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Goddesses in Woman: Persephone

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This series of articles is about the female archetypes as Jean Shinoda Bolen described them through goddesses from Greek mythology. Each goddess represents a character structure with good qualities and pitfalls, its own shadow aspects and its own potential for personal growth. This time: Persephone

The Archetype

Like a butterfly in a flower gardenpersephone

A Persephone woman is girlish. She is introverted, receptive, flutters from scratch, takes life as it comes, blows with all winds and is playful. She would prefer to remain a girl forever. She is very sociable and feels what is happening in others as if it were happening to herself. She is very sensitive and is hit hard by the ‘ugliness’ of the world. She flees into dreams and fantasy and is very romantic. The core of the Persephone archetype is the openness of your early years: there was no goal yet, everything was still possible. You lived in the now and were spontaneously open to everything. Life was a party. That is the attitude to life that Persephone women hold all their lives.

The pattern of life

 

800px-Amphora_Hades_Louvre_G209_n2
Hades and Persephone By Deutsch: Oionokles-Maler Nederlands: Oionokles Painter Français : Peintre d’Oionoclès (User:Jastrow, own work, 2008-03-15) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In mythology, Persephone is the daughter of the generous grain goddess Demeter . She is a playful and lovely girl who skips carefree through life until one day she is kidnapped by Hades, the god of the underworld. Against her will, she marries Hades and involuntarily resides in the underworld. Until she is saved by Demeter’s dogged efforts to get her out of the underworld.

She is allowed to live above ground in the real world again, but is forced to spend a third of the year in the underworld with Hades as his wife. In her pre-abduction girlish guise, she was often referred to as Kore (“girl”).After her return from the underworld, she has undergone a transformation and in her guise as queen of the underworld she is called Persephone.

In real life, a Persephone woman is a girlish woman who is carefree in life. Kore symbolizes the early childhood, untouched by the cares of the world. All possibilities are still open, she has not yet committed or committed herself to anything. She is open, spontaneous and naive.

Her personality bends with the circumstances like ‘bamboo in the wind’, she bounces with the events, but always returns to her original form. She is not materially affected. That’s the power of a Persephone woman: she won’t be harmed either. She does not carry the past on her back and can therefore remain open-minded towards new experiences and situations. Just as a young girl is still blank, a Persephone woman is fresh and young.

A Persephone woman tends to keep everything ‘open’. She doesn’t like to make decisions, especially when those choices radically change her life. She does not like to commit and prefers not to commit. She doubts everything. Shall I study this or that? Stay with my boyfriend and look for someone else? She cannot choose and therefore chooses nothing at all, so that she remains eternally with the known.

At the same time, she has a way of ‘rolling in’ precisely because she is so open and receptive and does not judge anything in advance. Things ‘happen’ to her without her looking for it. That can have a very positive effect, but as will be shown later, it can also have a negative effect on her.She is open, spontaneous and makes contact easily. Because she is so disarming, she can take people for her very quickly. Persephone women are inspirers and bridge builders. Their talents clearly lie in the social and connecting area.

Many, but not all, Persephone women go through character development in their lives as they fall into depression and come out stronger. She is “chess by Hades” and is dragged into her personal underworld. As in mythology, she is, as it were, involuntarily married to her state of mind: she does not get rid of it until she has undergone a certain transformation.

The girl is an incomplete aspect of the feminine, which must mature into a woman if a woman is to develop herself fully. It is precisely this ‘downfall’ in the underworld that is necessary for the true power of a Persephone woman to mature. Trapped in the darkest recesses of her own mind and triumphing and returning from the ‘Hades’ she overcomes her girlish nature,who as an adult woman can be limiting for her and learns to take her rightful place in life.

She gets to know life in its entirety, light and dark. Often this is the only way to overcome her resistance to things that are ‘for real’. However, she is a very “inner oriented” woman, and a Persephone woman’s victories take place in the mind and not in the outer world. She will keep going back to the ‘underworld’, the domain of the unconscious mind contents, the symbols and the dreams, but now voluntarily and with authority.

