Sunday, 18 January 2009


“A woman can say more in a sigh than a man can say in a sermon.” T. Arnold Haultain

“Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars” by John Gray was published in 1992 and created quite a stir, although there was nothing much in it that was new. Gray was considering the age-old question, “Are men and women different and in what way?” The author uses the metaphor of women being Venusians and men being Martians as a way of illustrating the fundamental differences between the two sexes, that are so vast, they may as well be from different planets. Contrary to most psychologists Gray stresses these differences more than the similarities and uses examples to highlight them, especially in the way the two sexes react to stress and the way they resolve problems.

Venus and Mars were the Roman equivalents to the Greek Aphrodite and Ares, the gods of love and war respectively. That these two gods personified the archetypal female and male is not chance as they each as characteristics essential female and male traits. Numerous pieces of art in ancient Greece and Rome glorified these two gods, especially so Aphrodite/Venus. In the renaissance the ancient ideals were revivified and the ancient gods were resurrected.

Today a painting from 1483 by Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) that depicts Venus and Mars after an adulterous assignation (Venus was married to the lame god Vulcan). Mars, exhausted, slumbers while Venus keeps vigil, her face calm yet alert, serene yet hiding much internal turmoil. Around them young fauns cavort and play with Mars’ armour, but not even the clash of iron nor the conch’s sound will wake the god of War. The clothed Venus, a picture of modesty, conceals an adulteress. Mars’ undress underlines the unruly young god’s insouciance and his only concern the sowing of wild oats…
Enjoy the week ahead…

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