Category Archives: Hestia

Your Hestia Archetype: The High Value of Puttering

Hestia, the Goddess-Archetype of Hearth and Home, Keeps Life Glued Together

Puttering about - essential to unlocking our creative gifts.

Puttering about – essential to unlocking our creative gifts, quote from Brenda Ueland.

Puttering is vastly underrated.

I took three days off from my usual schedule this last weekend. On one of these, I got a new project started – with alacrity and focus that surprised even me. The other two days?


After a long, cold winter (which is likely to be longer and colder; the groundhog definitely saw his shadow), we’re having more light.

More light is not only increased energy, its more light on the cobwebs and dusty corners; the piles of paperwork, every little thing that piled up while we were busy getting through the holidays, and then hibernating for the weeks of Solstice and immediately thereafter.

This was our High Priestess time.


Our High Priestess Time Is for Introspection and Inspiration

The High Priestess, by Mari-Na.

The High Priestess, by Mari-Na.

In our High Priestess mode (still continuing, especially when we finish shoveling out and just want to take a long hot bath, sit in front of the fire, or curl up with a good book or DVD), the boundaries of our awareness are open, diffuse, and unfocused.

If we can manage not to overindulge in novels, DVDs, and Facebook surfing, then we are open to our inner wisdom and guidance. This is the time when connections happen; ideas and thoughts emerge that can influence us for years ahead.

Several years ago, we had a big winter blizzard, and were snowbound for three days. I used that time to study some notes and pull together some ideas that had been lurking in the corners of my mind. This led to the first patent that I wrote for my newly-formed company; it was a significant and over-arching invention in the new realm of knowledge discovery.

Vacations similarly help us access our inner High Priestess, and medical researchers suggest that vacations help promote creativity. There is even a study supporting a relationship between vacations and marital happiness and reduced depression!


Our Hestia Time Is for Getting Our Lives in Order

Vacations are important. Even snow days (once we’ve gotten home safely, and have done the requisite snow-shoveling) give us a little bubble of time-out-of-time. That’s what our High Priestess moments are all about.

But Lee G., one of my dear friends, once said:

5% of life is the highs. 5% is the lows. The rest is maintenance.

Hestia - Greek goddess of hearth and home.

Hestia – Greek goddess of hearth and home.

Our Hestia mode is all about maintenance.

Hestia is not as fun, exciting, or dramatic as our visionary and creative Magician. She doesn’t give us the same surge of taking-over-the-world as does our Emperor. She’s not about the feel-good times of our nurturing Empress or mentoring Hierophant. She’s very far removed from the dopamine-fueled, pleasure-seeking Hathor mode (our inner goddess of love, sensuality, and pleasure in all its forms).

But without our Hestia, life falls apart.

Hestia sews on buttons.

A Woman Sewing by Henri Martin.

A Woman Sewing, by Henri Martin (French Post-Impressionist Painter, 1860-1943).

Recently, I wanted to get back into sewing.

Sewing is one of my favorite creative activities; I love the interplay of color, weave, sheen, and texture. I delight in the feel of fabrics. I love the technical challenge of making something beautiful and fitted, or something that drapes just so.

Hand-sewing is my own “wax on, wax off.” It’s one of the ways in which I access my inner High Priestess; the gentle rhythm of hand-sewing keeps my hands busy while my mind opens up. It’s one of my chief ways of encouraging creativity.

In short, sewing helps me access my High Priestess, which then helps me (because its creative, yet gives me quiet-time) access my inner Magician.

But sometimes, it’s hard for me to jump right into a creative project.

So this last time, to get my juices flowing, I tackled my mending basket.

Over the course of an afternoon, I replaced elastic, mended tears, and did lots of other little itsy-bitsy sewing chores, getting my hands and mind used to the rhythm once again.

Getting into my Hestia mode helped me access my High Priestess mode (when I actually started a for-real sewing project this last weekend), which was tied into my Magician. (The sewing project involved envisioning what I wanted, matching colors and fabrics, putting together accessories, etc.)

When I access my High Priestess and Magician on right-brain (sensory-rich, hands-on) projects, my mind starts to free up and get new ideas for the more logical, linear, left-brain areas.


Making the Most of Your Hestia Time

Some years ago, one of my dance students – whose day job was working at the Claude Moore Colonial Farm (a living history farm) says that she and the other lead staff figured out how to get the best out of volunteers.

Volunteers were easy to come by. Also, various schools would occasionally have students spend a day at the farm, getting a real-life taste of what it was like to live back in colonial times.

So, willing hands and strong bodies were not the problem.

The problem was getting them on a useful task.

A mending basket is a tool for our Hestia time.

A mending basket is a tool for our Hestia time.

My student and her colleagues found that the ideal solution was to establish project boxes.

Every project box contains a written list of exactly what needs to be done, and all the tools/supplies needed to do the job.

I thought this was an excellent idea, and started using it for my own projects-about-the-house.

For example, my mending basket doesn’t just contain clothes to be mended. Each item is put into a plastic zippered bag, with a note about what has to be done, matching thread, and whatever other small items are needed. If I need to get something special to complete a task – a zipper or even the right color of thread – that goes on a special shopping list, and the zippered bag doesn’t go into the big mending basket until everything is there, ready-to-use.

When I take Hestia time, I don’t have to run around looking for the odds and ends needed to get a job done.

Try this at home, and see if it makes your life easier. (And let me know if it does – use the comments below)

More on Hestia

Hestia – When A Woman’s Work is Never Done

Hestia – This Rest and Recharge Core Archetype Is Not Really Resting!

You’ve probably all read this one. I took this version directly from RNW Forum, and have no idea of who originally wrote it. (But if you know the first source, please let me know; I’ll give them full credit!)

