Wisdom & Power of the Ancients Bless Our Journey Deocil Amen
Carmen: Posted on Friday, May 04, 2012 11:38 PM
Find your Goddess Archetype
A new Goddess Profile will be added to the blog daily
Find the Goddess that is guiding you
How can ancient mythological goddess concepts be useful to women, today, in understanding their contemporary reality and concerns? This web site offers its readers information leading to understanding of these goddess types & qualities, offering women new paths to self-discovery, personal development and fulfilling direction. Discovering goddess influences within a woman can guide her Being in creating her own true-life story--not a story directed by others. Such understanding and inner access can guide a woman in making conscious choices that have personal meaning and fulfillment for her, as an individual.
Understanding goddess types offers a woman very specific means of increased self-awareness of herself, her relationship to her lover, partner, her way of parenting her children, her inner urges in her self-expression and creativity. New ways of understanding feminine psychology have been emerging in the past twenty years--from a feminine perspective. In a society that has trivialized the Goddess concept, learning of the significance of Goddess qualities/energy can be instructive for women and men. We are aware that women's and men's behaviors, attitudes, likes and dislikes do appear to conform to particular typologies.
Understanding Goddess energy/types can help women discover their true natures--their innate gifts and abilities, recognize where they are best suited in life, appreciate their strengths as well as understand their areas of challenge. Furthermore, Goddess energy types are drawn to other particular Goddess types as friends and cohorts and find other types less appealing. They are better suited to one type of career or life direction than another. Most interesting, we women have a combination of a number of Goddess energy/types within ourselves of varying ascendancy. By increasing our consciousness of these various energies we have an opportunity to affirm and express our more primary goddess qualities as well as discovering ways to draw out the more recessive Goddess qualities within us. In this way, we bring into balance our hidden goddess qualities and better actualize our gifts.
- a female god
- A woman greatly admired, as for her beauty.
Such a masculinized definition sorely trivializes the concept and potentials of goddess, historically, and collectively diminishes the significance of her role in women's lives, then and now. On the contrary, Goddess mythology provides women, today, an ancient mirror of womanhood--Goddess being a divine, guiding and supernatural force. Our psyche needs these images to nurture its growth. These mythic images can guide us to see who we are and what we might become.
Goddess, from a feminine perspective, represents a particular feminine archetype. Archetype, as a concept, is at the foundation of Carl Jung's psychological works. Archetypes are deep enduring patterns of thought and behavior laid down in the human psyche that remain powerful over long periods of time and transcend cultures. Archetypes form the basis for all unlearned, instinctive patterns of behavior that humankind--regardless of culture--shares in common. Archetypes are found in dreams, literature, art and myth and communicate to us through many symbols. Archetypes compose the ultimate source of psychic symbols which, in turn, attract energy, structure it and influence the creation of civilization and culture. Consider: male and female organs are, in fact, symbols for the archetypal energies known by the Chinese as yin and yang. Archetypes also go beyond the psyche bridging inner and outer worlds.
A goddess is the form that a feminine archetype may take. Goddess types represent models of ways of being and behaving that we women all share and recognize from the collective unconscious. In fairy tales this archetype may be revealed to us as a queen, a princess or a witch. In our nighttime dreams we tap into the collective unconscious whereby we access the common pool of archetypal images. Goddesses, as a feminine archetype, remain alive to this day in the psychology of women; and, depending upon which energies are more pronounced, influence her personality with a distinct character, a way of being, a way of relating in the world--a way of offering her special gifts. In other words, women are a blend of these types with particular types predominating while other qualities may be more recessive--out of her conscious awareness.
Historically, masculine rulers/conquerors of lands and societies, usurped the goddess power in these societies they conquered and absorbed and distorted these goddesses into their own beliefs of whom they most resembled. For example, under Roman rulership, many of the Celtic goddesses were taken over--such as Brigit, who seemed similar to the Roman goddess, Minerva (Greek Athena). Subsequently, when the Christian male dominated, and found the goddess cult so revered by the so-called 'pagans', the Christian males, unable to eradicate the goddess reverence, instead, canonized her as St. Bridget. They couldn't do away with Brigit because her followers so revered her. Therefore, she was reinvented as a nun; nevertheless, she retained her pagan qualities and festival celebrations among her loyal followers.
Personally, the ancient Greek historian, Hesiod's interpretation of the Olympian goddess myths is preferred and used, here, over the perspectives of Homer.
A note on historic dating: B.C.E. refers to Before Current Era (previously referred to as Before Christ.) and C.E. refers to Current Era, which begins our current 2000 years. The late '60's marked a new dating system and the shift away from the Bible as an historical marker.
FOR FURTHER READING, SEE BOOKS CITED BELOW
Jungian psychologists Jennifer and Roger Woolger provide a most outstanding and complete academic coverage of the influence of goddess types in their book, The Goddess Within: A Guide To The Eternal Myths That Shape Women's Lives, 1987. In their book they have selected six major goddess archetypes from the classical Greek period (c.500-300 B.C.E.) that they perceive as most active in the psyche of today's contemporary woman.
Jungian analyst, Jean Shinoda Bolen, a clinical professor of psychiatry, has also authored a very popular, and perhaps a somewhat more personal book on Goddess types. Her book, The Goddesses in Everywoman, 1985 & 2004, explores seven feminine archetypes. Bolen identifies two categories of goddess: 'virgin' and 'vulnerable'.
The following is a summary of these feminine archetypes--identified as Olympian goddesses of ancient Greek mythology. Bolen & the Woolgers conceptualize 'virgin', meaning untouched, unmarked, pure, untrod, undiscovered, unworked by man--as in virgin forest, virgin snow; uncombined in its native form--as in virgin silver. These virgin goddesses represent qualities of autonomy, independence and self-sufficiency. This archetype represents the woman whose purpose does not become distracted or diverted by relationship--but actively pursues her own goals. Virgin, therefore, is not merely referencing sexuality.
Vulnerable goddesses refer to relationship-oriented archetypes depicting the nature of traditional wife, mother and daughter roles. The well-being of this archetype relies on involvement in a significant interpersonal relationship. Bolen asserts that each of these vulnerable goddesses experienced anguish at the hands of the male and suffered in her own distinctive way. Each type also exhibits symptoms resembling psychological illness; however, also instructive is growth through suffering that is inherent in this category.
A key difference between the goddesses of ancient times and the present-day, New Age depiction of goddess: the goddesses of ancient times contains within them qualities of light and dark--nurturer and destroyer. New Age ideology frequently tends to avoid/deny the shadow aspects while acknowledging and celebrating only the so-called 'positive' qualities. In fact, as in all of us, even within the goddesses we find dark qualities. As we increase our awareness of these shadow aspects within our own psyche, less and less are we obligated to experience these difficulties through other people or outer circumstances. Furthermore, these shadow parts we initially resist, when increasingly acknowledged, become the most illuminating and transformative aspects in our lives.
Through understanding these ancient goddesses, women of today can reconnect with their own inner cycles, physically as well as psychologically/spiritually. Goddess cycles of disappearance--reappearance; creation--destruction; nurturing--devouring; birth--death; giving--taking away. Within the goddess is the cosmos--containing the continuum of opposites as a circle. Death is not merely an ending; it is also a beginning. These seeming opposites are capable of being reconciled, brought together through goddess wisdom. The goddess not only nurtures physical life but, also, the life of the soul.
When you take your 'goddess' type quiz, you will be able to obtain ratings, like a score, which determines how much or how little of each of these types are alive within you. As you read, below, about the goddess qualities, you will gain more of a sense of qualities you identify with--have consciously available to work with--and qualities that may be out of your conscious awareness that you may choose to strengthen or to develop. Although there are many more goddesses, historically, we will explore the seven Greek goddesses of Mt. Olympus, described below.
The initial 'short list' (just below) provides a brief psychological overview of each goddess--her temperament, her primary interests, a little about her history. Below this list is a more in depth exploration of each goddess including her historic information and her nature as a child and adolescent, her wound, her gifts. The goddesses are listed, below, as polarities, for example: Athena & Artemis are opposites; Hera & Persephone are opposites, etc.
It is also important to realize that we women will experience changing predominance of these goddess types at different periods of our lives. For example, a woman may, in her late teens and early twenties, relate strongly to Aphrodite qualities. By her late twenties and into her thirties, desiring marriage and a family, she may find Aphrodite energy fading and Demeter energy more pronounced. By mid life, women experience another significant shift, a mother may find her focus shifting as her grown children leave home and are less available to her, she may begin to feel somewhat directionless, uncertain. It's not uncommon that a more familiar goddess quality begins to conflict with a newly emerging quality--feeling pulled between two very different goddess desires at the same time. These differentiated goddess aspects give us a language for understanding these stages in our lives as well as keys to working with the inner conflicts we experience.
- extroverted and independent temperament--represents the goddess of wisdom and civilization--concerned with career, motivated by the desire for achievement, acquiring knowledge, she possesses a keen intellect, concerned with education, culture, social issues and politics. Athena is father’s daughter. She enters the male arena in the outer world. Athena is also known as one of the three Amazon women. (The myth of the Amazon women spoke of a society of fierce warrior women who lived entirely without men.) The story of her birth: she emerged, fully-grown, out of the Head of Zeus.
