Monday, July 25, 2011

Working in the world... in a spiritual way

This post is a kind of companion piece to "Science? Pseudo-science?". Where that post got into the need to keep the philosophy of the material and spiritual realms separate, respecting each enough to approach it in the way most appropriate to each, in this one I'm going to explore how to act in the world without either falling into the pitfall of the obsession with soulless realism... or the even more soulless attempt to turn others' suffering into a way to grow "spiritually."

Many people seem to "do good" as some sort of nauseating self-help program. In a world filled with the empty pursuit of nothing, of the isolation of one human from another, and from nature... a world in which our very being has been commodified and sold to us by some ad man on Madison Avenue... even the drive to help one another has been gutted of it's heart, and it's soul, and turned into yet one more self aggrandizing accessory. While we in the bloated wealthy nations suffer from that sickness of the soul, ennui, even the act of helping others becomes a way to feed off them.

At the same time, clearly the way I had been acting in the world before diving into the Underworld for the past month was also lacking something. There was a brittleness, a lack of resiliency, that comes from cutting oneself off from the spirit. Not that the material world is lacking in awe, wonder and beauty - the world of science in particular is an amazing, awe inspiring treasure box of wonder, for those who take the time to delve into it's mysteries. But the way in which each of us must journey, and the difficulties and trials of our path, are difficult if not impossible to even understand without access to the spiritual. And they are impossible to solve in any deep, qualitative and permanent way unless we go to the gods and goddesses acting in our lives and give them room to speak to us and act through us, thereby changing us.

Every thing we do - every heart seeking connection we reach out to, every drowning hand grasping for survival we reach out for - every act is an act of the soul. But the paradox is that we can't reach out hoping that this will save us. To do so cheapens the act... and violates our soul and the soul of the other. Yet, by reaching out in love, motivated by the great passion to connect to one another - and the desire to help one another that grows out of that connection - we can achieve more spiritual growth than we'd ever imagined. As in the making of great art, it is only by losing ourselves that we finally find ourselves.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The difference between fantasies and visions

I haven't been talking with any of the archetypes lately. At the same time, I've been fantasizing about the future of this possible relationship with Mr. Hades, like, non-stop! And last night I realized something - there's something not right here.

It was really hard to stop, the fantasies were so compulsive! But I would stop and try to envision Mr. Hades at that moment and what he was maybe doing at that time, and there was a qualitative difference. When I was immersed in my fantasy life with him, it felt more like when I fantasize about books I'm reading. There was an unreality to it that differs from my visions of talking with my archetypes - then, they really feel there. This must be why really great writing has a life and spirit to it, while Mary Sue's are so freaking BORING - it's because they're dead.

When I was fantasizing about this wonderful life we could have, I wasn't actually with him, while when I was wondering about what he was doing, I was. Even if I wasn't with him in body, my mind was with Mr. Hades the man, and not my fantasy about what he's going to do for me and make me feel. It didn't matter if I was thinking about what he's doing right now, or remembering an exchange we had, it felt more like I was with him, because I was thinking about him. Also, I noticed that I tended to avoid remembering our experiences because I felt a little uncomfortable when we were together (and hence, not very conducive to perfect fantasies.) When I stopped fantasizing and started musing, I realized that the discomfort and the feeling of disconnection I had while with him came from the suppression of Pesephone's feelings of needing to please Mr. Hades and get him to like her. THEN all those wonderful, suffocating feelings of dread came flooding in and I had to deal with that for a while. Seriously, for a while there it felt so bad I was almost afraid I was going to have problems breathing - it was like a great, huge weight on my chest. When it was over, there was still some left - I guess the normal amount one feels when starting a relationship.

You can't avoid feeling all of these scary feelings when you really relate with people... especially romantically. Every kind of relationship will, on occasion, bring up feelings and issues but romance is like the flaming hot crucible of personal growth. All the pain and fear and feelings of inferiority and panic that live waaaaay down in your own inner Marianas Trench come pouring out of the depths. Whoo-boy.

Had a little experience with Persephone, who's shaken up and just wants a very large pizza (with pepperoni!) She's pretty young right now, and a little weepy and vulnerable. I just put my arm over her little shoulders and told her everything was going to be ok - its ok to feel this way. Just feel what you feel. You don't have to feel or be anything different. Even if he decides he doesn't like you (and, seriously, how likely do you think that is, hmm, Persephone?) you'll be ok.

But you know he likes you. And that he's probably "the one," so let's go get that pepperoni pizza and stuff our face!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Short descriptions of the archetypes

I think this is going to be the final "maintenance" post (where I'm collecting and organizing information on the archetypes) for a while. I certainly hope so! It's taken a LOT of time and effort to pull all the information on the archetypes and organize them (even though my Hestia loved it) and it's time to focus on other stuff.

... For a while at least. Until Hestia gets the cleaning bug again :)

So this post is going to be a short description of the archetypes which is pretty much completely lifted from the Library of Halexandria. I'm just doing this for the sake of convenience of any readers who come to QotN and want to narrow down what their archetype might be before exploring deeper.

Short descriptions of the archetypes


Aphrodite was one of the four "virgin" (beholden to no man) goddesses. She was the Goddess of Love -- the sexual, romantic, platonic, soul connection, deep friendship, rapport, and empathic understanding type, with a desire to know and be known.  Her consciousness was focused, yet receptive, taking in what was attended to, what was affected by.  Her style was to be genuinely, momentarily involved in whatever interested her.  She attended to another person as if he or she were fascinating, beautiful and profound.  She was always present in creative work (including solitary work), and facilitated change and growth.  “Whenever Aphrodite consciousness was present, energy was generated: lovers glowed with well-being and heightened energy; conversation sparkled, stimulating thoughts and feelings.” 

Aphrodite as mentor was possessed of the power to transform and was never victimized, valued emotional experience with others more than independence from others or permanent bonds, sought to consummate relationships and generate new life, was a vision carrier with the power of positive expectations on the behavior of others, enjoyed love and beauty, sex and sensuality, was demanding, creative, fell in love often and easily, was loaded with sex appeal, and became a tremendous force for change (because of her passionate creativity), had intense relationships, enjoyed the moment, attractive with a natural unselfconscious sensuality, an innocent flirt, not focused on long-range academic goals or career, unemotional work of no interest, preferred variety and intensity, gravitated toward men who were not necessarily good for her or to her (but may have made major changes at mid-life: ready to settle down with a better choice of males), and had a tendency to act on desires without considering the consequences.  (Cards: The Queen of Cups/The Lovers)


Another of the virgin goddesses.  Artemis was independent, nonrelational, untouched by the heat of emotion or passion, not moved by love, sexuality, or infatuation, one-in-herself, belonging to no man, with an active, focused consciousness, with little apparent need to become vulnerable (to give and receive love and comfort and support growth in others).  Artemis’ adaptation mode had been to separate from men and their influence, and join other feminists. 

