Archetypes in our stories guide our lives in profound and largely unconscious ways.
Through reframing classic mythologies, we explore the resurgence of feminine archetypes and its relationship to nature through a multi-cultural lens, with Jean Shinoda Bolen, author and Jungian therapist; Luisah Teish, author and priestess in the Ifa Orisha tradition; Sri Swamini Svatmavidyananda, teacher of Hindu Vedanta philosophy.
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.
A goddess is a 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 to 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.
Understanding goddess types offer a woman very specific means of increased self-awareness of herself, her relationship with her lover, partner, her way of parenting her children, her inner urges in her self-expression and creativity. New ways of understanding feminine psychology have been emerging in the past twenty years–from a feminine perspective. In a society that has trivialized the Goddess concept, learning of the significance of Goddess qualities/energy can be instructive for women and men. We are aware that women’s and men’s behaviors, attitudes, likes and dislikes do appear to conform to particular typologies. – Jean Shinoda Bolen
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