She is an androgynous ‘virgin’ goddess who develops a relationship with her own inner masculine part rather than partaking in marriage to an outer male. Her awareness is focused. She relates to men as intellectual companion with whom she shares ambitions, career goals, and ideals. If a primarily Athenian-type woman chooses partnership, she seeks one who possesses sufficient self-confidence and who will appreciate her ambition and autonomy.
Athena - represents the feminine archetype for logical thinking -- as a woman, not as a man. Her virgin goddess energy can be deeply transformed or sublimated in highly creative ways. By nature the virgin goddesses are more self-directed, self-motivated, focused rather than diffuse in their thinking. She is goal oriented. As a result, virgin goddess types tend toward independence and autonomy more so than their partnership-oriented vulnerable goddess sisters.
- To the Romans she was known as Minerva
- Athena’s father was the Greek god, Zeus, who gave birth to her from his head. She sprang forth with a forceful shout and brandishing her sharp spear.
- The Greek myth states Athena’s true mother was Metis, a Titan, belonging to the pre-Olympian race of deities of the matriarchal period suppressed by the later patriarchy. She was swallowed by Zeus--a metaphor for the matriarchal suppression.
- Greek image of Athena - maiden with a sword and armor - tall and imposing - associated with violence and action
- Athena’s true nature, however, demonstrated active concern for the well-being of the community/humanity. She was an activist against suffering and injustice.
- The goddess Athena rejects sexuality, marriage and motherhood.
- Athena punishes any man who spies on her naked body, yet with some compassion.
- Seated beside Zeus, only Athena knows where the lightning bolts are hidden and how to use them.
- Athena’s archetype is essentially youthful, idealistic committed to a higher purpose.
- Challenges facing Athena
- Finding her relationship to authority--will she dutifully uphold and promote the authoritarian, hierarchical fatherworld as status quo OR emancipating herself, she will she slay the father (symbolically) to become fully herself--overthrowing the father principle--paternalism--corporations, colonialism, oppression, suppression of the feminine principle and carry the torch for the well-being of humanity.
- Athena has been split off from the mother function as a result of Zeus’s swallowing Athena’s mother (matrilineal society)-- Zeus is psychically at war with the mother principle; therefore, Athena is most out of touch with her need for warm, physical nurturing, attention to her instinctual and bodily needs, and unconditional love.
- Athena’s strong identification with the fatherworld renders her prone to inherit the patriarchal fear of Dark Mother powers--not recognizing these powers as aspects of her own psychic make-up.
- Athena’s dark side: Medusa - intimidating, critical, judgmental toward weakness in others, her air of authority and inapproachability keep others at an emotional distance.
Athena’s wound: Her heart -- out of touch with the two goddesses of love: Demeter, the maternal love, and Aphrodite, sensual love - Her masculine image concealing her vulnerable, underdeveloped inner feminine self--She is emotionally hypersensitive.
Athena’s gift: Today, is to empower women’s contribute to the political, intellectual and creative life of our cities, therefore, elevating the integrity and quality of our civilization by bringing forth the qualities of the feminine which have long been suppressed
• Athena’s personality
- As a child & adolescent:
- Her nose is in a book.
- Curious, seeking information, wants to know how things work
- Daddy’s girl - he may cater to her astute intellect & her urge to achieve
- She may enjoy educational toys like the microscope - science fairs.
- She may sew her clothing or enjoy other crafts.
- She tends to lack close female friends - may prefer platonic male companions.
• As an adult woman:
- Motivated by her own priorities rather than the needs of others.
- Tends to live in her head - not very connected with her body/sensuality.
- Focused thinking, practical, pragmatic, linear thinker - does things in moderation.
- Not at all the flirtatious type.
- A devoted and dependable friend.
- Achievement oriented, she feels comfortable in fields dominated by men.
- Career-oriented, ambitious, supportive (goes along with) the male-dominated status quo - manages herself well in the midst of male action/power.
- Impersonal, rational - well in control of her feelings/emotions - she is able to work closely with men without falling into emotional or erotic entanglements.
- Her libido is directed into mental, extraverted activities, striving for intellectual fulfillment (achievement is gratifying), creative leadership & decision-making
- A woman with Athena archetype strong in her nature would be most fulfilled in a meaningful career in which she felt she was making a societal contribution; otherwise, she will tend to feel a sense of emptiness, lack of direction, lack of meaning.
- As a mother, if she chooses this path, Athena would be less keen on the baby/ child years. She will enjoy an older child’s ability to speak intelligently so that she could engage with her/him in an adult manner regarding learning, goals, projects, and accomplishments.
- Historic females embodying the Athena archetype: Joan of Arc, early 1400 C.E. (a French heroine who defeated the English in battle--later burned at the stake, accused of being a witch); Christine de Pizan, 1400’s C.E. (first woman in France to support herself as a writer); Mary Wollstonecraft (wrote the first great feminist document in 1792 C.E.)
Artemis - possesses an introverted and independent temperament (polar opposite to Athena)--represents the goddess of Nature--concerned with matters of the outdoors, animals, environmental protection, women’s communities--she is practical, adventurous, athletic and preferring solitude. She symbolizes regenerative earth power over all living things. Both Artemis and Athena bore arms as protectress goddesses. Historically, Artemis was born quickly by her mother, Leto. However, due to a curse from Hera, Artemis was the one who, immediately following her own birth, assisted her mother’s delivery of her brother in a long and difficult labor. She became known as the patroness of childbirth.
Artemis, armed with bow and arrow, possesses the power to inflict plagues and death or to heal. She is known as the protectress of little children, baby animals and, yet, she also loves the hunt.
Artemis is one of the ‘virgin’ androgynous goddesses. Due to her well-integrated masculine energy and independence, Artemis does not possess much need for a man to complete her. Her awareness is focused. A predominately Artemis type woman may enjoy a companion who will work along side her sharing her practical pursuits--parallel relatedness in shared activities, yet, each one retaining their strong and distinct identities in their fairly separate lives. They may come together enjoying a deep, intuitive connection with minimal ‘chatter’. Artemis, the goddess, was known to shun men.
- represents the feminine archetype of Nature & the Wilds--virgin, pure, primitive-- of wild places--Mother of Creatures. The function of virgins was to dispense the Mother’s grace to heal, to prophesy, to perform sacred dances, to wail for the dead. Artemis' image at Ephesus depicts a torso covered with breasts conveying her as the fertile nurturer of all living things. She was also the Huntress, killer/destroyer of the very creatures she brought forth--demonstrating the light and dark side of the goddess.
Psychologically, Artemis belongs to the category of ‘virgin’ goddess--self-directed, autonomous, focused consciousness.
- To the Romans, Artemis was known as Diana.
- Her ‘masculine’ energy can be deeply transformed or sublimated in highly creative ways.
- Androgynous nature--containing both feminine and masculine energies--complete, whole in and of herself - her true relationship is with herself.
- Androgynous energy contained within converts to visions, mystical experiences, and a deep, enduring compassion for all of Nature.
- Lover of animals and the serenity found in Nature, on the one hand
- And, destroyer, Artemis-goddess leads the nocturnal hunt deep in the forest.
- Similar to Athena, psychologically--youthful, boyish, independent, strong, autonomous, energetic, born with strong masculine qualities in her nature and, particularly for Artemis, an intense love of freedom.
- Disposed to gender-role confusion
- Solitary nature teaching her self-sufficiency & independence--prophesy, poetry, music, magic and healing
- Artemis women allow Nature to frequently replace human relations--requiring solitary retreat whereby the ego is free from external stimulation.
- Artemis women find that the non-stop presence of others hinders her presence to herself, therefore, requiring retreat into the solitude of natural world and offering reconnection to her inner self.
- Many Artemis women, who would prefer living closer to Nature, are displaced in cities
- Disinclined by their true nature toward role of wife/motherhood or for the values of conventional society - Artemis types may prefer companionship of women who share her sense of presence of self and self-sufficiency
• Mythological history
- Artemis’ mother was Leto, a nature deity who bore Artemis without pain. Artemis’ father was Zeus.
- Artemis, directly following her own birth--a newborn, herself, Artemis assisted as midwife to her mother, Leto, throughout a very difficult birth to her twin brother, Apollo. Artemis was subsequently considered a goddess of childbirth.
- Artemis, the protectress, on many occasions ‘rescued’ her own mother.
- At Ephesus, Artemis was worshiped as the many-breasted Great Mother.
- Classic Greek historians, on the other hand, depict her as a virgin who never mothers a child of her own, shunning men and living in the forest on the fringe of the inhabited world.
- Artemis - the patroness of midwives -- Mother of Birth and of Death/Huntress and taker of life - representing both the Light and the Dark side of the goddess’ nature.
- Artemis, who is every bit as beautiful as Aphrodite, makes sacred--solitude, natural and primitive living--she is not flattered by or interested in male suitors.
