One of the more extreme claims in my book is that Aphrodite (or previous incarnation of her) was the bearded god visiting these countries in the guise of a male.Granted, the emphasis in the Venus Barbata is the word, “Venus.”
There are, of course, other reasons why Aphrodite would be considered bearded. Some say she began as a hermaphrodite. This was likely not due to biology but rather her ability to exhibit very aggressive and masculine traits.
Additionally, she was quite open to most forms of sexual expression and “alternative” lifestyles and other embodiment. She was an LGBTQ+ ally before that was even a thing.
And another reason that Eve might have been so eager to take Samael may have also been the reason Adon did not want to mate with her. Adon was made in the image of God. It has long been hypothesized that God has a female and male side. So Adon may have also and found himself romantically attracted to males rather than females but did not want Samael as a partner (or more likely Samael did not want him). Hence he agreed to Eve as a companion. This would make sense since the term is Venus Barbata and not Aphrodite Barbata.
It is also likely that Aphrodite might have served as a beard for Dionysus and that is why he grew so angry with her when the relationship ended.
And Aphrodite may have been eager for the apple of discord as either a weapon or rather because it signified her ability to marry Samael. Perhaps she had been relegated, with Adon, to being in a “bearded relationship.” This is just one theory explored in The Fallen Goddess.