She is introverted, receptive, and naturally feels symbols and dreams. These are the qualities that enable women to enter the subconscious and interpret its contents.selfie

Going through an ‘underworld phase’ is crucial for the maturation of the Persephone archetype. Many women have stepped in before their ‘abduction’, feeling a little aimless. When she has overcome her depression, she has become a new woman. She is still playful, but also knows the dark side of life and can integrate it. Precisely because she has experienced that side firsthand, as a therapist or coach she can guide others through their dark side. There she performs with a confidence and authority that she has lacked in her ‘past life’ as an eternal girl. Only after coming out of her crisis does she gain clarity about her talents, her personality goes through a growth spurt and she has the feeling that she has ‘landed’ in life.

A Persephone woman likes to believe in fairy tales, but real fairy tales are not just beautiful. Originally fairy tales are about growth and character development. In that sense, a Persephone woman is literally living her own fairy tale.

In patriarchal cultures, this guiding side of the Persephone archetype has been lost, leaving many early Persephone women to deal primarily with the girl side, or sink into their underworld and never emerge. Many housewives in the pre-women’s era had to deal with depression, ‘neurasthenia’, ‘nervous weakness’, or psychosis.

At the time this was considered a logical consequence of the fact that a woman was simply the weaker sex, but in fact countless Persephones here tried to fight their way out of the underworld and stand in their power! They received no more help than suppressive medication or hospitalization and many did not survive. 

How is the archetype activated?

Persephone qualities create a curious dichotomy in society: they are valued as well as repressed. Traditionally, traits such as girlishness, lack of initiative, and complacency were highly valued in women. As a result of women’s emancipation, women are strongly encouraged to develop their ambition, decisiveness and competence.

The result is a kind of ‘watershed’ in society between women who identify with a more traditional image of women and women who identify with emancipation ideals. While the Persephone archetype in its pure form can be limiting for a woman, Jean Shinoda Bolen believes that women today would do well to develop Persephone traits in them.

Waking up Persephone is tricky for many women these days if they don’t have the archetype strong of their own.Women are generally encouraged to develop their rational, decisive and ‘masculine’ side, which tends to make them want to be in control, plan their lives and careers precisely and live them in their heads. Persephone does the opposite in women: to be receptive and playful and let things unfold.

Women often have to make an effort to get out of their heads and be receptive. map out their lives and careers exactly and live them in their heads. Persephone does the opposite in women: to be receptive and playful and let things unfold. Women often have to make an effort to get out of their heads and be receptive.

map out their lives and careers exactly and live them in their heads.Persephone does the opposite in women: to be receptive and playful and let things unfold. Women often have to make an effort to get out of their heads and be receptive.woman-sea

At the same time, the Persephone archetype is strongly fueled by our culture in little girls. The fact that our society has become very harsh due to an overemphasis on competition and masculine values, we compensate with a great need for sweetness in our private lives. Daughters are often encouraged to be mild and cuddly, accommodating and sweet.

Many men indicate that they want a ‘sweet’ woman (you don’t often hear that a man is looking for a woman who aspires to a great life’s work). Persephone meets that need. In fact, this archetype is aggressively forced on girls. Walk into a toy store and the girls’ section is strikingly pink. When a couple in happy expectation knows that they are going to have a girl, a candy pink baby room is often rolled out with princess curtains, Disney wallpaper and lots of pink stuffed animals.

By ‘girl’ one often means to say: ‘a typical Persephone girl’. When a girl behaves shyly and expectantly, it is often said: “she really is a girl”. They mean: “Yes, she is very Persephone-esque”. Our culture projects behaviors belonging to the Persephone archetype onto all girls. And if she really is a Persephone girl, she will not resist and be molded to the expectations of her environment.