- Artemis severely punishes any man who lays eyes on her naked body - she turned one spying man into a deer and his hunting dogs, no longer recognizing him, tore him apart.
- Artemis possesses deep sympathy for the Earth and all it’s living beings and employs the role of protectress--she is enraged by the exploitation of nature and powerless creatures.
- Artemis is Apollo’s twin sister - Dionysus is the dark brother of Apollo.
- Artemis may have, early on, prior to later Greek patriarchal manipulation, been the Great Mother, triple in her power as Maiden, Mother and Crone. Artemis may likely be one of the oldest of all the Greek goddesses--belonging to the most ancient layer of human memory.
• Challenges facing Artemis
- She tends to avoid her vulnerability in relation to others--hiding her emotional needs, even to herself.
- Artemis tends toward emotional distancing--difficulty trusting relationship.
- Growth for Artemis type woman is in developing her less conscious, human relationship side of herself.
- Artemis type needs rewarding and challenging goals toward which to strive, if Artemis is unable to find fulfilling self-expression in her life she will feel increasingly frustrated and depressed.
- Artemis’ dark side: Primitive power of her bloodlust, ‘righteous rage’ - Artemis woman’s task is to confront her ‘inner wild boar’ - while sacrificing her ‘righteous and avenging’ goddess. She does this by humbly accepting her own flaws and mistakes as a human woman, compassionate with herself, first, then she may hold compassion towards others.
- Artemis’ wound: Self-esteem issues involving intimate relationship resulting from early isolation from other girls and, later, sense of rejection/exclusion by boys.
- Artemis’ gifts: Ability to focus, set goals and reach them; autonomy/independence, ability to develop meaningful connection with other women.
• Artemis’ personality
- As a child & adolescent:
- Strong, tom-boyish body, keenly instinctual connection with her body.
- She rejects the culturally prescribed behavior & interests of little girls as charming and compliant pleasers - may be criticized for appearing unfeminine.
- Athletic, competitive, persevering
- She may have her own horse, or at least love to ride horses.
- She is an animal lover, determined to become a veterinarian.
- She loves the woods-exploring plants, forests, streams, wild creatures, an adventurer.
• As an adult woman:
- Strong adolescent persona persists even as an adult
- Non-traditional in her interests and approach to life
- Usually chooses her field of work as a result of her passion--sportswoman, biologist, veterinarian, geologist, environmental advocate, healer, herbalogist, shaman or other solitary professions
- Holds feminist views and sisterly affiliations with other women
- Sexual expression leans more toward recreational sport or excitement of a new experience more so than for emotional intimacy - In later life sexuality shifts to following her interests which possess personal meaning to her
- A woman in whom Artemis archetype predominates will require a good degree of freedom and independence. Like her Athenian sister, she needs to direct her own life in a way that gives her personal fulfillment/accomplishment rather than by meeting the expectations of others.
- She needs Nature; if she does not adequately feed herself good doses of the ‘natural’ world, she will find herself feeling out-of-sorts, irritable or depressed.
- As a mother, if she chooses this path, she is most likely fiercely protective of her children’s well-being while giving them plenty of freedom to experience
- Historic females embodying the Artemis archetype: Hildegard of Bingen--a healer, poet, musician and visionary (1100’s C.E.), Juliana of Norwich--writer who penned “God is our Mother”--in an attempt to refocus Christian awareness of her day back toward the valuation of Mother earth and the body (1300’s C.E.). Modern day Artemis types: Jane Goodall, animal researcher/scientist studying chimpanzees in Tanzania for over 30 years. She also combines international animal advocacy and environment; Georgia O’Keefe--modern artist embracing nature and combining feminine sexuality in her artwork; Peggy Callahan, wolf biologist--wildlife conservation & management; Mary Jo Casalena, wild turkey biologist, studying and managing migrating birds. Billie Jean King, retired U.S. tennis pro of the late ’60’s and ’70’s.
Hera - possesses an extroverted temperament and a focus on issue of outer world control/power. She represents goddess of marriage--concerned with partnership and her relationship as wife to a man. She faces life challenges regarding power, status and leadership. Hera belongs to the relationship-oriented ‘vulnerable’ goddess category, suffering humiliation by her god husband, Zeus. In fact, Zeus was her twin brother. He attempted, unsuccessfully, to court her so he disguised himself as a shivering little bird to obtain pity from her. His ruse worked, when she tenderly drew him to her breast, he returned to his true shape and raped her. She was shamed into marrying him. As her husband, he also shamed her by engaging in numerous extramarital sexual liaisons, further causing her humiliation. Hera had allegedly led a conspiracy against Zeus as an act of revenge.
A Hera type woman desires a highly successful, powerful man as her partner--one who will share his power and status with her. Traditional in her values, she seeks social prestige and matriarchal rulership through marriage. Her awareness is focused.
It is believed that the myth of the conflictual marriage of Zeus and Hera relates back to the time when a barbarous northern tribe invaded Greece around 1000 B.C.E., bringing with them their masculinized sky gods. The ancient Greeks at this time were believed to be revering the mother goddess and celebrating her magical powers. Historians suggest that the invaders, occupying this feminine culture, overpowered them and forced their submission to the invaders’ beliefs. From the perspective of myth and psychology, the feminine culture of ancient Greece was ‘raped’ and coerced into ‘marriage’ to the barbarous invader tribe. In this way, Hera represents the uniting of feminine and masculine energies.
- represents the feminine archetype of wife and matriarch of the family; she thrives in the partnership of marriage, particularly to a powerful husband whose high degree of success and prestige privileges her to enjoy position of status and power. Hera, the Greek goddess, presided over marriage and embodies the instinct to become mated.
Mythological history: Hera was married to the supreme deity, Zeus. He was her only husband. Her role in Greek mythology was goddess of marriage. She suffered from his numerous affairs with other goddesses and mortals, alike. She was said to punish these participants in harsh ways. The ancient Greek writers appear to portray her as a stereotypical nagging, evil-tempered woman full of petty revenges. However, prior to the Greeks, the more ancient cult that worshipped her celebrated in her honor the hieros gamos, the ‘Sacred Marriage’. This sacred festival celebrates the Earth Goddess and the Sky god regenerating the cosmos with their lovemaking. This ancient Hera goddess in earlier matriarchal times was a complete, whole woman in her own right. The Zeus--Hera marriage of later Greeks refers to the barbarous hunter tribe who invaded Greece at the end of the second millennium B.C.E and imposing their masculine deities--forcing a ‘marriage’ between the matriarchal cults and patriarchal dominance.
Psychologically, Hera belongs to the ‘vulnerable’ goddess category, suffering humiliation at the hand of her husband/deity Zeus through his shameless infidelities.
- To the Romans Hera was known as Juno.
- Hera was born to Rhea and Cronos, one of their last children. Cronos had also swallowed her at birth--she was already a young girl when she emerged from him. Instead of being raised by her parents, she was put into the care of two nature deities who acted as elderly foster parents.
- Hera woman subscribes to the fundamental value of traditional home and family; she is single-mindedly prepared to sacrifice her own career to achieve the solid and respected and prestigious status for her family as wife of successful, powerful man.
- Young Hera woman sees her self-completion through her marriage--in her new identity as wife and helpmate to her promising, striving husband.
- Hera energy is most visible in mature women, therefore, in the second half of life when she is more able to enjoy the full impact of her natural authority and dignity--possessing executive, leadership ability.
- Hera woman at a younger age is looking, first and foremost, for a husband--admires and seeks a strong, ambitious male, a male most promising to succeed--Attaining marriage status, she will dutifully remain home raising her family, putting her own individual career ambitions on hold while fostering the beginnings of a growing family. Hera-type sees this strategy as an investment for her future
- Hera-type who miscalculates her husband’s promse of success may take to manipulate him behind the scene--directing and calculating his moves--nagging and even bullying him tio achieve in accordance with her expectations
- Hera-type’s masculine drive within a partnership is less likely to be sublimated in creative ways. Due to her need for power in relationship, and particularly in one that is unequal, she becomes increasingly frustrated and angry, driven and unbalanced. She may become verbally abusive toward her family, venting her disappointment in them; she may turn to alcohol or other feeling-numbing patterns
- Hera-type exhibits exacting standards toward her children--often in an over-disciplined style typically learned from her own mother. She trains her children of her expectations of good behavior, obedience, politeness--she is more like a ruler than a nurturer.
- Hera-type mothers run the risk of holding high ambitions for their children, directing the adult child’s career in a direction that may be more in line with her own neglected personal goals rather than recognizing or nurturing her adult child’s dreams
- Aspiring to prominence, Hera woman enjoys a natural affinity with power, and sometimes, elitism or snobbery, potentially bordering on arrogance, intemperance, self- righteous, and also self-assured, strong-willed, authoritative.
- Hera woman demands high standards; she may appear critical, opinionated and dictatorial. She knows exactly what she wants.
- In appearance she is conservatively, albeit, well-dressed and frequently emanating a ‘large’ presence even if she is not physically so.
