Sunday, May 31, 2015

Maria in the history of the Motherland, Africa

Collage by Young Ju
Mother Africa

....African monarchs are defined as children of the Sun (Ra) or the Moon (Ma or Maia) or the union of the two (Mara or Maria). They worshipped the Goddess of Heaven and Earth, also known as Nomukhubulwane, Kore or Mohale.

'African female leaders were not only political and military leaders, but also priestesses who acted as intermediaries between the nation and the Queen of Heaven and Earth called Mohale,
Nwalinkulunkulu or Nomukubulwane.  The successive Mudjadji Rain Queens were regarded as the incarnation of this goddess.  The 'temporary' replacement of a female Monarch with a male regent is a serious disruption of the relationship between the Balobedu Kingdom and its spiritual and cultural roots.  Thus the restoration of female leadership in Bolobedu is critical for the spiritual and cultural wellbeing of Balobedu and related communities who recognize the Rain Queen as their spiritual and cultural leader.'
These are the words of Prof. Mathole Motshekga, Director and Founder of Kara Heritage Institute, contained in a paper read on the Restoration and Advancement of Cultural and Traditional Governance in democratic South Africa.  The complete paper is available at and various books by Prof Motshekga on African spirituality, religion, philosophy and history.
Prof Motshekga explains that the African society was a matriarchal society based on gender equality, but that through the destruction of the African past, identity, culture and religion, the spiritual philosophy and cosmology of the African people has been lost.
The following extracts are from the papers written and presented by Prof Motshekga.
'Indigenous African leaders were divine monarchs (Fura or Faro)...This land of the people is also known as the land of the Sun (Kara/Langa) perceived as the King (Fura or Faro) or God (Ntura).
....African monarchs are defined as children of the Sun (Ra) or the Moon (Ma or Maia) or the union of the two (Mara or Maria).  They worshipped the Goddess of Heaven and Earth, also known as Nomukhubulwane, Kore or Mohale.  The children of this Goddess bear the dynastic title of child (mwana/umtwana) and its variants.
For instance :
Mwana in Mwanamutapa (Zimbabwe)
Mani in Manikara (Sudan)
Mene in Meneptah (Egypt)
These monarchs also worship the Sun God Kara (Greek Krios) or Hara (Greek Horus).'
'The Queen Mother and the Monarch are reflections of the Queen of Heaven (Mara or Maria) and the Son Hara (Greek Horus) symbolised by the falcon God known as Shiri ya Mwari (or Bird of Mohale), popularly known as the Bird of Zimbabwe.  The Goddess Mwari, Mohale or Mwalinkulunkulu is worshipped by the African peoples as a whole.  This Goddess was worshipped at Maphungubwe and other spiritual centres in Southern Africa.'

African culture and religion has at its centre axis the Divine Light.  It also follows the Khemetic maxim (later known as the Hermetic maxim) of As Above, So Below. 'Everything came out of the One that we call God and the Mother thereof is the moon (Ma) and the father thereof is the Sun (Ra) or the union (Ma + ra = Mara) of the two. This Khemetic or Hermetic doctrine is the basis of African Culture and religion. More specifically, this doctrine is based on the Solar Trinity as follows :

The Sun (Ra) is the physical manifestation of the Divine Light (Kara) that we call God. Like the Mind (Atum) of God Ptah, the Sun (Ra) is a male/female principle that split into the mother (Mara) principle. The Mara principle is also a female/male principle made out of both Ma (the mother) and Ra (the Father).  The mother (Ma + Ra = Mara) is represented by the planet Venus (Nehanda).

The mother (Mara) principle gave birth to the Divine Light (Kara) which is represented by the planet Mercury (Kara). Thus the Solar trinity consists of The Sun (the father principle), the planet Venus (the mother principle) and the planet Mercury (Child principle).