Artemis is the personification of the independent feminine spirit, capable of feeling whole without a man, seeking her own goals on terrain of her own choosing, competent, capable of achievement, concerned for victimized and powerless women and young (including her mother), safe childbirth goddess, sister, back-to-nature, capable of at-oneness with herself, active rather than passive, felt strongly about her causes and principles, interests of no or limited commercial value, competitive, individualist, recreational sex advocate, where relationships were secondary, sexual intimacy as another dimension of friendship, “Wonder Woman”, a female bear (protecting girls on the threshold of being women), could be very vengeful, could be merciless, needed to develop compassion and empathy, and “the Far-Distant Artemis”.  While Artemis might rescue women and feminine values from the patriarchy, she could also require women to sacrifice and devalue what had traditionally been considered feminine (receptive, nurturing, related-to-others and willing to make sacrifices for the sake of others). (Cards: The Page of Wands/The Moon)


Another of the virgin goddesses.  Athena was like Artemis, but in Athena’s case, her adaptation mode was identification with men -- she became like one of them.  She became, in fact, the “father’s daughter”, valuing rational thinking and standing for the domination of will and intellect over instinct and nature.  She was protector, advisor, patron, and ally of heroic men, ruled by her head rather than her heart, kept her head in the heat of emotional situations, was invulnerable, avoided emotional or sexual entanglements with men (but with whom she worked closely as companion, colleague, or confidante), she thrived in the business/academic/ scientific/military/political areas, knew the “bottom line”, went for the practical and pragmatic, not swayed by “unprofitable” emotions or sentiment, understood the value of having a mentor, expected two-way loyalty, Goddess of health, planed ahead, analytical, uninterested in feelings and people, an affinity for computerese, thought linearly and clearly, attention to detail, organized (er), accepted reality and adapted, attracted to powerful men (“power is the best aphrodisiac”) and usually chose her man (and planed his “capture”), deliberate rather than impulsive, lived in her head, lived for her work, and never a child (she was born an adult).  Her Medussa qualities manifest in her “ability to intimidate others and to take away the spontaneity, vitality, and creativity of people who are not like her.”  She enjoys the companionship of others, but lacks emotional intensity, erotic attraction, intimacy, passion, or ecstasy; thus spared the deep despair and suffering that may follow bonding with others or needing them.  (Cards: The Page of Swords/Justice)


Another virgin goddess, like Artemis and Athena, but having an adaptation mode of withdrawing from men, becoming anonymous in appearance and alone.  Hestia focused, instead, on the inner subjective experience, totally absorbed when she meditated, sought quiet tranquillity, solitude, found keeping house a meaningful activity (kairos time -- participating in time) or even a form of worship, above and out of intrigues and rivalries, avoided being caught up in the passions of the moment, never elated or devastated, wise, detached and connected, centered, quiet, unobtrusive, warm, peaceful, self-sufficient, the original “old soul”, lacked ambition and drive, did not value power or recognition, viewed sex as a nice, warm experience, nonorgasmic, “still waters run deep”, rejected the intellectual and emotional forces that might pull her away from her center. (Cards: The Page of Pentacles/Temperance)


Another of the virgin goddesses.  Hecate was independent, nonrelational, untouched by the heat of emotion or passion, not moved by love, sexuality, or infatuation, one-in-herself, belonging to no man, with an active, focused consciousness, with little apparent need to become vulnerable (to give and receive love and comfort and support growth in others). 

Hecate has the ability to concentrate intensely on whatever was important to her and to be undistracted (either by the needs of others or by competition from others), concerned for the victimized and powerless, capable of at-oneness with herself, “moonlight vision,” felt strongly about her causes and principles, interests of no or limited commercial value, individualist. Could be very vengeful, could be merciless, needed to develop compassion and empathy, and “the Far Seeing Sage.” “Outrage at wrongs done, loyalty to others, strength to express a point of view, and a propensity to take action can be very positive characteristics of [Hecate]. (Cards: The Queen of Swords/The Priestess)


One of the vulnerable goddesses.  She was [is] relationship-oriented (dependent upon a significant one), had a need for affiliation, tended to experience powerlessness and responded with rage and jealousy, accepting, diffuse awareness. Fundamentally incomplete without a marriage partner, Hera yearned to be a wife, stately, regal, a Nancy Reagan, beautiful, honored and humiliated, with the capacity to bond, loyal, faithful, enduring, committed, predisposed to displace blame from her mate (on whom she was emotionally dependent) onto others, vindictive (a mental sleight of hand which made her feel powerful rather than rejected), derived emotional security from a high-status male, work was secondary, placed minimal importance on female friends (husband’s primary friend), preferred a man who was emotionally dependent upon her, saw sex as a duty, could oppress other women, could be very destructive, and judgmental of other women (and really hated Aphrodite types!).  He style of “limiting herself to being a wife results in limiting her growth and ability to adapt, if death or divorce brings her wife role to an end.”  She is only a half of a whole, fulfilling a culturally determined role.  (Cards: The Queen of Wands/Strength)


Another vulnerable goddess.  Demeter was [is] also relationship-oriented (and like Hera, dependent upon a significant other).  She had a need for affiliation, tended to experience powerlessness and responded with depression, accepting, diffuse awareness.  She was the epitome of the maternal, an instinct fulfilled through pregnancy or through providing physical, psychological, or spiritual nourishment to others, the provider (food and spiritual sustenance), nurturing, Mother Nature, generous, Lady Bountiful, dependent upon her maternal role (after which her life lost its meaning), solid, dependable, fertile, long-suffering, unconcerned with status, envious or jealous only with respect to children, mixed feelings about feminism and the women's movement, relied on women friends for emotional support (vice her husband), did not choose her mate, just as soon cuddled as made love, huggy, preferred breastfeeding to intercourse, and tried to be indispensable.  (Cards: The Queen of Pentacles/The Empress)


Another vulnerable goddess, like Hera and Demeter.  She adapted to the experience of powerlessness by responding with depression, acceptance, and only a diffuse awareness.  She fulfilled the dual figure of the Maiden (Kore or young girl) and mature Queen who claimed for herself whatever she wanted.  On the one hand, she was carefree, compliant, passive, acted upon by others rather than active herself, did not know “who she was” and unaware of her desires and strengths, malleable, innately receptive, adaptable (to meet a man’s wishes), and unaware of her sexual attractiveness, innocent, lacked passion, nonorgasmic, demure, youthful, vital, young in spirit, receptive to change, willowy, conformed to circumstances or stronger personalities, open, flexible, uncertain of getting married (“bartered bride”), introverted or dormant sexuality, and the most indistinct and unthreatening of all the goddesses.  Sleeping Beauty or Snow White.  Persephone avoided anger, but could become narcissistic, devious, dishonest, and manipulative.  Her work was unimportant until she entered the underworld and became Queen -- whereupon she became possessive, creative, spiritual, psychic, artistic, unorthodox, deeply personal.  Only when she lacked someone to do things for her or someone to blame could she grow.  (The Page of Cups/The Star & Death)


The rejected son.  He was physical, manual rather than mental, and motivated by emotions -- did not use his mind or words.  “Ares could be stirred to fight by rage or loyalty, using weapons for a destructive purpose.”  Often ridiculed or called names by others, his self-esteem was affected.  He was the son of a devalued, angry, impotent mom.  Ares is the image of masculinity, physical power, intensity, and immediate action; dancer and warrior, lover, loyal, in touch with his feelings and his body (good for lovemaking), often uncontrolled and irrational, brawler, emotional, protective of his children, assertive, active, embodied, reacted before thinking, capable of licking his wounds and going on, success often depended on luck (which then became a surprise to everyone, including himself), here-and-now, most compatible lover for Aphrodite, exuberant lover, neither planed on marriage nor avoided it, generous father, impulsive, lost out to his siblings, discouraged, and repressed.  As a developed lover, he was a man who loved to make love, a man who loved women’s bodies, a man who could spend hours making love, a man who preferred a grownup, sexually liberated woman who enjoyed sex as much as he.  In the patriarchy, his fate was often sealed by mid-life. (Cards: The Knight of Wands/The Devil)


The favored son.  He was emotionally distant and mentally active, into words, negotiations, and commerce, well-traveled, but avoided physical conflict.  Apollo never had a wife or consort.  He was the patron of medicine, the instigator of Know Thyself, Nothing in Excess style thinking, favored thinking over feeling, distance over closeness, objective assessment over subjective intuition, sought clear definitions, valued order and harmony, and preferred surface over underlying appearances, not a dreamer, wanted to go, accomplish and win, All-American, minimal humility, fair-haired son (but never quite made it to the top), out of touch with feelings, preferred Bach, brother to his siblings, valued prudence, avoided physical danger, unriled by emotions, and preferred being an observer, ideal organization man, lacked passion with respect to women (not a lover) and preferred to control women (particularly psychic women who were his opposite), pursued in order to possess (rather than woo), could be underhanded, narcissistic, arrogant, and unable to be intimate.  George Bush (reminds women of their first husbands).  Unsuccessful in love, not sexually spontaneous.  Mother was probably physically undemonstrative.  His life mission was “I will reveal to mankind the exact will of Zeus.”  When he rose above his competence, trouble occurred -- he was unprepared to fail or falter.  When he defeated a rival, he showed no mercy.  A streak of cruelty, exercised within his legal rights.  To grow, Apollo needed a streak of Dionysus (a place for him to be honored, as at Delphi for 3 months).  “The woman who most needs to be liberated is the woman inside every man.”  (Cards: The King of Swords/The Sun)


Ambivalent.  He was [is] nurtured, mothered and fathered by Zeus.  Preferred to be with women and often came to their rescue.  Women liked his influence, while men reacted strongly with ambivalent feelings. 

