Medial Woman screamed “Me!” in the morning.
Afternoon, I yelled back, “Me, Amazon! Next, Mother!”
I saved my loudest roar for “Hetaira” – there’s something about a woman focusing her life on a man that simply does not ring my chimes. Dare I ‘fess up that I heard my dark side shouting?
A weekend drive to Houston’s Jung Center — past a 4‑car freeway pileup (a high five for what lay ahead?) — brought an in-depth study of these four aspects of the feminine psyche.
The workshop promised this RoadBroad an opportunity to expand her knowledge of female archetypes. My novel demands character exploration. I never anticipated a bonus: riches of personal learning and expansion.
Indulge me as I take an esoteric dive.
Archetypes are, in brief, an imprint all humans carry. In psychological theory, they’re original forms, or models, of people or ideas that others recognize universally.
In “Four Aspects of Woman,” workshop leader Suzan Cotellesse synthesized the groundbreaking work of psychoanalyst Toni Wolff who posited that, across a woman’s life, she dances with four archetypes in both her personal (individual) and non-personal (collective) relationships. (Authors Mary Dian Molton and Lucy Anne Sikes later expanded on Wolff’s work in their book, Four Eternal Women).
Those four natures include Mother, the nurturer; Hetaira, the relater; Amazon, the striver; and Medial Woman, the wise woman. Suzan’s clear and wise teaching explained each of the four functions in detail.
Immediately, I slotted my novel’s six primary female characters.
Then. Off came the blinders.
My turn. Personal truth.
Easy at first: Medial Woman. Intuitive. Spirit Seeker. Mysterious. Crone (rising because, at age 61, she’s not very old. Cough. Cough.).
Amended at day’s end: I’m actually a growing Amazon followed by a creating Mother supported by evolving Medial Woman with full-on-resistance mode at mention of Hetaira. There’s something about this broad who self-selects as a man-slave. Over-reaction, of course. I’ll explore. Later.
At workshop’s end, we collaged our learnings. I used a single piece of paper, collaging its two sides.
Here’s Afternoon Me. Young again, she strides into the world as an independent Amazonian woman. Her white and black attire symbolize the clarity of her life mission and purpose.
Interesting that Amazon’s stride comes atop Medial Woman’s natural wisdom. The latter’s represented by images of clear water and shining sun, the foundations for a strong feminine force re-entering the world.
To her left—as a guiding mantra—balances the red and black passion of woman and man evenly weighted with each other, moving upward toward a better future. I hope.
On the reverse appeared the supporting forms, Archetypes #2 and #4, if you will:
Mother anchors this side with her Gaia representation, stand-ins for the gestating/birthing role of the creative feminine. She stands on what she brings to her role: ‘The Woman who Knows what Women Want.” Apt for an author of women’s fiction?
To her right stands Hetaira, daring any challenge. On anything. Closed-off arms offer aloof confidence. Attractive. Fearsome. Yes, work to do, both of us.
Splitting the page, the four faces of the female archetypes reveal different looks. Each glance, shaded by artfully applied make-up, reveals as it also hides. Can you see why each face was placed as it was?
Two days after the workshop, I look at these pages and ask—my god, where does this stuff come from?
Medial Woman wants to know.
For Amazon Mother.
Suzan will offer this informative class again this fall at Houston’s Spectrum Center (www.SpectrumCenter_Houston.com). You can explore Suzan’s other work and teachings at her website (www.suzancotellesse.com).