The fatherhood and motherhood of the Sun symbolised by the Solar disc or five pointed star mounted on a lunar crescent is called

Ma + ra = Mara

Maia + ra = Maria

The relationship of the Queen of Heaven and Earth (Mara/Muhale) and her son, the word of the Divine Light or Mind/Intellect of the First Cause (Ptah) is symbolised by a baboon carrying a solar disc, mounted on a Lunar Crescent, on its head. This baboon is squatting on a Cube (Kaba) representing the earth (Tamara/Kumara).
The names Tamara and Kumara consist of:

Ta meaning land

Kumara/Tamara meaning the Queen of Heaven and Earth

The Virgin of Montserrat
Thus the earth (Tamara/Kumara) means the earthly mother or land of the Queen of Heaven and Earth. The exposition of the Solar trinity fore grounded the centrality of the mother principle. The spiritual mother (Mara/maria) is known as the Queen of Heaven and Earth. The name Mara/Maria has the following variants:

• Mari (Karanga/Rozwi)
• Mwari (Karanga/Shona)
• Mwarinkurunkuru (Karanga/Shona)
• Mwali (Rozwi/Lozwi)
• Mwalinkulunkulu (Nguni)
• Muali (Lozwi/Khelobedu)
• Muhali (Lozwi/Khelobedu/Venda)
• Mohale (South Sotho)
• Mogale (North Sotho)
• Nwari (Tsonga)
• Nwali (Venda)
• Meri (Ancient Ethiopia and Egypt)
• Meru (Burundi/Rwanda)
• Meroe (Ancient Ethiopia)

The Egyptian and Ehtiopian Coptic churches applied the name Mari/Meri to Mary the mother of Yeshua (Greek Jesus) the Nazarene. Those are the various names by which southern African people call the Queen of Heaven and Earth.
The Queen of Heaven and Earth was worshipped at Great Zimbabwe, Matopo hills, Maphungubwe, Lwandali (now Tshiendeulu), Makonde, Maulwe and various other places in Southern Africa.
The Queen of Heaven and Earth (Muhale or Nwali) is the mother of the Mind or Word of the First Cause (Ptah) known as Mbekira, Mberaka or Mbire. 
Goddess Mawu by Lisa Iris
African pilgrims went to these religious heritage sites to worship Mwari (or Muhale), the Queen of Heaven and Earth who was worshipped as Kore, Mari or Sabanyadatja. Thus devotees of African Religion were also called Sabians. Uptill this day devotees of African religion, indegeneous African Christian Churches and politicians still pay homage to Mwari of Matomboni who appears in the form of an eagle (Raluvhimba/Ralebepe) or a star at Masisi, Mberengwa in Southern Zimbabwe and Makonde in the Vhembe district. The symbols of this Goddess are the python (Domba/Demba) biting its tail and a baboon (Soko Mbire) that moves from Luonde to Mashau and Nahakwe at Ha Mamaila Kolobetona.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Athena Goddess of Wisdom and Crafts, Strategist and Father's Daughter

(Athena painting by Susan Seddon-Boulet)


Goddess of Wisdom and Crafts, Strategist and Father’s Daughter
Warrior Goddess
Also known as Pallas Athena and as Minerva in Roman mythology.

Athena rules everything to do with civilization, all aspects of cities, urban life and the civilized life.She rules technology and science and all practical crafts, literary arts, education and intellectual life.  She guides a woman’s career, her profession, how she relates to her father and the patriarchal archetype and the accepted norms of society.

A Virgin Goddess.
Intellect, Courage, Goal-orientated
Warrior, Intellectual, Accomplished
Symbols :
Spear, intertwined snakes, olive tree and owl
Modern Archetype :
A woman in a man’s world
Father : Zeus
Mother : Metis

Wound : Athena’s armour hides her need to be accepted – especially by her ‘father’. ‘Father’ represents the patriarchal society, the culture, her physical father, academia, fashion, body image, status consciousness, etc. In her mental focus she denies the needs of the physical body.

Lesson : Athena’s dilemma is civilization is repression. She wants to belong to society and the patriarchal society, but these do not allow her to develop or to be her free self. She needs to overcome her need to be accepted to find her true self. She needs to acknowledge her body as an aspect of the goddess.

Archetype : Athena expresses the negative mother archetype; the stepmother. Demeter is her split off positive mother archetype.
Zeus tricked the pregnant Metis (Demeter) into becoming small enough for him to swallow her.When it was time for Athena to be born, Zeus’ head was cracked open with an axe and she jumped out, a full grown mature woman dressed in golden armour.

