So I'm a Goddess. Now What?
Enter Goddess Alchemy.
Goddess alchemy is based on the understanding that there are patterns in the human psyche, powerful forces within us that transcend time and culture, known as archetypes. The Goddess archetypes are complex female character types that we intuitively recognize in ourselves, the women in our lives, and in our culture. Essentially this means that the Goddesses of the past, think Aphrodite, Kuan Yin, Saraswati are psychological forces, alive and well in the collective unconscious of humanity and present in each of us.
The Goddess archetypes most commonly talked about are the Greco-Roman ones, because they are most familiar to the Western world. As a Greek American, they are also the ones I feel most connected to, hearing these myths all my life. However, each polytheistic culture had their own version of the same basic archetypes, they each had a Goddess of Love and a Mother Goddess figure, with different names yet often very similar myths. Take the myth of visiting the Underworld, a journey down into the soul. There is the Sumerian myth of Inanna, who descends into the Underworld and there is Persephone, who gets abducted by Hades down there. These different myths constellate around a similar archetype that connect them, even though they are from different cultures. The journey to the Underworld is a myth that we relate to during those times when we are taken to our darkest places, when we are stripped bare of our egos, during times of depression and loss. We've all been there.
How can this knowledge benefit you?
There are seven main Goddess types (with their Greek and then Roman names):
Artemis (Diana), Athena (Minerva), Hestia (Vesta), Hera Juno),
Demeter (Ceres), Persephone (Proserpina), and Aphrodite (Venus)
Knowing about these main archetypes will help you to better understand yourself and your behavior, and all the women in your life. For example, take Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and Beauty. Think about a women you might know who embodies her. Maybe its you. Maybe your someone who loves beautiful things and feeling beautiful. Of course we all do, every Goddesses is potentially present in all of us (Some are just more developed than others), but an Aphrodite women will simply exude it. She might take extra care with her appearance, maybe by working out or maybe with her hair and make-up. Either way, she has a very feminine sensuality about her, a je ne sais quoi.
Most of us have 2 or 3 Goddesses that we embody most prominently however as we go through the different phases of our lives, they can change. Getting pregnant, you might discover a nurturing Mother Goddess like Demeter, that you didn't even know was in you. Maybe you're a women who isn't particularly erotic but one day you meet the man of your dreams and lucky you, turns our he's in to you too! And now, all of a sudden, you're more in touch with your fun and sensual side then ever before. You've awoken to this new erotic energy and now your so in love that everything is beginning to look beautiful to you, and you are looking more beautiful than ever. Aphrodite just came online in your psyche and isn't she radiant!
So how else can Goddess Alchemy help you?
By knowing what Goddess archetypes you most strongly embody, you'll recognize your personal strengths and weaknesses, because each of the goddesses had their strong suits, the things they ruled over, and those they were not so good at. You can see it in their myths. For instance Hera, Zeus's wife, was constantly dealing with his infidelity and stayed by his side, however she was also notoriously not so good at dealing with her jealousy and mercilessly took it out on the other woman. Does this story sound familiar? We have all seen in on TV and maybe know someone like her. Learning about which Goddesses you do or don't relate to will help you see where your best areas for growth are.
There are three main category of Goddesses; virginal, vulnerable, and alchemical. Virginal doesn't mean literally a virgin. Virginal goddess women are self-sufficient, don't necessary need a man because they are sharply focus on their own goals, unlike the vulnerable goddesses who are so much more relational, seeking relationships and are thus more vulnerable to being hurt by men.What has being so strongly an independent, fitness-oriented, feminist Artemis woman cost you in terms of experiencing deep intimacy with men? What has the woman who has gone from bad relationship to bad relationship not learned about being single and empowered? Alchemical is the last category of goddesses and Aphrodite is the only alchemical Goddess as she is neither virginal nor nulnerable. Rather she symbolizes the creative and transformational power of love itself.
You might also what to know which Goddesses you don't relate to at all. That will better help you see the least developed parts of your psyche or your shadow side. It may also help you better understand the women you know who embody those archetypes and make sense of the dynamics of your relationships. Having an Athena type of mother is a very different experience than being raised by a Demeter mother. The Demeter mom has always wanted children, and will love being pregnant. An Athena woman may not want to start a family but is she does, she will still have her career and is looking forward to when the kids old enough to go to school. So depending on what Goddesses you most relate you, you will have a very different relationship to these two different moms. Make sense?
Think about what Goddesses you most resonate with and why? Share your thoughts with us!