My bedside reading these last few days: Jean Shinoda-Bolen’s Goddesses in Everywoman: A New Psychology of Women. (I thank my friend J. for having made another invaluable contribution to my life by telling me about this book.)
Let me quote Google Books’ description of this work (simply because it’s a pretty good summary):
A classic work of female psychology that uses seven archetypcal goddesses as a way of describing behavior patterns and personality traits is being introduced to the next generation of readers with a new introduction by the author…
Bolen’s radical idea was that just as women used to be unconscious of the powerful effects that cultural stereotypes had on them, they were also unconscious of powerful archetypal forces within them that influence what they do and how they feel, and which account for major differences among them. Bolen believes that an understanding of these inner patterns and their interrelationships offers reassuring, true–to–life alternatives that take women far beyond such restrictive dichotomies as masculine/feminine, mother/lover, careerist/housewife. And she demonstrates in this book how understanding them can provide the key to self–knowledge and wholeness.
Dr. Bolen introduced these patterns in the guise of seven archetypal goddesses, or personality types, with whom all women could identify, from the autonomous Artemis and the cool Athena to the nurturing Demeter and the creative Aphrodite, and explains how to decide which to cultivate and which to overcome, and how to tap the power of these enduring archetypes to become a better “heroine” in one’s own life story.
I am, hands down, “autonomous Artemis.” (Key descriptors that hit the mark: independent, nonrelational, one-in-herself; with an active, focused consciousness; with little apparent need to become vulnerable or to give and receive love, comfort and support; seeks her own goals on terrain of her own choosing; able to concentrate intensely on whatever is important to her and to be undistracted either by the needs of others or by competition from others; competent; feels strongly about her causes and principles; has interests with limited or no commercial value; etc.)
I haven’t finished the book yet, so I still have to find out what other archetypes are strong in me (I suspect a lot of Aphrodite plus dashes of Athena, Hestia and Persephone).
This is the part of self-discovery that’s fuuun.