I’M GOING TO BED…..Men vs Women

Mom and Dad were watching TV when Mom said, “I’m tired, and it’s getting late. I think I’ll go to bed”.

She went to the kitchen to make sandwiches for the next day’s lunches. Rinsed out the popcorn bowls, took meat out of the freezer for supper the following evening, checked the cereal box levels, filled the sugar container, put spoons and bowls on the table and started the coffee pot for brewing the next morning.

She then put some wet clothes in the dryer, put a load of clothes into the washer, ironed a shirt and secured a loose button.

She picked up the game pieces left on the table, put the phone back on the charger and put the telephone book into the drawer.

She watered the plants, emptied a wastebasket and hung up a towel to dry.

She yawned and stretched and headed for the bedroom. She stopped by the desk, wrote a note to the teacher, counted out some cash for the field trip, and pulled a text book out from hiding under the chair.

She signed a birthday card for a friend, addressed and stamped the envelope and wrote a quick note for the grocery store… She put both near her purse.

Mom then washed her face with 3-in-1 cleanser, put on her night solution & age-fighting moisturizer, brushed and flossed her teeth, and filed her nails.

Dad called out, “I thought you were going to bed.”

“I’m on my way,” she said.

She put some water into the dog’s dish, then made sure the doors were locked and the patio light was on.

She looked in on each of the kids and turned out their bedside lamps and TV’s, hung up a shirt, threw some dirty socks into the hamper, and had a brief conversation with the one up still doing homework.

In her own room, she set the alarm, laid out clothing for the next day, and straightened up the shoe rack. She added three things to her 6 most important things to do list. She said her prayers, and visualized the accomplishment of her goals.

About that time, Dad turned off the TV and announced to no one in particular. “I’m going to bed.”

And he did… without another thought.

Hestia, Goddess of Hearth and Home, Maintains Order, Calm, Continuity

Hestia - Greek goddess of hearth and home.

Hestia – Greek goddess of hearth and home.

Our Hestia is not our most emotional of archetypes. She’s not squishy. She’s not all about our Empress’s focus on the oxytocin-rush of cuddling and petting and warm connection. And she’s not about our Hathor’s craving for the good-feelings from the combination of a dopamine-high (pleasure-jolt) enhanced by oxytocin (the feel-good connection hormone).

But without our inner Hestia, our world falls apart.

And really, nothing diminishes a good love-rush like a mountain of minutia.

That’s why our Hestia is vital.

This is part of the reason, I suspect, that women handle being alone much better than men do. We not only have more consistent and more connected social circles (a strong and well-cultivated Empress), we have a strong inner Hestia.

The result?

Our lives – at the minutia level – run much more smoothly.

Which means that the big things have a chance for working out as well.

When we invoke our inner Hestia, we bring a calm and consistent orderliness into our lives.

As Julia Cameron states, in The Artist’s Way, one way to think of God is as Good Orderly Direction.

With our inner Hestia, we get the Good and the Orderly. Then, bringing in the overall life-direction builds on a happy foundation.

Today is February 1st, Candlemas Eve. This is the ancient Pagan Festival of Lights – the true beginning of the new year.

One ancient way to celebrate is to put a lit candle into each street-facing window, and let them burn throughout the night.

Tonight, why not have a simple meditation with a white candle?

Very simple and stripped-down. No fuss, no frills.

We’ll start tomorrow with adding in those things that make our life joyous and delightful.

But underneath it all, as we count our blessings (gratitude is our main spiritual discipline for winter), let’s also be thankful for our inner Hestia. She keeps our lives together, so we can experience delicious fulfillment, pleasure, and joy.

Next week: Why Hestia’s time is perfect just now!

More on Hestia

The Hestia archetype is one of the most popular among women, if my bloghits are any indication.


Not offering a super-scientific insight here, but my guess is that we’ve got this felt-level sense that Hestia represents something very important to us – that is perhaps not quite valued today the way it was in our parent’s (and earlier) generations.

Yours to decide. But check out these earlier posts:

Practical Archetypes

Practical Archetypes – Identifying Your Archetypal Roles Over Time

Yesterday was a great, big, huge turning point.

For the first time in weeks – months – maybe even years (ok, that latter is a little exaggeration), I spent most of the day on the phone, setting up the next big event, which is actually going to be a “video project.”

Connecting with people again felt good – very good.

And because I’ve spent the last three years self-training on archetypes, and figuring out more about how and where they not just show up, but interact with each other (this is real important!), I was able to do a little after-the-day analysis of what was going on.

What I found was emergence of a skill set that I’d had before, but it was coming out much more refined, evolved, and – simply put – just very useful. Useful to me; useful to others.

This is the kind of high-level skill set that will help me take my business to a new level. More than that, it’s helping me to take other people’s businesses to new levels. (That’s why I was on the phone so long.)

More than that, this new emerging skill-set – very much tied in with archetypal integration – is practical, and can be both taught and coached. This means that you, reading this blog right now, will pick up some useful pointers on how to apply the very same skills to your life.

The results?

Better abilities to help others solve their problems.

This means: Stronger allies. Stronger relationships. Positioning yourself as a “guru to the gurus.”

And all of this can lead to stronger positioning for yourself, in whatever field you may be.

But before I dive in, let me share a bit of background.

This has been a tough year. And during the course of this year, I’ve observed myself use various archetypes as I’ve dealt with different challenges. Each archetype brought with it – not just a skill-set – but a survival strategy.

Here’s how it all started.

Losses and Transitions Trigger Hestia

My daddy died this last November.

I had no idea how hard the grief would hit me, but it was physical as well as emotional.

My energy was low, and my mind was disheveled.

It was months before I could do simple cognitive tasks again – such as balance a checkbook, handle emails (except in the most cursory manner), or blog.

