypal qualities, we can see that we need that appropriate level of moisture in our creative lives, to prevent and cure those creative dry spells. We honor Aphrodite by keeping our creative selves moist, by bringing the life-giving water to our endeavors.
So, the next question is, how do we do that? I’ve been thinking about this for the past several weeks, as I worked through ending my own dry spell. I think the answer lies in consuming art and new ideas. One of my favorite ways to get myself “unstuck” with my writing is to visit a museum or catch a performance. I always seem to get a new idea from something I see or hear there, and that new idea or insight can bring the moisture back into my creative life.
Are you feeling stuck creatively, or have you been? Does this approach work for you?