By Malayna Dawn
As women in business, we aren’t always lucky enough to have role models to follow. But if we look back to the ancient world, we can find that many mythologies included ideal feminine concepts that were not restricted to the care of home and family.
The psychologist Carl Jung (1875-1961) used familiar symbols as models for patterns of behavior or personality traits called “archetypes”. We have many archetypes at work within us, helping us to fulfill our various roles in life. There are numerous images to choose from, but for representations of ideally powerful women, goddesses are probably the best.
(Photo of Athena at the Vatican Museum taken by Malayna Dawn)
Listed below is a sampling of goddess archetypes we can apply to the business world. Whether we recognize these qualities in ourselves already, or long to possess them, perhaps with these archetypes as guidance, their traits can become part of our working personas.
Athena was the Greek goddess of wisdom, war, the arts, industry, justice and skill. Her mother was Metis, goddess of wisdom, but she emerged fully grown out of her father Zeus' head. Her Roman counterpart was Minerva, goddess of wisdom, medicine, the arts, dyeing, science, trade, and war. She was also credited with the invention of numbers and musical instruments.
The Athena/Minerva archetype speaks to women’s ability to multi-task. The Athena-type’s well-rounded education allows them to communicate well with men and earn their respect, which can be very useful in business.
Mayan goddess of thought and intellect.
The Mayans were an advanced and ancient civilization known for creating one of the earliest and most accurate calendars. For women of color, especially, this goddess may help boost one’s confidence when feeling in the minority…for any reason.
The Japanese goddess of eloquence, wisdom, the arts, music, knowledge, and good fortune, (among other things), is usually depicted riding a dragon while playing a stringed instrument. She is also known for having eight hands which allow her pray while simultaneously holding a sword, a jewel, a bow and arrow, a wheel, and a key.
We can look to this goddess when we feel the need of many arms. She shows us that by balancing mind, body and spirit we can juggle many different things, including taming business dragons.
A Teutonic (Germanic) goddess of abundance, creative power, peace and wealth.
We need not be starving nor mad to be artistic and creative. This archetype tells us that we can live a creative, peaceful, abundant life!
Maori female spirits that carry messages between mankind and the divine power.
These women offer an archetype of communicating inspiration that can be useful for artists as well as those in creative roles such as graphic design, advertising and media.
The Sumerian goddess of grain, writing and wisdom.
The Sumerians were highly advanced ancient people in what is now Iraq. As the goddess of one of the oldest and most sophisticated forms of writing in existence, she can inspire speech or report writers, lecturers, or authors.
A Hindu goddess, the patroness of speech, writing and learning, and of the arts and sciences.
Here again we have a well-rounded goddess who can use both her right and left brain faculties. She sounds like she’d be perfectly suited as an archetype for a politician.
In Anatolian (Turkish) mythology, the goddess of wisdom and the guardian of secrets.
This goddess teaches diplomacy – important as a business strategy, as well as in personal relationships. Though the truth is said to set us free, she reminds us to exercise wisdom to consider how it will affect others involved and the situation as a whole.
Norse goddess of virtue and master of all knowledge, she exemplified the value of self-discipline.
The self discipline of balancing virtue with mastery is a worthy goal in the business world. Not only to reach our personal goals, but also to become admirable leaders in our companies and business communities.
Themis was the Greek goddess of justice. Her Roman counterpart, Justitia, gives us the well known portrayal of justice as blind, as she held balanced scales and a sword while blindfolded.
These goddesses remind us to be fair, balanced and impartial in our business dealings. The ideal archetype for lawyers and judges, they are just as easily helpful for anyone who has ever been accused of being irrational.
In Norse mythology, Var is the goddess of contracts, from whose wisdom nothing could be hidden.
It may be a woman’s ability to pick up on subtle body language that generally goes unnoticed by men that gives us the reputation of knowing when someone is telling the truth. This reputation, even if not exactly true, could be very useful in negotiation.
For more information on goddess archetypes, read Jean Shinoda Bolen’s Goddesses in Everywoman: Powerful Archetypes in Women's Lives.
For more information on archetypes for personal transformation, read Carolyn Myss’ Sacred Contracts: Awakening your Divine Potential or visit myss.com.
Malayna Dawn is an author and freelance writer with over 1000 published articles and one spiritual adventure novel to her credit. Raised in Los Angeles and now living in Sri Lanka, she sees connections between pop culture and world culture, entertainment and religion, ecology and education, and hopes to share that perspective with you. Her novel, Echoes Across Time, is available worldwide from Amazon.com and many other major online retailers.