Athena regards herself as only having one parent, her father Zeus. She does not acknowledge having a mother and she believes that one does not need a mother. She is only her father’s daughter. The absent Metis/Demeter psychologically represents mother function in Athena that has been split off.The missing mothering function is replaced by spiritual nurturing from the father figure, but this father is really at war with the mother principle (he deceived and swallowed the mother). The more Athena identifies with the masculine principle in establishing her sense of self in the world, the more she alienates herself from her mother within and her nurturing. The positive spiritual father principle strives for perfection and this quest Athena takes up – often leading to diseases such as anorexia nervosa.
Athena yearns for unconditional love and warm, physical mothering, but as long as she denies this aspect of herself, she is will stay a victim of her own making.
Athena sprang from her father’s head full-grown. This depicts her emotional maturity and logical thinking abilities. It also, however, shows that she never had a childhood – that she missed out on being irresponsible and playful. It indicates a person who, from a young age, felt the need to act responsibly and to take control. It is quite safe to say that as a prerequisite for the birth of the Athena archetype in one’s psyche, the tendency to control had to exist. Born from the perception that the world and other people are not to be trusted, a deep need to control one’s environment and experiences, and therefore other people, arises. The perception and expectation that others are not to be trusted will attract and give life to life-threatening experiences, such as betrayal, rejection and humiliation.
Athena is known for her wisdom, logical and rational thinking, being interested in worldly affairs and being a strategist. She is also a craftswoman and has skills as a weaver. She likes a sense of balance and she keeps everything in moderation. You will not find any excesses or passions in an Athena. Clearly, this is another mechanism of control. As long as the passions are held on a tight leash, then the possibility of unpleasant surprises are limited. Athena also avoids those who are emotionally explosive as they bring the danger of emotional upheaval. She cannot allow herself to relax and surrender to the chaos of living. As new life grows from chaos, Athena tends to stagnate and suffocate the growth of the self.


Athena wears a golden suit of armour : intellectual defenses keep her safe. From birth she used her head to control herself and those around her in order to prevent herself from experiencing any pain.She does not allow herself to get involved in the pain of others – she uses her intellect to analyze, label and categorize experiences and feelings.
Athena stays cool at all times and does not take anything personal. (Artemis, in comparison, wore a short tunic which made her much more vulnerable than the armored Athena.) Athena avoids confusion at all costs. One a problem is noticed, she uses her mind to effect damage control. Thus she keeps the self from ever attaining real wisdom. Wisdom cannot be obtained through the mind. It needs the physical experience of the heart, the body and the mind. By allowing herself to sit with the confusion and the questions, she will attract the wisdom from her deepest self, beyond the defense barrier of the mind.


Practical, uncomplicated, confident, someone who gets things done without a fuss. She is in good health, has no mental conflicts, and is physically active. Athena women tend cultivate an ageless asexuality. This is also a method of staying safe. Sexuality implies vulnerability; it also implies the need of love and being loved; it implies the need of other people. All of these are powerful allies in the opening of the heart and becoming a heart-centered person. But the journey to the opening of the heart, through the intrinsic nature of its goal, brings deep felt pain and confusion.
They usually lack close women friends. Her lack of empathy, as well as her need to win does not cultivate friendships with other women. They do not feel any closeness with traditional women, nor with feminists.
Athena is not tolerant of the emotional, vulnerable world of traditional women. She is also not tolerant of feminists who give it enough power in order to oppose it. In her view, only the patriarchal world of the mind exists.
Athena women are attracted to successful men. They are impatient with dreamers. This, once again, illustrates the extent to which Athena will go to extinguish any reality beyond the lower mind.
She lives in her mind and is often out of touch with her sexuality. Typically, she is not a sensual or sexy woman, nor is she flirtatious or romantic.
Athena does not communicate her feelings well, if at all. Athena has been suppressing her feelings for so long, that she is unaware that they exist. It is therefore not surprising that she does not communicate her feelings well. Athena will prevent the self from acquiring any compassion as she does not acknowledge, nor tolerate suffering. If Athena is successful in denying the emotions and feelings, and therefore, the suffering for long enough, the self will attract physical imbalance in order to try and re-establish the balance. Typically, depression, auto-immune diseases and dis-ease of the heart and kidneys.