In the first three months after my daddy’s death, I did actually write a few blogs – perhaps one per month – but that was all that I could do.

Hestia - our 'hearth and home' archetype.

Hestia – our ‘hearth and home’ archetype.

What I did do was to tap into my Hestia archetype.

For months, I cleaned and painted.

Not the “vacuum through” kind of cleaning, but the sort of deep-cleaning that is almost trance-state; the kind that goes into deep, forgotten corners, and just lets cleaning that one little spot become (temporarily) my world.

“Wax on, wax off,” as Mr. Miyagi had said, in the Karate Kid.

During that time, I learned (once again) the power of Hestia, in helping us deal with transitions. A move. A death or divorce. Recovery from any kind of grief or loss or major life-upheaval.

Hestia calms the soul, smooths the nerves, and brings a sense of order back to both our physical realms and our minds.

Our Hestia archetype is not one of our “core power archetypes.” She doesn’t hold a seat on our internal “Board of Directors.”

Rather, Hestia is the archetype on which we call when the company that we’ve founded has been dissolved, and there is no longer any Board. When our lives have been hit by hurricane-force winds, and all that we can do is start the reconstruction process.

Hestia is the Gateway for Sustained High Priestess

The High Priestess, depicted by Mari.

The High Priestess, depicted by Mari.

Hestia – through keeping focused on continuous physical actions – helps us center enough so that her ally and friend, the High Priestess, can show up.

Our inner High Priestess archetype is introspective. A brief (and too limited) description of her would be that she is our “inner wisdom” archetype.

But that’s too simplistic.

To get a better understanding, let’s have a look at the Jungian-based archetypal diagram.

Eight core archetypes octant chart showing archetype correlations with Jungian Psychological Types.

Eight core archetypes octant chart showing archetype correlations with Jungian Psychological Types.

In the top half of this chart are all of our feminine archetypes, and in the lower half, the masculine.

The feminine archetypes all are what Jung described as being “Perceiving,” and the masculine are all “Judging.” As a reminder, this is not to say that men are more “judging” of others than are women. Rather, this refers to a desire to “come to closure.” The “Judging” archetypal modes are all those that like to get tasks done; they all like to “cross things off the list.”

The “Perceiving” archetypes are all open-ended; they’re much more about process than results.

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, as John Grey would say. Or, as authors Bill and Pam Farrell would put it, Men Are Like Waffles–Women Are Like Spaghetti.

Simplistic, yes. But the value is in the simplicity.

So, we take a look at the chart above.

Our Hestia and High Priestess are sisters. They differ ONLY in that the High Priestess is Intuitive, and Hestia is Sensing. (These are terms coined by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung when he formed his Psychological Types theory; the terms were later adopted when Myers and Briggs put together the Myers-Briggs (Psychological) Type Inventory, or the MBTI).

I’ve placed these archetypes in the seasonal quarters to help us study them in an orderly manner.

It’s no coincidence, though, that the High Priestess appears right after Winter Solstice; a time when we are naturally introverted – when our tendency is to sit by the fire and look into the flames; to let our minds disassociate from daily concerns and simply be open to whatever comes.

In mid-winter, about early February (marked by Candlemas), we begin to stir ourselves – both physically and psychologically. We invoke our Hestia mode, and start to clean house. We go through our paperwork, and do our taxes. We organize things and get rid of clutter. Our momentum for this increases as we get closer to spring; the proverbial “spring cleaning.”

Hestia’s focus is on the physical processes of “mending,” – part of the “mend, tend, befriend” behavior pattern that Dr. Shelley Taylor identified for women in The Tending Instinct: Women, Men, and the Biology of Relationships. Hestia is also “tending” – more of physical things (the proverbial “hearthfire”) than of children – but “keeping the home fires burning” is important to nurturing people.

The important thing here is that, while we need to access our High Priestess mode to get wisdom, we are often too action-oriented. But by accessing our Hestia mode (“wax on, wax off”), we get calm enough for long enough so that our High Priestess’s inner wisdom can emerge. Or, if our lives have taken a total trashing, the inner healing and “mending” of our psyches can begin.

Leroy Jethro Gibbs, of the TV Series NCIS, builds boats by hand to clear his mind when under stress.

Leroy Jethro Gibbs, of the TV Series NCIS, builds boats by hand to clear his mind when under stress.

Men need their Hestia as much as do women.

Remember Jethro Gibbs, from the long-running TV series NCIS?

When under stress, he works on his boat. Building it by hand, step-by-step, no power tools.

His boat-building is how he accesses his inner Hestia. Then he gets insights; his High Priestess guides him on what to do next.

But, no matter how long the winter – or how devastating the life challenge – we eventually move on.

In my case, I became slowly more able to deal with everyday life, and with my “usual work.” I didn’t need to immerse myself into deep-cleaning a closet in order to get through the day.

Spring was starting, the squirrels were chasing each other, and when I went out for my morning walk, I saw robins busily pecking for earthworms in a neighbor’s mulched garden beds.

High Priestess Leads to Hestia; Hestia Leads to Magician – Evolving Archetypes in Our Lives

With spring, my energy began building once again. I switched from housework to long walks, and resumed my regular yoga/core training schedule.

With all the contemplation that the High Priestess and Hestia had brought, I was ready to take on the world once again – and ready to rebuild my business.

But things were different this time; I’d learned some potent lessons during my grief and the High Priestess / Hestia stage of winter.

{To Be Continued}

Hestia – Our "Rest and Recharge" Archetype – Part 2

Why We Need Some “Hestia Time”

It Was More Than “Just Winter”

Shortly after Thanksgiving, my father died. This, of course, was the “tipping point.” But it was one event on top of several.

