ARCHETYPES OF WOMANHOOD: Woman as a Contextual Being

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Woman is a contextual being, a fascinating, complex universe woven out of time, space and causality.

By Sensei Erwin L. Rimban

Archetypal psychology and the esoteric arts of wisdom recognize many different kinds of womanhood archetypes. However, for ease of comprehension, let us categorize the many archetypes of womanhood into four fundamental realities, which correspond to the four elements of Esoteric Astrology and Archetypal Psychology. These are the archetypes of the Huntress, the Priestess, the Lover and the Queen.

archetypes of woman                The archetype of the Huntress corresponds to the esoteric and astrological element of fire. This archetype imparts to women the positive qualities of passion, independence, initiative, ambition, leadership and courage. Unfortunately, it also imbibes in them the negative qualities of egotism, self-centeredness and pride. Yin and Yang. You cannot have one quality without the opposite, a fair exchange anyway. This archetype is active whenever a woman enters the male world and blazes a path for herself! Thus, we see many women in leadership positions nowadays, all over the world. In Greek mythology, the archetype of the huntress is epitomized by Artemis, the goddess of nature and hunting. In Tarot symbology, this archetype is illustrated by the deck of staves.

The archetype of the Priestess corresponds to the esoteric and astrological element of air. This archetype imparts to women the positive qualities of intelligence, wit, charm, the ability to make friendships with people from all walks of life, the ability to absorb and communicate ideas, and the ability to educate others. Unfortunately, those who have this archetype in excess would have the tendency to be talkative, selfish and critical of others. In Chinese philosophy, they would say you have an excess of Yin, if you display these negative qualities too often! This archetype is active whenever a woman interacts with both members of the sexes. The gift of the priestess is excellent communication skills, interpersonal intelligence and the ability to form friendships and networks. In Greek mythology, the archetype of the priestess is epitomized by Pallas Athena, the goddess of wisdom. In Tarot symbology, this archetype is illustrated by the deck of swords, which correspond to mentation, cognition as well as multiple models of intelligence.

The archetype of the Lover corresponds to the esoteric and astrological element of water. This archetype imparts to women the primal qualities that have been their signature characteristic throughout the ages, which are intuition, sensitivity, perception, emotionality, depth and empathy. Unfortunately, those who are undergoing depression manifest this energy configuration too strongly. A woman must learn continually to manage her moods and the moods of her partner. This archetype is active in many situations throughout life. In moments of passion. Moments of love. Moments of death. Moments of life. Family affairs. Personal affairs. The list is endless. In many ways, it is the element of water, meaning interconnectedness, which defines a woman’s life. In Greek mythology, the archetype of the lover is epitomized by Aphrodite, the goddess of love; Persephone, the goddess of the underworld; and Selene, the goddess of the moon. In Tarot symbology, this archetype is illustrated by the deck of cups or chalices, natural symbols of love, romance and symbiosis.

Finally, we have the archetype of the Queen which corresponds to the esoteric and astrological element of earth. This archetype imparts to women the positive qualities of determination, persistence, practical intelligence, and common sense. Also imparts attributes like the love of nature, the outdoors, the love of building in all its forms. Unfortunately, it also comes with opposite qualities like being stubborn, laziness, being too materialistic, etc. This archetype is active whenever a woman is developing the practical skills that she will need in her life, like cooking, dressing, etc. Being able to manage resources well is a gift of this energy configuration. It is a singular discovery in Natal Astrology that women who have strong placements of earth signs in their natal astrological chart are bound to become rich and wealthy, given the right circumstances and application of skills. In Greek mythology, the archetype of the queen is epitomized by Hera, the queen of the gods. In Tarot symbology, its essence is best captured by the deck of pentacles. This is why the pentacle is a good luck sign as well as a symbol of wealth.

Table 1 summarizes the significant parameters of the Archetypes of Womanhood:

Huntress

 

Priestess Lover Queen
Primary modality/Basic configuration of the archetype Fire: Expression of the fractal soul through various exchanges of energy and energy permutation systems Air: Expression of the fractal soul through the manipulation of mind and its various parameters Water: Expression of the fractal soul through symbiosis with elements of the environment Earth: Expression of the fractal soul by mastering matter, development of structure and focusing on arenas of manifestation
Major qualities and elemental expressions  of the archetype Passion, independence, initiative, ambition, leadership and courage; capacity for healthy competition like sports, and the ability to utilize energy in optimum ways Intelligence, wit, charm, the ability to make friendships with people from all walks of life, the ability to absorb and communicate ideas, and the ability to educate others Intuition, sensitivity, perception, emotionality, depth and empathy; the formation of bonds of affection with others; the ability to nurture others, and the deep capacity for love Determination, persistence, practical intelligence, and common sense; love of nature, and the outdoors, the love of building and structure in all its forms; the capacity for manifestation of goals
Existential challenges of the archetype To be able to deal effectively with egotism, self-centeredness and pride; to look beyond the self and consider the viewpoints of others To be able to deal with the tendency to be talkative, selfish and critical of others; to be able to deal with the incessant inner chatter of the mind and achieve inner peace To be able to deal with her moods and the moods of the people that matter to her; to be able to navigate the vicissitudes of life without succumbing to depression To be able to deal with tendencies of materialism; to learn to reward herself without being too selfish; to transcend materialism and realize spirituality in everyday life
Individuation parameters/portals to individuation of the archetype The Huntress, upon understanding the aspects of energy, learns to utilize this energy for herself and others The Priestess, upon understanding the properties of the mind, learns to acquire and transmit information judiciously The Lover, upon understanding the elements of symbiosis, learns to connect deeply and responsibly with her various niches and environments The Queen, upon understanding matter, learns to manifest her goals properly but with extreme care and balance, navigating both her needs and the needs of others


Phenomenal Woman 
This is just one configuration of the archetypes of womanhood. There are many other ways to categorize them, using various esoteric traditions and archetypal expressions.

To conclude, let us immerse ourselves in this beautiful poem of the immortal poetess Maya Angelou about women and womanhood:

By Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size

But when I start to tell them,

They think I’m telling lies.

I say,

It’s in the reach of my arms,

The span of my hips,

The stride of my step,

The curl of my lips.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

 

I walk into a room

Just as cool as you please,

And to a man,

The fellows stand or

Fall down on their knees.

Then they swarm around me,

A hive of honey bees.

I say,

It’s the fire in my eyes,

And the flash of my teeth,

The swing in my waist,

And the joy in my feet.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

 

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

 

Men themselves have wondered

What they see in me.

They try so much

But they can’t touch

My inner mystery.

When I try to show them,

They say they still can’t see.

I say,

It’s in the arch of my back,

The sun of my smile,

The ride of my breasts,

The grace of my style.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

 

Now you understand

Just why my head’s not bowed.

I don’t shout or jump about

Or have to talk real loud.

When you see me passing,

It ought to make you proud.

I say,

It’s in the click of my heels,

The bend of my hair,

the palm of my hand,

The need for my care.

’Cause I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

(44)

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Occasional contributors to Bellesprit Magazine between 2011 – 2013.

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