Because she basically wants to stay a girl and many people are subconsciously inclined to reward and nurture girl behavior, she can linger in this behavior for a long time. “she really is a girl”. They mean: “Yes, she is very Persephone-esque”. Our culture projects behaviors belonging to the Persephone archetype onto all girls. And if she really is a Persephone girl, she will not resist and be molded to the expectations of her environment.

Because she basically wants to stay a girl and many people are subconsciously inclined to reward and nurture girl behavior, she can linger in this behavior for a long time. “she really is a girl”. They mean: “Yes, she is very Persephone-esque”. Our culture projects behaviors belonging to the Persephone archetype onto all girls.

And if she really is a Persephone girl, she will not resist and be molded to the expectations of her environment. Because she basically wants to stay a girl and many people are subconsciously inclined to reward and nurture girl behavior, she can linger in this behavior for a long time.

Many girls are pushed into a Persephone role. They are clearly Mommy’s princess and Daddy’s little girl. No high demands are placed on them and they are not addressed on their inner strength. Such a girl is actually kept small and dependent. She unconsciously gets the message that she should not grow up, because then she is no longer sweet. She is constantly told:

“Come on, honey, Daddy will do that.” She is confirmed in what she can’t do instead of what she can do, and she doesn’t build self-confidence as a result. Also in commercials in which every wrinkle has been removed, the message is hidden that a woman should actually be an eternal girl.Adulthood symbolizes maturation, but also life experience and strength, learning from mistakes, authority and competence.

During their puberty, many girls are temporarily under the influence of Persephone: they become sensitive to peer pressure and pull on each other to confirm their own identity. Many teenage girls are insecure and do not have a clear idea of ​​their own abilities, but they also do not have a strong inclination to explore them. They dream of a prince on the white horse who takes them and makes their lives perfect.

It seems that between the ages of 12 and 16, girls enter a heightened state of malleability. Their puberty often determines the person they grow up to be. As will become clear later on, women at initiation age are ‘opened’ to allow themselves to be ‘filled’ with the image of what a ‘real woman’ should be.Because of the confusion that exists in our culture about femininity,

The receptive woman

A Persephone woman is very intuitive. She is often highly sensitive and easily takes on emotions and energies of others, becoming one with them in a sense. She is an empath in the sense that she doesn’t sympathize with someone, but almost literally crawls under their skin and becomes part of that person. A Persephone woman is extremely receptive to the expectations of her environment.

She conforms to what people want from her without saying it. She has exceptionally strong feelers to gauge people’s moods. It comes so easily to her that she doesn’t even notice it. She picks up on the expectations people have of her and she conforms to them. She’s the girl who’s going to underperform when her teacher underestimates her.And it is precisely in this appropriateness that lies both a very great talent and a great pitfall.

In the context of women’s emancipation, it is often remarked: “I see so many talented women, but why don’t they just go for it?”. Those are the over-cultivated Persephone traits: Deep down, we still expect a woman to be compliant, caring, and sensitive. And so she also becomes when she is mainly addressed on her Persephone feelers. This goes beyond nurture: it is an energetic aspect to which a Persephone woman is exceptionally sensitive.

deep down, we still expect a woman to be compliant, caring and sensitive. And so she also becomes when she is mainly addressed on her Persephone feelers.This goes beyond nurture: it is an energetic aspect to which a Persephone woman is exceptionally sensitive. deep down, we still expect a woman to be compliant, caring and sensitive. And so she also becomes when she is mainly addressed on her Persephone feelers. This goes beyond nurture: it is an energetic aspect to which a Persephone woman is exceptionally sensitive.

The Waiting Woman

A Persephone woman waits. At an event that turns her life for the better, a prince on a white horse, a gesture from another, to be asked to marry. Waiting is the essence of her receptive nature. She’s as yin as can be. And sometimes in life we ​​do have to wait. Until the time is right for a change, to grow something that can only grow slowly. Sometimes we should not ask questions and let time do its work.