Dionysus was close to nature and women, familiar with the mystical realm and feminine world, often an unwelcome and disturbing element, a cause of conflict and madness, “the god of ecstasy and terror, of wildness and the most blessed deliverance”, mystic or murderer, divine child (specialness of person or destiny), actively repressed in men, regularity and constancy were foreign, shaman, psychological androgynous, capable of major emotional shifts precipitated by minimal events, focused on the moment, dancing and lovemaking were especially important, intense, spontaneous, sought full sensual experience (all five senses), tantric yoga advocate, individualistic (not a team player), non-competitive, wildly promiscuous or celibate, erotic nature easily evoked, impersonal in lovemaking, sex experience more important than conquest, anorexic?, needed to leave behind the divine child image and become the hero.  Rescued his mother from Hades. 

In Greek mythology Dionysus was the only god who rescued and restored (instead of dominating or raping) women, who represent diminished earlier goddesses, and whose people and worship had been conquered.  “By ‘old boy’ standards, the Dionysus man is likely to be either too feminine, too mystic, too counter-culture, too threatening, or too attractive and too fascinating.”  (Cards: The Knight of Cups/The Hanged Man)


A favored son.  Emotionally distant and mentally active, well-traveled, into words, negotiations, and commerce, but avoided physical conflict.  No wife or consort.  Quick, mentally agile, wordsmith, crossed boundaries and shifted levels with ease, lucky, friendly, bachelor, united opposites, inventive, communicator of meaning, guide of souls, ability to think and act quickly (in order to achieve or deceive), rescuer of the child (saving what is innocent and vulnerable, or divine and sacred, by providing meaning for an otherwise terrible experience), problem solver (but seldom worried about right and wrong), messenger, trickster, wily, traveler between levels (integrated the realms of spirit, human life and soul), unplanned eloquence, spontaneous, acted on intuition, precocious, questioned the conventional rules of success, inventive generalist, charming, personal and experiential sexually, “Jack of all trades, master of none”, variety and newness may have overridden passion, the eternal adolescent living in the realm of possibilities, tended to rationalize.  Hermes introduced fluidity, motion, new beginnings -- and the confusion that almost inevitably precedes new beginnings.  A major way for Hermes to grow is through falling in love with a woman who thus becomes his Aphrodite.  She would become the challenge, someone he yearned for, and could not have immediately, who moved him, made him vulnerable and more sensual.  (Cards: The Knight of Swords/The Fool)


A rejected son.  He was [is] physical, manual rather than mental, motivated by emotions, did not use his mind or words.  “Rejected and betrayed, Hephaestus put his feelings into the objects he made, using tools for a creative purpose.”  Often ridiculed or called names by others, yielding low self-esteem.  One who identified himself exclusively with his work, was at a total loss without it.  Craftsman, inventor, artisan, loner, unvalued and rejected by the culture, earthy, passionate, creative, intense sexual and erotic fire, deeply introverted but would suddenly and unexpectedly erupt, crippled craftsman (or wounded artist, writer, healer, inventor, manufacturer) whose creativity was inseparable from his or her emotional wounds, sensitive to impending conflict, peacemaker, hard physical work saved him from depression, strong feelings not articulated, instinctual in his creativity, ill at ease, inner directed, bottled up his feelings, monogamous and faithful and expected his partner to reciprocate, here-and-now intensity, lacked a basic trust due to maternal rejection and neglect, his memory was not facts but events colored by emotions, could be emotionally crippled, constricted in expression, and alienated from others, might have become the buffoon or clown (hey fes' tus), TV couch potato, the strong silent man stereotype.  Son of devalued, angry, impotent mom.  Given a genuine admiration for women with intelligence, assertiveness, or beauty, he was drawn to women with these qualities and then would often give them power over him.  Hephaestus didn't strike back with his fists; instead, he devised elaborate plans to humiliate his persecutors.  (Cards: The Knight of Pentacles/The Magician)


As chief of the gods, Zeus was required to lose touch with the earth in order to gain an overview; to see the forest but not the trees.  The sky was also consciousness, “a perspective that exalts control, reason, and will.”  He was King, “a man’s home is his castle”, husband, father (children as extensions of himself), expected his wife to run the household and parenting (while he was minimally involved), protective, generous, and trusting toward many of his sons and daughters (although his generosity was motivated by his desire to control them and was tied to his expectations of them), sought authority and power, risk taker, entrepreneur, focused and single minded (the eagle), alliance maker, philanderer, ambitious, pragmatist (not an idealist), accepted the world as it was and wanted his piece of it, never an intellectual nor introspective, didn’t waste time on other’s feelings or dwelling on the past, “Power is an aphrodisiac”, everyone was expendable to him, but there is no profit in making enemies, the “alpha male” who had his pick of females, women were a “perk”, not a good lover, not passionate and didn’t bother to try to please women.  (The King of Wands/The Emperor)


Brother to Zeus, but second rated.  His symbols were the oceans and horses, both symbols of the unconscious, the sea’s powerful moods: turbulent, indiscriminate, tremendous destructive force, flood-bringer and earth-shaker, “the undersea is the realm of repressed personal feelings and instincts, and the emotional realm we humans share collectively.”  The patriarchal culture allowed fathers as lord and master of their household to unleash fury there.  They were trained, in a world ruled by Zeus, to devaluate and submerge their feelings and instincts.

 Poseidon’s temperament was his most characteristic feature.  Bad-tempered, violent, vindictive, destructive, and dangerous, not content with his lot, lost out to others, plotted unsuccessfully against them, philanderer, rapist, fiercely loyal to his children, grudge holder, a placid sea which might erupt in fury, not a good loser, strived to be important (if not in the world, then in his home), sexually potent, indiscriminate and promiscuous, made no distinctions between young and old women, “the wild man at the bottom of the pool”, felt deeply and intensely, spontaneous, directly in touch with his feelings, physically demonstrative, didn’t plan (“It wasn’t raining when Noah built his Ark.”), academic achievement had little meaning, patriarchal attitude and emotionally powerful, capacity for loyalty and emotional depth, insensitive (he actually raped Demeter while she searched for Persephone), and vengeful (“an eye for an eye”).  Poseidon wanted to achieve positions with status and power that would be the envy of others, only to find that the power was personally meaningless.  Poseidon was Zeus’ shadow -- the emotional aspect of the father archetype that was repressed or buried, undeveloped and inaccessible in a man whose conscious identification was with Zeus.  (Cards: The King of Cups/The Chariot)


God of the Underworld.  He was [is] grim, inexorable, sternly just, irrevocable in his decrees; he was not evil in himself, not an enemy of mankind, nor a tempter of evil.  His realm was the unconscious.  He was the god of riches, the cornucopia or horn of plenty, the unseen presence.  Human recluse, unaware of what is happening in the world, without a persona, invisible, without position or wealth, preferred the subjectivity and richness of his interior world, capable of “doing nothing”, a source of creativity, good counselor, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Zeus and Hades), introverted, weak will or simply didn’t get-into-an-uproar, autistic, secretive, “different”, but with an inner orientation which conveyed strength and thus did not make him a victim, cut off from the realm of emotions, emotionally illiterate, dreamer (“Fantasies and active imagination are voluntary descents to be entered and left at will.”).  Both Zeus and Poseidon forced women sexually repeatedly, yet it was Hades who got the bad reputation; the others got away with it. (Cards: The King of Pentacles/The Hermit)

A note:

If you're at all familiar with the archetypes you've probably noticed that there appears to be an extra one, Hecate. While I was working on the Minor Arcana correspondences I noticed that, although there were 8 male archetypes that perfectly matched the 8 court cards, there were only 7 female archetypes, which made me wonder if one was missing. I found out it was, and that it was my own (!) I'd originally associated my subarchetype with Artemis but, on reading Jean Shinoda Bolen's description of a wilderness loving, Outwards Bound type nature woman I realized there was something missing and I went exploring the Greek myths, looking at the various goddesses and voila! I found Hecate!

