We women who’ve crossed the threshold to the other side of 50 know something most younger women don’t...
We’ve discovered that it’s okay and (even exhilarating) to be ourselves!
Freed from the culturally assigned scripts of daughter, lover, wife, mother and career woman, we can be who we truly are.
This doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy these “roles” or that we’re not still enjoying them. We just may not have had the time, courage or permission to discover and pursue what allows us to feel most comfortable in our own skin.
You know...the thing that makes your heart sing.
Menopause and postmenopause are the time to look more deeply within, where something is stirring — an inspiration or inclination spurred by new energies.
These powerful potentials (or archetypes) aroused in our psyches are Goddess energies, according to Jungian analyst and bestselling author Jean Shinoda Bolen.
You can listen to Jean describe what it’s like to feel the archetype of a Goddess wakeup within you in a special audio at the end of this blog.
By getting to know the Goddesses within you, you can become more conscious, than you would have been, of your true potentials. Giving these energies your attention, you help energize them. And, once activated, they provide a sense of meaning and authenticity.
Perhaps most known for her book Goddesses in Everywoman, Jean believes particular Goddess energies are active during the three key stages of a woman’s life: maiden, mother and crone (or wisewoman) — also known as the three phases of the triple Goddess.
In the maiden stage, or youthful phase of life, trying out relationships and changing jobs; andin the mother stage, conceiving, birthing and raising children, the energies of these Greek Goddesses emerge:
Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt and Moon; Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and Crafts; Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth and Temple; Hera, Goddess of Marriage; Demeter, Goddess of Grain; Persephone, Maiden and Queen of the Underworld; and Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty.
Their energies can and may very well still be alive within the woman who has crossed over into the “third act” of her life and become a crone or wisewoman. Yet, there’s a shift in the way these archetypes emerge in this later stage of life.
And, other Goddess energies — from other cultures and spiritual traditions — may be even more predominant, helping a woman mature and bringing greater meaning into her life.
She can then grow into her truest self and be of maximum service to others.
Following are the four Wisdom Goddesses whose energies emerge more fully as a woman transitions into what Jean calls a “green and juicy crone.”
See if you can spot which Wisdom Goddess is most at play within you at this time in your life — on the other side of 50. Which attribute is being called forth most?
The Wisdom Goddesses
1. Metis, Goddess of Practical and Intellectual Wisdom
This pre-Olympian Goddess signifies the capacity to intellectually grasp a situation and to act wisely and skillfully. She combines experience, intellect, intuition and maturity well-earned through loss, vulnerability and humility.
Metis represents the union of a woman’s deeper wisdom and work in the world. If you’re an artist, for example, Metis’s energy helps spark an alchemical process through which your most inspired work emerges.
2. Sophia, Goddess of Mystical and Spiritual Wisdom
Sophia is the archetype of soul knowledge. Part of the Judeo-Christian heritage of the west and representative of the Divine Feminine in New Age spiritual circles, she represents intuition and the ability to perceive the soul of the matter and soul qualities in others.
You know she’s alive within as you find greater capacity to receive spirit, to listen and value mystical experience and to more astutely assess character — seeing through another’s facade or noticing the absence or presence of soul.
3. Hecate, Goddess of Intuitive and Psychic Wisdom
This Greek Goddess plays the part of inner midwife as you face a major transition and birth new aspects of yourself. Her energies help you to let go of what no longer serves you — outdated beliefs, outgrown roles, and whatever else blocks you from growing, creating and thriving.
Hecate is also referred to as the Goddess of the Waning and Dark Moon, as she may be aroused during a time when you’re in need of deep introspection before emerging replenished, renewed and aware of which direction to steer your life. A Hecate woman is one who pays attention to synchronicities and dreams and draws upon past experiences and intuition for guidance.
4. Hestia, Goddess of Meditative Wisdom
This most important of the Greek Goddesses had no persona or identifiable physical characteristics. Known as the Goddess of Hearth and Temple, Hestia was represented as the sacred fire at the center of a home and as a source of light and warmth.
As an archetype, she symbolizes the center of the psyche or Self. And when you’re experiencing her energy, your sanctuary is solitude and you know your soul as the center of your being. You know you’re being visited by Hestia when you are warmed by your inner presence, at home within yourself and know the universe as both ordinary and sacred.
By looking to the Goddess archetypes within, especially during life’s “third act,” we tap into energies that can make all the difference in helping us to embrace and celebrate our crone years. We can welcome this stage of life — which popular culture generally paints as a time to mourn — and enjoy our fifties and beyond as some of our most exciting, enriching and joyous years.
In the following 8-minute audio, Jean Shinoda Bolen, also the author of Goddesses in Older Women: Archetypes in Women Over Fifty, shares how Goddess archetypes are aroused within us as well as her own personal experience of these innate stirrings:
P.S. Want to discover which Goddesses are stirring within YOU? They can provide the inspiration and impetus you really need at this time in your life. Share your experiences and thoughts below...