Young child:
Has a capacity for concentration with an intellectual focus
She will love reading
When not reading, she will be following her father around with a million questions
Curious, seeks information and wants to know how things work
Athena girls learn how to fix things
She might be more interested in traditional boy things, such as fixing cars or classifying bugs
May excel at sewing or other crafts
Screaming or tearful scenes are absent
Hormonal changes hardly seem to affect them
Extraverted by nature
They plan ahead
She will not form close bonds with other girls, but rather be friends with boys as equals

Athena lives in her head and she leads a one-sided existence. She lacks emotional intensity, erotic attraction, intimacy, passion or ecstasy. She never experiences the deep despair and suffering that may follow bonding with others or needing them. Rational Athena cuts a woman off from the full range and intensity of human emotion. She cuts herself off from empathizing with anyone else’s deep feelings, from being affected by art or music and from being moved by mystical experience. Living in her head prevents her from living in her heart and this is exactly where her wound lies. She is an extremely vulnerable and sensitive being behind the armour. She uses the intellectualism to protect her, but it prevents her from opening the heart as this is far too an intense journey of ups and downs.
Living in her head, also prevents her from living in her body. This can lead to a lack of vitality and vibrancy. A woman/man ruled by Athena can experience a dullness to their existence; a lack of intensity and passion. One the one hand this will keep you in control and safe, but on the other hand, it will prevent you from seeing life in its full brilliance.
When one of her priestesses (Medusa) was raped, Athena cursed her by turning her hair into a writhing mass of snakes which instantly turned any man viewing her to stone. When her priestess was killed, Athena was remorseful and made restitution by integrating Medusa into herself as her destroyer aspect.
Athena is known for the Medusa effect. She has an ability to intimidate others and to take away the spontaneity, vitality and creativity of people who are not like her. She is very critical of any weakness.
She is intolerant of traditionally feminine vulnerability and emotions. She punished both Medusa and dominating men by cursing Medusa. This shows Athena’s depth of understanding of the paradoxical nature of the Universe and our experience in it : you cannot enjoy the full beauty and splendour without the pain and suffering. In our archetypal consciousness and understanding we know that it is through suffering that the bleeding heart turns into the rose (the symbol of unconditional love). This is indeed our raison d’etre; our reason for being born into the physical life. Athena will block the artist and the sensitive creative in the human psyche.

Athena might have been developed in childhood where a girl grew up in an abusive household. In order to keep herself safe she learnt to suppress her feelings. She had to put on an armour and as a survival mechanism she became numb and out of touch with her feelings. She may have had to learn to plan and strategize in order to survive. Athena becomes activated when a victimized woman starts to plan to set herself free.
When a woman is trapped in an experience of disempowerment and of having no control over her emotions and her circumstances, she can cultivate Athena. The courage and warrior in Athena will lead her to freedom.
Women who feel that they need some of Athena in their experience, can cultivate her by educating herself. She can develop disciplined study habits. At work she can behave professionally, which will imply objective, impersonal and skillful. She may need to acquire dispassionate observation, logical thinking and skills (because of her professional work). One of Athena’s strengths is self-discipline.The following of a spiritual path based in self-discipline will also assist in awakening Athena.

I am strong
My mind is sharp and decisive
I am a woman (or man) of the world

The goddess Athena was never a child – she was born as an adult. The first step to healing will be to recover the child within. As a rational little girl she would have missed out on the subjective experience. An Athena woman must learn to listen and to imagine as best as she can both the scene and the feelings being described. When she is going through emotional pain, she has to allow others to comfort her. She needs to learn to play and to laugh, to cry and be hugged. Discovering her own vulnerability and mortality will bring healing to a controlling Athena. Becoming aware of her own feelings and capacity for suffering, will lead her to discover her potential for love. If a woman does not heal her Athena out of her own accord, she will attract painful events into her life to assist her with this healing process.
Athena needs to discover the mother within and to allow others to mother her. She depreciated her own mother and she therefore needs to discover her mother’s strengths in order for her to value any similarities between them. She needs to connect to her mother within in order to heal.
Because Athena is such an intellectual person it is very important for her to change her habitual thought patterns and thus her perception and view of the world. She needs to cultivate her trust and faith in the universe and more importantly, in other people. Only when Athena can trust herself can she trust others and vice versa.

