Which aspect of the Goddess of Love and Sexuality do you most identify with? Is it Aphrodite, goddess of love, beauty and sensuality? Or perhaps Shakti, the Primal Goddess of creation, the life force? Or do you see yourself more as a priestess of the Goddess, such as a Temple Prostitute or a Sexual Healer?
The Goddess of love and sexuality has many names and aspects. She represents a side of the Divine Feminine that depicts women’s sensual and sexual nature as well as their abilities to heal and transmute sexual energy. These goddess archetypes have often been seen from a very narrow point of view based on the time that they were created in. The mythology of any culture always reflects the values of that culture and so do the pantheon of gods and goddesses that are created. What was once said about Aphrodite in Greek society is not necessarily what she represents for modern women today. Archetypes must change and reflect the current the age that they live in.
An archetype is a universally understood symbol, term, statement, or pattern of behavior, a prototype upon which others are copied, patterned, or emulated. Archetypes are often used in myths and storytelling across different cultures. In psychology, an archetype is a model of a person, personality, or behavior. An archetype can be said to express the presence of a divine force within the human soul that manifests itself in all of the typically human patterns of thought, feeling, imagery, and behavior.
Five Aspects of the Goddess/Priestess of Love and SexualityI have delineated five basic archetypes of the Goddesses and priestesses of Love and Sexuality: the Goddess of Love and Beauty, the Primal Goddess, the Sacred Prostitute or Courtesan, and the Sexual Healer who has primarily emerged over the past 15 years. Of course each of these archetypes have many different names, some of which are for the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite, Venus, Innana and Oshun; Lilith, Shakti, Pele and Brigit for the Primal Goddess aspects; Ishtar, Astarte, Ashtereth for the Holy Whore.
The Primal Goddess, LilithMany of the goddesses representing sensuality and sexuality are seen as dark or dangerous, this aspect of the feminine is to be feared. Lilith is one example from the Hebrew Midrash who was considered the first woman before Eve. She can also be considered one of the first primal goddesses and is often demonized for her role in the mythology of the Garden of Eden. Lilith was told by Adam to lie beneath him so that he would be in a superior sexual position and Lilith said no. She did not want to feel subservient to man and would not obey Adam's command so she left. When Adam told God, he sent his Angels to get her back but she refused. She preferred to be cast out of Eden to willingly copulate with the demons anyway she wanted to.
Lilith represents, strength and defiance, she is wild and uncontrollable. She is everything “man” fears about the feminine. Clarissa Pincola Estes describes this archetype in her book Women Who Run with the Wolves, as unfettered, primal in her passions, wild and free adhering only to her own truth. She is instinctive and is not afraid to be fully sexual, passionate or lustful.
Aphrodite the Goddess of Love, Sensuality and Beauty
“Aphrodite is often mysterious and fascinatingly exotic to men and tends to be a disturbing presence in the workplace of the fatherland.”- The Goddess Within.If a woman is blessed by Aphrodite it generally means that she will be very much at ease with her body and have a healthy, uncomplicated relationship with her sexuality. Later as she matures this may appear as almost a rather casual regard for her sexuality. One of her most predominant traits is to love being in love but only in relatedness with another. Aphrodite is never one to have sex without a feeling of connection no matter whether it is for hour, night or year. She is also known as the Goddess of Pleasure for she loves to be pleasured. She often attracted to either sex and follows where her heart leads.
The Holy Whore/Sacred ProstituteThe lineage of the Sacred Protsitute is an ancient one. Ishtar, the Great Whore of Babylon, was sometimes called the Goddess Har since she was the mother of the Harlots. These Harlots were not prostitutes as we know them, but priestesses, sorceresses, prophets, and healers. Sacred Whores were known sometimes as the Holy Virgins of Goddesses such as Ishtar, Asherah.
Jungian psychologist Nancy Qualls-Corbett describes the Holy Whore in her book, The Sacred Prostitute, as "a woman, who, through ritual or psychological development, has come to know the spiritual side of her sexuality, her true Eroticism, and lives this out according to her individual circumstances."
Priestesses devoted their lives and their bodies to the Goddess. Herodotus wrote that Babylonian brides were required by law to prostitute themselves at the temple for seven days prior to marriage in order to appease the Goddess, who disapproved of monogamy. Spending time as a holy whore blessed the maiden.
The Sacred Courtesean
The Sacred Courtesean
The courteseans of old were special women who learned how to survive on their feminine wiles. Often they were women who came from impoverished circumstances with no dowry and hence no way to marry. Some were intelligent, funny, creative women who chose not to live the defined role of women in their societies. Aspasia, Theodora and Veronica Franco are just a few of these women or sacred courtesans. All of these women have a gift to offer to modern woman today.
“The function of the Hetaera is to awaken the individual psychic life in the male and lead him through and beyond his male responsibilities towards the formation of a total personality. Usually this development becomes the task of the second half of life, i.e. after the social position has been established." –Structural Forms of the Feminine Psyche.
Embracing the Goddess, Priestess of Love and Sexuality in YouIn our modern world how women are seen is still greatly influenced by these images of the feminine. Although most women do not know this, they too have allowed themselves to be seen and to see themselves through the lens of one or more of these archetypes. We fear, hide, are ashamed, or exploit our sexual power. Very few women fully use and embody their authentic feminine power, standing in their feminine strength, love, beauty, intelligence, grace, and sexuality. When we do, we take the apology out of being a woman.
What I have come to realize is that women need to embrace all of these aspects of themselves if they truly wish to feel whole and stand in their full authentic feminine power. This includes learning how use their sexual power not to survive but to thrive. To change the current paradgim which is thousands of years old and by which we still live. Understanding how to be and use this magnificent power is key if we wish to create a world where women are safe to be women and where we can live in partnership with men.
How You Can Do ThisThe first thing is to begin to understand who these images of the feminine are to you personally is to take the time to find out who you most identify with.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Which aspects do I fear or feel comfortable with.
- Who draws me in and fascinates me?
- Which aspcet do I long to know better.
- How am I currently showing up in the world regarding my sexual power and expression?
Through getting to know the various archetypes of the goddess which represent feminine sexuality and love we can begin to learn more about ourselves and our sexual expression. We can also begin to embody more of the qualities we wish to express. Through getting to know each archetype those aspects you wish to embrace, you will have a better understanding of your own nature. By practicing ritual, creating an altar, learning the art of adornment and invoking the energy of that aspect to be with you, you will begin to own more of your wholeness of your feminine nature, as a sexually powerful woman.
By awakening to your own inner goddesses, priestesses of love and embodying more of their qualities, you can finally begin to integrate all of the sexual archetypes both for yourself and for the collective.
We can also begin to explore what new archetypes of the goddess of love and sexuality we wish to create for a new world that is no longer afraid of the feminine, but rather honors, reveres and celebrates her power as we once did many thousands of years ago.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can learn to bring the Goddess of Love more into your life, and to embody more of her sexual archetypes please join me on my Free Intro Call: A Taste of the Goddesses of Love this Saturday January 23rd or go to my website: The School of Womyn's Mysteries