CHURCH OF APHRODITE
An American Pagan Reconstructionist organization intended to revitalize ancient religions and which was founded by Gleb Botkin, a Russian emigre and fiction writer, on Long Island in 1938.
Essentially monotheistic, it invoked the Venus de Medici, envisaged sex as a divine function and developed a system of clergy. Beginning with about fifty members, Botkin held services four times a week with the stated aim of seeking and developing love, beauty and harmony while suppressing ugliness and discord.
After Botkin's death in 1969, the Church of Aphrodite was continued by a former Baptist minister, W Holman Keith. As with many of the Pagan reconstructionist movements in America, the Church of Aphrodite has lost popularity in recent years in the face of an increasing interest in Wicca.
One of the major problems with 'defining' Paganism and/or its beliefs and practices is that it is an 'organic' movement, in that it is undergoing constant change and re-evaluation from within, and as such any 'one-size-fits-all' approach to understanding Paganism will be found wanting.
Due to the very 'organic' nature of Paganism, and the many differing Paths and Traditions within it, in many cases no one definition may be universally accepted by all Pagans. Therefore, where such cases of possible conflicting and/or contradictory meanings of certain terms occur I have endevoured to give not only the generally accepted meaning, but also any major 'variations' in belief and/or practice.
Christians who believe this difference in meaning of certain key terms, beliefs and practices to be unique to Paganism need to remember that such conflicts also arise within the Body of Christ - the Church. Take for instance the differing practices amongst Christians concerning Baptism and the different attitudes towards women in the clergy.
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