But the flip side of waiting is passivity. By not doing anything yourself and waiting for it to come, you relinquish control of your life. And then if something comes along, it’s not your fault if it doesn’t live up to your expectation.A Persephone woman can overshoot in her receptivity and let life pass her by, washing her hands in innocence. “I couldn’t help it, it just happened.”wife-camera

Mirroring the anima

A Persephone woman mirrors the anima of her culture. The anima is a man’s ‘inner image of a woman’ and determines to a large extent how he views women, what expectations he has of them and what type of woman he attracts. The anima is often unconscious and can be overruled by politically correct views that are present in the conscious, while deep down one may think differently than one says.

A Persephone woman naturally adopts the feminine image of her culture. If that’s a powerful and balanced image of a woman, that’s fine. But in a culture with a distorted image of women, a hostile attitude toward women, a tendency to underestimate or trivialize women, or the desire for a woman to be above all caring, accommodating, and sweet to deal with,that can have very unpleasant consequences because she starts to identify with that twisted female image and behaves accordingly. And because she experiences that female image as her identity, it can be difficult to adjust.

The ‘clumsy’ woman

Unfortunately, Persephone women suffer from a stigma in Western culture that they have not deserved. Because a Persephone woman is so receptive, she cannot form as clear a picture of things that are not yet there as an Artemis or Athena woman can. For example, she doesn’t know what she wants to become and lets life take its course. She is called that easy-going, lazy or unambitious.

While she can do quite a bit, she just needs some time to get to her right place. A Persephone woman doesn’t have such great problem-solving skills. She is more likely to ask for help from someone else than to challenge herself and solve the problem herself.Bolen provides an explanation for this: a Persephone woman is naturally open and uninhibited, but the downside is that she also ‘stores’ few concrete experiences.

Otherwise she would lose her open-mindedness. She therefore has no ‘inner database’ of previous learning experiences to fall back on. Because of this, all situations are new and fresh to her in a way, so she’s always a bit overwhelmed by them. She is therefore completely wrongly regarded as ‘blonde’, or even more unfriendly: called a hopscotch. This is a completely disrespectful way of dealing with the downside of one of the most beautiful qualities of a Persephone woman.

And often they are not smart enough to speak to another about this.In fact, they internalize this message, which often leaves Persephone women with an unnecessarily negative self-image. So: when men are confronted with a ‘dumb blonde’: that’s not a stupid blonde, that is a Persephone woman who, as a result of her personality, deals with unknown situations less easily. Help her get over the bump in a kind, constructive, and emotionally safe way. 

Persephone in relationships

Because her I-power is not so great and the boundary between her and another is diffuse, a Persephone woman can become dependent on the presence of other people, a partner or the company of girlfriends. She feels an emptiness when she is alone. She only feels herself when she gets ‘reflection’ from someone else.

She needs support from Hestia to separate her ‘I’ from her environment and to create a habitat for it on her own. Only when she knows who she is can she learn to have healthier relationships. How she stands in relationships is determined by whether she is still in the Kore stage, or has progressed to Persephone as queen.

A Persephone/Kore woman, in the absence of a clear I-other-separation and the motivation to take steps herself and formulated ambitions, sometimes feels more or less a victim of life that floats on the current and waits for someone (often her partner ) comes to ‘save’ here.couple-romance-moonOnly to find out that her partner can’t give her heaven on earth, after which she can turn sullenly away from him, often resulting in marital problems. In a relationship, she will have to learn to accept that her husband is an imperfect man, but a man who loves her and to stop making impossible demands. She only comes to her feet when she learns to deal with the imperfection of the world and life. Often that moment comes when she becomes a mother. She is then forced to make a commitment, often for the first time in her life, as she is attached to her child and the responsibility forces her to grow up.

