The Myth of Psyche : Archetypes in our Daily Lives

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“Psyche’s first task was to sort a huge, disordered heap of seeds, placing each kind of grain in a separate mound. Her initial reaction to this task, as well as to the next three, was despair.”

Many women have at times in their lives have situations handed to them that they don’t feel capable of handling at the time. It’s all too overwhelming.

But “when a woman senses that there is a mythic dimension to something she is undertaking, that knowledge touches and inspires deep creative centers in her. ”

This ongoing series is based on Jean Shinoda Bolen’s book “Goddesses in EveryWoman” and all quotes are from the book. Psyche is not a goddess but her story is so interesting that I thought to include it in this series.

The Myth :

“Psyche is a pregnant mortal woman who seeks to be reunited with her husband, Eros, God of Love and Aphrodite’s son.”

Aphrodite is the typical NASTY mother-in-law archetype in this story :)  

Aphrodite from museum

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Psyche presents herself to Aphrodite, who is antagonistic and angry, asking to be reunited with her love, Eros. 

Twinflame Astrology:

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Aphrodite gives her four tasks to complete.

Sorting the seeds; she’s led into a room showing an enormous pile of corn and barley, millet lentils, beans, chick peas, etc. and told that she’s got to have them sorted by morning.

” Similarly, when a woman must make a crucial decision, she often must first sort out a jumble of conflicted feelings and competing loyalties.”

seeds

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Acquiring Golden Fleece : Psyce has to acquire fleece from the rams of the sun, huge agressive beasts..

“Symbolically, the golden fleece represents power, which a woman needs to acquire without being destroyed in the attempt to attain some.”

Filling the Crystal Flask : Psyche must now fill a flask from a dangerous and forbidding stream

“Metaphorically this stream represents the circular flow of life, into which Psyche must dip to fill her flask.”

Learning to Say No : Here she’s ordered to descend to the underworld with a small box that Persophone will fill with beauty ointment.  In this descent she’s going to encounter people…lost souls perhaps? They will ask for help. Here, she’s going to have to forsake her compassion and harden her heart against them…if she does not, she’ll be trapped in the underworld forever.

” To set a goal and keep to it in the face of requests for help is especially difficult for all except virgin goddess women. Maternal Demeter women and obliging Persephone women are the most responsive to the needs of others, while Hera and Aphrodite women are somewhere in between. ”

Psyche is aided by various things in the natural world to accomplish her tasks…insects, a golden reed, an eagle and a tower. If you haven’t read the myth before, or read it long ago, it’s worth revisiting.

This little series only briefly touches on the incredible depth and detail of the actual book mentioned above. Your local library may have it or you can find either a new or used copy on Amazon if you are interested.

1st / Basis in this series :  Which Goddess; Archetypes in our Daily Lives

2nd : Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth

3rd:  Three Vulnerable Goddesses 

4th : Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt

5th : Athena, Goddess of Wisdom & Crafts

6th : Aphrodite, the Alchemical Goddess

7th : The Goddess Who Was Swallowed ( Metis ) 

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The Goddess Who Was Swallowed : Archetypes in our Daily Lives

Continuing on with this series on the Greek goddesses, referencing and quoting from Jean Shinoda Bolen’s books:

“Wisdom is a woman, a crone, a goddess, and a feminine archetype. In Greek mythology, she is a barely personified Metis, swallowed by Zeus.”

( I mentioned Metis, Athena’s mother, earlier, in the post on Athena, HERE )  All quotes in this post are taken from Jean Shinoda Bolen’s newer book, Goddesses in Older Women.  These books are incredibly rich and detailed. If you are interested in this series which barely touches on the subject and your local library doesn’t have them, I buy almost almost all books on Amazon, used, incredibly cheap :) 

“In the Bible, she ( Wisdom )  is a hidden Sophia, the goddess who became an abstract and ungendered concept. Wisdom may be found at twilight where the three roads meet as Hecate, or in the hearth fire as Hestia. She may be the invisible Shekinah who enters the Jewish home for the meal that begins the Sabbath. She was once the Celtic goddess Cerridwen. She is Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of wisdom….”

“In the world’s mythologies and in the collective unconscious, which are mirrors of each other, wisdom is feminine. Wisdom is usually an attribute of a goddess who is often not seen or personified…”

I find that interesting because in our Christian tradition, stemming from the Jewish scriptures, we are not to have an image of God. 

From Proverbs in the Bible, Old Testament :  “The Lord, by Wisdom founded the earth.”

“There are different kinds of wisdom and therefore different kinds of archetypal wisewomen.  METIS’s wisdom is practical, applied wisdom that utilizes intelligence and mastery of a skill, usually with tangible results made evident through her work. ”

Remember she’s the mother of Athena…sounds ” Like Mother, Like Daughter”, doesn’t it.  But in the myth, Athena was born directly from Zeus’s head, because he’d swallowed her mother, Metis.  

“Metis was the daughter of two Titans: Tehtys, the goddess of the moon, and Oceanus, the god whose realm was a vast body of water that encircled the earth. As a Titan, she was part of the ruling older order of divinities that Zeus intended to overthrow. He pursued her and she fled…finally he caught her and she became his first wife. ”

The story goes on and on here in regards to Zeus versus the Titans…but in the end, Zeus, after impregnating Metis with Athena, seduced and charmed her somehow into becoming small, and swallowed her.

Zeus

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Talk about an archetypal story.  This doesn’t even necessarily have to do with a marriage or boyfriend or a man doing such a thing to a woman. It could have been a mother, a teacher, a friend, a religious cult, a drug, a bad MIL, a workplace situation…the list goes on and on. Most of us have most likely been charmed into becoming small and been swallowed by that situation or person at least once in our lives…

It’s a powerful myth, isn’t it. 

1st / Basis in this series :  Which Goddess; Archetypes in our Daily Lives

2nd : Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth

3rd:  Three Vulnerable Goddesses 

4th : Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt

5th : Athena, Goddess of Wisdom & Crafts

6th : Aphrodite, the Alchemical Goddess

Most Bloggers are Creative. If the Athena personality did not seem to describe you, you may be creating out of Aphrodite Consciousness / both links are above.  I found it interesting to compare the two. 

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