- Hera woman highly values social position and is found heading up planning committees, board of directors, country club meetings, charity organizations, fund-raiser banquets--making the calls and contacts
- Hera woman at home is experienced as the ‘Queen Bee’--“ruling” her extended family as the matriarch--she loves family occasions--more, however, for the enjoyment of ‘reverence’ due her from her family. She has a strong notion of respectability
- Hera woman, having traveled by her husband’s side in his climb to the ‘top’, typically becomes his chief confidante and advisor; she is able to influence him, considerably.
• Challenges facing Hera
- If she marries a man who ultimately does not meet with success, she may manipulate him behind the scene--typifying the light/dark couple--polite, accommodating husband and domineering wife.
- She can become unbalanced psychologically and driven intensely by the very thing she wants to control.
- She may stay committed to an unhealthy relationship or marriage - one in which she suffers her husband’s infidelities. She may exhibit repeated jealousy and vindictiveness - rather than recognizing the unhealthy pattern and leaving the relationship.
- Addiction to perfection
- Hera’s dark side: Financial and emotional dependence on her husband - her own unexplored autonomy - her unlived life apart from that of her marriage - her limited relationship to her own sexuality. Her issue - her unrecognized lust for power.
- Hera’s wound: Hera was denigrated by the patriarchal ancient society--originally, held in esteem as a powerful and revered goddess of the sacred ritual of marriage; later demoted and disparaged as a jealous, vindictive and quarrelsome wife.
- Hera’s gifts: As an ancient pre-Hellenic goddess, she represents the highest form of marriage--of Queen and King--of union of feminine and masculine.
- Hera’s gift is her capacity to unite, to commit and to be a loyal and faithful partner.
- Hera’s ideal - a complete and whole woman in her own right in honor of the feminine principle. The ‘marriage’ represents, psychologically, the marriage of her own feminine and masculine energies. Her partner, then, will mirror her own inner opposite qualities. She chooses, in her partner, the most longed for and most important images of her own inner, and, as yet unknown self--a major psychological undertaking and emotional work.
- Hera’s ideal - a complete and whole woman in her own right in honor of the feminine principle. The ‘marriage’ represents, psychologically, the marriage of her own feminine and masculine energies. Her partner, then, will mirror her own inner opposite qualities. She chooses, in her partner, the most longed for and most important images of her own inner, and, as yet unknown self--a major psychological undertaking and emotional work.
• Hera’s personality
- As a child & adolescent:
- A primarily Hera type child will typically be found playing house - but not by being ‘mommy’ nurturing her dollies - rather, she is the ‘big person’ keeping house for her husband.
- She may have a boyfriend earlier than most girls--say, 6 or 7 years of age.
- By adolescence she is definitely ‘going steady’ - dreaming of becoming a wife.
- She is most often status-conscious - she will be seeking out the top sports ‘jock’, or class president; being part of the ‘in’ crowd is important to her. She wants to be the ‘in’ couple.
- College is most likely the place for her to find a suitable husband rather than finding her own autonomous goals.
• As an adult woman:
- Hera types typically do not have close female friendships - her female friends are, as she is, part of a couple, frequently the wives of her husband’s business associates. Hera women typically drop their women friends who are no longer coupled, thus, reinforcing that woman has no relevance without a husband.
- Sexuality is typically not enjoyed for its own pleasures, rather, as a wifely aspect of marriage - it is not unusual for her to be inorgasmic for many years.
- As a mother Hera tends to demand proper behavior, enforcing rules and holding high expectations of her children, academically and socially.
- Historic females embodying the Hera archetype: Queen Victoria in the 19th century and Abigail Adams (wife of President John Adams and mother of President John Quincy Adams); Ladybird Johnson; Nancy Reagan.
- possessing an introverted temperament (polar opposite to Hera) with issues of inner world control/ power--she represents the goddess of the underworld--concerned with the world of spirit, the occult, matters associated with death. She is mystical, visionary and often possesses spirit guides. Her awareness is diffuse. Persephone belongs to the relationship-oriented ‘vulnerable’ goddess category having a very close relationship with her mother, Demeter. Another aspect of her vulnerability, Persephone was abducted, taken to the Underworld and raped by Hades. Her mother, Demeter mourned, sorrowfully, in the face of her abduction.
Persephone is said to have a younger counterpart to herself--Kore--another name for the young Persephone. Psychologically, this may be a representation of two or three levels of this archetype: Kore, the Maiden, Persephone (or Demeter), the mature Woman, and Hecate, the Wise Crone.
Persephone type woman is more attracted to the spiritual nature rather than the physicality of her partner. She may unconsciously attract destructive relationships or potentially controlling partners. As an unconscious protective measure, she may choose a safe alternative in a younger, non-threatening partner whom she can mother.
Persephone - represents the feminine archetype of the mediumistic mystic, connected with the spirit-world. She is also the archetypal child--radiating optimism and good hope.
Mythological history: Kore, daughter of Demeter, was the maiden aspect of Persephone. Kore, the maiden, was abducted (at the suggestion of Zeus) and raped by Hades and forced to be his wife. In the myth of Persephone, young Kore was plucking flowers in a field when Hades, her uncle and god of the Underworld, abducted her to be his Queen in the dark world below. The goddess, Hecate, strongly associated with the dark side of the moon and with witchcraft - was the only one to witness Kore’s abduction. She hears Persephone’s cries but does nothing, herself, to help and, furthermore, does not seek help from others.
Kore was extremely unhappy in the darkness of the Underworld. She also missed her mother, Demeter, terribly, as they had such a close mother-daughter bond. Kore was ultimately allowed to rejoin her mother, who had arranged Persephone’s release. However, Persephone was obligated to return each Fall to spend four months of each year in the underworld as consort to Hades because she had eaten four pomegranates. It is thought that Kore as ‘maiden’, Demeter as ‘mother’ and Hecate as ‘wise crone’ represent, in more ancient times, the three-fold nature of Persephone in the various life cycles of a woman.
Psychologically, Persephone is immersed in the collective unconscious--absorbed & molded by it. She acts out those “unacceptable” aspects in her environment, which others will not acknowledge--therefore, she activates that which others perceived as dangerous--and this becomes her personal problem. Persephone functions as seer, medicine woman. She belongs to the category of ‘vulnerable goddess’ - suffering pain in relationship--humiliation by abduction and rape. Her consciousness is diffuse, taking in all, rather than focused.
- To the Romans Persephone was known as Proserpine.
- Typically, Persephone woman possesses a youthful face at any age.
- She is a pleaser type whose tendency is not inclined toward assertive directness.
- Her nature--sympathetic, highly tuned into people’s feelings and needs
- She is responsiveness to the needs of others - has difficulty saying ‘no’ --difficulty recognizing and asserting her own boundaries.
- Directionally unsure, lacking solidity of purpose possessed by her virgin goddess sisters
- Musing and intuitive nature rather than intellectual mind - difficulty ‘explaining’ her reasoning as it is an intuitive perception.
- Less at ease with/in her body & sexuality than other goddess types
- Strong connection to spirit - deep ambivalence toward outer world & her sense of being misunderstood & alienated from conventional society
- A primarily Persephone type, keenly sensitive, typically possesses a fragile ego structure, therefore, easily overwhelmed by feelings and impressions from her unconscious
- Persephone type has difficulty discriminating and has difficulty putting her impressions into words.
- Keen ability to cross over into other realms of psychic consciousness - very at home in the world beyond the physical senses
- Attracted to metaphysics, healing, intuitive, service-oriented work
- By nature she is reclusive/retreating, secretive, possessing a sensitive system requiring time away from external stimulation.
- “Underworld” understood as ‘unconscious’--then, Persephone has been abducted to the ‘unconscious’--to deal with aspects of her own personal unconscious material and also the collective unconscious.
- She experiences episodes of depression, and/or bouts of mysterious, difficult to diagnose illnesses.
- A primarily Persephone type is not promiscuous. She may be unwittingly drawn to partners that attempt to dominate/control her. As a protection she may shift to much younger lovers with whom she can mother and feel safe.
- Persephone (Kore) was forced to live in the Underworld for part of the year. Persephone woman is, likewise, required to acknowledge and visit her own inner underworld--her Dark side - the consequence of this avoidance is exposure to considerable suffering:
- prone to attracting people with severe problems or possibly abusive behaviors
- prone to mysterious illnesses difficult to diagnose or treat
- sense of deep alienation, isolation, depression
- ever-youthful ‘facial mask’ that defies her actual age by mid life
- she may tend to wear her hair long and loose in young-girl fashion even into mid life
- she tends toward flowery, or girlish clothing - having not yet matured her sense of self into the Mother/Crone aspects of this goddess
- Persephone’s task is to return to the Mother--return to the mature goddess who now knows separation, sexuality and death. In fact, the two goddesses are one - in fact, they are three: the maiden, the Mother and the wise Crone. The cycle of life and death need to be embraced - dualities such as light and dark. When Persephone woman attempts to blot out/deny the awareness of her dark side: anger, rage--she remains the uncompleted maiden. The mature Persephone who has returned from her underworld journey has seen all; she unites birth and death within herself. She has become the wise woman, cheerful, however also having accessed her repressed rage, still retaining her youthfulness as an elder, mature woman.
