The Goddess MECA Blog

Goddesses in the Greek Pantheon

Posted by Mary on Monday 12 March 2012 in the Mythology Category.

Take the GODDESS QUIZ  on this website:- Find it to under the header of MYTHOLOGY at top of page, click on it and then scroll down.

The Goddess quiz based on Carl Jung’s theory of Archetypes, has finally arrived. You will find which Greek Goddess you most resemble by answering the questionnaire in the Goddess quiz section.  It’s fun  to take and your results are completely confidential. Here’s a brief description of each of the main Goddesses in the Greek Pantheon.

Goddesses in the Greek Pantheon

This is intended as a quick overview to acquaint you with the main Goddesses. Most had a counterpart in Roman mythology and often similar Goddesses appeared in Celtic, Egyptian and Norse myths.

Persephone

Persephone

Persephone (sometimes known as Kore)

Persephone is the maiden Goddess, daughter of Demeter (Goddess of the harvest) and Zeus king of the Gods. Persephone helped her mother Demeter tend the earth until one day she was abducted by Hades, king of the underworld. Having eaten six pomegranate seeds while in the realm of the dead, Persephone would henceforth have to spend six months a year with Hades, who took her as his bride. The other half of the year sees her return to Earth to be with her mother Demeter.

Persephone’s youth and innocence make her carefree and intuitive;- a child of nature. Due to her abduction by Hades she however became a victim, somewhat helpless. Persephone types will always look girly no matter what their true age. If this is your archetype, it’s likely you suffered a great loss and may have ended up feeling a victim of life and circumstances.

For this reason, you may be good at understanding others and helping them, finding it easy to empathise with their pain. This can lead you to a desire to work in professions such as nursing, teaching, psychology or areas of artistic expression. Often a people pleaser, who may find it difficult to maintain boundaries with others, having grave difficulty saying ‘no’. Some Persephone types suffer from body dysmorphia, meaning they do not feel comfortable with their bodies and can develop psychosomatic illnesses. In turn, they may not be comfortable with sexuality.

You move from this archetype towards empowerment when you start seeing yourself as co-creator of your own life; – you create your reality with your thoughts, words and actions. Take control and do not hand over your power to anyone else. Neither blame nor praise another for your successes or failures. Accept personal responsibility: with your gifts and capabilities you can become a powerful woman.

Persephone can learn lessons from Artemis’s independent nature and Hekate’s ability to not take herself too seriously.

Demeter (Roman Goddess Ceres)
Demeter and Persephone

Demeter and Persephone © Susan Seddon Boulet

Demeter is the archetypal mother Goddess. As queen of the harvest she also represents the embodiment of mother Earth. Like her daughter Persephone she is a victim Goddess. The abduction of her daughter by Hades led to her spending six months each year in mourning. During this time of sorrow she refused to tend the earth until the return again of Persephone in Spring time. The ancients accepted this as an explanation of the seasons; – Autumn and Winter as the time of Demeter’s neglect of the earth and Spring and Summer a time of her working once more with her daughter to produce a bountiful harvest.

Demeter loves her role as life giver and nurturer, even with children who are not hers. This role is more important than career. Kind, patient and gentle, she is nevertheless a vulnerable Goddess, like her daughter Persephone. In the Greek myth, she represents the sorrowful mother who lost her child. Like Persephone she is mystical and intuitive, allowing her to empathise easily with the suffering of others.

As a giver, this archetype may neglect her needs in favour of looking after others. Rather than be assertive the mother is in danger of becoming passive aggressive to get her needs met. If this happens, over time there is a danger of becoming co-dependent and adopting a martyr complex. There always needs to be a balance. In order to truly relate well to others, you must first be kind to yourself.  Being overly identified with the mothering role may result in a suppression of the sex drive or adopting a mothering attitude towards your partner: – if this is the case you could do with discovering your inner courtesan.