Athena forms a contrasting opposite (a pair) with Artemis. Artemis is the goddess of the wild as opposed to Athena’s civilization – they share masculine qualities, though. These two form a working relationship of independence.

Extracted from Dr Jean Shinoda Bolen's work

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Demeter, Mother Goddess

Mother Goddess at Goddess Harvest Festival at Artemis, Franschhoek


Demeter was the prominent Mother Goddess. She presided over all forms of reproduction and renewal of life, especially that of plant life. She is a goddess of fecundity, fertility and regeneration.She has a mystical identity with her dark underworld sister, the Queen of the Dead, she gives birth to a Divine Son, who remains her youthful consort rather than becoming a husband or mature equal.

Symbol : sheaf of wheat, single ear of corn, flowers, the sacred pig and dolphin

The sanctuary of Demeter at Eleusis was in active use for nearly two thousand year. In AD 396 it was destroyed by the Goths, followed by the men in black, the Christian monks. Her matriarchal consciousness was transmitted into the Virgin Mary by the Roman Catholics.
Demeter reminds us that not everything sacred belongs to the masculine heavens. She reminds us that to walk upon the earth as our sacred Mother and as the dwelling place of both goddesses and gods.
Demeter and Persephone (her daughter) symbolize the dynamic cycles of nature that occur within the body of the earth and through the mystical principle of correspondence, within the body of every woman.


Demeter, the Nurturer
She seems to have endless nurturing energy and seemingly selfless devotion to her children and family.
She lives for the other, loses herself in the other, it is the other that is her source of fulfillment, not herself.
Aphrodite is also ruled by love – love for the Beloved though – Demeter is ruled by love for the child.
The child is the child within, the maiden self, the needy husband, the dependent children.
Demeter is ruled by love.
(Aphrodite is ruled by love,
Athena and Artemis by ego fulfillment through independence
Persephone and Hera by power and
Hestia by spiritual fulfillment)

Demeter, the Mother
Demeter is fully identified with the role of mothering, to the exclusion of all other roles. She is so caught up in being a mother that she does not have time to pay attention to Aphrodite in her appearance, to Athena in her interest in worldly affairs, nor emotional and psychic growth through Persephone.
She is constantly giving out to children, husband and every stray friend in the vicinity.
Demeter, the Maiden

A part of Demeter, caught up in Kore (Persephone) never grows up. She hides in the underworld for the winter to escape from the world and its demands on her love and giving. This underworld is manifested as addictive, escapist attitudes, behaviours and relationships.

Demeter, the Wise Woman

In Demeter, the Wise Woman, she had healed the wounds and she understands that the primordial unity and love between mother and daughter and a solidarity among women reaches back into the fullness and timelessness of matriarchal consciousness.
This brings the aspect of immortality to women. Through generations, a bond is carried backwards and forward by mother and daughter.


The Separation

The symbolic separation between Demeter and Kore represents separation from one’s own innocence, from your maidenhood, from your very feminine essence. A deflowering takes place as the woman is initiated into marriage and sexuality.
The Homeric hymns tells about the moving of the earth and its opening beneath Kore’s feet – these symbolize her first bleeding and a new consciousness of her womanhood and the power of her womb.
Menstrual and gynaecological problems can be traced back to a woman’s awakening experience and her wounding through a patriarchal system and disconnection from a feminine consciousness.
Premenstrual symptoms have been classified as the Wise Wound, and in Jungian understanding, the inner masculine figure (the animus) represents the woman’s unconscious feminine power which has been suppressed by culture and society, thus leading to these symptoms.

Her inferiority complex

Society does not acknowledge the role of a fulltime mother. For a Demeter this re-wound her deep feelings of inferiority and spur her even more into sacrificing herself for others.

Her betrayal by a patriarchal society
In the patriarchal society, Demeter has been betrayed. The role of the matriarch has been lost and denigrated. She is no longer acknowledged as the wise and fruitful one – the roles of mothering and nurturing are no longer valued.

Her birth rights denied
Demeter has always filled the role of assisting with the labouring and birthing process. The number of ceasarian births have escalated the last decade. The woman’s right to be aware of her own body, its rythms and needs, have been denied her. No longer is she regarded as capable of giving birth to her own offspring and no longer are women allowed to surround her in this sacred process.


