The Goddess Archetype

The path to peace and wholeness is a trinity, that of mind, body and spirit.  It is necessary to pay attention to all three aspects of the self in order to arrive at and to know yourself as Divine Love.  A three-fold path dappled with shadow and light for indeed without the shadows, there is no existence.

In the works of Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung, the power of the collective consciousness and the face of the evolving archetype, are powerful allies on the path of psychological maturing towards individuation.

As we live in a patriarchal society and have done so for thousands of years, these archetypal images have been changed through that lens of perception, both within men and women.

The ancient god and goddess mythologies form a crucial part of our collective archetypal unconscious.  Within each and every man and woman the gods and goddesses are acting out their archetypal roles.  By understanding which goddesses you are keeping alive, you are closer to understanding your own psyche. 
By identifying your governing archetypes (in the goddesses in this instance) you are in a position to identify compelling behaviour and feeling patterns.  Through the study of the inner goddesses you can empower yourself through the power of choice.
The various goddesses are aspects of the Supreme Mother Goddess and they have the power to heal or to disrupt.
Several of these goddesses underlie a woman’s behaviour and psychological style.  Men too, are influenced by the goddess types.  The goddesses reflect feminine energies in the male psyche, although men usually experience them as being more external to themselves in the shape of women they are attracted to or else have strong reactions to.
Men experience the goddesses projected onto the women around them.
All of men’s relationships with women are determined by one or more of the goddess energies and their particular archetypal energies.
One can assume that a certain predisposition to specific archetypes are brought into existence at birth.  Depending on the circumstances and the surrounding archetypal role models in one’s life, specific goddesses will be awakened and cultivated at various stages in one’s life. It is thus clear that this is not a static mandala, but an ever-changing one.  It changes through ways of thinking and very importantly, ways of acting and behaving.  Different ages and maturity also awakens different archetypes within oneself.
Every archetype has its pros and cons or negatives or positives, depending on its reason for being in your consciousness.  For instance, the price for living a protective goddess, such as Athena,  might be the loss of vulnerability and intimacy of Persephone.
In some instances you may need to cultivate a certain goddess and in another you would have to let go of a goddess.  Your responsibility is to become aware of which goddess/es are currently living in your psyche;  decide whether she still serves her purpose;  decide whether she is now bringing more harm than healing and then to make the choice as to let her go or to invite her sister into your psyche. All of this is of course, ideally spoken.  We are usually not at such a level of self-mastery and it is more a process of becoming aware of who is active in you and by becoming AWARE of her existence and then stepping into the role of witness and observer, ACCEPTING her presence.  Her presence is always there because you, the self, have decided that her presence is needed.  She may have awakened in your psyche as a protective goddess or one who is keeping your self-esteem in tact, or one who warns you of perceived threats to your happiness.  Through SURRENDER, one has the power to let go into the hands of the Divine and the status quo can then change.

RESISTANCE and the refusal to look at oneself and one’s reactions objectively, leads to stasis, stagnation, suffering and disease.
Cultivating a goddess into your consciousness or letting one go from your mode of behaviour and perceptions is not always a simple and straightforward task, but more likely one that will call for great determination and perseverance at times and at other times, a gentle invitation is enough to upset the so-called apple cart!!  Dealing with the self, asks for great dollops of empathy and compassion and self-love and not critical analysis and self-judgement.
In the alchemical goddess philosophy, based on the Roman and Greek archetypes, there are three categories of goddesses: virgin, vulnerable and alchemical.  The goddess archetype are found in Eastern philosophies, Celtic, Norse and many many other cultures and their anthropology and religions, myths and tales.
All the goddesses are potential patterns in the psyches of all women, yet in each individual woman some of these patterns are activated/developed and others are not.  The ones that are developed become your personal archetypal patterns.  She is reflective of the feminine in the masculine.  
Women are born with an inherent disposition towards certain archetypes – these are then either activated or suppressed, depending on the influential factors. such as the family environment. The expectations of the child’s family support some goddesses and suppress others.  If a family disapproves of a girl’s inherent goddess, she may learn not to act her natural self and her self-esteem will suffer. Hormonal changes
activate certain goddesses in a woman’s life and cycle.  Pregnancy is a major factor in activating Demeter.
Different stages of life will also activate certain goddesses.
Please visit The Path of Divine Love for a series of Soul Collage cards on the goddess archetype. 

The three types of goddesses to follow ….


Mary Daly – Beyond God the Father
Marion Woodman – Leaving my father’s house
Jean Shinoda Bolen – Goddesses in Everywoman
Jennifer Barker Woolger – The Goddess Within
Patricia Monaghan – The Goddess Path
Patricia Monaghan – The Goddess Companion
Starhawke – Twelve Wild Swans
Starhawke – Spiral Dance
Jean Shinoda Bolen – Ring of Power

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