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With Valentines Day rapidly approaching love is on our minds & a source of meditation or reflection. Without a doubt, love can be one of the most magnificent feelings in the world & we associate this ‘feeling’ with many different aspects…be that the love for a friend, lover, family member or even our pets. Many, many moons ago I studied Ancient Greek & then some years later Modern Greek (but that’s for another story!)
The Ancient Greeks had eight words that corresponded to different types of love:-
Eros (romantic, passionate love)
The first kind of love is Eros, named after the Greek God of fertility. Eros is all about heady passion, cardinal lust & pleasure.
The ancient Greeks considered Eros to be a dangerous & frightening experience, as it involves losing control & focuses on the primal desire to reproduce. Eros is an intense form of love that arouses both romantic & sexual feelings. The Modern Greek word ‘erotas’ means ‘intimate love’ and in modern language erotic.
In the Symposium the most famous ancient work on the subject or Eros, Plato has Socrates argue that eros helps the soul to recall the knowledge of beauty & contributes to an understanding of spiritual truths.
Philia (affectionate love)
The second type of love is Philia, or friendship.
Plato felt that physical attraction was not a necessary part of love, hence the modern use of the word platonic to mean, ‘without any physical attraction’.
Agape (selfless, universal love)
The third is Agape, selfless universal love, such as the love for strangers, earth, or a god, often described as ‘brotherly’ love the type of love we use towards our partner or children. This type of love was further explained by Thomas Aquinas as “to will the good of another".
This love is totally unconditional, larger than us, a compassionate love in which an infinite empathy is extended to everyone.
Storge (familiar love)
Storge is a natural form of affection experienced for our family members.
It is a caring, protective, kinship-based love that is common between parents & their offspring/children & their parents.
Storge is also used to describe that sense of patriotism we feel towards our country or an allegiance to our favourite team.
Mania (obsessive love)
When an extreme love turns to obsessive behaviour, controlling behaviours exhibited then it becomes mania. Stalking, co-dependency, jealousy, & domestic abuse are all symptomatic forms of mania.
Ludus (playful love)
The Ancient Greeks thought of ludus as a playful form of love. It is that tender early feeling of ‘having a crush’ & acting upon it, or the affection between innocent young lovers.
Pragma (enduring love)
Pragma is the love that is built upon commitment, understanding of each other & the long-term best interests of a partner.
It is a love that has aged, matured & includes compromising in order to help the relationship work over time, also demonstrating patience, kindness & tolerance.
Philautia (self love)
The Ancient Greeks fully understood that in order to care for others, we must at first learn to care for ourselves. Interestingly, the Greeks further divided this love into both positive and negative! one, the negative version, being the self-obsessed love, & the positive being the concept of self-compassion.
As Aristotle said “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself.”
Whatever loves we are feeling this year for Valentines Day, I sincerely hope that it includes Philautia which is critical for us all to get through these strange & demanding times.
amethyst hue razor bright;
you dwell in love
with unconditional rites of passage.
you elevate energy;
crystallised in transparency.
your love intense,
your wings… spanned.
to fly and be flown.
circular flight path
with wider and swallowed
circumference of zen light;
touching and being touched.
you float effortlessly.
growth in your soul
a place of purpose
a universal resting place
of eternal energy.
I pay homage as your equal;
your student and your angel.
to you; I
dedicate my shiva hymn.
Agape Mou Art Warriors