1. Maiden and flower – Demeter and Kore

2 . Mother and fruit – pregnancy and giving birth

3. the Wise Woman, the Crone – the inner psychology of menopause.

Hecate helps the mature Kore return from the underworld. Hecate is the wise woman, the crone, that Demeter becomes. Hecate, as crone and moon goddess oversees and integrates every aspect of Demeter’s transformation. She is the Triple Goddess herself. Demeter, as Kore, has to spend time in the underworld, in order to learn that she is not to become fully identified with the realm of psychic and emotional energy and become dependent on Persephone.

extracted from various works - credit to Dr Jean Shinoda Bolen for Goddesses in Everywoman

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Hera - Goddess of commitment

Goddess of marriage, commitment maker and wife
Roman goddess Juno

The myth
Hera was also a child of Rhea and Cronos. She was swallowed by her father as soon as she was born.When she emerged from her capitivity, she was already a young girl. She was then placed in the care of two nature beings, who fostered her.
Hera was the consort of Zeus. He tricked her by turning himself into a shivering little bird. When she held the little bird to her bosom, he turned back into Zeus and tried to overpower her. She resisted his amorous efforts until he promised to marry her.
When the honeymoon was over, Zeus reverted back to his philandering ways. This evoked vindictive jealousy in his betrayed wife. Hera’s rage was not aimed at her husband, but it was rather aimed at ‘the other woman’ or innocent bystanders.

Interpreting the myth
Her having been swallowed by her father symbolizes the daughter’s disempowerment and limitation by the tyrant father. She emerged as a young girl and has therefore an incomplete view of the world – one that had been obscured by her domineering father.
She takes pity on the little bird and despite Zeus’ behaviour she continues to see him as vulnerable and as the innocent party. She has one goal in mind and that is to be married. She uses her sexuality to get him to marry her.
When a Hera woman is ‘betrayed’ by her husband, she will become vengeful and embittered. The betrayal could be in the form of a career, another woman or not being as attentive as she expected.Also if she is not the center of his attention and affection, she will also become embittered and constantly berate him

The Archetype of Hera
The wife
A woman with Hera is strongly motivated to become married. She needs to be involved in a committed relationship and marriage itself. She will feel like a princess/goddess on her wedding day and will easily be the most important day of her life.
She has a great capacity to bond, to be loyal and faithful, to endure and go through difficulties with a partner. She is prepared to struggle with her husband, building his career or a joint business ; she is prepared to support him emotionally and financially while he gets onto his feet; she is prepared to move home many times if his career calls for it. She is also prepared to be the career man’s wife and move up with on the corporate ladder.
Hera is attracted to successful men. If she married a committed husband, she will have an easy later life financially. However, he will probably be focused on his career and not on fulfilling her.
When a woman gets married without the Hera archetype, the marriage is never that important to her.She is not a devoted wife and will easily have affairs or even leave the marriage.

Hera as a mother
Hera without Demeter will not be a devoted mother. She will have children as a natural next step in the marriage, but she will never be able to nurture her children. Her children will be aware of her fundamental emotional absence.
Often a Hera’s children will lay the blame of their unhappy childhood at the feet of their father, but will later on realize that their mother was the one blocking the relationship. The Hera mother will always look after the father’s interest and will often prevent the children from communicating with their father
The negative Hera pattern
She does not express anger at her husband for his failure to fulfill her, or for his betrayal. The pain she felt at being rejected by him she directs at others.
She does not like single women. She only approves of marital or at least couple, status. She does not approve of sexy, flirty, sensual women. She feels deeply threatened by the Aphrodite goddess : the sexual woman who shows off her body.
She is extremely possessive of her partner. She is jealous of sensual, beautiful women who are at ease in their feminity.
She never forgives her husband for leaving her, say in the instance of a divorce, and she is a bitter divorcee. She in fact never sees herself as divorced, but still tries to maintain contact with her husband, even if it is only to fight about maintenance or the children.
She does not really enjoy relationships with other women. She generally does not have a best friend.She prefers being with her husband and doing things with him.
She will cancel her friends in order to go with her husband.
She relates well to other women in the context of a couple.
She is attracted to a successful man of social standing, but she truly finds his emotionally immature little-boy element attractive. Her husband may lack close friends and he probably did not develop a capacity for empathy.