She often looks for a man who can protect her. Because she sees the world as threatening, she likes to be protected a little by not having to work or have a job that she can easily handle. And some men look for a woman with not too much depth to whom they can feel like a hero. His poppy wife answers his inner need for loveliness and his urge to feel like a hero, and he fulfills her need for someone who takes the big responsibilities off her hands. As long as neither of you want more in a relationship, things can go well for a very long time.

If a Persephone woman’s natural predispositions are enhanced with an upbringing that expected her to act girlishly and be treated like a princess, she can become narcissistic and demanding in a relationship. Since everything was done for her in her youth, she expects her partner to do the same.

Because she has never learned what it feels like to do a bad job because she never had to do it, she also does not understand how annoying it is for someone else to have to do that and makes unabashedly high demands and comments afterwards even if it is ain’t good. That’s rightly annoying for a man, but it’s a pattern nurtured by a man’s society that requires women to be lovely, compliant, and give a man the opportunity to be a hero.

If a Persephone woman has developed the deeper aspects of the archetype, she can be a woman who leads a man to his inner self. She can teach him to consciously experience and express his emotions. By talking from her experience, she can teach him to let go of his fear of the paranormal and see him as a normal part of existence.

She will always remain a woman who mainly relies on yin qualities and will therefore want a lot of yang support from her partner. The view that men and women are complementary in a relationship applies to a large extent to women with strong Persephone qualities and less so to women with virgin goddess qualities, who have much more yang qualities in their own right and seek companionship in a relationship. 

Persephone as mother

Whether a Persephone woman is a playful and inspiring mother, or an indulgent mother who sets too few boundaries, depends on whether she has overgrown Kore and become Persephone. Because she is not naturally inclined to react to resistance with confrontation, but to bend with it, she often has to really learn to set boundaries with her child. If she doesn’t, her child won’t be inhibited from throwing tantrums, allowed to eat too many sweets, or she’ll be too indulgent when it comes to having her way.

They are going to place or even beg her children because she does not dare to set hard limits. “If you stop, you can have an ice cream later” is a typical statement from a Persephone mother. In extreme cases, she lets a stubborn toddler wipe the floor.A Persephone woman who has gone through the underworld and learned her power has less qualms about this. She is a playful woman who can easily empathize with a child’s world, because she has never said goodbye to her inner child.

A Persephone woman can also design prints, booklets or gadgets with a high ‘cute factor’ that act like a magnet on children because she herself has never lost a child’s wondered consciousness. If she provides her children with enough structure, she can be a mother who leaves her children completely free to go their own way because she doesn’t feel the need to direct them or think she has to be a perfect mother. because she never said goodbye to her inner child.

A Persephone woman can also design prints, booklets or gadgets with a high ‘cute factor’ that act like a magnet on children because she herself has never lost a child’s wondered consciousness. If she provides her children with enough structure, she can be a mother who leaves her children completely free to go their own way because she doesn’t feel the need to direct them or think she has to be a perfect mother. because she never said goodbye to her inner child.

A Persephone woman can also design prints, booklets or gadgets with a high ‘cute factor’ that act like a magnet on children because she herself has never lost a child’s wondered consciousness.If she provides her children with enough structure, she can be a mother who leaves her children completely free to go their own way because she doesn’t feel the need to direct them or think she has to be a perfect mother. mother-child

The Dark Sides/The Repression

The dark sides of the Persephone archetype have everything to do with its ability to absorb its surroundings and its lack of a clearly developed sense of self. She often underestimates herself and is attracted to others. 

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Because a Persephone woman experiences little ground in herself, she feels unsteady in the world. For that reason, she feels that she is dependent on the help and loyalty of others. That’s why she tries to befriend others. She has the feeling that she needs to be liked by everyone in order to maintain a good position in a group. Because she has often not been taught that you can build respect or appreciation with your achievements, and has been conditioned in her upbringing to be sweet and affectionate, she often mistakenly believes that she is only valued socially.

