Everyone knows "The Birth of Venus", the famous Botticelli painting that features a winsome woman with long flowing hair gliding on a sea shell towards the shore. The goddess Venus, or Aphrodite as she was also known, was said to have been born from the sea, a fully formed and beautiful woman that represented love and earthly pleasure. Plato believed that Venus represented two kinds of love; her physical beauty allowed the viewer's mind to better understand spiritual beauty, and that in looking at an image of her, a viewer would find his mind lifted to the realm of divine love. We believe that physical beauty isn't meant to guide one's spirit to an understanding of the divine, as awe-inspiring as it can be; rather we insist that it is a kind of spirituality in itself, a pathway to the divine in one's own heart. Beauty tells us what is sacred and meaningful in our own lives, not in some other imaginary realm. The physical pleasure we derive from the sight of a beautiful woman does lift our minds - but to our own higher purpose. Maybe Botticelli understood this as he made his Venus the centre of the image, engaging the viewer and challenging us to find our own meaning in her wise and wistful smile.