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
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
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
- 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
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
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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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
- 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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
- 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
- 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
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’
College is most likely the place for
her to find a suitable husband rather than finding her own autonomous
- 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
Persephone - represents the
feminine archetype of the mediumistic mystic, connected with the
spirit-world. She is also the archetypal child--radiating optimism and
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
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
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
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
Attracted to metaphysics, healing, intuitive, service-oriented work
By nature she is reclusive/retreating,
secretive, possessing a sensitive system requiring time away from
“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.
- Challenges facing Persephone
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
- Indicators that Persephone woman has not sufficiently completed her ‘Hades’ decent:
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
- 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
- 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
- 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
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
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
- 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
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
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
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
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,
- 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,
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
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
- 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
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
Sexuality is not of key importance in a
primarily Hestia type woman; however, she enjoys the experience when it
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
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