For many of us in diverse cultures, when we discover the world of goddess mythology for the first time, we feel a sense of great wealth and richness lies within it, offering us a wider vision of who we are and how we move through the world.
But why is this mythology and it’s archetypes so important for women? What are they really about?
For a better understanding of the concepts and what they might mean for us, looking at the origins or etymology of each word gives us some clues.
The word ‘archetype’ comes from the Greek word arché which means source or beginning; and typos meaning model or pattern. So ‘archetype’ refers to those fundamental patterns of our common nature which mould us into the personalities we all live and breathe through, deep and powerful imprints which have been part of the human imagination since the dawn of time.
The archetypes are intimately bound to mythology, through which they are expressed in a universally understood symbolic language. Mythos is the Greek word for story or tale, so myths are how cultural beliefs are transmitted and at the same time convey universal truths about the human condition and life’s journey.
Mirrors of the cycles of our lives
The myths and legends of the Godesses mirror the different facets of ourselves throughout our lives, from young girls to elders and relate to the changing phases we experience through the menstrual cycle.
Through them, we can see that the four feminine archetypes – which arose out of ancient cultures and remain with us to this day – also connect us with the four phases of the moon, the four seasons of the year (in places where there are seasons), the four elements and the four directions. The four archetypes have different names in different traditions, the Mujer Ciclica project has chosen to call them The Maiden, The Mother, The Shamana and the Wise Woman
When we connect with these deeply powerful aspects, or archetypes, in ourselves, and with all of the wisdom that each of them brings, we’re opening window onto a panoramic view of our inner landscapes. It can help us to understand hidden aspects of our personas and bring awareness to facets we may be repressing, consequently we have a fuller sense of what it means to be a woman today.
Additionally, the more we weave the qualities and attributes of each archetype into our being the more it enhances our capacity to consciously invoke or call those qualities into our lives when we most need them.
Without a doubt, connecting with these four feminine archetypes has the potential to unite us with the great cycle of creation: birth, growth, maturation, death and rebirth, bringing deeper meaning and purpose to our every day lives.
Text: Sophia Style (adapted from the introduction to the online course “Las Cuatro Lunas en Mi”)
Illustration: artist unknown