Marriage and Sexuality
A Hera woman assumes that sexuality and marriage go together. Thus, she may have stayed virginal until she was engaged or married. The idea of dutiful sex probably first
A Hera woman's state of happiness depends on her husband’s devotion to her, on the importance he places on the marriage and on his appreciation of her as his wife.
As she is drawn to successful men, it is probable that he often uses marriage as a part of his social fa├žade. She may try to bury her feeling of emptiness by a flurry of social activities intended to present a public image of the perfect couple.
She is the least likely of all the goddesses to seek divorce. She can endure bad treatment, tyranny, emotional abuse, domination, etc. and still believe that she needs to protect her husband from others.

Cultivating Hera
No marriage can work or last without a committed loyal Hera expressing her positive attributes.
The realization that they need Hera often comes to women who have had a series of unfulfilling relationships, or who have followed a career at the expense of marriage.

The appearance of Hera
Hera women are very much married and have a matronly appearance.
As a small child she acts like a ‘big person’ and likes to play at keeping house as opposed to Demeter and her baby dolls.
A young Hera holds an idealized image of marriage, despite maybe less than perfect home life.
She is happy if she is in a steady relationship. She is the one who proudly wears her boyfriend’s ring around her neck.
For Hera work is a secondary aspect of life. However, a Hera woman may aachieve recognition and advancement. None of this really counts for her, though.

Hera under stress
When her marriage is under stress, she does not cope well. She makes matters worse with her jealousy and possessiveness. She tends to doubt her husband’s fidelity without just cause and will accuse him of betrayal without reason.
Hera can completely oppress a woman’s personality. She can be a raging, vindictive, inner tyrant.She can destroy a stable marriage through her suspicion and need for attention. They can estrange themselves from other women by their devaluing attitude.
Hera also restricts a woman’s competence in that she is prepared to sacrifice her talents for her husband.

Challenges of Hera
A woman can grow and expand beyond Hera in finding fulfillment from other areas in her life, other than her husband.
She should take the time to reflect on the pattern of her marriage and see that at best Hera limits her and at worst, she leads to destruction. She will forbid a woman from leaving an abusive marriage, for instance.
A scorned, betrayed Hera woman should channel her rage into a creative activity, such as painting or writing.
Hera is a powerful ally in assisting a woman moving through cycles. If a Hera woman can move beyond her need to be fulfilled in her role as wife, she can access an inner experience of growth and expansion. Psychologically, a Hera woman can become the maiden again in her middle years or later, and access her creative potential.

- extracted from Jean Bolen's Goddesses in Everywoman - and adapted.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Goddess Archetype Series : Hestea

Hestia  : Goddess of the Hearth and Temple, Wise Woman
Her counterparts are Vesta of the Temple of the Vestal Virgins and
Bridget of Kildare

Symbols:  Altar, priestess, home, circular hearth, living flame

Modern archetype : a woman on a spiritual path

(These notes are extracted from and based on Jean Shinoda Bolen's work Archetypes for Everywoman - a worthwhile read)

She is a virgin goddess.  She is one of the oldest Olympian Goddesses and greatly honoured – not by myths but by fire and fire rituals.  The Vestal Virgins kept alight the perpetual flame that symbolized the mystic heart of the Roman Empire.  Vesta and the hearth symbolized the center of the world and innermost mysteries.

The myth of Hestia
The goddess Hestia was the first-born child of Rhea and Cronos, the first one to be swallowed by Cronos and the last one to be regurgitated.  Thus she spent the longest time of any of her siblings captive in the dark and oppressive bowels of her father, and the only one to be there alone. Hers was hardly a happy childhood.  Cronos was a tyrannical father who had no warm feelings toward his children.  Rhea was ineffectual and powerless, and did nothing to stop the abuse of her children until her last child was born.  Of all the children, Hestia was the most on her own to cope in whatever manner she could. 