Within a single week, one housemate – someone with a severe medical condition – went into the hospital. Another, newly moving in, announced that she had quit her new job, would be unable to pay her security deposit, and would likely not have the next month’s rent. Then, a tooth condition flared up, and it looked as though I’d need an emergency root canal.

Within another week, a housemate (yes, the same one who couldn’t pay security or rent) lit a fire in the fireplace. The flue was open, but it was cold – and she started up a fire of magnificent proportions. Naturally, the smoke went into the room, instead of up the cold chimney flue. We had smoke throughout, as never before. I was faced with the somewhat daunting task of repainting the entire living room.

This combination – of grief over my father’s passing, of simply too much stress from external events, and the onset of winter – kicked me firmly into a combination of High Priestess and Hestia modes.

High Priestess and Hestia – Two Natural Complements

High Priestess, by Mari-Na

Our High Priestess, as we know, is our contemplative and intuitive mode. This is where we take a spiritual retreat, or even just take a long walk. We need our High Priestess to find the “calm spot” within ourselves.

Our High Priestess is a necessary complement to our visionary, creative Magician mode. Without some reflective time, we find it difficult to tap into our inspirations and creativity. This is why our High Priestess is the second major archetype we encounter in our first adult life journey. Within the Major Arcana of the Tarot, she is Card II, and immediately follows the Magician (Card I).

Since our High Priestess plays such an important role in our lives, we often miss the important corollary of our Hestia mode.

Hestia – Our “Hearth and Home” Goddess

Hestia image created by Katlyn Breene, permission requested.

She [Hestia] is the Goddess of the hearth flame and temple flame, and at every public or private ritual, the first offering was always made to her. Upon marrying, a new bride would carry fire from her mother’s home to the new, symbolizing the Goddess’s presence blessing her new family. Hestia is the symbol of the sanctity of home, of home as temple and refuge, and of the fire of life contained within each place that honors her. (Text from Lunaea.)

“Mend, Tend, Befriend”: How Women Deal with Stress

Shelley E. Taylor, Ph.D., has led breakthrough research uncovering how women’s typical stress-responses are different from men’s. In her book, The Tending Instinct, she found that “tending and befriending” behaviors – those that involve bonding – are part of women’s natural responses to stress. However, it was also Taylor who coined the phrase “mend, tend, and befriend.” The “mending” part, and also our “tending,” may refer to our physical environment as well as our emotional landscape.

Emotional bonding behaviors – whether caring for a child, a husband, a friend, or a pet – or even having lunch with girlfriends or phone call with a long-distance sibling or friend – help to produce oxytocin. Oxytocin is a “feel-good” neurohormone, and is important in many aspects of our lives. However, to “feel good,” we also need other hormones. Dopamine helps us to feel the zest and juiciness of life, and serotonin is soothing and calming.

Archetypes and Neurohormones: A Strange and Useful Relation

Although it is very simplistic, we can make an “overarching” correlation between certain of our archetypes and the brain “states” that we wish to induce with each of these archetypal modes.

  • Empress – our “tend and befriend” mode – strongly correlated with oxytocin-inducing behaviors,
  • High Priestess – intuitive and contemplative – and least well-understood in terms of neurohormonal correlates, but most likely linked to anything that is serotonin producing (and hence the strong association with the Hestia archetype)
  • Hestia – the “mend” part of our “mend, tend, and befriend” stress-coping strategies – less emotionally-connected than Empress, and much more focused on the “calming” (serotonin-producing) activities of cleaning house, mending items, and generally keeping order, and
  • Hathor (the Love Goddess) – focusing on sensual pleasure, love and romantic passion – a “dopamine-focused” (feeling exuberant and ecstatic) archetype.

Hestia and House-Cleaning: Breaking Through the Winter Doldrums

Alana Morales, writing for the online Mommie’s Magazine, shares that house-cleaning helps relieve stress. She’s not alone in this, as even the Mayo Clinic offers activity (such as house-cleaning), as a means of stress reduction.

Laura, a writer for Radiant Recovery, describes how she found that house-cleaning helped her to reduce stress . A friend and colleague pointed out the relation between cleaning, stress reduction, and seratonin.

She wrote:

That when OCD gets really bad you can not stop the need to clean that one spot on the table or keep washing your hands or organizing the silverware drawer or whatever.

And, here is the kicker, she said how do you feel after you clean or neaten the things up that bother you? I thought for a moment and said, I feel much , much better. A sense of relief…and calm.

She said that is because you just got some serotonin. The act of cleaning, or repetitively doing something calms you down which produces a small amount of serotonin.

Women, Stress, and Serotonin

For women, stress, depression, and serotonin levels are often linked.

We can, to some extent, improve our serotonin levels with certain kinds of foods, with exercise (which produces endorphins), and with sufficient sleep and even light-boxes (during winter).

Upcoming: Hestia Strategies

In the next blogpost, I’ll share how we can consciously invoke the Hestia archetype into our lives, calling upon the “sacredness” of house-cleaning – of deliberately using our “mend and tend” instincts – to help us deal with stress. This can even help us deal with more difficult situations – such as sharp emotional life-changes, including major losses and transitions.

Related Blogs

Hestia – Our “Rest and Recharge” Archetype – Part 2

Masculine vs. Feminine – Core Archetypes

Your Masculine and Feminine Core Archetypes: How Are They Different?


Have you wondered yet how much you really need the archetypes of the “other gender” in your life?

That is, if you’re a man, have you wondered how much you “really need” the four core feminine archetypes?

And if you’re a woman, have you wondered how much you “really need” the masculine qualities in your life?

If so, you’re not alone.

