Virgin Goddess Archetypes … Quotes

All quotes taken from Chapter 7 of ARTEMIS THE INDOMITABLE SPIRIT IN EVERYWOMAN by Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D.

"Artemis, Athena, and Hestia are the three virgin goddesses of Greek mythology.  The virgin-goddess archetype represents that part of a woman that is unowned by a man, untouched by a need for him or a need to be validated by him.  It is that part of her that exists separate from a man, and from masculine collective opinion.  The virgin is the inner woman who is one-in-herself, who can live in the privacy of a woman's inner life."

"With Artemis as her major archetype, a woman may or may not marry or have children."

"A strong quality of women of this archetype is the ability to concentrate intensely on whatever is important to them, undistracted by the needs or judgment of others.  Focus and perseverance are qualities of the archetype that make it possible to aim for and hit a self-chosen goal or mark."

"Seeing the universe through the lens of this archetype, the universe and every element easily become part of a vast oneness; reverence and respect for all of nature and for indigenous spirituality comes naturally as well."

Artemis is the archetype of the sister, with brotherly feelings of equality with men and feelings of sisterhood with women … the concerns of women in whom 'she' is the archetype reflect those of contemporary feminists."

"This is a 'Daddy's little girl,' father/daughter vignette … She doesn't worry about being unfeminine, even as she does things that girls don't usually do.  Early affirmation from a loving father provides this sense of self in his daughter."

"They will have conflicts with men and women in authority and authoritarian institutions if they demand obedience based on having the power to enforce a 'do what I say' attitude without a rationale.  They may be punished as youngsters for asking questions, and may be told: 'No back talk!'  As a result, they may learn not to speak up or to show overt opposition.  Nonetheless, they will continue to feel what they feel …"

"Women with the Artemis archetype are quick to action and quick to punish a specific person for a specific offense."

"Women with an archetypal kinship with Artemis are called into action by outer events and an inner response to do something about them.  This is what makes women – those who suffered as well [as] those who have not – come to the aid of others."

"She is the archetype in the feminist activist, or animal activist, or nature activist, or social-justice activist whose instinct is to intervene."

"Instead of becoming shamed victims, women with the Artemis archetype seek justice or vengeance, become even more determined to pursue their calling, and are not stopped by the rape.  Artemis is the archetype that helps women to survive violence against them … While their bodies are violated, their souls are not … thanks to … the warrior aspects of Athena, who could keep her head and be objective in the midst of a battlefield."

"The decision not to fall apart is one that women and girls make under much less dramatic situations all the time."

"The archetype in them refuses to act the part of a victim."

"Artemis, Athena, and Hestia can be appreciated as distinct archetypal patterns in themselves.  Their aspects can co-exist within the same woman along with other archetypes, representing the three stages of a woman's life.  Artemis is the most youthful.  Practical and competent Athena, the goddess who never lost her head or her heart, is the personification of a sensible adult.  Quiet and centered Hestia easily steps into the role of wise woman and crone in later years."

"These women … do not fall in love as easily or unconsciously as women whose predominant archetypes are Aphrodite or the three goddesses I categorize as the vulnerable goddess [Hera, Demeter and Persephone] …"

"With strong on-in-herself archetypes, these women less likely to project an expectation of being fulfilled, rescued, taken care of, or made complete by having a spouse, child, or lover."

"With strong virgin-goddess archetypes, a woman is unlikely to be taken over by her longing for what she does not have.  She may be married, or marry more than once.  She may never marry; she may remain a virgin; she may have many lovers.  She may have children and love them very much; but, since she does not need to be a mother to give her life meaning, she helps them to grow up rather than keeping them dependent on her."

"Artemis and Athena are more likely to cause others who care about them to feel rejected or unimportant, especially if, like Atalanta, they were unmothered and had to raise themselves much of the time.  Consistency of love is not something these women know much about."

"The intensity of involvement in something subjectively important to her can make an Artemis unavailable to those closest to her who expected more constancy."

"Athena's lake of presence is of a different sort, which can be equally difficult for those who love her or want more of her.  She leaves them by going into her head.  When her mind is working on something, she may spend hours at her desk and computer, in her laboratory, or out in the field where her project is.  She can be located physically, which may be a constant, but this is no enough when you want her attention."

"By contrast, Hestia's one-in-herself quality is introverted.  She is content to be in the peaceful, often sacred, spaces she creates.  And though she is easy to be with and there is often a warmth about her, she seems difficult to know because she doesn't share much about herself – not because she is withholding, but because this is who she is."

"The result is that what they do is meaningful to them, but harder for others who want more of them or more intimacy with them."