The description for Hecate is based on Artemis as the two have been conflated both because they're quite similar but also because they're both Moon goddesses - the difference is that while Artemis is the Moon that shines down on the wild places Hecate is the dark side of the moon and it's wisdom. Another difference is that, while Artemis's main relationship is, both in myth as well as real life, with Apollo, Hecate is most closely related to Persephone. One of the upshots of this is that, while even Artemis has an ideal archetypal relationship (with her mythological brother), Hecate is the only archetype that appears to be perfectly sufficient alone. Obviously much of this is still speculative but this is what seems to be true.

I wouldn't have been able to find her if it hadn't been for the James Rioux's amazing tarot card interpreatations and Bolen's book (who originally discovered the archetypes, so the circle comes back around again.) This experience was just one of the many I've had in the few short weeks' I've been exploring tarot that have silenced my inner skeptic and lead me to believe this stuff has a reality of it's own.

Plus, TV Tropes amusing analysis of the archetypes.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Working with archetypes

At one point in my journey I got to a place where I wanted to step back and analyze what I was doing and understand it a bit more. I also wanted there to be a place for people who may be interested in incorporating these techniques into their own inner work, whether they're visitors to the site or people I know personally, and I wanted to outline the process in a clear way. My own personal journey, however, has evolved away from work primarily with mythic archetypes towards a more generally Jungian focus (I've worked through Shadow issues and am now doing the Animus dance.) Persephone is still there but she's now one of the inner archetypes I'm working with rather than the primary one.

There five basic components that I've incorporated into my work thus far. I have personally found these to be the most powerful in enabling me to do the discovery and release that is necessary to clear out the garbage that's blocking the channel leading from our true selves: 1) work with the Self (archetypes, whether mythic or classic Jungian) 2) dream work, 3) divination, 4) active imagination and 5) emotional release.

Archetypal Work

First, figure out who, archetypally speaking, is working in your life. Each of us has one or more primary archetypes that shape who we are and whose issues are the core issues we have to pass through and transcend. And each archetype has a "divine gift" waiting for us when we clear the channel their energy runs through to manifest in our lives. By understanding who this archetype is, we gain insights into why we do what we do. And we can also see who we have the capability of being, once the energy is flowing cleanly. Once we figure out who is trying to manifest themselves in our lives, Greek mythology in particular but all myths can become a rich source of insight into our lives, and the incidents and people we tend to attract to us. Use the same methods for interpreting myths that you would use interpreting your dreams - I describe how I go about dream interpretation in the next section.

How do the archetypes heal us?

Below is a list of short descriptions of each archetype. See which one (or ones) resonate the most with you. More comprehensive descriptions can be found running along the right side of the page.

Abbreviated descriptions of the archetypes

Dream Work

The language of the subconscious is imagery - everything we see and everyone we know means something to the deep Psyche - and when the subconscious speak to us, it uses those same images to express it's hidden contents. But imagery means different things to different people - unlike archetypes, which have more universal meaning, being symbols of the shared human experience, most dream imagery is deeply personal. In order to uncover their meaning I rely on a kind of stream of consciousness based word association for each image or action that feels meaningful to me. After that, the dream basically interprets itself. Myths can also be interpreted in the same way... and their meaning can shift as we change and grow.

I've moved my dreams to my other blog Persephone Journal - go there to get an idea of how I interpret dreams, do tarot readings, meditations, etc. I've also included a detailed description of the process I use to interpret dreams there.


Divination is a useful way of immediately accessing the psyche without having to wait for a convenient meaningful dream. Whether you believe we subconsciously interpret the reading or that the gods are really speaking to us, divination can be an extremely useful technique when working with the subconscious. One reason I think it's so useful is that it puts the message outside of us, so our ego is less likely to interfere. But I've also found, to my surprise, that, after you've used a particular technique for a while, the very act itself becomes a calming ritual that lets you release any turbulent emotions that may be getting in the way of your inner wisdom. I personally use the tarot, in particular, James Rioux's brilliant interpretations of the cards on the American Tarot Association's website - his descriptions of the cards and their meaning almost without fail provide insight and understanding into the particular issue I'm working on at the moment. But any form of divination is fine, so long as it you feel a connection to it.

Active Imagination

Once you have discovered who is/are working in your life, or had a powerful dream, or a reading that pinpointed some issues you need to work on, it's often useful to do work with the various beings who inhabit your subconscious, whether archetypes or other beings. The key is to let the drama unfold as it will - what you do not want to do is to turn this into an ego-boosting fantasy (The difference between fantasies and visions). The way to tell which is which is, if it's active imagination, the characters will seem to be speaking on their own, of their volition. Writers and other artists often speak of this phenomenon - when the spirit is truly moving them, the story "writes itself." There should be something autonomous about them, as if they were in the room speaking to you.

Imaginary conversations or even whole stories done this way will often allow you to hear and understand various hidden parts of yourself and even release suppressed content. It can be an extremely powerful tool when done correctly.

Emotional Release

The final tool for working through and releasing the layers of issues is emotional release; letting yourself be flooded by the very emotions you've been running away from.

When the Ego is confronted with a painful emotion it will often, out of self preservation, repress that feeling, or even knowledge of the incident that engenders the "dangerous" feeling. When you do this your ego may temporarily protect itself but, in the long run, you're holding onto that painful feeling, not actually getting rid of it - it just sits down in your subconscious, festering like an unopened wound, becoming more and more terrifying the longer it stays down there.

The way to release your "dangerous" emotions is deceptively simple... but, in practice, it may be the hardest thing you will ever do. What you have to do is to reverse a lifetime of protective behavior and let those feelings out. At first you might feel as if you are dying. You won't. You might even feel like you can't breathe. You're going to be ok. Just let the emotions wash over you, like the waves of the sea. At first it'll be more like the waves of a hurricane, but you will be all right. After a while, the waves will get smaller and smaller... and then they will fade completely. And when the storm is over, the sun will come out, and you will be cleansed.

As you are going through the process of passing through and releasing these suppressed emotions, be sure to pay attention to how your body is feeling - your body is where your mind holds and expresses it's feelings. After you've done this for a while, you will be able to release painful emotions as they occur, rather than repressing them to deal with later. Often you will find that the feelings are a mask for a deeper feeling, or that they point to deep seated issues you've been carrying around - releasing those feelings can help you heal those deep injuries in a way that nothing else can.

Another thing you will find as you go through the process of releasing, releasing, releasing these emotions is that you identify less and less with your ego and more and more with your true self. Our ego is our personality's way of maintaining an "acceptable" image, both to ourselves and others. But our "inner god" is calling for it's true expression, and in order for the gods to manifest themselves, the ego must be gently encouraged to take it's proper place in the constellation of our beings: subservient to the true Self. The more you can release the hard shell of defensiveness that surrounds you, the more light from that inner sun can shine.

A further note

If you are working with extremely traumatic incidents, please don't do this alone. If it's really bad, you should have a compassionate, well trained mental health practitioner you trust there to help you. Even if you feel that your issues aren't "that bad," if you feel the need for support, go and get it. What you're trying to do is hard. Be sure you are completely comfortable while doing it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Artemis in myth

From Wikipedia

Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name, and indeed the goddess herself, was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals". In the classical period of Greek mythology, Artemis (Greek: (nominative) ρτεμις, (genitive) ρτέμιδος) was often described as the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo. She was the Hellenic goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity and young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women; she often was depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows. The deer and the cypress were sacred to her. In later Hellenistic times, she even assumed the ancient role of Eileithyia in aiding childbirth.