Yin and Yang not only embody classic masculine and feminine qualities, but each carries the “seed” of one within the other


The Core Masculine and Feminine Archetypes: A Quick Review

There are four each of the core masculine and feminine archetypes. Three of each are the “power archetypes” – those which we must understand and incorporate during our first adult life mastery journey. And one of each is a “reserve” or “battery power backup” archetype – designed to give us a bit of extra “juice,” or to give us a little “breathing room.”

Core archetypes octant chart - each archetype (each octant) corresponds to one of Jung's Psychological Types (discounting the introversion/extroversion distinction).

Core archetypes octant chart – each archetype (each octant) corresponds to one of Jung’s Psychological Types (discounting the introversion/extroversion distinction).

Four Core Masculine Archetypes

All the masculine archetypes are on the bottom half of the core archetypes octant chart above.

Notice also: the Thinking archetypes are on the right-hand-side (for both masculine and feminine archetypes), and the Feeling archetypes are on the left-hand-side (again, for both masculine and feminine).

  • Magician: (NTJ, or Intuitive-Thinking-Judging) Being a visionary, creating reality according to your “big dream,”
  • Emperor: (STJ, or Sensing-Thinking-Judging) Bringing your desired reality into fruition; building and stabilizing your “empire,”
  • Hierophant: (NFJ, or Intuitive-Feeling-Judging) Becoming a guru/guide, and
  • Green Man (a reserve battery archetype): (SFJ, or Sensing-Feeling-Judging) Escape to the “great outdoors,” breaking out of the molds that civilization puts on us.

Four Core Feminine Archetypes

All the feminine archetypes are on the top half of the core archetypes octant chart above.

  • Hathor (The “Love Goddess”): (SFP, or Sensing-Feeling-Perceiving) Reveling in sensual beauty and pleasure,
  • Empress: (NFP, or Intuitive-Feeling-Perceiving) Connecting, loving, nurturing,
  • High Priestess: (NTJ, or Intuitive-Thinking-Perceiving) Being contemplative and intuitive, and
  • Hestia (a reserve battery archetype): (STP, or Sensing-Thinking-Perceiving) “Mending and tending.”

We Often “Bundle” the “Other Gender” Archetypes in Our Minds

Some of the very good thinkers in archetypal psychology have suggested “bundling” of the “other gender” archetypes. Here are two examples:

Women Tend to “Bundle” Their Masculine Archetypes into Their Amazon Persona

The first person to do a good “psychology of the feminine” was Antonia Wolff, protégé (and later the lover) of Carl Jung. While Jung wrote many books, Ms. Wolff wrote only one – and it was more of a “pamphlet” than a book. However, Antonia Wolff’s book was the inspiration and “launch pad” for Dr. Toni Grant’s later book, Being a Woman – a book that influenced millions of lives. Wolff’s pamphlet, the Structural Forms of the Feminine Psyche, has been translated from the original German and is available to read online.

Wolff succinctly outlined the elements of feminine psychology into four different modes or dimensions:

  • The Hetaira (Companion) – corresponding to Hathor (The “Love Goddess”): In Wolff’s formulation, this Hetaira (Courtesan) archetype is defined in terms of and in relationship to men,
  • The Mother – corresponding to the Empress (Isis): Wolff describes this as “motherly cherishing and nursing, helping, charitable, teaching,”
  • The Medial Woman – corresponding to High Priestess: “The medial woman is immersed in the psychic atmosphere of her environment and the spirit of her period, but above all in the collective (impersonal) unconscious,” and
  • The Amazon – corresponding to the “bundled” masculine archetypes of Magician and Emperor: [whose] “interest is directed towards objective achievements which she wants to accomplish herself.”
Thracian Amazon woman with sword.

Thracian Amazon woman with sword.

When women simplify their inner masculine archetypes into the single Amazon, they lose valuable distinctions.

We see that Wolff’s Structural Forms include two masculine archetypes, bundled together into the Amazon.

She omits the Hierophant, which is a teaching/mentoring/coaching role. For Wolff, the Hierophant is subsumed into the nurturing aspect of the Mother archetype.

She also omits the Green Man from her “masculine archetypal bundle,” together with the Hestia archetype – which is a feminine one. None of these omissions are surprising when we look at them in more detail, which we’ll do in a later blogpost.

(Historical note: Did the Amazons Really Exist?.)

The impact for woman of a “bundled” collection of masculine archetypes?

If we were to think of our inner Amazon as just one archetype, we’d miss the significant distinction between being a creative visionary genius (Magician) and being the implementer of structure and order (Emperor) .

Yves Saint Laurent (right) and Pierre Berger (left).

Yves Saint Laurent (right) and Pierre Berger (left).

Think about this. During his most creative years, Yves St. Laurent had as his close associate Pierre Bergé. St. Laurent was the creative genius, Bergé was CEO and marketing.

Bergé and St. Laurent – the Emperor and the Magician.

When we are clear as to whether we are in “creative” (Magician) or in “sustaining” (Emperor) modes, we can better understand not only our roles and responsibilities, but also our strengths and weaknesses.

For about twenty years, I’ve been the lead creative scientist in two different companies. When I’ve been in “creative” mode, I bump into walls. It’s been vitally important for me to have others in the CEO (and COO and CFO) roles.

Similarly, creative geniuses in the performing arts – say, choreographers and conductors – need the support of an Executive Director to carry out the business responsibilities, and an effective Board of Directors to shape the organization.

Visionaries need Sustainers; Magicians need Emperors. Being clear about this distinction helps us understand how to shift gears and allocate not only our time and priorities, but our long-term attention within our professional lives.


Men Tend to “Bundle” Their Feminine Archetypes into Their Lover Persona


When men simplify their inner feminine archetypes into the single Lover, they also lose valuable distinctions.

