Athenian Woman, Through and Through: Embrace Your Archetype


[warning: post contains “breasts”]

Y sent me a link to an archetype quiz a while back.

Not just any archetype quiz.

A goddess archetype quiz.

So, naturally, I took it.

I am a firm believer in archetypes, in personality profiles (and even in some astrology). I find the study and classification of human personality to be utterly fascinating.

I love being to able to say, “that is so right!” Or, conversely, “what has that quiz been smoking?”

This questionnaire, in particular, put to words what I have been trying to explain about myself to people (unsuccessfully, I might add) for quite some time.

My highest score, by a landslide, was Athena. Next runner up was Persephone.

Here is an excerpt of what the website has to say about Athena:

Athena – extroverted and independent temperament–represents the goddess of wisdom and civilization–concerned with career, motivated by the desire for achievement, acquiring knowledge, she possesses a keen intellect, concerned with education, culture, social issues and politics. ” (link)

and

“She is an androgynous ‘virgin’ goddess who develops a relationship with her own inner masculine part rather than partaking in marriage to an outer male. Her awareness is focused. She relates to men as intellectual companion with whom she shares ambitions, career goals, and ideals. If a primarily Athenian-type woman chooses partnership, she seeks one who possesses sufficient self-confidence and who will appreciate her ambition and autonomy.” (link)

As if that wasn’t spot on enough for you, here are the kickers:

–“Athena has been split off from the mother function as a result of Zeus’s swallowing Athena’s mother (matrilineal society)– Zeus is psychically at war with the mother principle; therefore, Athena is most out of touch with her need for warm, physical nurturing, attention to her instinctual and bodily needs, and unconditional love.”

–“Impersonal, rational – well in control of her feelings/emotions – she is able to work closely with men without falling into emotional or erotic entanglements.”

–“Her libido is directed into mental, extraverted activities, striving for intellectual fulfillment (achievement is gratifying), creative leadership & decision-making”

There is a whole lot more there, I definitely recommend you read the whole thing. Or take the questionaire (it is easier to manage if you print it out).

What I found the most helpful was the idea that I am in touch with my personal masculinity through femininity.

This also coincides with my classification from (don’t laugh too hard) Sexstrology. The guiding feminine hand of Pluto focuses the raw power of Mars.

I like the idea of being Athena. I like the idea of knowing where Zeus keeps the thunderbolts and how to use them. I like having something in common with Joan of Arc (even though I’m not a fan of Shaw’s Saint Joan), of acknowledging that my dark side is judgement, of “being” one of the three Amazon women who lived without men.

I’m not saying that my whole life will be lived without a non-platonic man in it, I cannot know either way. It would be lovely, of course,to find a partner and I will always believe in romance, but as of right now I do not think I would be any less happy if this never came to pass.

**There is the caution that as a woman grows, her archetype may change. I will let you know if this happens.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, here are some images of Athena that I particularly like:

It is rather refreshing to know that I am not alone in the world (ego ego ego) and that being “psychically at war with the mother principle” is completely archetypal and not at all abnormal.

Demeter, the mothering goddess, was my bottom score. She was the only one with negative points.

Now, before you all scream at me, “wait wait wait! You are trusting this lousy website with purple fonts not used in professional documents and atrocious clipart from the nineties?” I would like to point out that the author says she has a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in Counseling. I choose to believe her.

After both taking the archetype quizzes, Y and I discussed results. It was no surprise to either of us what the other got.

We also noted that it is really interesting (even though it has taken me at least years to learn this lesson) that Aphrodites and Athenas are both equally beautiful–but in very different ways.

—–

This brings me to the real point of my post–the idea of different types of beauty.

For the longest time, I believed that there was only one type of beauty. That ephemeral type taught to us from birth through media. The flawless, photoshopped, any-figure-but-yours, beauty. Always perfect–never human.

This awful idea persisted with me all of the way through freshman year of college.

This awful idea brought out my negative, self-depreciating and damaging, Medusa-y side until it consumed me.

This idea, tenuous as the connection may seem at first, was compounded by my utter ignorance about the female body in general and a complete disconnect to my own body.

You see, I had never been allowed to go through the public-school offered sex-ed as it was deemed inappropriate (and at the time, since I had been taught so, I believed sex-ed to be shameful and akin to sin). My education was not supplemented at home. The only “talk” I got was: “Do not have sex. You will get pregnant. You will get STD’s. You will probably lose your faith and go to hell.” The message I heard was, “don’t think about your body. Don’t look at your body. If you even contemplate your body and your crazy puberty hormones and your developing breasts and try to figure out what is going on–you will be sinning.” In short, I learned to be ashamed of myself.

(I would like to point out that I love my parents and I am sure that this is not at all what they had in mind. Raising a young girl is a delicate business.)

I am sure you can all fill in the gaps in the story–all of the things I did not learn that would have helped me growing up. This gap in my knowledge wasn’t filled in until an embarrassed but good-willed catch-up lecture at a sleep-over Sophomore year of college. The even more shocking truth? I was NOT the only woman in this ignorant position.

Since then I’ve gone overtime catching up. When I get passionate about a subject, my Athena intellect kicks in to hyperdrive and I soak up everything I can before moving on to the next subject. I’ve become an unsolicited walking-talking representative of the DivaCup. I snatch up books on gender studies whenever I find them. I’ve come to the conclusion that if I ever deign to get married I am probably not changing my last name, at the most I will hyphenate. I am also disgusted by the custom of “handing the bride away”. I refuse to shut up about my menstrual cycle in mixed company (an odious habit, I’m sure) and I also refuse to feel inferior or ugly or un-feminine while embodying traits traditionally called “masculine”. I don’t dumb myself down to make others like me, male or female.

In short–I’ve embraced my beauty. My curves, my belly, my once-a-month sentimental commercial induced sobbing fits, my soft chin, my natural hair. Yes, I believe in being completely myself. I also love makeup and heels. From a feminist perspective this may embody a contradiction, but I embrace this as well. Humans are intrinsically contradictional. (Like that word?) Or, rather, paradoxical. That’s part of our beauty both as a species and individually.

So, ladies, go find your goddess archetypes. Accept and embrace what makes you you. Who cares if you don’t match what Cosmo or Time or Allure or Disney or Focus on the Family dictates that you should be? What the hell do they know? Not me. Not you.

I, Athena-Archetype, grant you permission to embrace your intellect like me, or your love for the world like Aphrodite, or your nurturing soul like Demeter. Or whatever particular traits are yours. I, a fellow woman, grant you permission to embrace yourself–curves, straight, kinks, curls, light, dark, traditional, non-traditional, not-really-sure. I, a self-made and self-defined feminist, grant you permission to figure out why you are the way you are, to chart what you want and ignore what you don’t, to meet yourself just as others meet you, little or big bits at a time.

As for you, the brave and loyal men who wade their way through my women-centric posts, know that I mean everything I say for you too. Both as a way of supporting the women in your lives, and as a way of figuring out, loving, and respecting yourself. I would love to hear from you as well.

Blessings my friends,

Sincerely,

Emilie

P.S. I also love the underworld-ensconced Persephone and understand my connection to her.

P.P.S.

Some interesting women-centered articles:

1–Starting August 1, 2012, insurance companies will have  to completely cover birth control

2–Many women are choosing to ignore the societal role of motherhood

3–Women are increasingly becoming “sugar babies” to pay off their college loans

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