Demeter could earn from Aphrodite’s ability to take care of herself and be sensual, along with looking to Artemis ability to work healthy boundaries and the ability to say ‘no’.

Artemis ( Roman Goddess Diana)

An independent spirit, Artemis is Goddess of the hunt, nature and birth. Another maiden Goddess, though unlike Persephone she has the strength and ability to protect herself from any unwanted attention. This can mean she is overly independent to the extent men may find her off- putting.

Her gifts include a strong empathy for other women, the ability to be an avid campaigner for human rights, the environment or animal rights.

Goddess of the hunt and wild animals, she was also a midwife and healer.

Solitary by nature, Artemis is concerned with the environment and women’s rights. Her strong masculine side means, she has integrated male/female energy and her most complete relationship is with herself. Known as Virgin Goddess, she does not need or depend on having a man in her life. Artemis types may be drawn to outdoor careers such as veterinarian, explorer or working for an NGO.

If Artemis is your archetype, you are likely to be driven by physical rather than mental energy and have a good gut instinct. You are sporty and love the outdoors, along with being passionate about organic food and animals. You constantly seek self expression and may be a champion for animal or women’s rights. Your independent nature means you are skilled at establishing personal boundaries and you generally have excellent relationships with other women. Your attitude however, may be off- putting to men. If what you’re looking for is an equal, loving relationship, take some tips from Hera.

Athena

Athena © Susan Seddon Boulet

Athena ( Roman Goddess Minerva)

Goddess of war and wisdom, domestic crafts, and writing. Plato believed her name meant “mind of God” whilst others suggest it comes an ancient word meaning “sharp.” Both these words point to Athena’s great intellectual ability to see the true nature of a situation and to develop successful strategies. Logic is her forte but on certain occasions she may lack the kind of empathy Persephone has in abundance.

Her superior intelligence may tend towards arrogance and a judgemental attitude of others.

One of the Olympian Goddesses, she represents a capable, ambitious woman. A woman who scales the career ladder, is good in business and the law. Her independent nature means she shies away from opening up in relationships. The danger is you may become a bit of an ivory tower if you remain identified with Artemis. Men may view you as intimidating, aloof and judgemental even if the outer show is in some cases a cover for hypersensitivity.

Inclined overly to think along straight lines (left brained logic), life demands resilience from us and a need to constantly change our thoughts and ideals in the way nature and society constantly changes. Athena could learn from the two Goddesses of love; – Demeter’s maternal love and Aphrodite’s sensual love.

Aphrodite

Aphrodite © Susan Seddon Boulet

Aphrodite

The Goddess of love and beauty. No man could resist Aphrodite when she wore her magic girdle. Her name means foam – born or risen from foam as she was birthed from the churning sea as in Boticelli’s painting ‘The birth of Venus’.

Aphrodite has a great aesthetic; – the gift of making herself and her surroundings look beautiful. Her sensuality and passionate nature are very attractive to the opposite sex, yet she may have commitment issues and find relationships difficult.

As Goddess of love and beauty, she understands the art of seduction; keeps herself looking well and wears beautiful clothes. If this is your archetype your ideal career ranges from performer/actress or fashion designer to events organiser.

Aphrodite represents an alluring woman who has no problem attracting men, but will often attract the wrong type. A man who is successful and values outer beauty will see her as a prize worth winning ;- the trophy girlfriend. In turn she may be offered financial support and material gifts. In the long run these do not sustain a relationship and remember looks fade with age. If You are identified with Aphrodite, you are keenly sensual and very comfortable with your body. You shine on social occasions and have many admirers. Your artistic expression is evident in your style and décor.

Aphrodite types need to learn who they truly are inside and not accept sex or materialism as a substitute for love. As a child you may have been praised for looking pretty rather than loved for who you truly are. If this is the case your outer persona hides a deep yearning to be loved. Start by loving and accepting yourself and let go of a constant need for perfection. Life will start to take on a deeper meaning when you accept this truth and connect with other women on a soul level.