Just as women often “bundle” their masculine archetypes into one convenient catch-all Amazon, men similarly tend to “bundle” all of their feminine archetypes into one convenient Lover mode. In my recent blogpost, Moore and Gillette, King, Warrior, Magician, Lover – 2 1/3 Out of Four Ain’t Bad!, I analyzed the work of Moore and Gillette, whose book bundles the core feminine archetypes into the Lover.


“Bundling” is a Convenient Shorthand, But Doesn’t Solve the “Big Picture”


When we “bundle,” we tend to simplify too much.

An “unbalanced understanding” leads to being lopsided – like the Leaning Tower of Pisa!

For real life mastery, we need to know, understand, and cultivate each of our six core power archetypes (both masculine and feminine), and know how to use our reserve or “battery-power back-up” archetypes as well.

Each Core Archetype Comes in Both Masculine and Feminine Forms

Each archetype has its own masculine and feminine complements.

For example, the High Priestess also appears as the Sage, or Wise Man.

The Green Man appears in feminine mode as Artemis or Diana, the original “woman who ran with the wolves.”

Even those archetypes that would seem to be most gender-specific have their complementary realizations within the opposite gender. For example, the building and sustaining aspect of the Emperor is found in the Roman goddess Minerva, who sprang (fully formed) from the head of her father Zeus.

Think also that the passionate and free Hathor archetype finds her masculine complement in Dionysus, who was fond of both sex and wine. (Think of a “Dionysian feast”!)

The Best Strategy

The best strategy is to master each archetype, in order, one by one.


Bogart and Bergman in Casablanca.

Ultimately, we need to combine – within ourselves – the strengths and values of each of our core archetypes.

Let’s keep in mind that we have an “end-game.” We’re shooting for a final stage (for this particular “journey”) of integration – being able to access and use each archetype at will.

If we desire to be creative, we need to have both our Magician and our High Priestess archetypes. the High Priestess gives us the opportunity to “fill our well.” (See Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.

If we desire to lead effectively within any organization, we need the ability to “treat people warmly” and “treat issues coldly.” We need both our Empress and Emperor. (See Micheal F. Andrew’s How to Think Like a CEO.

For whatever tasks and challenges lie ahead, we need to access all of our potential. This is the fist stage in the path to personal mastery.

Alay'nya - author of "Unveiling: The Inner Journey"

Alay’nya – author of Unveiling: The Inner Journey

Very best wishes as you unveil yourself to yourself in your own inner journey!

(Alianna J. Maren, Ph.D.)

Author of Unveiling: The Inner Journey
You are the Jewel in the Heart of the Lotus. Become the Jewel!

This Unveiling blog is the theory – archetypes, life journeys, integration. For the practicum, go to the Alay’nya Studio blog – body awareness, movement and dance, Fountain of Youth (energy circulation exercises), and more!


Connect with Alay’nya and the Unveiling Community

P.S. Learning about an authentic women’s pathway was important in my own breakthroughs.

Valerie Frankel has written several books on this subject; I’ve discovered them since writing my own book.

Check out Valerie’s works:

  • Did you grow up with Buffy? Is a sister, niece, or favorite student a Buffy fanatic? Help her learn how Buffy defines the Heroines’ Journey – and so much more! Read and give Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey: Vampire Slayer as Feminine Chosen One.
  • Ever wished that there was a book like Campbell’s “The Man with a Thousand Faces” – written for you? Your own heroine’s archetypal journey! What do myths, legends, fairy tales, and folklore from around the world have to say about you and your own journey? Valerie Frankel’s From Girl to Goddess is applicable at all stages of our lives.
  • Game of Thrones devotee? Valerie has other great books out. Check out Valerie’s Game of Thrones e-book on Amazon!



Valerie Frankel, Author of From Girl to Goddess, on Unveiling: The Inner Journey

What does Valerie Frankel, author of books such as From Girl to Goddess and Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey: Vampire Slayer as Feminine Chosen One, have to say about Unveiling: The Inner Journey?

Ms. Frankel notes:

“She approaches her topic with devotion but also practicality and a deep intuition of human relationships, explaining though personal experience as well as intense research how the archetypes work and how a woman can channel the lover, mother, amazon and mystic to be all she is meant to become. Teachings of Jung, Murdock, Starhawk, and more appear, from ancient myth to modern culture.

“This is not the hero’s journey but one specific to the woman, or rather, many women on many different stages of journeying.

Read this and more reviews of Unveiling: The Inner Journey.





Copyright (c) 2013, Alay’nya (Alianna J. Maren, Ph.D.). All rights reserved.

Related Posts: Dynamics of Masculine and Feminine Archetypes

Core Archetypes Year-Long Study Guide – The "Big Picture"

Your Master Plan for Understanding and Integrating Each of the Core Power Archetypes

Suppose that you’ve been studying – and using – the power of archetypes in your life for a while now. What will make this year the year in which you achieve personal mastery? What will make this year your breakthrough year, and launch you to a new level of personal success and victory?

You may already understand that as we grow, we go through archetypal “growth stages.” Perhaps no one explains this better than Carol Pearson, in The Hero Within. She walks us through how we go from the not-so-empowered Innocent to the fully-empowered Magician.

You may also know, from reading Caroline Myss’s Sacred Contracts, that we simultaneously access and use several different archetypes. In fact, she has us select “current” and “desired” archetypes from a roster of a few dozen possibilities.

With all these great teachings, there is still something missing when we seek to fully capture the power of archetypes in our lives – the power to be in the right frame of mind for different tasks, relationships, and intentions. This “something missing” was actually laid out for us in the first seven cards of the Tarot’s Major Arcana.