She’s trying to be a woman you can’t find unkind. And that’s what makes her annoying, because it’s not real. She plays a part.Precisely the fact that she doesn’t dare to name anything right off the bat, whether she resorts to white lies, or blows with all the winds, people may start to find her untrustworthy. A Persephone woman may learn that you are valued as a human being for who you are, not for how you act to others. And she’s not nearly as bad in the eyes of others as she thinks she is.

Passive and easy going

Passivity, or complacency, is the flip side of receptivity. You can wait for a synchronicity, but if you let life slip through your fingers because you don’t want to or don’t dare to intervene, you are passive. Sometimes she cleverly plays out her clumsiness: “Sorry I’m so clumsy” and someone rushes to her aid. To the astonishment of women and men, she can present herself as a member of ‘the weaker sex’.

The ease with which a Persephone woman can resign herself to the fact that she cannot or does not know something is mind-boggling to more autonomous women. By letting the world overwhelm her, she can fall into externalization and place the blame for everything that goes wrong outside herself. She can shrug off responsibility and view herself as a victim.

A Persephone woman can fall into a pattern of having another run for her if given the chance. This happens especially when as a girl she is treated like a princess and always gets her way. She takes the space she gets. Because she is afraid of the world and has noticed that her girlishness can put people in front of her, she likes to take advantage of it if it is not slowed down.

Especially in a relationship, a man who idolizes her can become a kind of sloppy. She is then looked at and called a lazy bastard, while it is a disease of an overly male society that facilitates this behavior. So yes, it’s not nice of her, but we also do it a bit ourselves. 

Caught in the Underworld

It sometimes happens that a Persephone woman falls into a depression or psychosis and cannot get out of it. Some women with a strong gift for interacting with other dimensions become unstable if they don’t learn to deal with them. Such a woman may be more or less permanently psychotic, or have lifelong psychiatric problems. In fact, she cannot handle life and therefore runs the risk of becoming drug addicted or even homeless.

Even without psychiatric problems, a Persephone woman may feel that life is “too big” for her. In such a case, she may become a cult follower or charismatic spiritual leader. Because the world overwhelms her, it is safer not to think for yourself and to live according to a set pattern and do what someone else tells you. In fact, an immature Persephone woman can consciously choose a life in lack of freedom because the freedom of being responsible for your own life feels too heavy for her.reflection

The forced image of a woman

The Persephone archetype has been highly over-cultivated in women in patriarchal cultures to accommodate the wishes of men, while its archetypal role is to guide the underworld. In her role as a guide, coach or therapist, a Persephone woman can empathize with her clients in a special way. The same quality has been ‘hijacked’ in patriarchal cultures to ‘mould’ women as ideal wives by addressing them mainly on their empathetic and pleasing qualities. Girls and women identify very strongly with their empathic abilities. They are taught to “read” others, and if the Persephone archetype is highly developed in her, she will be so good at it that she won’t even notice she’s doing it.

In a male-dominated culture, girls worldwide are taught to pay close attention to other people’s emotional reactions: are they an obedient girl so that mommy is happy with them? Are they a sweet girl so daddy can be proud of them? Are they an empathetic wife so that their husbands are happy with them? In fact, little girls are raised with the idea that they have to earn someone’s approval. Girls are taught to please others. They are taught that they should never be a disruptive factor, should not raise their voices, should not take up too much space, should not boast about what they can and know. And they shouldn’t be actively involved in the road to excellence.

Now if you think: what a Victorian drivel: this is all still happening.We don’t say it literally like that, but we still think it often. Weexpect a woman not to do any of that. And all that is flawlessly picked up by a Persephone woman. In fact, because she has such a highly receptive consciousness, she does not distinguish between action, feeling, energy and intention. If it exists on an energetic level, she feels it. And she behaves accordingly.

Because in many cases a girl is still taught to empathize with others (or when she naturally does so strongly), the line between herself and the other is in fact blurred. She enters into a symbiosis in a certain way in order to be able to feel the other that way. And thus she forgets who she is herself. She becomes a woman who has not really learned to sense her own wants and needs, and to put those of others above her own.