- Persephone’s dark side - the archetypal victim - whereby she feels powerless in the midst of her circumstances - or long-sufferer/martyr - “surviving” on sympathy of others -- and, the flip side -- Hecate - the witch & killer - the one who ignored Persephone’s cries -- unconscious, repressed rage which is projected onto others
- Persephone’s wound - a woman overly identified with the Persephone archetype will find herself repeatedly attracted to situations, people or health issues that diminish her sense of personal power. These situations/events do not appear to be her own doing--they seem to happen to her, out of the blue. Yet, she seems strongly drawn to these happenings, again and again and cause her repeated grief.
• Persephone’s task
- uniting the dark and the light sides of the goddess within herself - by increasingly embracing the long-suffering victim/martyr into her conscious awareness. Addressing her issue regarding power. Willingness to look into the face of this suffering and understanding her relation to it--not from a place of blame, rather, empowerment. Recognizing that such a strong attachment to the Light castes a very dark shadow.
- Persephone must renounce her maiden self (the lovely, nice, gentle persona with it’s lofty ideals and attachment to ‘innocence’, and to renounce her helplessness)- allowing it’s death - as she descends to meet with Hades - and, eventually, emerging as the Woman-- in recognition of her power that she, now, accepts - no longer projecting this power onto others.
- Persephone’s gifts - Her receptivity, intuition, empathy toward the suffering of others, her keen powers of imagination, inspiration, ability to read the hearts and minds of others. Persephone, once matured through her own inner work, is the guide to the Underworld
• Persephone’s personality
- As a child & adolescent:
- Quiet, unassuming, compliant, eager to please - similar to a willow - will tend to bend along with the circumstances or in relation to stronger personalities around her
- Introverted, imaginative, often lives in her ‘own little world’ of make-believe, perhaps as a strategy to escape the unpleasantness she experiences in her family environment
- She often prefers playing alone, by herself.
- She enjoys her solitude, a Persephone child may be found daydreaming, listening to music.
- Unsure of her preferences, difficulty making decisions
- Persephone child is often the family “problem” child or scape-goat because her sensitivities do not conform to family norms.
- Persephone child often faces trauma in childhood, emotional and/or physical.
• As a mature woman:
- The mature Persephone has grappled with the maiden, Kore, aspect of her nature. She is learning to ‘tell her truth’ - rather than avoiding and/or lying to others in fear of displeasing them. She is learning to set healthy boundaries--saying ‘no’, rather than acting in manipulative, indirect or blaming ways to meet her needs--avoiding conflict.
- The mature Persephone is learning to take care of herself, learning to meet her own needs, responsibly, as she understands, now, how she has blamed others in the past.
- The mature Persephone is developing a conscious relationship with her ‘inner male’, in Jungian terms, her animus, which means, developing her assertive/action nature.
- The mature Persephone finds value and meaning in spiritual ritual.
- The mature Persephone who has undergone her transformative experience in Hades is, now, equipped to guide others in their descent into the underworld. She is most compassionate, intuitive and wisely guides others in connecting with their own depth and meaning.
- The mature Persephone may be found working as a healer, therapist, herbalist, Tarot card reader, astrologer, writer, photographer, musician, medical intuitive, gardener.
- Persephone requires sufficient ‘alone’ time to regenerate her energies because she so absorbs the vibrations/emotions of those around her. Music, nature and mystical experiences recharge her batteries.
- As a mother, Persephone may be connected to her children in intuitive, psychic ways and less focused on their physicality.
- Historic females embodying the Persephone archetype: Florence Nightingale, Mother Teresa, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.
- possesses an extroverted temperament and focuses on relationship/love--she represents goddess of love (boundless eros) --her primary concerns/interests are mature, adult relationships, romance, sexuality, beauty and the arts. One account of Aphrodite’s birth states that she rose up from the foam on the ocean as a naked and fully developed beautiful woman; and she rode on a scallop shell.
Aphrodite’s origins, in fact, pre-date the ancient Greeks. She is said to be older than Time. An even more ancient deity exhibiting more aspects than love and beauty, she can also be recognized as Astarte or Ishtar. Her origins were Babylonian/Sumerian. Her domain embraced all of nature: vegetable, animal as well as human. Among her powers were associated with fertility and growth/harvesting of crops, war, descent to the underworld, birth/life/love/death and fate. She was also worshiped as sacred ‘prostitute’.
Aphrodite represents the uniting of feminine and masculine energies--through sexual union.
This goddess includes autonomy similar to ‘virgin’ goddesses yet also includes aspects of the ‘vulnerable’ goddess such as relationship-oriented. Her consciousness is both focused--directed, goal-oriented and diffuse--receptive, taking in the relationship between things. Aphrodite does not suffer, however, as did the ‘vulnerable’ goddesses. Although she is known for her numerous sexual liaisons, she is not bound by any man. However, unlike Athena, Artemis and Hestia--‘virgin’ goddesses--Aphrodite did give birth to children. Unlike the ‘vulnerable’ goddesses--Demeter, Persephone and Hera--Aphrodite was never a victim of a man’s unwanted passion for her; the desires were mutual. Unlike her ‘virgin’ sisters, she values emotional experiences with others more than she desires more solitary goals. Although an independent figure in her own right, this independence does not preclude emotional involvement with others. On the other hand, she is not attracted to permanent relational bonds like her ‘vulnerable’ sisters.
Aphrodite type woman admires potently masculine men and their capacity for success and combativeness. Her arena of interaction is in the boudoir or the salon. She feels comfortable with multiple relationships or extramarital affairs. She is attracted to creative men and engages with them as their inspirer. She is said to be attracted to the Son/Lover, as her romantic interests were a generation younger than she--those of the sons of her godly peers.
Aphrodite - represents the feminine archetype of relationship and love. She is adored for her beauty, her gentle manner and her amorous adventures. She has been experienced by men as fascinatingly exotic, a seductress. Her influence is of civilizing ‘man’kind through her gifts of art, culture, and in particular, her disarming manner of relating. Aphrodite’s divine gift to us is Eros, her divine son, also known as Cupid (Amor). Aphrodite’s gift of loving relationship has the power to melt defenses, leaving her lover disarmed and open--allowing the magic of eros to flow between them.
Mythological history:Most scholars recognize Aphrodite’s ancient ancestors from the Sumerian goddess, Ishtar, circa 3000-1800 B.C.E. much earlier than the Greek myths. In Greek myth, Aphrodite’s father is the ancient Sky God, Uranus, who came before the Greek gods of Olympus. At this period, priestesses served her in temples of love by making love with men as ritual offering. Eros and procreation were considered holy. Any child born to the priestesses in these encounters would belong to the temple of the goddess.
- Greek mythology accounts that Aphrodite was born from the severed genitals of the Sky Father--an inescapable connection to male sexuality. It was Cronos (Roman god, Saturn--‘Time’) who severed and threw his father’s genitals into the ocean. Although born as a result of a seemingly violent act, white foam spread as sperm and mixing with the sea -- from which Aphrodite emerged--as a fully-grown goddess standing on a scallop shell.
- Aphrodite’s choices of men for lovers were the second-generation Olympian gods, in other words, the sons of her peers
- Aphrodite, although she did have one husband, also engaged in numerous love affairs. She had a long-term passionate affair with Ares, God of War, with whom she bore several children. She also had other lovers--gods as well as mortals-- with some of whom she bore children.
- Aphrodite’s transformative power--Love - transforming the ordinary, the mundane into something beautiful and special through Love.
- Aphrodite was known to become angry and cast revenge when mortals refused to honor the Goddess of Love or her sacred rites.
- She appears to have no mother. She is considered older than all the Olympian gods/goddesses.
Today, our culture has lost touch with the mosaic qualities brought by Aphrodite. Obsessed merely with her physical charms, as a culture, the feminine image activates only one aspect this goddess--we are fixated on romance, sexual pleasure, erotic images, pornography, fashion/glamour - as is clearly witnessed in daily life. We have lost touch with Aphrodite’s sacred dimensions.
Psychologically, Aphrodite belongs to the category of ‘virgin’ goddess in that she does not suffer at the hand of any man. Furthermore, although she is relationship-oriented, she possesses the quality of autonomy unlike her ‘vulnerable’ goddess sisters. Her consciousness is both focused and diffuse.
- To the Romans Aphrodite was known as Venus.
- Aphrodite woman exhibits an ease of expressing warmth, charm, natural ability to relate with others due to her friendly extraverted interest in people.
- Aphrodite woman is more interested in relationship, love, and loving than marriage or mothering - less interested in settling down because she sees life as a relational adventure.
- She can distract a man from his task and direction as a result of her seductive enchantment.
- Aphrodite woman is attracted to numerous, serial love affairs during her life.
- She is civilized, sensual - attracted to cocktail parties, clean linen (rather than camping).
