Aphrodite and Athene are not fundamentally opposed to one another. Mythically, they had conflicts at times and they had tensions between one another, indeed, it can be pretty clear that being madly in love with someone can detract from scholarly studies, cause one to act foolishly, excessive love-making may lead to a neglect of certain household duities and tasks as well as neglecting your crafts to a greater or lesser-degree, and detract from clear and level-headed thinking in war. Likewise, when one throws themselves fully into their studies, research, or employ only a logical approach to things they may miss out on the wonders of sex and romantic and/or erotic love (after all, few people like to repeatedly screw someone that has the romantic capacity of a thumbtack, just saying). But the ability to disrupt the domains of one another does not mean that they are antithetical to each other. indeed, I think they can compliment one another quite well.
When you indulge in the pleasures of Aphrodite in moderation (and in a safe way) you at the very least fulfill a biological urge that could otherwise lead to a psychological tension and stress and a feeling of depression (I know that going without sex for a long time makes me grow lethargic, apathetic, and extremely sad as well as generating anxiety for some reason) at the best one gets a strong and solid partner (or partners if that is your thing) who will help support you in your endeavors and pursuits, and this is where Aphrodite's blessings compliment Athene's blessings. The blessings associated with Athene often also come with a lot of stress (be it becoming a good teacher, a good student, good at your art, a skilled tactician, or a myriad number of other things) which a person may find bearable going solo for a while, but which grind down on you over time. A partner can be a vital source of support and encouragement in your endeavors, allowing you to drive on with strength and a focus of vision that you might not have otherwise. So, Aphrodite compliments Athene, but how does Athene compliment Aphrodite?
Anyone who has been in a relationship knows one thing, inevitably you will have a conflict of some sort. It is what happens. This doesn't just go for romantic relationships, friends, bosses and employees, teachers and students, roomies, parents with their children, the list goes on. Any form of human relationship will generate conflict at some point if they are around each other for long enough. A big part of being able to deal with and sustain the relationship though, is not allowing the conflict to become overblown. This is especially vital with romantic relationships since letting strife get to severe levels will cause a lot of pain, conflict, and grief for both parties and will likely lead to the dissolution of the relationship (which will likely cause wretched and horrid amounts of emotional agony.) Staying calm and level-headed can help prevent these inevitable conflicts from getting out of control, and thus can preserve the integrity of the relationship. On a more purely physical note, Athene allows the gifts of Aphrodite to be enjoyed responsibly. It can be all too easy to get wrapped up in the lust and passion of the moment and forget to behave responsibly, which can lead to accidental pregnancies or catching STDs both of which can generate equal amounts of heartache and/or despair and difficulty. Enjoying Aphrodite's gifts but having the clarity to enjoy them responsibly is vital and requires an amount of level-thinking despite the emotional intensity (and this goes double for turning down sex because you lack a condom or the ability to use/acquire/you forgot to take that morning birthcontrol.) Athene compliments Aphrodite's domains even at their most physical and most shallow levels.
We can see then, that like many Gods, Athene and Aphrodite compliment each other wonderfully.
I would like for everyone to keep in mind though, these are not the only ways in which they compliment and support one another, nor do these things contain the expression of the entirety of their domains. The Gods are complex entities which support each other in a variety of ways.
|The Judgement of Paris by The Consortium on flickr|