She learns to be influenced by the opinion of another or by the opinion she thinks others have about her . A Persephone woman who is conditioned to please, anticipates every possible opinion, judgment, desire or need that another might have, thereby giving away her own power.

She is almost unable to see herself objectively because it has become such a habit to put herself in someone else’s shoes. These women see themselves in the ‘third person’, as it were. In effect, they are no longer an individual, but as a representation or projection of the ideas, expectations, demands and judgments of another. And they behave accordingly.woman-hair-dreadlock

We often wonder why women are underrepresented in managerial positions, but also in the world of artists, why there are so few female composers, why so few women deal with complex issues in an innovative way, why so many are few top female scientists. High-ranking men in the workplace indicate that they see enough female talent around them. But those women don’t start it themselves. They don’t profile themselves, they think they can’t do it, it’s too hard, and they’re going to fail. Motherhood is not the only problem. Even if women are qualified for a high position and have no children, they do not go for it. I suspect that has to do with the ‘Persephone overkill’ that many girls have to deal with.

It’s not so much about the barbie dolls and the pink curtains, it’s about the Persephone attitude they are given. If women are taught that they should first and foremost be pleasant company for others (and how many women aren’t afraid to say ‘no’ or not be liked? That’s the ‘Persephone virus’), they won’t quickly sit down in a boardroom, because by definition you have to make decisions that are wrong for some people.

You have to profile yourself, radiate authority, be able to set boundaries. And our sweet little angels don’t teach that. Our daughters are already ‘Persephone’d before they realize who they are. Perhaps the social success of men does not lie in the fact that they are better equipped to make a career,but that they have never learned to constantly see themselves through someone else’s eyes and constantly anticipate all possible opinions and reactions. They are free inside.

They don’t learn that they have to have someone else’s permission, they just do it. And we take that from our daughters by expecting them to be a charming princess. Women pay an exorbitant price for our hardened society’s need for loveliness. In fact, they are forced to give up their personality and reflect the anima of a masculine culture. And as a result, the feminine no longer gets a chance to really take root in society. It’s a vicious circle that women can only get out of one way and that is to break free from their imposed Persephone identification.

Opportunities for growth 

Growing above the girl

A girl is an immature stage in a woman’s life. Kore must become a woman in order to become Persephone. A woman has matured. She knows her strengths and limitations, she has been shaped by life, may have suffered some damage, but she has become something.

She can take her place in life. She has gained a certain authority, but the downside is that she has lost some of her youthfulness. To mature, a Persephone woman must let go of the eternal ‘blankness’, allow herself to be influenced and allow something to crystallize in her and become the core of an identity. To grow as a person, a Persephone woman must learn to get over her receptivity, decide what she wants and pursue it.

If she is eternally receptive, she is an eternally plaything.She must learn to draw a clear line between herself and another and accept that autonomy is as much a part of a healthy relationship as intimacy. She needs the yang powers, the guiding, binding and ordering, to give direction to her own life.

The moment she tastes the autonomy and experiences the self-affirming power of self-determination, and learns that the yang is also part of her, she can get rid of her victim role and take control of her own life. In fact, on a symbolic level, she then leaves her girlhood behind and becomes a woman. young woman

The initiated woman

Because women in today’s society are no longer initiated and are introduced to what it means to be a woman in a ceremonial way, many women take their Kore qualities with them into adulthood. In matriarchal cultures, young girls were initiated into womanhood by older women. If they started menstruating, it was taken as a sign that they were no longer a child. They were initiated into motherhood, childbirth and pregnancy, the secrets of birth, death and rebirth, regeneration, healing, the stories of the tribe. She became a mother, shaman, herbalist, midwife. She took shape. A girl’s mind opened to receive all this knowledge.