- Social life and social activities/connections are very important to Aphrodite woman.
- She is comfortable with her body & expressing her sexuality - casual, adventurous attitude toward sex
- She is connected with sex drive and passion, some Aphrodite women can find themselves with unwanted pregnancies as they react in the passions of the moment.
- She is keenly sensual, loving all that arouses her senses: perfumes, flowers, clothing that feels good on her skin, beautiful combinations of colors, fine food and drink, caressing touch.
- Aphrodite woman may learn early in life to place high regard for her ‘lovely mask’ as she repeatedly experiences men’s attraction focused primarily on her outer ‘goods’.
- Aphrodite types may be drawn to modeling, show business, public relations work, hostessing, cosmetology, the arts, interior or fashion design.
- Aphrodite types, expressing the more unconscious aspects of this archetype, may fall into affairs with married (often older) men, especially when she is younger.
- Aphrodite type gives herself up to the intense passion of Love--living fully in and for the moment, despite the price
- A more keenly developed Aphrodite woman is able to offer a man both erotic as well as intellectual/emotional companionship.
- Aphrodite woman desires relationship with heart
- Keenly developed Aphrodite women have the capacity to ‘disarm’ men, teaching them through the powers of Eros, the way to their own heart.
- Aphrodite women, more keenly developed, have the capacity to bring out a man’s feelings and creativity as well as to expand his capacity for intimate relating.
- Creative force is a deeper aspect of Aphrodite archetype--promoting a creative force in a woman influencing her involvement in one creative project after another.
- In later life a mature Aphrodite may be drawn to powerful men (for reasons different from Hera’s). Her gift is that of enhancing their sense of masculinity and in return he provides her entrance, with him, into places of glamorous appeal (the goddess, Aphrodite’s liaison with Ares, the god of war--Venus & Mars in Roman myth).
• Challenges facing Aphrodite:
- Her natural instinct of living in the ‘moment’ impedes her considering the consequences of her urges and passions--she may overspend, over indulge, forget about one commitment when wrapped up in the immediacy of another situation
- Aphrodite types will need to learn balance between emotional priorities and practical considerations.
- Finding herself, frequently, in the lovers’ triangle as the ‘other woman’
- The clash between her personal passion for love and sensuality vs. the collective values requiring a woman to be married and settled - a challenge for her naturally polygamous spirit
- Aphrodite women may buy into the social mores of ‘beauty’ as the only valuable aspect of her gift and subsequently neglect the all-encompassing aspects of her intellectual and emotional gifts of companionship and creative inspiration
- Our culture has lost all perspective on Aphrodite and her divine gift of Love to humanity.
- Aphrodite woman’s task is that of bringing civility, refinement and Love into the world around her
- Regaining her self-respect by regaining access to her body--not as an image of ‘slender’ proportions/perfection (glamour girl), rather as a flesh-and-blood sensual woman of value in her own right--in her ability to connect with heart
- Aphrodite’s dark side: the seductress, ‘femme fatale’
- Aphrodite’s wound: Patriarchy, threatened by her ‘power’ over men, have attempted in every way to restrict, confine, label and demote her from her Queenly position. Furthermore, Aphrodite and Demeter were not allowed to co-mingle in the patriarchal order (in other words, whore and wife had to be kept separate). Aphrodite also experiences alienation from the other goddesses.
- Media exploitation of Aphrodite’s sacred image--and the resulting schizophrenic urges to both deny [censorship] sensual beauty & pleasure while crudely lusting [graphically degrading pornography], alienation from the body, and a deep fear of intimacy [virtual- reality sex on the internet/telephone sex]
- As a result of advertising, mainstream women feel incapable of ‘measuring up’ to the image of feminine beauty; while men compare the appearance of the available woman in their midst to the suggested glamorized image of beauty sold to them by the media
- The psychological consequences of denying Aphrodite any real place in the culture lead to: vilifying her image and then substituting the Virgin Mary for worship; replacing the ‘flesh-and-blood’ woman who possesses a body with the worship of a ‘Virgin’ mother, cut off from physical love; paranoia of witches and subsequent, systematic massacring of mature, independent, autonomous women followed, as a result
• Aphrodite’s gifts:
- Her ability to be both sexual and a spiritual guide & confidante to her partner; ability to bring civility, refinement and Love into the world arouond her through her value of relationship and deep caring.
- Her compassionate nature.
- Her ability to inspire with eros and creativity--ecstatic, mystical gifts of love and pleasure.
• Aphrodite’s personality
- As a child & adolescent:
- Charming, girlishly feminine, innocently coy and flirtatious
- Unconsciously expressed sensuality apparent to adults
- Loves being the center of attention, a ‘little ham’
- Likes playing dress-up, trouncing around in mommy’s high heels, jewelry & scarves
- Has a boyfriend at school, but differently than Hera, Aphrodite loves the attention
- As an adolescent she is emerging as sensual, sexually precocious, very social girl
- Casual attitude toward sex and curiosity about her body
- She possesses a busy social calendar
- Dresses sexy and provocatively--instinctively sexual--‘at home’ in her body
- Young Aphrodite may be attracted to older, more experienced men
• As an adult woman:
- Aphrodite expresses qualities of warmth, extroversion, she is relational--bringing people together.
- She is sensual, at ease in her body and with her sexuality.
- She loves Love, she loves the masculine aspect, she loves the Arts and things creative.
- She is attracted to the Warrior archetype (Mars) whose birth is a generation after hers.
- As a mother she may love to indulge her children, dressing them up, exposing her children to cultural events, giving them treats.
- Historic females embodying the Aphrodite archetype: Egyptian Cleopatra; screen actresses: Clara Bow; Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna
- possessing an introverted temperament (opposite to Aphrodite), a kind, gentle-soul, she re-paid people well for even the smallest favors. She is concerned with bearing, raising and nurturing children and family. Hers is a contained ‘mother love’. Her awareness is diffuse. Demeter belongs to the category of ‘vulnerable’ goddess--she was raped and impregnated by Poseidon as well as by Zeus. Her daughter, Persephone, was taken from her and, and although she was returned for awhile, she was forced to leave her mother, Demeter, for a portion of every year.
Demeter was the goddess of earth, agriculture and fertility. Known as the corn goddess, she symbolizes regenerative earth power over all living things. A sheaf of ripe wheat was her primary symbol. She presided over the harvest and all the agricultural labors. She was often sculpted as a matronly figure, seated. Demeter is the mother archetype representing maternal instinct finding fulfillment through pregnancy and motherhood - or a parallel avenue providing nourishment (psychologically, spiritually), or caretaking. A predominantly Demeter type woman whose mothering urges are thwarted may be disposed to depression.
Demeter was possibly the oldest of the gods/goddesses, and, like Hera who was born later, was swallowed by her father and, like Hera, was both a mate to Zeus as well as his sibling. Demeter is connected with the Eleusinian Mysteries--a ritual celebrating the annual birth and death of corn. She is connected with the perpetuation of the food supply for large populations. Demeter goddess pre-dates the Greeks--she was the ancient Earth Mother. Both Demeter and her daughter, Persephone, are said to be two different aspects of the same goddess--Persephone (Kore), the maiden and Demeter, the Mother.
A primarily Demeter type woman seeks a man for security rather than for intellectual or sexual companionship. In this way, the security he offers provides her a means to direct her attention to that which matters most to her-- home, giving birth to children and nurturing them.
Demeter - represents the archetype of Mother. Her own grandmother was Gaia, the personification of Earth, itself. Her mother was Rhea and her father, Cronos. Archaeological evidence points to a significant Goddess cult in both the Minoan civilization of Crete (c.3000-1000 B.C.E); and the Mycenaean society of Greece (c. 1600-1400 B.C.E) suggesting her ancient matriarchal origins long before the ancient Greeks.
The expression of Demeter archetype in a woman is more than merely physical mothering; it is expressed in her instinctively obliging caring for any and all who are in need, particularly the young, needy and helpless.
Psychologically, Demeter belongs to the category of ‘vulnerable’ goddess. She was raped by Zeus. Her young daughter, Kore, was abducted--taken from her to be Hades’ consort. Demeter was powerless, initially, to affect Kore’s return. Demeter’s consciousness is diffuse.
• Mythological history:
- To the Romans Demeter was known as Ceres
- Demeter was the second child born to Rhea and Cronos (also swallowed by him)
- She is known as the sorrowful mother whose daughter, Persephone (Kore), was stolen from her--abducted by Hades and kidnapped to the underworld to be his queen.
- In her rage and grief at the abduction, Demeter forbade the earth to bring forth plants--nothing could grown, nothing could be born--until her daughter, Kore, was returned
- Demeter restored fertility and growing on the earth; she offered the Eleusinian Mysteries through which the people gained insight into a reason to live in joy and to be able to face death without fear
- She is celebrated with the Eleusinian Mysteries in early autumn and toward the end of winter coinciding with the loss and the return of her daughter, Kore. This celebration/ festival/ritual is more ancient than the Greek myths--possibly from 4000 - 1000 B.C.E.