A Master Plan That Goes Back Thousands of Years

The background story tells us that this knowledge actually has a much older provenance than we may have thought. The earliest known Tarot decks are several hundred years old. However, the Major Arcana are based directly on the twenty-two “pathways” connecting “spheres” (Sephiroth) in the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. The Kabbalistic written tradition goes back for hundreds of years; the oral tradition to perhaps a couple of thousand of years. And since the Tree of Life is the earliest known base for esoteric teachings in our culture, the origins may even be earlier. The Tree of Life is mentioned in the earliest known human writings.

In short, it is very likely that a certain “esoteric teaching” – based on mastering six core power archetypes – goes back at least hundreds, and possibly thousands, of years.

Three factors stand out when we undertake this “journey”:

  • The six core power archetypes (together with two reserve battery archetypes) match directly to three of the four “dimensions” used by Carl Jung in creating his Psychological Types,
  • There is a certain order for study and master, and
  • There is an “endgame” – that is, we don’t want to just master these archetypes in isolation; we desire the ability to pull on each one (or several) as needed. That is true mastery, and it is our goal as well.


What is Our Master Plan?

As with all big intentions, it helps us to have a “game plan.”


Our “game plan” is that over the course of a year, we will spend each semi-quarter on each archetype. Integration, we trust, will be something that we take up as we go along. (We may choose to repeat this study for a few years, each time gaining greater levels of insight and refinement,)

A second – yet very important – aspect of our “game plan” is that we’re tying in our intellectual and practical archetype study with our “lab work” – our daily practice of energy exercises and dance movements. We tie all of these together with the appropriate “season”, using the traditional Western esoteric approach of assigning and “element” to each “season.”

  • Winter: Season of Earth (pentacles, the physical body, a “feminine” season),
  • Spring:Season of Air (swords, the mind, a “masculine” season),
  • Summer: Season of Fire (rods, the spirit, a “masculine” season), and
  • Autumn: Season of Water (cups, the emotional realm, a “feminine” season).


Master Plan Overview

Each “element” has a set of qualities associated with it, and a particular focus of attention. Our archetypal study curriculum focuses on intellectual study combined with reflection and exercises that highlight each of the specific “archetypes” for the given semi-quarter. When we combine this with pathworking, we add in elements of spiritual discipline, emotional release work, energy cultivation exercises, and (of course) dance movements and techniques and choreography.

The archetypes that we will consider, are (in order):

Winter Quarter – Season of Earth (Pentacles, a “Feminine” Season)

  • High Priestess: Dec. 21 – Jan 31 Being contemplative and intuitive, a time for gazing into the fire, creating a “vision board” for the coming year, and being open to “dream-time”, and
  • Hestia (a reserve battery archetype): Feb 1 – Mar 20 Spring-cleaning – for our homes and our psyches; the classic “wax on, wax off” approach to opening our minds for insight and guidance.


Spring Quarter – Season of Air (Swords, a “Masculine” Season)

  • Magician: Mar. 21 – April 30 Being a visionary, creating reality according to your “big dream”, and
  • Emperor: May 1 – June 20 Bringing your desired reality into fruition; business plans, project management, process flows, stabilizing your “empire.”


Summer Quarter – Season of Fire (Rods, a “Masculine” Season)

  • Green Man (a reserve battery archetype): June 21 – July 31 Escape to the “great outdoors,” breaking out of the molds that civilization puts on us, and
  • Hierophant: Aug 1 – Sept. 20 Becoming a guru/guide for those younger than us – either in years or in skills and understanding.


Autumn Quarter – Season of Water (Cups, a “Feminine” Season)

  • Hathor (The “Love Goddess”): Sept. 21 – Oct 30 Reveling in sensual beauty and pleasure, and
  • Empress: Oct. 31 – Dec. 20 Connecting, loving, nurturing – sending out Christmas cards and gifts, holiday entertaining, time with family, friends, and loved ones.


Putting the Master Plan Into Action

For this coming year, each semi-quarter will be devoted to the appropriate archetype. I’ll offer resources and guidance, and as you feel led, you can follow up at will. Resources will include:

  • Guest Bloggers: Special invited guests for each different core archetype – Giving you insights from the “best of the best,” together with real-life stories from others who’ve achieved amazing results in different areas of their lives,
  • Suggested Readings: Links to books and online resources – Get greater depth, and
  • Exercises and Checklists (Strictly optional): What to do to get the most out of each archetypal focus.

From time to time, I’ll write about the integration process – how we can combine two or more archetypes to create “mastery” for ourselves in different life situations. I’ll also point the way to what happens after this level of mastery. (Yes, mastery comes in levels – and the whole work with archetypes is simply the first level. However, it’s the level where we need a good foundation before advancing to anything else.)

So here’s to you, with very best wishes for an absolutely awesome coming year!

A Strong "Inner Amazon" – Our Most Powerful Ally!

Our “Inner Amazon” – Strength at Our Service

When Antonia Wolff, the protege of Carl Jung, intuited her understanding of the four “modes” that made up the feminine psyche, she did a great job of describing three “feminine” or “soft” archetypes, and one that she labeled the Amazon. She published her work as a pamphlet; Structural Forms of the Feminine Psyche.

Wolff’s delineation gives us a very useful way to “look inside ourselves.” Functionally, we each have eight core archetypes (four masculine, and four feminine), and six of these (three masculine, and three feminine) are our power archetypes. These are the ones – according to the Kabbalah (and shown visually in the Major Arcana) – that we need to cultivate in order to become a fully integrated person. (The remaining two, it seems, are those which we naturally use as “rest-and-recharge” modes.)

When we women “look inside ourselves,” we easily see our three feminine modes or archetypes; our wise, intuitive, and calm High Priestess, our loving and nurturing Isis or Empress, and our sensual, fun-loving, and playful Hathor or Love-Goddess. We can also easily discern our feminine “rest-and-recharge” mode; Hestia. This is when we clean house in order to clean out our heads.