"Women who personify Hestia qualities are one-in-themselves and introverted.  They are in the present, neither holding on to the past nor anticipating the future.   They are most comfortable with anonymity."

"As children, Hestia women are often the least noticed in a large family or classroom.  When Hestia is the dominant archetype, women usually avoid drama in interpersonal relationships.  Because they are naturally introverted, they can be detached; they may not have to strive and struggle with issues that others may have.  This archetype provides spiritual, meditative, mystical, and psychological centering."

"When Hestia stirs in you, solitude calls to you and nourishes our soul.  To have the house to yourself or to get away by yourself feels wonderfully spacious.

"His point is that living along, being alone, and feeling lonely are not the same experience." – Eric Klinenberg, professor of sociology at New York University

"Solos are not tied with childless couples as the most prominent residential type, more common than the nuclear family, the multigenerational family and the roommate or group home. Moreover, those living alone were more likely to remain in their current state than anyone else except couples with children.  Nearly everyone who lives alone has other less-expensive options, put opts to go solo." – Eric Klinenberg etc.

"Living alone is often initiated by a divorce at midlife … In reality, most (statistics vary from two thirds to 90 percent) divorces and separations are initiated by women … This does not mean that you will remain single, but rather that you will be fine if the right person does not come into your life."

"When the lack of a relationship doesn't define you to yourself, that's when someone who may be a partner may arrive.  The paradox is that, when you are no longer needy for someone to fill an empty space in your life, the possibility for someone to fill an empty space in your life, the possibility for someone coming into our life who denhances it increases – if it is to be at all."

"The virgin-goddess archetypes have negative potentials, or 'shadow' aspects, that have an effect on others … whether sharply focused as retribution or out-of-control rage."

"Her demands for logical explanations or justification may be her way to learn or assess a situation.  She may be unaware that the combination of the power she has and the way she asks questions can make others inarticulate and unable to explain themselves."

"Until an Athena feels vulnerable herself, or has had an inexplicable, awe-evoking, numinous experience, she has no tolerance for anyone's experience of the invisible or mysterious.  Emotional motivation may escape her understanding."

"The goddess Athena was the best ally to have on the battlefield, because she never lost her cool and always thought strategically.  The shadow aspect enters when her 'do whatever works to win' attitude doesn't consider collateral damage or the morality of taking unfair advantage."

"When you can imagine how it would feel to be the other person, you have grown beyond these two archetypes."

"Compassion and empathy do not, however, come as naturally to an Artemis or Athena – and possibly not to a Hestia, who must learn vulnerability and the necessity of taking other people's feelings into consideration, something that good parenting and deeper adult relationships teach."

"Qualities of the one-in-herself archetypes can be obstacles to intimacy and vulnerability."

"Once you care deeply about someone, it is a risk … you armored yourself against caring about people who could leave or betray you, before you gave up on needing humans and turned to nature and animals or to books and intellectual certainties."

"Once a woman who has prided herself on her physical or moral courage realizes that love relationships are risks of a different kind – harder for her to accept than for women she may not have admired before – new respect grows in her and new humility.  This is part of her lessons."

"In her mythology, Athena … is the Goddess of Wisdom (as strategy) and Crafts (practical arts like weaving).  She is rational, unemotional, armored by intellect, trusted by Zeus, and mentor to heroes who go after what they want.  Athena trusts patriarchal institutions and looks up to those at the top – who, then as now, are usually men."

"… the archetypal difference between Artemis and Athena was active in women on each side of a feminist divide.  Athena archetypes supported patriarchal values; Artemis archetypes opened doors of opportunity that had been closed to women.  Then, Athenas, who seemed to have no sense of sisterhood, walked through those doors. In the intervening years, many woman in the mold of Athena ran into glass ceilings, found discrimination in pay and advancement, discovered misogyny, and got a first-hand experience of what feminists had been saying.  With reflection, Athena women may even have discovered that they were prejudiced against women themselves … thinking of women as inferiors and of yourself as an exception – until discrimination affects you."

"Hestia represents a centering focus, a spiritual center around which the activities of my inner and outer lives revolve.  I appreciate having activated virgin-goddess archetypes; they make living fun and meaningful.  Artemis motivates or energizes me to do what matters to me and keeps me on a heart path; Athena figures out how best to accomplish these things, and watches over resources so I don't overspend myself in the time- energy column.  Hestia is restorative on a daily basis, providing enough quiet in my psyche and surroundings when I am awake, and giving me restful sleep."

"I find that many women in their fifties, sixties, and seventies are in transition."