Afterwards she was a ‘hexa’ (the Germanic word for a woman who had been taught, our word ‘witch’ derived from it).In patriarchal cultures, the education of girls and women was not held in high esteem and this extremely malleable period was not used to breed strong ancestresses, but docile wives. Today, although girls receive formal education, they are no longer taught how to empower yourself as a woman. And that pays off. They no longer learn how to take their place in life, although they may have studied and remain internally Kore.

Say ‘no!’ to ‘sorry’

Stop saying sorry. Have you ever noticed how often women apologize for things that are not their fault:

  • Sorry I don’t have Earl Gray tea. (No, I don’t have an earl grey. Do you want…?)
  • Sorry to be so clumsy, but I can’t get […] solved. (May I ask something, can you help me with (…)?)
  • Sorry I’m late, but the trains weren’t running. (I’m a little late, because the trains weren’t running)
  • Sorry to be such a whiner (I’m just sad)

This is the Persephone complex. Women are under stress when they cannot fulfill the sacred commandment Thou Shall Not Be A Nuisance Present As A Woman. You can’t give people what they want. You don’t have to apologize for not being telepathic or omniscient. You can just set a limit without explaining why or apologizing for the inconvenience. You are not a debt bearer, you are yourself.

Queen of the Underworld

In her mature role as a medium, intermediary between the other world and queen of the underworld, Persephone teaches us to be self-conscious as a woman in that role. This position means that although we are less grounded and prominent in the upper world, it does not make us weak. This role must be there. We may accept this apparently fragile position as a consequence of the gift and lean on men to support and facilitate us in the upper world.

In fact, this feminine role teaches the masculine power to civilize, rein and control itself to actually serve the feminine and not suffocate and dominate. A Persephone woman can be a guide for a man to his innermost being, to his inner temple.In this way, a man can become a sentry for a woman in her role as an intermediary. He can only fulfill that role if he has some contact with his own underworld and understands that that world may be there. You can compare that masculine role with a rose growing against a trellis. The trellis doesn’t hold the rose, it just supports her on her way up. 

Help from other goddesses

A Persephone woman can learn from Artemis to formulate and follow her own needs. She can learn from Athena not to leave everything to ‘life’ and to create her own future by taking action. She can learn from Hestia that you can be introverted and still define yourself clearly. She can learn from Hera to really go for a relationship and support a partner through good and bad. She can learn from Demeter to feel responsible for the well-being of another. She can learn from Aphrodite to also artistically, sexually and relationally leave her girlhood behind and follow her own passions. woman-rose

The pre-patriarchal primordial essence

Persephone is the archetype of the shaman, the woman who travels between worlds. The therapist is then the modern version of the shaman who heals people’s discomforts by exploring the subconscious. Persephone also represents an inner image in a woman. ‘The girl’ is the period in a woman’s life when she can be happy without any worries about tomorrow.

She represents the paradisiacal and carefree from before the fall. When cultures harden, they gravitate to and idealize Persephone’s innocent girlhood. It represents that part of us which is not immediately practical for survival, but which we must not lose because then life would lose some of its luster.

The Patriarchal Wound

Persephone’s adaptation was to be compliant and not cause any unease so as not to forfeit the goodwill of the establishment. Because Persephone has long been forced to remain a girl and not allowed to mature into the queen she is, she doesn’t think much of herself as a woman.

She can fully endorse and act in accordance with the outdated notion that women are the weaker sex. Her inner strength has gone underground. That inner strength is often a silent force. Developing that strength is necessary to grow beyond her feelings of vulnerability and dependence and to ground her personality in the world.

What would the goddess Persephone like to give you?

“Be open to all that life has to offer. Don’t try to direct life, it always turns out differently than you think. Don’t be afraid to be receptive, it’s an illusion that you will ever stand on your own. You are not in control of everything.

Play, because play is your natural state of being. Be open minded, the world isn’t that bad. Don’t grieve for bad things that have been, there is always something new to take its place. Trust your intuition, it will always help you. “

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