Three Vulnerable Goddesses: Archetypes in our Daily Lives

There are three Greek goddesses that represent the traditional roles of women, which are wife, mother and daughter.

3adfe6b338450d184c53beb1b821a100 Jessie W Smith for post on wife mother daughter


According to Jean Shinoda Bolen’s book, Goddesses in Everywoman, that I am basing this series on and quoting from,  these three are vulnerable goddesses because they are relationship oriented.

“When Hera, Demeter, or Persephone are dominant archetypes, the motivational pull is relationship, rather than achievement and autonomy or new experience. The focus of attention is on others, not on an outer goal or an inner state.”

” The quality associated with the vulnerable goddesses archetypes is “diffuse awareness.”

” I think of this kind of consciousness as analogous to light from a living room lamp, which illuminates and casts a warm glow on everything within its radius.”

Yes, this is what most women possess. Some might call it the ability to multi-task, or intuitiveness, or being organized…but basically it is the ability to have a household of guests on Christmas yet hear a child upstairs in trouble amidst the din of other children playing,  or sense that your husband or family member is upset about something, or to be able to pray for a friend or neighbor while you are also mashing potatoes…

“This receptive, diffuse kind of consciousness can take in the whole or “gestalt” of a situation.”

Victimization in the vulnerable goddess stories :

  • Hera was humiliated and abused by her husband Zeus, who discounted her need for fidelity.
  • Demeter’s bond to her daughter was ignored, as was her suffering when Persophone was abducted and kept prisoner in the underworld.
  • Both Demeter & Persophone were raped.

“Every woman who has ever felt an urge to marry, or have a child, or felt she was waiting for something to happen to change her life—which must include just about every woman—will find herself akin to one of the vulnerable goddesses at some point in her life. ”

” Each of the three has within her mythology a happy and fulfilled phase, a phase during which she was victimized, suffered, or was symptomatic; and a phase of restoration or transformation. Each represents a stage in a woman’s life in which she may pass quickly or in which she may stay for a while.”

b819fed8677b2cbc336a04ab41988246 Jesse W Smith for transformation


To be continued next week…

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

2nd : Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth

Sharing at : Savvy Southern Style / Common Ground / French Country Cottage / Cozy Little House


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11 Responses to Three Vulnerable Goddesses: Archetypes in our Daily Lives

  1. How interesting and fascinating!

  2. Joyce says:

    I certainly don’t have any argument with “women’s rights,” but sometime I think we forget that God just created us differently from men, and the happiest resolution is to respect that!
    You do some fascinating reading and I always enjoy your reports on it!

  3. Grandma Kc says:

    We are smarter women for all of your interesting and varied reading.

  4. Kim says:

    I grew up thinking that my grandmother’s name was Fanny. Everyone called her that and back in the early 70’s, especially to a small child, it had a silly meaning. I never understood why someone would name their child that. It wasn’t until I was older, and she was long gone, that I found out her real name was Persephone. I never knew the origin of her name and now I do. Greek. We are Albanian. Makes perfect sense. I never really thought to look it up, but how fun it was to read it here today!

  5. Very, very interesting Deb!

  6. Helen Wyatt says:

    I am fascinated with you and your blogs. You are the most interesting blogger (person) I have come across while surfing. Don’t know how you fit so much into your day–do you have a schedule, or are you so curious and regimented that you make great use of every moment? Wish I could make such use of time. Your photography is super, I am a birder too, but lack the photography skills you have. Way to go girl!

    • debralynnpugh says:

      Helen thank you so much!! Are you sure you are commenting on the right blog, lol!! I don’t really plan things out too much. For instance I read something about morning glories in a book and since I grow them here I took some pictures. Or the light is special one morning and I take photos of this or that and a post comes out of it. These goddess ones…that’s planned, yes. I made myself finish all of the goddesses before I published the first one, but I don’t do series very often so it was just done here and there :)

  7. Susan says:

    I like how you read something and relate it to you and those around you. You’re so articulate when you post about these things.

  8. Dewena says:

    I agree with the others about your ability to find something that you’ve read, that to us might seem purely scholarly, and apply it to our lives as women. Is there a woman alive where relationships aren’t vital, at one point or other in our lives? We do think of ourselves for a long period as daughter, wife, mother. It was only in my mid-60s that I began to search for the me that was separate from those 3.

    Maybe we do a better job at teaching our daughters to find a personal identity than our own mothers’ generation did?

  9. rue says:

    I’m really enjoying this series, Deb :)


    • debralynnpugh says:

      It’s a great book, Rue :) I read it 20-30 years ago and am revisiting it now. Amazon has such a wonderful feature with their used books…anyone that is interested can either find this book at their local library ( first choice ) or find a cheap used one online.

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