Artemis later became identified with Selene, a Titaness who was a Greek moon goddess, sometimes depicted with a crescent moon above her head. She was also identified with the Roman goddess Diana, with the Etruscan goddess Artume, and with the Greek or Carian goddess Hecate.


Various conflicting accounts are given in Classical Greek mythology of the birth of Artemis and her twin brother, Apollo. All accounts agree, however, that she was the daughter of Zeus and Leto and that she was the twin sister of Apollo. An account by Callimachus has it that Hera forbade Leto to give birth on either terra firma (the mainland) or on an island. Hera was angry with Zeus, her husband, because he had impregnated Leto. But the island of Delos (or Ortygia in the Homeric Hymn to Artemis) disobeyed Hera, and Leto gave birth there. The myths also differ as to whether Artemis was born first, or Apollo. Most stories depict Artemis as born first, becoming her mother's mid-wife upon the birth of her brother Apollo.


The childhood of Artemis is not fully related in any surviving myth. The Iliad reduced the figure of the dread goddess to that of a girl, who, having been thrashed by Hera, climbs weeping into the lap of Zeus. A poem of Callimachus to the goddess "who amuses herself on mountains with archery" imagines some charming vignettes: according to Callimachus, at three years old, Artemis, while sitting on the knee of her father, Zeus, asked him to grant her six wishes: to remain always a virgin; to have many names to set her apart from her brother Apollo; to be the Phaesporia or Light Bringer; to have a bow and arrow and a knee-length tunic so that she could hunt; to have sixty "daughters of Okeanos", all nine years of age, to be her choir; and for twenty Amnisides Nymphs as handmaidens to watch her dogs and bow while she rested. She wished for no city dedicated to her, but to rule the mountains, and for the ability to help women in the pains of childbirth.

Artemis believed that she had been chosen by the Fates to be a midwife, particularly since she had assisted her mother in the delivery of her twin brother, Apollo. All of her companions remained virgins and Artemis guarded her own chastity closely. Her symbols included the golden bow and arrow, the hunting dog, the stag, and the moon. Callimachus tells how Artemis spent her girlhood seeking out the things that she would need to be a huntress, how she obtained her bow and arrows from the isle of Lipara, where Hephaestus and the Cyclops worked. Okeanus' daughters were filled with fear, but the young Artemis bravely approached and asked for bow and arrows. Callimachus then tells how Artemis visited Pan, the god of forest and he gave her seven bitches and six dogs. She then captured six golden-horned deer to pull her chariot. Artemis practiced with her bow first by shooting at trees and then at wild beasts.

Wooing the Goddess

As a young virgin, Artemis had interested many gods and men, but none of them successfully won her heart, except her hunting companion Orion, who was then accidentally killed either by the goddess herself or by Gaia. Alpheus, a river god, was in love with Artemis, but he realized that nothing he could do would win her heart. So he decided to capture her. Artemis who was with her companions at Letrenoi, went to Alpheus, but suspicious of his motives, she covered her face with mud so the river god would not recognize her. Another story involving the god is the story where he tried to rape Artemis' attendant Arethusa. The goddess felt pity for her and saved her by transforming Arethusa into a spring in Artemis' temple, Artemis Alphaea in Letrini, where the goddess and her attendant drink. Bouphagos, the son of the Titan Iapetos, saw Artemis and had a thought of raping her. Detecting his sinful thoughts Artemis struck him at Mount Pholoe. Sipriotes was a boy who, either because he accidentally saw Artemis bathing or attempted to rape her, was turned into a girl by the goddess.


Artemis was once bathing in a vale on Mount Cithaeron, when the Theban hunter Actaeon stumbled across her. Enraged, Artemis turned him into a stag and, not knowing their own owner, Actaeon's own dogs killed him.


In some versions of the story of Adonis, who was a late addition to Greek mythology during the Hellenistic period, Artemis sent a wild boar to kill Adonis as punishment for his hubristic boast that he was a better hunter than she. In other versions, Artemis killed Adonis for revenge. In later myths, Adonis had been related as a favorite of Aphrodite, and Aphrodite was responsible for the death of Hippolytus, who had been a favorite of Artemis. Therefore, Artemis killed Adonis to avenge Hippolytus’s death. In yet another version, Adonis was not killed by Artemis, but by Ares, as punishment for being with Aphrodite.


Orion was a hunting companion of the goddess Artemis. In some versions of his story he was killed by Artemis, while in others he was killed by a scorpion sent by Gaia. In some versions, Orion tried to seduce Opis, one of her followers, and she killed him. In a version by Aratus, Orion took hold of Artemis' robe and she killed him in self-defense. In yet another version, Apollo sent the scorpion. According to Hyginus Artemis once loved Orion (in spite of the late source, this version appears to be a rare remnant of her as the pre-Olympian goddess, who took consorts, as Eos did), but was tricked into killing him by her brother Apollo, who was "protective" of his sister's maidenhood.

The Aloadae

These twin sons of Iphidemia and Poseidon, Otos and Ephialtes, grew enormously at a young age. They were aggressive, great hunters, and could not be killed unless they killed each other. The growth of the Aloadae never stopped, and they boasted that as soon as they could reach heaven, they would kidnap Artemis and Hera and take them as wives. The gods were afraid of them, except for Artemis who captured a fine deer (or in another version of the story, she changed herself into a doe) and jumped out between them. The Aloadae threw their spears and so mistakenly killed each other.


Callisto was the daughter of Lycaon, King of Arcadia and also was one of Artemis's hunting attendants. As a companion of Artemis, she took a vow of chastity. Zeus appeared to her disguised as Artemis, or in some stories Apollo, gained her confidence, then took advantage of her (or raped her, according to Ovid). As a result of this encounter she conceived a son, Arcas. Enraged, Hera or Artemis (some accounts say both) changed her into a bear. Arcas almost killed the bear, but Zeus stopped him just in time. Out of pity, Zeus placed Callisto the bear into the heavens, thus the origin of Callisto the Bear as a constellation. Some stories say that he placed both Arcas and Callisto into the heavens as bears, forming the Ursa Minor and Ursa Major constellations.

Iphigenia and the Taurian Artemis

Artemis punished Agamemnon after he killed a sacred stag in a sacred grove and boasted that he was a better hunter than the goddess. When the Greek fleet was preparing at Aulis to depart for Troy to begin the Trojan War, Artemis becalmed the winds. The seer Calchas advised Agamemnon that the only way to appease Artemis was to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia. Artemis then snatched Iphigenia from the altar and substituted a deer. Various myths have been told around what happened after Artemis took her. Either she was brought to Tauros and led the priests there, or became Artemis' immortal companion.


A Queen of Thebes and wife of Amphion, Niobe boasted of her superiority to Leto because while she had fourteen children (Niobids), seven boys and seven girls, Leto had only one of each. When Artemis and Apollo heard this impiety, Apollo killed her sons as they practiced athletics, and Artemis shot her daughters, who died instantly without a sound. Apollo and Artemis used poisoned arrows to kill them, though according to some versions two of the Niobids were spared, one boy and one girl. Amphion, at the sight of his dead sons, killed himself. A devastated Niobe and her remaining children were turned to stone by Artemis as they wept. The gods themselves entombed them.


Chione was a princess of Pokis. She was beloved by two gods, Hermes and Apollo, and boasted that she was prettier than Artemis because she made two gods fall in love with her at once. Artemis was furious and killed Chione with her arrow or struck her dumb by shooting off her tongue. However, some versions of this myth say Apollo and Hermes protected her from Artemis' wrath.

