Goddesses and Archetypes

>> Saturday, October 20, 2012

I just finished reading (for the first time) Jean Shinoda Bolen's Goddesses in Everywoman, a superb book written nearly 30 years ago. I'd avoided reading it for years because at first glance it seems to oversimply a very complex concept, but I was wrong. It is a Jungian book in every sense of the word, and Bolen makes it clear that the goddesses referred to in the text are only forms given to a deeper, undifferentiated energy that we unconsciously tap into. And it was a welcome to see these energies represented by the Greek pantheon, beloved of myself, personally.

Bolen uses three main categories when talking about these energies: The Virgin Goddesses (by 'virgin' she means 'seperate' or 'untouched,' not virginal in our contemporary sense of the word), The Vulnerable Goddesses (think vulnerable as opposed to the untouched nature of the Virgin Goddesses. Vulnerable because of their need for relationships, whereas the Virgin Goddesses can (and do) stand alone), and the Alchemical Goddess (only 1 goddess is in this category, the lovely Aphrodite).

The reality, according to Bolen, is that we are often influenced by multiple energies, or Goddesses, throughout the course of our life, but usually 1 or 2 predominate while others come in and out. Ideally, we have 1 archtype/Goddess from each category, and they then can balance their energies nicely. We must work at not allowing the most formed energy to rule our lives.

My list: Artemis (the feminist), Hera (the wife), and Aphrodite (note that though Aphrodite is in a category of her own, I actually identified really strongly with this energy. I sense this is not often/always the case with many women).

Hera & Aphrodite predominate my psyche. Artemis runs a close second, and Hestia, Demeter are pretty significant players as well. What I believe I do need to cultivate, to mellow out my Hera and Aphrodite energies, is the Athena energy--that of rationality and deliberation. She does not come from an emotional place, and this would help the hyper-emotional Hera & Aphrodite energies follow something other than their volatile emotional states.

Athena, Aphrodite and Hera

May I gently add a bit more Athena into my psyche.


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