Women Archetypes in Greek Ancient Pantheon
The notion of an archetype is rather complicated and has multiple layers, since it is widely used in many spheres of modern psychology and culture. The definition of the term has undergone several changes in the course of the cultural evolution. Within the frames of the current essay, it is possible to define an archetype as a generic, cumulative image, possessing some certain characteristic features.
Before our civilization switched to the patriarchal social systems with male gods, there existed a single and united image of a Woman – the Great Goddess, who was the symbol of life and death, closely related to the nature and fertility. She was responsible for the creative power of life, as well as for the destructive forces.
In the Greek pantheon there existed 7 goddesses, who represented the most common archetypical models of female behaviors. Aphrodite, Demeter and Hera were the most powerful ones. They had more deep connection with the Great Goddess archetype, than the other four. Aphrodite is a weaker variant of the Great Goddess in her fertility avatar. In Demeter we can easily find her Mother feature, whereas Hera is the echo of the Great Goddess as the Heaven Empress. Altogether they represent irresistible forces in every woman’s soul that make her such a unique creature as she is.
Artemis, Athena and Hestia are so-called Virgin goddesses. They represent female independence. They are not apt to love or emotional attachment, considering these outpouring to be distracting for their major activities, and express female need for independence and social life. Persephone is the personification of a Daughter – a young woman, who is still on her way to emotional maturity.
Thus, all these archetypes are inevitable components of the psychical structure of a woman.