Atalanta, Oeneus and the Meleagrids

Artemis saved the infant Atalanta from dying of exposure after her father abandoned her. She sent a female bear to suckle the baby, who was then raised by hunters. But she later sent a bear to hurt Atalanta because people said Atalanta was a better hunter. This is in some stories. Among other adventures, Atalanta participated in the hunt for the Calydonian Boar, which Artemis had sent to destroy Calydon because King Oeneus had forgotten her at the harvest sacrifices. In the hunt, Atalanta drew the first blood, and was awarded the prize of the skin. She hung it in a sacred grove at Tegea as a dedication to Artemis. Meleager was a hero of Aetolia. King Oeneus had him gather heroes from all over Greece to hunt the Calydonian Boar. After the death of Meleager, Artemis turned his grieving sisters, the Meleagrids into guineafowl that Artemis loved very much.


In Nonnus' Dionysiaca, Aura was Greek goddess of breezes and cool air, daughter of Lelantos and Periboia. She was a virgin huntress, just like Artemis, and proud of her maidenhood. One day, she claimed that Artemis' body was too womanly and she doubted her virginity. Artemis asked for Nemesis' help to avenge her dignity and caused the rape of Aura by Dionysus. Aura became a mad and dangerous killer. When she bore twin sons, she ate one of them while the other one, Iakhos, was saved by Artemis. Iakhos later became an attendant of Demeter and the leader of Eleusinian Mysteries.

Trojan War

Artemis may have been represented as a supporter of Troy because her brother Apollo was the patron god of the city and she herself was widely worshipped in western Anatolia in historical times. In the Iliad she came to blows with Hera, when the divine allies of the Greeks and Trojans engaged each other in conflict. Hera struck Artemis on the ears with her own quiver, causing the arrows to fall out. As Artemis fled crying to Zeus, Leto gathered up the bow and arrows.

Artemis played quite a large part in this war. Like her mother and brother, who was widely worshiped at Troy, Artemis took the side of the Trojans. At the Greek's journey to Troy, Artemis becalmed the sea and stopped the journey until an oracle came and said they could win the goddess' heart by sacrificing Iphigenia, Agamemnon's daughter. Agamemnon once promised the goddess he would sacrifice the dearest thing to him, which was Iphigenia, but broke the promise. Other sources said he boasted about his hunting ability and provoked the goddess' anger. Artemis saved Iphigenia because of her bravery. In some versions of the myth,, Artemis made Iphigenia her attendant or turned her into Hecate, goddess of night, witchcraft, and the underworld.

Aeneas was helped by Artemis, Leto, and Apollo. Apollo found him wounded by Diomedes and lifted him to heaven. There, the three of them secretly healed him in a great chamber.


Bow and arrow

According to the Homeric Hymn to Artemis, she had golden bow and arrows, as her epithet was Khryselakatos, "of the Golden Shaft", and Iokheira (Showered by Arrows). The arrows of Artemis could also to bring sudden death and disease to girls and women. Artemis got her bow and arrow for the first time from The Kyklopes, as the one she asked from her father. The bow of Artemis also became the witness of Callisto's oath of her virginity. In later cult, the bow became the symbol of waxing moon.


Artemis' chariot was made of gold and was pulled by four golden horned deer (Elaphoi Khrysokeroi). The bridles of her chariot were also made of gold.

Spears, nets, and lyre

Although quite seldom, Artemis is sometimes portrayed with a hunting spear. Her cult in Aetolia, the Artemis Aetolian, showed her with a hunting spear. The description about Artemis' spear can be found in Ovid's Metamorphosis, while Artemis with a fishing connected with her cult as a patron goddess of fishing. As a goddess of maiden dances and songs, Artemis is often portrayed with a lyre.


Deer were the only animals held sacred to Artemis herself. On seeing a deer larger than a bull with horns shining, she fell in love with these creatures and held them sacred. Deer were also the first animals she captured. She caught five golden horned deer called Elaphoi Khrysokeroi and harnessed them to her chariot. The third labour of Heracles, commanded by Eurystheus, consisted in catching the Cerynitian Hind alive. Heracles begged Artemis for forgiveness and promised to return it alive. Artemis forgave him but targeted Eurystheus for her wrath.

Hunting dog

Artemis got her hunting dogs from Pan in the forest of Arcadia. Pan gave Artemis two black-and-white dogs, three reddish ones, and one spotted one - these dogs were able to hunt even lions. Pan also gave Artemis seven bitches of the finest Arcadian race. However, Artemis only ever brought seven dogs hunting with her at any one time.


The boar is one of the favorite animals of the hunters, and also hard to tame. In honor of Artemis' skill, they sacrificed it to her. Oineus and Adonis were both killed by Artemis' boar.


The sacrifice of a bear for Artemis started from the Brauron cult. Every year, a little girl age between five and ten was sent to Artemis' temple at Brauron. Arktos e Brauroniois, a text by, Suidas, a Byzantine writer, told a legend about a bear that was tamed by Artemis, and introduced to people of Athens. They touched it and played with it, until one day a group of young girls poked the bear which became furious and attacked the girls. One of the girls' brother found out what had happened and killed the bear so Artemis sent a plague in revenge. The Athenians consulted an oracle to understand how to end the plague. The oracle suggested that, in payment for the bear's blood, every young Athenian virgin should not be allowed to marry until she had served Artemis in her temple ('played the bear for the goddess').

Guinea fowl

Artemis felt pity for the Meleagrids as they mourned for their lost brother, Meleagor, so she transformed them into Guinea Fowl to be her favorite animals.

Buzzard hawk

Hawks were the favored birds of many of the gods, Artemis included.

Palm and Cypress were issued to be her birth place. Other plants sacred to Artemis are Amaranth and Asphodel.


As Aeginaea, she was worshiped in Sparta; the name means either huntress of chamois, or the wielder of the javelin. She was worshipped at Naupactus as Aetole; in her temple in that town there was a statue of white marble representing her throwing a javelin. This "Aetolian Artemis" would not have been introduced at Naupactus, anciently a place of Ozolian Locris, until it was awarded to the Aetolians by Philip II of Macedon. Strabo records another precinct of "Aetolian Artemos" at the head of the Adriatic. As Agoraea she was the protector of the agora. As Agrotera, she was especially associated as the patron goddess of hunters. In Elis she was worshiped as Alphaea. In Athens Artemis was often associated with the local Aeginian goddess, Aphaea. As Potnia Theron, she was the patron of wild animals; Homer used this title. As Kourotrophos, she was the nurse of youths. As Locheia, she was the goddess of childbirth and midwives. She was sometimes known as Cynthia, from her birthplace on Mount Cynthus on Delos, or Amarynthia from a festival in her honor originally held at Amarynthus in Euboea. She was sometimes identified by the name Phoebe, the feminine form of her brother Apollo's solar epithet Phoebus.

Archetypal relationships: Artemis & Apollo



Apollo was the Sun god, the lawgiver, and the god of art, music, and poetry. With the motto "Nothing in excess," this was art of good taste and moderation. Apollo became god of prophecy after killing the oracular serpent Python. This symbolized an archaic goddess of prophecy superseded by the rule of law. Today we use laws to make prophecies, e.g., "If you park in that handicapped space you'll get a ticket." Or we use Oracle(r) computer databases to predict everything from elections to economics.

Emotional Control System

The right hemisphere of the cerebral cortex processes new information. It's connected to the limbic brain, and so we incorrectly say that emotions are "right brain." Saying that the right hemisphere is more holistic is more accurate. The left hemisphere, in contrast, analyzes information and creates logic, associations, and abstractions. Language is produced in the left hemisphere. The left hemisphere develops later in utero than the right hemisphere, and is thought to have evolved later. The left hemisphere is poorly connected to the limbic and reptilian brains. Individuals who embody Apollo live the "life of the mind," unconnected to their emotions or bodies. New ideas usually arise from a person with all three brain systems integrated. Apollo men dislike new ideas. They prefer the classics, which can be appreciated solely with one's left hemisphere.

Life Purpose

Like the Sun, an Apollo man's life purpose is to illuminate the darkness, via clear thinking following abstract principles. These men shine. They're "bright."