Because we live in a masculine-dominant world, we see the masculine roles very easily as well. Thus, it is easy for us to discern when we are being in any of our three masculine power archetypes; our creative and visionary Magician, our organizing and managing Emperor, or our guiding and coaching Hierophant. We can also discern when we are in our masculine rest-and-recharge mode, or Green Man. (For women, the Artemis imagery is useful; think of Women Who Run with the Wolves.)

As a side note: If we were male, it would be easy for us to “lump together” our three feminine power archetypes into one. This would be a convenient kind of emotional shorthand. Moore and Gillette did this when they described the four core masculine archetypes as King, Warrior, Magician, Lover. In their “typology,” they’ve combined all three feminine power archetypes into one, and called it the Lover. Not completely accurate, but useful. Or rather, this is as useful a shorthand for men as it is for women to think about their inner Amazon. Each is a compound of three modes, but each of these “compound archetypes” has something in common.

So what is it that characterizes our inner Amazon, and makes her so distinctly different from our other three feminine power archetypes? And at the same time, we could be asking ourselves: What is distinctly different about the Lover “compound archetype” that makes it unique when compared with the three power masculine archetypes? (These are the Emperor, Magician, and Hierophant – Moore and Gillette missed this last one, and instead substituted the Warrior archetype – which is transition mode, not a power archetype. More on that in some future blog.)

The answer is simple. (Keep in mind, now, that we’re talking archetypes – overarching and really rather simple modes, and that we each have some aspects of each of these archetypes in us.)

The masculine archetypes are all Judging, to use Jung’s terminology. That means, they are all “come-to-closure” archetypes. (This is what Jung meant with Judging; this is not about being “judgmental” about people.) The feminine archetypes are all Perceiving; that is, they are more open-ended. They are open to possibilities and connections.

In short, the basic “male psychology” (each of the core masculine power archetypes) likes to compartmentalize-and-complete. The basic “feminine psychology” (each of the core feminine power archetypes) likes to connect-connect-connect. This insight is what led authors Bill and Pam Farrell to write their book, Men Are Like Waffles – Women Are Like Spaghetti: Understanding and Delighting in Your Differences.

So with all of this as a frame of reference, we now understand that what our inner Amazon does for us as women is to give us the masculine strength of “getting things done.”

And is this ever a useful gift!

One of the best things that we can do to empower our inner feminine archetypes is to have a strong Amazon living in service of our feminine core. She gets things done, she protects and defends, she provides strong boundaries. Within the boundaries that our Amazon establishes, we get let ourselves go. We can be soft and vulnerable. We can be as “diffuse” as we desire. We can connect-connect-connect – knowing that our Amazon put some structure around our connecting.

Our Amazon is valuable. She is our strongest ally. And the more that we cultivate her, the more we are able to let ourselves go safely into our feminine core. Sounds a bit contradictory, but worth considering. So why not make this a journal topic over the month of February? Re-ignite a hot, sexy, voluptuous love affair with yourself. And let your inner Amazon “live to serve the Queen”!

Hestia – Our "Rest and Recharge" Archetype

Our Hestia Archetype – The “Power Behind the Throne”

It might seem a little confusing.

In Unveiling: The Inner Journey, I write about six core power archetypes. But lately, I’ve been referring to eight. What’s going on? Where did these two “extras” come from?

And more to the point, how important are they?

Well, what my research showed – fully disclosed in Unveiling – is that we have six core power archetypes. These are the ones that we have to master – in order to be on top of our “life gamee.”

But what was not so clear when I was writing Unveiling – and what has become more clear since then – is that we have two more power archetypes. These are ones that we typically don’t have to learn. They come to us naturally and innately. What is more significant is that they provide us with two essential “rest and recharge” modes. They’re the means by which humans (men and women both) naturally “regroup and refresh.” I call these two modes Hestia and the Green Man. Today’s post discusses our Hestia mode.

Do you remember watching the movie Hannibal? A bit of a grisly tale, to be sure. But there is one telling scene in this movie. Clarice, the young FBI agent, runs afoul of the FBI “system.”

Clarice is suspended from active duty, pending an official “investigation” into her performance. She returns home, suddenly divested of the two most potent symbols by which she defines herself – her official FBI badge, and her (phallic-identifying) weapon.

This is a horribly challenging moment for Clarice. For about ten years, this young woman has defined herself through her Amazon role. The badge and weapon were not only “tools of the trade.” They gave her identity. Now, her core identity has been taken from her, and her future is in jeopardy.

The next scene in the movie is telling. We see Clarice cleaning out her kitchen cupboards, glass of scotch close at hand.

Under stress, Clarice does what many of us do to get a “clear head.” She enters into her Hestia mode.

Who – or what – is Hestia?

In goddess mythology, Hestia is goddess of hearth and home. But more than that, she is often our portal to one of our most necessary modes; our inner High Priestess.

Clotilde Dusoulier, author of the lovely cookbook Chocolate and Zucchini, is quoted describing her mental process while trimming green beans for a salad:

My fingers busy themselves instinctively – much like those of people wh knit without looking – while I let my mind wander, thinking about therest of the menu, plans for the weekend and whether I should cut my hair.” [Food and Wine, January, 2007, p. 58]

The Hestia mode is not exclusive to women. Men use this mode – they need it – just as much as women do.

Think of the character Leroy Jethro Gibbs in the hit TV series NCIS. What does he do to unwind from stress? He builds a boat in his basement. Without power tools. That’s a man in his Hestia mode.

And to quote another of our favorite characters, Hierophant classic Mr. Miyagi, instructing his young protege in the Karate Kid, “Wax on, wax off.”

More on Hestia in a future blogposting.