Aphrodite archetypes could learn from Artemis’s freedom of expression. Also, look to Hera for lessons in committed relationship.

Hera( Roman Goddess Juno)
Hera

The Goddess Hera depicted with a peacock.

Queen of the Olympians and Goddess of marriage and birth. One historian claims her name could be connected to the Greek word for seasons – hora, suggesting she is ripe for marriage.

Hera was married to Zeus , king of the Gods. Following on this, the Hera woman desires marriage to a rich, powerful man and will sacrifice her own career to be part of a ‘power couple’. Hera valued her position as the wife of Zeus and remained constantly vigilant of her husband, since he was fond of straying from the marital bed.

If Hera is your archetype, it’s likely you value relationships and look on the marital relationship as the most important. Hera is confident and has no problem asserting her authority in all areas of life.  She is status conscious, seeking successful men who are her equals; – who neither fear her nor wish to belittle her. Hera’s gift is her ability to commit and be a loyal and faithful partner.

Kahlil Gibrain may have been writing about Hera when he said of marriage: “The oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow”.

If you are identified with Hera, chances are you will be successful at maintaining good relationships. Life however does not always run predictably well and powerful men often seek ego fulfilment through other women. Hera types may view sex as a necessary aspect of marriage, not as something to wilfully engage in. If this is the case, you could look to Aphrodite for lessons in appreciating sensuality.

Should your partner discredit your relationship, you may be tempted to want to numb your feelings of hurt by taking refuge in alcohol or acting out with passive aggressive behaviour. If this happens you will need to concentrate on your own growth and take some tips from Hekate or Artemis.

Hestia( Roman Goddess Vestia)

The domestic Goddess of the Greek Pantheon, she rules over the hearth and home. Her name comes from the Greek word estia meaning “she that dwells or tarries.” This reflects the importance of the role that the ancient Greeks attributed to this Goddess in sacrificing her position as an Olympian to guard the fire and maintain a happy home.

Hekate (has several counterparts in various world mythologies)

Goddess of the dark side of the moon, childbirth and the crossroads. She is closely associated with magic, witchcraft and alchemy. Also known as Hecate, she is the crone (older and wise woman) aspect of the triple Goddess and is affiliated to Persephone, since she helped bring her back to Earth. Patroness of witches, she represents the crone or older woman, though in rare cases, she may be present in a young woman who is wise before her time.

Hekate is feared by many ( Shakespeare cast her as evil in Hamlet) and perhaps her  power threatens the traditional view of how women are perceived in society. Alchemists were not solely concerned with changing base metal into gold. It was also a philosophical movement requiring mastery over the self. This in turn would lead to an ability to manifest on a material level; what is commonly known as working the ‘law of attraction’. Hekate’s ability to walk between Earth, sea and sky allows her this gift, whereby she may transform  her darker emotions and life experiences into the gold of wisdom and healing.

Hekate understands what Socrates spoke of when he said “Know yourself and you know the universe.” You do not judge others. Equally you accept your own short comings with grace and fortitude.

If this is your archetype, you are capable of living in the present and trusting in the universe. Career choices could span the arts, telecommunications, motivational speaker or life coach. You know the material world is illusionary and  you value spiritual connection. Oprah Winfrey is a perfect example of this archetype.

This is a powerful archetype for the woman who wishes to age gracefully. If this is your archetype you have the gift of seeing life as a series of lessons and probably have developed a great sense of humour. Hekate sees life as a rich tapestry, beautiful despite its inherent flaws. Hekate remains forever young and wild at heart.

For more on Hekate’s wisdom; – read ‘Power of the Crone’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estes 

Themis

Goddess of divine justice, order and customs. She also had the gift of prophecy. Her name simply means “law of nature” or “divine nature.” Her role may appear to overlap with Athena and Hekate.

 

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