Apollo was Zeus's son.  Apollo men function best as vice-presidents or the "right hand man" of a powerful leader. These men aren't leaders. Apollo men observe events without getting emotionally involved. Their lives can become detached or compartmentalized. They dislike spontaneity. They want to see a schedule before committing to attend an event. They like to read a book - or every book there is - on a subject before beginning a project.

Under Stress

Under stress, Apollo becomes Demeter. When the going gets tough, an Apollo second-in-command takes care of the subordinates that the Zeus leader forgets about.

When Safe

When safe, Apollo men become Artemis/Ares/Hephaestus. Their hobbies are goal-directed, e.g., collecting stamps. Apollo men are sports fans. They can work hard when they feel safe.


Schedule it into his Daytimer or it won't happen.



Artemis roamed the wilderness with her band of nymphs and her pack of dogs. As a hunter and an archer, her arrows always hit her target. Women who embody Artemis are goal-oriented. They enjoy "the chase" of elusive quarry. Their perseverance leads to accomplishment and achievement. Artemis rescued anyone (especially women) in physical danger who appealed for her help. Artemis was the goddess of childbirth. The Romans knew Artemis as Diana.

Emotional Control System

Artemis energy is about seeking and anticipation - the goal-directed search for food, shelter, mates, etc.

Life Purpose

An Artemis woman's life purpose is to achieve goals.


Too much Artemis energy results in endless searching, to the point of exhaustion. Or an Artemis woman can be "so focused on her own aims and undistracted that she fails to notice the feelings of others around her."

Artemis's shadow includes contempt for vulnerability, and difficulties with intimacy. She was associated with goal-directed, merciless, destructive rage: Outrage at wrongs done, loyalty to others, strength to express a point of view, and a propensity to take action can be very positive characteristics of Artemis and Artemis women. But the mercilessness of the punishment they mete out can be appalling with intense hostility that was often out of proportion to the particular provocation.

Under Stress

Under stress, Artemis becomes her brother Apollo. Artemis women think clearly and unemotionally under pressure.

When Safe

When safe, Artemis becomes Demeter. When they can, Artemis women help less-fortunate individuals.


Artemis women see sex as an adventure. For them, sex is a recreational sport, not an expression of commitment (Hera) or an occasion for sensuality (Aphrodite). A lesbian Artemis woman will have many friends, a band of nymphs looking for adventure. If her lover is another Artemis woman (her "identical twin") she should consider whether her partner is her best friend or her romantic lover. She may better off with a more feminine lover - the goddess and her nymph.

Apollo-Artemis Marriage

An Apollo-Artemis marriage tempers goal-seeking (and adventure) with good sense. A couple that successfully uses this energy achieves their goals - and has stories to tell their grandchildren.


Apollo men approach marriage as they approach applying to law school. They rationally decide whether a woman will be a good match, rather than acting on passion or impulse.


For a relationship with an Artemis woman, a man shouldn't be Orion, the hunter and Ares archetype. Her competitive nature unintentionally caused his death. Challenge her, and she'll obsess until she wins-another man to beat. But if he moves closer emotionally, wants to marry her, or becomes dependent on her, the excitement of the "hunt" is over. Moreover, she may lose interest or feel contempt for him if he shows "weakness" by needing her. As a result, an Artemis woman may have a series of relationships that go well only as long as the man keeps some emotional distance and is not always available. The lasting relationship for an Artemis woman is with an Apollo man. Apollo was her twin brother. Her domain was the wilderness. His was the city. He was the Sun god. She was the Moon goddess. He was the god of domesticated animals. She was the goddess of wild animals. He was the god of laws. She lived in the wilderness, away from civilized laws. This relationship starts as brother and sister. The Artemis woman may have another boyfriend (or girlfriend). Give her space to roam, and she'll be back at your door when she's "in town."

Apollo and Artemis work well together because they both tend towards being emotional 'escape artists'. Apollo lives in the intellect to the exclusion of emotion. Artemis is very threatened by emotional attachment, and so Apollo's lack of emotional involvement allows her room to breathe. The story of Atalanta and Hippomenes shows how to marry an Artemis woman. Atalanta was a beautiful princess. She enjoyed hunting and sports. Many men wanted to marry her. She promised to marry the first man to outrun her in a race. Losers were immediately killed. Atalanta won race after race. This is a metaphor that competing with an Artemis woman kills the relationship.

Unathletic Hippomenes (an Apollo man) truly loved her. He decided that death was better than life without her. He prayed to Aphrodite for help. Aphrodite gave him three golden apples. When Atalanta took off ahead of Hippomenes, he threw the first golden apple into her path. She stopped to pick it up. She saw her face reflected, but distorted by the curving apple. She realized that she would not be young and beautiful forever. Someday her body would sag like the reflection in the apple. Hippomenes passed her as she pondered this insight. Atalanta took off again, repassing him. He threw the second golden apple. When she stopped to pick it up, Aphrodite caused Atalanta to see in the shiny apple her dead lover, Meleager. She yearned when she remembered their physical and emotional closeness. Hippomenes passed Atalanta again. She took off and repassed him again. He threw the last golden apple. When she stopped to pick it up, Demeter caused Atalanta to see her reflection, surrounded by loving children. Atalanta was transfixed by the realization that she wanted a family. Hippomenes ran across the finish line. They married that afternoon.

Archetypal relationships: Hera & Zeus



Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus drew lots for their kingdoms. Zeus got the sky, Poseidon the seas, and Hades the underworld. They agreed to share the earth. Instead, Zeus dominated the earth and the humans who later inhabited it. The Romans knew Zeus as Jupiter.

Emotional Control System

The sense of self enables power, freedom, and dominance. Too little Zeus energy causes impotence or passive-aggression.

Life Purpose

Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades were the "alpha" males of the Greek pantheon. Zeus men conform to society's rules. A Zeus man seeks a public identity - usually a career - that matches his inner sense of self-importance.


Zeus men are status-seekers. A Zeus man may use deception to create the appearance of success. He may sacrifice his subordinates. He may claim credit for another person's work. He may blame another person for his failures. As the sky god, Zeus saw in wide overviews. He didn't have his feet on the ground. Zeus men can be ungrounded, out of touch with reality. They believe in positive thinking. They tune out negative facts and feelings. E.g., employees say that a "reality distortion field" surrounds Steve Jobs. A Zeus man may work for years to achieve success, then find that it's not what he expected. He spends his life climbing a mountain, then realizes that he climbed the wrong mountain.


Zeus had sex with any beautiful woman he fancied - and paid the price with a jealous and vengeful wife. Zeus men keep mistresses. But Zeus men aren't great lovers. Their focus on power stunts their emotional maturity.



Hera was the wife of Zeus. She jealously and cruelly persecuted Zeus's lovers and their children. The Romans knew Hera as Juno.

Emotional Control System

Hera energy is about tradition, ritual, and ceremony.

Life Purpose

A Hera woman's life purpose is to embody her culture's traditions. She uses awareness of the past to create group cohesion. She makes individuals feel they are part of a group by reminding them what the group did in the past.


Women who embody Hera often marry doctors, lawyers, or other successful men. But they don't really love their husbands. They love being a successful wife. Hera women love children who behave properly. But when their children don't fit their ideals, Hera women disconnect or even abandon their children. E.g., look at Nancy Reagan and her non-relationships with daughter Patti and son Ronnie. Too much Hera energy makes an individual a caricature of whom she thinks she is. Too little makes an individual not take anything seriously. Some women today reject Hera. They remember their mothers in the 1950s or 1960s, dependent and self-sacrificing. But pushing Hera into the shadow can cause a woman to feel emptiness, or incompleteness. Such a woman should consciously bring Hera's rituals into her life, in ways that don't betray her ideals.


To Hera women, sex is just part of marriage.

Zeus-Hera Marriage

A Zeus-Hera marriage tempers power with tradition. A couple that successfully uses this energy increases their social status.