Archetypal aspects of Hestia
She provides a woman with a sense of intactness and wholeness.  As a virgin goddess she shares certain qualities with Artemis and Athena.  She is independent of men and she has great single-minded focus.  Hestia’s focus is inward as opposed to the outward focus of Artemis and Athena.  Meditation comes naturally to Hestia and she is committed to focusing on her subjective experiences.  Her way of perceiving is by looking inward and intuitively sensing what is going on.  Through this inner focusing, we can perceive the essense of a situation.  We can also gain insight into other people’s character and see the pattern or feel the significance of their action.  This inner perspective provides clarity in the midst of the confusing myriad of details that confront our five senses.

The inward Hestia may also become emotionally detached and inattentive to others as she attends to her own concerns.  Hestia tends to withdraw from company and seeks quiet tranquility and solitude.

Hestia as Goddess of the Hearth finds keeping house a meaningful activity rather than a chore.  To her hearthkeeping is a means through which a woman puts her self and her house in order.  A woman who acquires a sense of inner harmony as she accomplishes everyday tasks.  Tending to household details is a centering activity, equivalent to meditation.  She derives an inner peace from what she is doing, like a woman in a religious order for whom every activity is done ‘in the service of God’.  Hestia attends to her tasks with the sense that there always is plenty of time.

Often Hestia women are found in convents, ashrams and temples. Or she may observe religious rituals at home. The mystic St Teresa of Avila combined Hestia with Aphrodite, for example.

Hestia as the oldest goddess of Olympus, is the wise woman.  With Hestia as an inner presence, a woman is not attached to people. Outcomes, possessions, prestige or power.  She feels whole as she is.  Her ego isn’t on the line.  She is like an elder who has seen it all, and has come through with her spirit undampened and her character tempered by experience.

When the goddess Hestia is combined with any other archetype, it acts as a tempering influence.

Hestia is an archetype of inner centredness.  With Hestia as an archetype, a woman’s life has meaning.

The round hearth is the symbol of Hestia.  The round hearth is symbolic of the inner mandala of the Self.  When Hestia lives in a woman her focus will be a spiritual path with the purpose of connecting with the oneness.  On a spiritual level this oneness is the same as detachment.


As an infant:
A pleasant child very similar to Persephone
An easy child
The terrible two’s come and go without a ripple and without stubbornness or assertion
Her inwardness is often labeled as being shy and timid
She has a quiet self-sufficient air
She finds comfort in solitude
Sometimes people are drawn to an inner presence she conveys, an old soul quality that bespeaks wisdom and tranquility

Adolescene and Early Adulthood
Teenager Hestia absents herself from the social dramas and shifting alliances of her peers.  Hestia dod not concern herself with the intrigues and wars of the gods on Olympus.
Her friends like her quiet warmth and steadiness, although they sometimes are exasperated with her for not taking sides in a controversy.
Adolescence may be a time of deepening religious conviction for Hestia.
With the certainty and focus of their virgin goddess, Hestia daughters usually do what matters to them rather than comply with their parents’ wishes.


Many children living the Hestia archetype were psychologically on their own throughout childhood in households where the needs of the children were discounted and where any individual expression was ‘swallowed up’ by the need of the father to dominate. The mother often was depressed and emotionally absent and ineffectual. The stronger children, especially the boys, may tyrannize the younger siblings or may run away from home.  The daughters may follow a Demeter pattern and try to look out for her younger siblings, or she may follow a Hera pattern and attach herself to a  boyfriend as soon as she is old enough.
A Hestia daughter is likely to withdraw emotionally, retreating inward for solace in the midst of a painful, conflicted family life. She often feels as alienated or isolated from her siblings as she does from her parents – and she truly is different from them.  She tries not to be noticed, has a surface passivity, and an inner sense of certainty that she is different from those around her.  She tries to be unobtrusive in all situations and cultivates solitude in the midst of others.

A Hestia daughter from an ordinary middle-class family with supportive parents may not appear to be all that withdrawn.  She does develop a socially adaptable persona, a way of being pleasant and sociable. 
However she appears on the surface, she is inwardly true to Hestia; she has a quality of independence and detachment, an emotional evenness that comes from being centered.

Her difficulties arise when she ventures out of the sanctuary of home or temple to make her way in the world.

My most sacred space is my innermost Self.  Welcome.

Portions of text extracted from Goddesses in Everywoman by Jean Shinoda Bolen.