- She is the goddess of fecundity, fertility and regeneration.
- Demeter symbolizes the dynamic cycles of nature that occur within the body of the Earth--death and rebirth--and within the body of every woman
- She has a shared mystical identity with her underworld daughter, Kore, Queen of the Dead - and, in fact, is said to be one and the same goddess.
- Known also as Terrible Mother and goddess of Death, she carries the opposite and complementary sides of Demeter--all Loving Mother
- Demeter represents the archetype of childbearing, mothering/nurturing, growing/ the mystery of planting the seed
• Challenges facing Demeter
- Although Demeter played a key role in the survival of all things that live and grow; she was powerless to prevent her daughter’s abduction nor was she able to affect her immediate return. Demeter had been ‘victimized’ and her pleas went ignored. She belongs to the category of the ‘vulnerable’ goddess.
- Demeter type women face similar themes in their lives: they feel victimized by people or circumstances of their lives, they experience a lack of power to impact change in their distress, they either vent or repress their anger, their feelings of powerlessness leads them to depression
- Demeter type woman, feeling compelled to help or having difficulty declining any request made of her, may over-commit and then feel overwhelmed in her life--another aspect of feelings of powerlessness. She may dismiss her own feelings, judging them as ungiving. She may be subject to self-pity until she examines her own instinctive responses to ‘giving’.
- Demeter type woman, feeling over-committed, overwhelmed, ‘stuffing’ her anger and/or resentment may experience somatic symptoms such as back pain, high blood pressure, head aches, chronic fatigue and chronic depression due to her difficulty expressing her own needs and feelings - or in setting boundaries
- Demeter woman struggling with these issues may become increasingly apathetic, leading her to deeper depression and meaninglessness. Anger may underlie the depression--anger at the ‘meaning’ she feels had been taken from her.
- The Demeter archetype may have several possible expressions in a Demeter type woman:
- As in Demeter’s myth, she gave to humanity spiritual knowledge which helped them live their lives more fully and joyously - this Demeter type will have learned from her own life experiences--discovered her own meaning through her life disappointments and losses; and, as a result, she is able to share her down-to-earth generosity and wisdom with others
- Another aspect of Demeter, angry and mourning her daughter’s abduction, this Demeter type, most often feels disappointed that her life did not meet with her expectations of what she thought her life would be - she identifies with the loss and mourning aspect of Demeter, feeling a sense of betrayal and growing bitterness--allowing nothing on earth to grow
• Demeter’s dark side
- When Demeter grieved her daughter’s abduction, she stopped functioning and demanded the earth stop producing--famine threatened humankind. This destructive aspect of Demeter in Demeter type women can be seen as withdrawal--withdrawing her interests from life, from her family and friends.
- Some Demeter mothers may withdraw their approval from their child when the child begins exhibiting more autonomy than Demeter woman feels comfortable with--she needs to feel needed. She may inadvertently have a need to foster dependency.
• Demeter’s wound
- Demeter’s grief and anger at the loss of her child, Kore (Persephone) and her feelings of powerlessness to stop the abduction or to influence her immediate return.
- The Secret of Eleusis, for which Demeter is celebrated, has to do with the rebirth from death. Her daughter was lost to her (in the underworld) but returns to her every Spring.
- Another aspect of Demeter’s wound is the loss, for every woman, of a particular phase of her life cycle: Maiden (innocent, untouched daughter); Mother--loss of her emerging adult children into their own marriages; Crone--biological loss at menopause. Each of these phases holds opportunity for emergence into a new phase of consciousness.
- For Demeter type women, healing the wound may involve acknowledging ‘unpleasant’ feelings, feeling the ‘loss’ (whatever it is--interpersonal or conceptual), going through the grieving process, feeling the anger and, ultimately reuniting with self on a deeper level.
- • Another aspect of Demeter’s wound is cultural in its effect: Modern European/ American cultures have devalued the role that Mother/family plays in society as evidenced by ever-increasing single-parent families, 60-plus hour work weeks, infants in daycare, ‘latch-key’ children, and most of all, the shift in values toward increased consumerism. As recently as the 19th century a Demeter type would enjoy a broadly fulfilling life with dignity and authority: she was an integral part of gathering, harvesting, canning and storing food for her family as well as for market. She baked bread; cooked nutritious, natural foods. She lived as part of a community rather than isolated in her house squeezed into a tiny lot next to identical houses in crowded sub-developments. Most mothers are also women working outside the home, as well. They are typically exhausted from ferrying their children to school, to sports, to music/dance lessons (and the list goes on)-- too exhausted and too burdened to even consider much less exhibit any Demeter interest in cultivating the art of planting & gathering of natural and healthy food preparation for their family. Dinner is grabbed at “MacHamburger”. Families are fragmented--members are on the go--no one is at home to sit down at the dinner table, together, as a family to share a meal and to discuss their day, together.
• Demeter’s gifts
- The primeval love and unity creating a magical bond between mother and daughter.
- Demeter nourishes spiritually as well as physically.
- Matriarchal consciousness - nurturing the earth, celebrating the cycles of life, planting, tending, giving birth and assisting in the transition called death
• Demeter’s personality
- As a child & adolescent:
- As a young girl, very identified with her mother, young Demeter’s mother’s interests and preferences also become her own
- She loves playing with and nurturing her dolls - she loves being her mother’s ‘little helper’.
- Her nature is sweet and unassuming
- As an adolescent she is eager to baby-sit for the neighbors
- Young Demeter types who lack adequate mothering may yearn, in adolescence, for a child of their own upon which to lavish the mother-love they missed
- Young Demeter types are typically not motivated to experience sex for sex sake. She may want to marry early so as to begin creating her own family. If she chooses college she will most likely prepare herself for a helping profession.
• As an adult woman:
- Bringing children into the world is Demeter’s greatest joy.
- Maternal and obliging nature--difficulty saying ‘no’ -- she never seems to think of her own needs
- Demeter types excel at perseverance and patience. She is usually generous, loyal to individuals and principles, so much so that others may see her as stubborn. She is practical, warm and outer-directed
- Demeter and Aphrodite are ‘opposites’ - both ruled by Love - the difference being that Demeter’s Love is for the child.
- So caught up in mothering, Demeter woman hates the thought of leaving her home--she has little interest in dressing up or going out, she has little interest in reading, unless it’s a cookbook or a how-to-do book enhancing her skills around the house
- Demeter type loves time spent knitting, sewing, gardening
- Demeter types love finding new recipes to cook for others - she does not enjoy cooking for herself, alone.
- In relation to her children she is endlessly resourceful, tolerant, selfless.
- Demeter type would love to have more children than less and, if she could, would continue making babies as late as she could-therefore, avoiding a change in focus required in the next stage of her maturing life.
- Demeter type finds her fulfillment in the wonder of her children--watching them grow and emerge into happy individuals.
- Demeter type woman’s friendships tend to span a wide social class range - she tends to view social status as irrelevant - she cares about people from all walks of life.
- A predominantly Demeter consciousness typically does not express a strong sex drive - she tends to be more desirous of cuddling, expressing emotional warmth.
- Demeter type woman reaching her midlife phase often feels a keen sense of loss as her children leave home and create lives of their own. Some Demeter types find themselves pregnant at forty - an opportunity to avoid facing the next segment of their life and the opportunity of experiencing a different goddess archetype - therefore, she delays/avoids exploring what else she might discover in life that she could find fulfilling.
- The archetype of earth mother/nurturer can be expressed in other ways not limited to child-bearer/motherhood. Demeter types can be drawn to any number of careers in the helping profession: nursing, teaching (especially younger children), counseling, (particularly children), cook, baker, caterer, special education, dressmaker, gardener.
- Historic females embodying the Demeter archetype: Mother Teresa of Calcutta; Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Christian Science religion; spiritual leader of Aurobindo Ashram in India known simply as ‘Mother’
- possesses an introverted temperament and is focused on her inner, spiritual world. Hestia is an archetype of inner centeredness. She was known to be mild mannered, upstanding, charitable, as well as a protector. She is the least known of the Olympian goddesses primarily because she never takes part in any disputes or wars. She minds her own business amidst a family of goddesses and gods who engage in ‘high drama’. Similarly to Athena and Artemis she resists the amorous advances of men, therefore, placing her in the ‘virgin’ goddess category. Her energy is impersonal and detached. Her awareness is focused. Different than Persephone who seeks to please others, Hestia’s focus is for herself. She is grounded and her life has meaning. Unlike Athena & Artemis, Hestia did not venture out to explore the world or wilderness; she remained inside, contained within the hearth. The goddess, Hestia did not take a partner. A Hestia-type woman, today, may prefer to live a more solitary life or live within a community of like-minded, spiritual ‘sisters’.