Zeus men see women as either marriageable - beautiful daughters of wealthy, prominent families - or women for sex (as basically just another kind of status symbol). They use marriage in their rise to power, e.g., marrying the boss's daughter. Once in power, they go for the beautiful young nymphs.


Hera women subscribe to wedding magazines. A Hera woman's wedding is the most important day of her life. A Hera woman may mistakenly marry an Apollo man. Apollo men aren't leaders. She'll push him into a CEO position in which he'll fail, when he would've been a successful vice-president. She'll ruin his career and then divorce him.

Under Stress

Under stress, Zeus and Hera becomes Dionysus. When "the going gets tough," a Zeus man or Hera woman loses emotional coldness and distance. A wounded, human side comes out. At best, he becomes a hero - and becomes sexy to women. She becomes a "real person"-and sexy to men. At worst, a Zeus man or a Hera woman becomes hysterical, or turns to another side of Dionysus-alcohol.

When Safe

When safe, Zeus and Hera becomes Poseidon. They continue to be "alpha," but "lets their hair down" and show emotions.

Archetypal relationships: Aphrodite, Ares & Hephaestus



Ares was the god of war, or, more precisely, warlike frenzy and the warrior. His tutor Priapus (a fertility god renowned for his huge penis) first trained Ares to be a dancer, and later trained him to be a warrior.
You don't give a man a weapon until you've taught him how to us it.
—Celtic proverb

Emotional Control System

Anger and rage, when confined, thwarted, or frustrated.

Life Purpose

Ares's life purpose is independence. Ares men use courage and initiative to gain freedom. Ares men can be leaders, or work independently. Ares is a soldier - a fighter and a lover.


Ares men can't stand being controlled, especially by anonymous strangers. They'll sacrifice their best interests for freedom. E.g., they'll take a cut in pay to work independently rather than work for a big corporation. They underestimate things in their path-other people, time requirements, mountains. They challenge people. They use "anger as a greeting," but respect individuals who stand up to them. They always feel they're right, but don't hesitate to change their views when they receive new information.

Under Stress

Under stress, Ares becomes Apollo. Watch Muhammad Ali's 1973 fight against George Foreman, in the movie When We Were Kings. Ali came into the ring with a plan, and coolly kept to his plan even as Foreman pummeled Ali in the initial rounds.

When Safe

When safe, Ares men become Demeter. They can be generous and supportive to a child or employee. Justice concerns them. They support underdogs.


Ares was Aphrodite's favorite lover.



Hephaestus was the craftsman, the god of the forge. He built tools, weapons, chariots and everything else the other gods used. The Romans knew Hephaestus as Vulcan. Hephaestus had a clubfoot. The other gods rejected him because of his disability. He lived alone in a volcano. As god of volcanoes he had immense destructive power.

Emotional Control System

Speculatively, the use of tools and the control of fire may be hardwired into our brains.

Life Purpose

A Hephaestus man's life purpose is to develop skills and competence. He wants to make useful things.


Hephaestus men are nerdy - good with machines or computers, but not with people. They can be insensitive about their powerful creations hurting people. E.g., Robert Oppenheimer and the atomic bomb, or Bill Gates building his empire.

Under Stress

Under stress, Hephaestus becomes Apollo. Take him to a weird party, and he'll act like an anthropologist visiting an exotic tribe - observing, occasionally talking to people, but staying detached and emotionally uninvolved.

When Safe

When safe, a Hephaestus man becomes Demeter. He offers his skills to help other people.


Engineers use "elegant" and "beautiful" to describe well-built things. Engineers talking about computer code sound like women talking about cocktail dresses.


To meet Hephaestus men, go to a computer conference or Star Trek convention. Look for the men with no social skills and multitudinous stock options. Show off your golden hair, and ask him to fix your computer. When he finishes, your computer will do stuff that you never imagined, or wanted it to do.



Aphrodite was the goddess of feminine love and beauty. She had the power to cause mortals and deities to fall in love. The Romans knew Aphrodite as Venus.

Emotional Control System

Aphrodite is a combination of two emotional control systems: sexuality and homeostasis. No one has ever referred to Aphrodite as the "goddess of homeostasis" but this is the nature of pleasure: when our bodies are out of balance, we suffer. When we get, do, or consume what we need to return to homeostasis, we feel pleasure. E.g., when you're cold, nothing is so pleasurable as a hot drink. When an Aphrodite woman's body signals that it's out of balance, she looks for an opportunity to experience the pleasure of returning to homeostasis. E.g., jumping into a cool creek on a hot day. Her pains and pleasures are immediate, not some time in the future. Sexuality is a different emotional control system.

Life Purpose

The goddess of love's life purpose is to be charming and attractive.


The goddess of love's shadow side is shallow, uncommitted relationships. An Aphrodite woman may sleep around.

Under Stress

Under stress, Aphrodite becomes Athena. Invite an Aphrodite woman camping. She'll come up with a list of fears, from snakes to not being able to wash her hair.

When Safe

When safe, Aphrodite becomes Hestia. She'll make her home and garden as beautiful as herself.


Expect great sex with an Aphrodite woman... while the relationship lasts.

Ares-Hephaestus-Aphrodite Marriage

An Ares-Hephaestus-Aphrodite marriage works hard and plays hard. On weekdays, Hephaestus and Aphrodite get the work done that's necessary for homeostasis (e.g., food, shelter, clothing). At night and on weekends, Ares and Aphrodite have passionate romance and great sex.


An Ares man can be a good husband, if his wife doesn't try to control him. He can be a good citizen in a community that looks to him as a leader.


Hephaestus men live for women. They need women to appreciate the beautiful things they make. They need women to inspire their creativity, to teach them social skills, and to tell the world that they're brilliant. Hephaestus men are the best husbands. They never argue. Any problem is an opportunity to invent something to fix the problem. Hephaestus men are faithful to their wives, usually because no other woman wants them. But Hephaestus men can neglect their wives, spending too much time at work. A Hephaestus man's wife may not get the passion and fireworks that she wants, but this doesn't mean that he doesn't treasure his wife more than anything in the world. Hephaestus built golden maidservants that could talk and perform household tasks. A Hephaestus man might buy a Russian mail-order bride, expecting a golden maidservant. He's more likely to get Pandora, the first mortal woman, whom Hephaestus also built. Pandora had not only domestic skills and sex appeal, but also "shamelessness, cunning use of language, lies, and deceitfulness."


Aphrodite women shouldn't marry Hermes men. They'll have fun for a while, but the marriage will lack commitment. Avoid Poseidon men, unless you think Courtney Love enjoyed scraping Kurt Cobain's brains off the wall. Just as Aphrodite is a combination of two goddesses, her marriage involves two gods. Aphrodite married Hephaestus, god of the forge. Aphrodite women love the beautiful things Hephaestus men make for their wives. But Aphrodite's lover was Ares, god of war. They shared intensity, sensuality, immediacy, and passion.

Ares men often have Hephaestus jobs (jobs that use tools), e.g., auto mechanics. Many Hephaestus computer nerds become Ares weekend warriors, enjoying flying, mountain biking, etc.

Marital success for an Aphrodite woman requires bringing out the Hephaestus in her Ares man, or the Ares in her Hephaestus man. Aphrodite and Ares had two sons, Fear and Panic. If you don't want TV crews asking why your sons blew up their high school, have your Ares husband channel your sons' energy into Hephaestus skills (e.g., building a really cool car for Mom).

To bring out the Ares in your Hephaestus nerd, suggest that he buy a motorcycle. Don't ride on the back until he passes the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course, and buys you a helmet, leather jacket, and cool new boots. Then suggest a drive up to the city for spicy Thai food, and return on Skyline with a starry stop at a scenic overlook. Suggest watching a swing dance video. Watch it in his living room. Don't take him dancing in public yet. You'll embarrass him. He'll need a lot of practice before he's ready to lead you on a dance floor. But when he figures out that leading means that you'll do whatever swings and spins he wants you to do, watch Ares come out. Combined with Hephaestus's 900 megahertz learning skills, once he's interested in swing dance he won't stop until he's mastered every move.

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