Let’s talk about goddesses.
I never gave them much thought, but a friend who is a retired psychologist suggested I take a look at Goddesses in Older Women by Jean Shinoda Bolen to understand female archetypes as an aid to my writing. At first I wasn’t sure. Goddesses aren’t my thing. I tend to lump them in with divas.
Then I read the book and found out that, for a gal who’s always seeking balance in her life, the goddesses could be a big help and a lot of fun.
Different goddesses might be seen to represent different aspects of your personality.
- Metis: wisdom combined with expertise
- Sophia: intuitive wisdom
- Hestia: hearth and home
- Hecate: the wisdom of old age and courage when facing a crossroads
- Baubo: humor and laughter
- Athena: the masculine, business-minded side of you
I like Athena. She’s the strategist, the brainy warrior.
Athena was born as a fully-grown woman in golden armor, carrying a spear, and she announced her arrival with a mighty war cry. Mount Olympus shook when her feet hit the ground. Isn’t that a great mental image? If I have to do something that requires all my courage, I channel my inner Athena.
I don’t see the goddesses as deities perched in the heavens. Rather, they put a face on aspects of my personality, encouraging me to utilize all my strengths, and not be narrow. For example, if I need to turn off the computer and pay some attention to my family, that’s a nudge from Hestia, goddess of the hearth-fire. Hecate gives me wisdom and courage as I face the challenges of my age, and Baubo inspires dark humor as a friend and I grieve over a diagnosis.
We know about the male gods, like Thor and Zeus, but what do we know about the female dieties? A lot of what we hear is bad, like Medusa with the snakes writhing around her head. Most of the goddesses were originally seen as powerful forces for good, but they were demoted when ancient lands were conquered and dominated by patriarchal sects. For example, Hecate was the goddess of midlife, for people at a crossroads, having to make a big decision. But over time, Hecate was portrayed as a hag or a witch who resides in the underworld.
Nice going, fellas.
One of the most important goddesses was Sophia, who represented wisdom. Michelangelo thought enough of her to paint her right next to God, held close. Sophia was said to have given moral support while God created the universe. According to the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Sophia spoke these words as she watched Him work.
The Lord created me at the beginning of his works, before all else that he made, long ago. Alone, I was fashioned in times long past, at the beginning, long before earth itself. When there was yet no ocean I was born, no springs brimming with water, before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, before he made the earth with its fields…When he set the heavens in their place I was there, when he girdled the ocean with the horizon, when he fixed the canopy of clouds overhead and set the springs of ocean firm in their place, when he prescribed its limits for the sea and knit together earth’s foundations. Then I was at his side each day, like a master workman, I was his darling and delight, rejoicing with him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in mankind.
Isn’t it nice to stop a minute and revel in that which is purely spiritual, artful, inspiration, or beautiful? Thanks again to Dolores for this respite.