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Since ancient times, we have heard various myths of great men and women who ever lived. These myths describe the remarkable qualities of these mythological characters in a rather exhilarating tone. The modern American writers, particularly Woolger and Bolen, have remodelled these archetypes to make them more identifiable with the modern circumstances.
They have classified them into six major standard categories into which all these archetypes, and every other person, may be said to belong. It’s argued that “working with these [modern] god and goddess archetypes is one of the best ways to learn about yourself…” (Bryannan, 1998). This essay will study the story of an ancient Greek Goddess, Themis, and using the characteristics associated with her try to discover which one of the six categories she can be identified with.
Themis Goddess Archetype classification
Themis is claimed to be “the Titan goddess of divine law and order…the traditional rules of conduct first established by the gods” (Atsma, 2011). She was the daughter of Gaia, considered to be the first prophet and represents the earth, and Uranus. She was married to Zeus, Father of the Great Achilles and was the mother of the Titan.
The six archetypes as developed by the American writers are; Athena, Artemis, Aphrodite, Hera, Persephone and Demeter. Using the various personalities attributed to Themis, she may be said to be a Hera. Woolgers describes Hera as having the following qualities; an “empress, ruler, wife, worldly power, tradition, marriage, partnership, morality, the matriarch” (Bryannan, 1998).
Comparing these qualities with those of Themis, she can be said to have been an empress and a ruler. In fact, she is commonly known as the ‘Goddess of Divine Law’ or ‘Goddess of Justice’. According to the myth, she was the one who announced the very first unwritten rules issued to mankind by the gods of heaven to regulate their behaviour with each other. These unwritten laws may be referred to as the tradition and customs of the people which they were required to follow.
She maintained law and order in ancient Egypt and also sat beside Zeus and offered legal advice to him and also informed him of those who breach the laws. Through these, she ensured that peoples’ morals were upheld, thus preserving morality. She was seen as “the Greek personification of divine retribution” (Gill, 2011). She also organized assemblies for the king to hold meetings.
Because of these characteristics she possessed can also be said have had worldly power. The power first descended on her through her alleged marriage to Zeus. It is said that she, together with Zeus, planned the Trojan War. This occurred “while the gods [were] feasting at the marriage of Peleus and [started] a dispute…by casting the Golden Apple of Discord” (Atsma, 2011). This shows her character of partnership by working together with the husband to achieve a common aim. The partnership is also evidenced by her support through advisory services to her husband.
Other characteristics placing her in this category are; her marriage to Zeus. We can see that she and Zeus planned things together and on top of that, she always advised him on what to do like a wife should. Further, her daughter was the one assisting in the ruling instead of her sons, signifying little traces of matriarchy.
The mythological tales did not just exist in the historical generation. It seems they exist with us even today. Writers have it that most of those characteristics in ancient goddesses exist today in forms of the six archetypes and that any woman will fit in most or a few of those characteristics. Further that, by learning and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the gods and goddesses will help one understand his/herself better. Whether this is true or just stereotyping is subject to debate.
Bryannan, L. (1998). The Common Boundary between Spirituality and Psychotherapy. Circulation office. 8528 Bradford Rd: Silver Spring, MD 20901. 301/589-6536.
Atsma, J. A. (2011). The Greek Gods and Goddesses, Greek Myths, Legends and Folktales. New Zealand: University of Liverpool.
Gill, N. S. (2011). Themis- A Greek Goddess of Justice, Clipart.com. Web.