Hestia - is the goddess of the hearth--she symbolized the household fire--the flame burning in the hearth. The hearth in each home was the central place around which family members gathered. When a family member left their home to begin a new family, a parcel of fire was taken from the family home to begin the new home fire--symbolizing the continuity of family through the perpetual flame. Each town center also had its communal hearth where the public fire was maintained. The fire of the hestia, meaning hearth, was also used in sacrifices, and, therefore, taking on a sacred character to its citizens. Hestia is an archetype of inner centeredness/inner wisdom
Psychologically, Hestia belongs to the category of ‘virgin’ goddess. She is independent, autonomous and, focused on her inner spiritual world, she is not seeking a relationship with a man to complete her. Her energy is impersonal and detached. Her awareness is focused.
- To the Romans she was known as Vesta
- Hestia was a fire divinity
- Hestia was the first born of the second generation of Olympian goddesses and gods - her parents were Cronos (god of Earth & Time) and Rhea
- Hestia was swallowed by her father, Cronos, at birth.
- Hestia’s province was that of protecting the home, family and also the city
- She was believed to dwell in the inner part of every house and to preside over all sacrifices - her presence made both home and temple hearths holy
- A perpetually burning flame were features of her sanctuary - Hestia’s presence was felt in the living flame at the center of the home, temple and city
- Temples of Hestia were characterized by their circular form, embracing the notion of centricity in the earth as well as the universe - her symbol is the Circle
- Hestia was nearly raped by a lesser known divinity at a festival--he was unsuccessful
- Hestia’s dignity and her rights as the eldest were recognized; however, she took little advantage of her position and played a very minor role in Olympian drama
- Both the gods Poseidon and Apollo requested her hand in marriage - she turned them down
- Hestia turned to her brother, Zeus, in order to put an end to the unwanted male attention toward her--she vowed to remain a virgin for ever--Zeus accepted her vow
- Hestia was not represented in human form neither by sculptors nor painters
- Instead of marriage, Hestia was offered a seat in the midst of the celestial dwelling-place and receives the richest part of sacrifices
- Hestia is visualized as a stately yet not intimidating figure; she is pretty yet not beautiful.
- She is kindly yet distant - she possesses the ability to love impartially
- Her demeanor is modest and gentle
- She is self-sufficient and self-directed - inner focused
• Challenges facing Hestia
- The majority of modern-day women are missing sufficient Hestia archetype within them. As an archetype of inner centeredness/wisdom, Hestia archetype does not exhibit reactionary behavior. This archetype is not interested in being out in the world--rather, self-contained within herself
- Hestia archetype flourishes in a spiritual community - particularly meditative
- Hestia shares her archetype with vestal virgins and nuns who give up their personal identity/their names and strive toward self-less-ness -- a life dedicated to service
- Possible difficulties for a Hestia-type woman in today’s world - presenting herself as a ‘non-entity’, in other words--she has no desire to stand out, and not as a result of her own family or cultural conditioning, rather, by her own conscious choice.
- Hestia type lacks assertiveness - she will not speak up - she is out of place in this modern, fast-paced, competitive world
- Hestia type needs to develop an effective ‘persona’ - a social adaptation aiding her in interacting and in getting along in the world when circumstances require
- Hestia type, due to her introverted nature, tends to be undemonstrative with her feelings toward others even though she may care for them
- Hestia’s caring is impersonal, detached - her challenge may be to let those close to her know that she cares
- Hestia types appear to lack outer ambition - she is a home-body and tends to the hearth/the needs of the home
• Hestia’s dark side:
- Hestia appears to be the only goddess without an apparent dark side - she avoided the drama of her ‘family’ - refused to get ‘in-the-middle’ of their issues, remains calm, grounded, centered, and maintains focus on her own personal meaning
- One way of thinking of Hestia’s dark side-- if we think, metaphorically-- her resisting the advances made on her by both Apollo (god of Sun = intellect, logical reasoning) and Poseidon (god of Sea = the unconscious, emotion) - If Hestia is seduced by these aspects:
- seduced by the need for logical reasoning, she will feel compelled to dismiss her keen intuition because she is unable to ‘logically explain herself’.
- Seduced by the unconscious, she runs the risk of becoming overwhelmed with psychic influences and/or emotional situations that keep her off balance.
• Hestia’s wound:
- In modern societies, particularly in the United States, modern woman has forfeited, for a variety of reasons, the prerogative of tending home and hearth--maintaining the home fire.
- Hestia’s wound is more about the fact that she has little place to exist in this society with the current social values on consumerism--‘having more’, ‘gotta-have-it’ - which requires increased work hours to enable increased spending, therefore, creating increasingly frantic lifestyle as a result
- Modern women who are less assertive and less intellectual often feel, inwardly, second-rate in our fast-paced, competitive society. A woman exhibiting a quiet presence, following her own internal (rather than externally exhibited) spirituality is, at best, misunderstood and viewed “quirky”, or a “loner”
- Hestia experiences her wound when she is measured and judged by others’ outer-focused, tangible standards of success, accomplishment, or marital status.
• Hestia’s gifts:
- Hestia type woman is able to enjoy her solitude - not just ‘here’ and ‘there’ whenever she can ‘grab a moment’ - but, truly enjoying her own being, consistently - she is not interested in ‘keeping busy’ - she does not enjoy ‘background noise’ to keep her company
- Hestia exhibited an inner strength which rendered Aphrodite unsuccessful in seducing or persuading any love/eros desire in Hestia - Hestia has strength to resist all that takes her away from her own center
- Hestia offers the gift of ritual-making, a powerful, affirming psychological method of honoring
• Hestia’s personality
- As a child & adolescent:
- Hestia child tends to be quiet, compliant; however, on her own she enjoys self-directed play, exhibiting the beginnings of her own self-sufficiency
- Hestia child may simply withdraw to her room in the midst of difficulty in her family life
- She may feel isolated and alienated in her family because she feels so different from them - and, she is different
- She may be labeled as ‘shy’ by others, however, this is an example of other people misunderstanding her true nature
- As a teen she tends to steer clear of the social dramas of her peers. She may be perceived as a non-participant on the periphery of school life and activities, or, she may have one or two friends who share her more introverted, sensitive nature
• As an adult woman:
- In our modern culture, Hestia archetype is not predominant for the majority of women. Most women have other goddess archetypes predominant, yet some women may have hints of Hestia in their make-up. Other women may wish to cultivate Hestia qualities within themselves
- Hestia type woman has a quiet, inner presence. She is detached in her relation to others, and she is unattached to any need for possessions, outcomes, status or power. She is free from the bind to external circumstances as her attachment to an identity is unimportant
- Hestia types seek quiet tranquility
- Hestia type is drawn to incorporating ritual, to meditation and to other reflective spiritual practices into her daily life
- Hestia type focuses on her own inner experience/feelings - she is inwardly connected
- Hestia type is keenly in touch with and connected to her personal values - with this knowledge, she lives her life by choosing that which is personally meaningful to her. She does not lose her center by pleasing others in ways that gratify ego/seeking acceptance
- Hestia, as keeper of the hearth, goes about her tasks in a calm, centered, focused manner - whether she is sweeping or doing laundry, she is fully engaged, focusing on her task at hand--like a meditation--and not at all concerned about the clock or what she will be doing next. She experiences a timeless calm in the midst of her immediate tasks
- Hestia types are ‘background’ women--she doesn’t stand out; she appears anonymous. However, her presence is felt by others creating an atmosphere of tranquil order
- Meaning is a key point in a Hestia woman’s life - what she does, who she is with reflect the meaning she holds of value
- Hestia type is not drawn into gossip and she isn’t interested in intellectual discourse
- Hestia type is a good listener, she shows compassion in her detached manner
- Because Hestia type appears to lack the driving outer ambition of her Athena and Artemis sisters, and since she doesn’t value power as her Hera sister, she may more than likely have a traditional, uninspiring job. She may feel unclear regarding her career direction.
- Sexuality is not of key importance in a primarily Hestia type woman; however, she enjoys the experience when it occurs
- A Hestia type who is married may appear to be in a traditional wife role, however, a truly Hestia woman maintains her inner autonomy and does not require a man in order to feel emotionally fulfilled
- A woman in whom Hestia archetype predominates is often a single woman who lives differently from the conventions of society. Her family or married friends who subscribe to “normal” lives may ‘pity’ her aloneness. However, it is often the unconscious fear of alone-ness--loneliness within the individual that creates the presumption that the Hestia woman is unhappy or piteable.
- A Hestia woman has cultivated a rich inner life and, therefore, has faced the challenge of human aloneness.
- A Hestia woman has cultivated positive aspects of the ‘Recluse’--an independent and creative woman, she craves solitude which offers her the sacred space in which she makes contact with her deepest self--the place where she meets spirit.
- Historic females embodying the Hestia archetype: As has been previously stated, Hestia type women do not stand out. I read about the widowed Marcella, in the 11th century C.E., who chose to live an ascetic disciplined life in her own home with her mother. She also instructed her aristocratic female friends. Domnina, 15th century C.E., lived in a hut in her mother’s garden following ascetic discipline. Macrina, 10th century C.E. never married and never left her mother. She led an ascetic life at home living with her mother for some years, after which time her mother freed herself of her worldly responsibilities. Then, the two women along with their female attendants created a communal ascetic life, together