If you are looking to get in touch with your divine feminine qualities, you are not alone. Many women are waking up to the immense power that they naturally possess. In a world where the majority of business, government and military leaders are men, it’s important for women to reclaim their divine female power. Break out of patriarchal roles by learning about female deities from around the world.
Femininity – More Than Just Archetypes
Throughout history, you will find countless examples of matriarchal or egalitarian societies that worshipped the divine in its feminine form. In other words, they worshipped female deities or goddesses (also male and asexual dieties). These societies lived in harmony with nature and had an inherent balance in the way they functioned.
However, the dogmatic and patriarchal forces that wanted to control the world slowly demolished many of these ancient cultures and societies. And so, the divine feminine was wiped out in several parts of the world. Over time, these forces used religion, laws, and violence to dominate women and portray them as weak and inferior. Unfortunately, this still continues to happen to this day.
What are Archetypes?
Archetypes are recurring symbols in art, mythology and religion. They could be considered stereotypes but archetypes also capture important elements of cultural attitudes. Within the stories we grow up hearing, males are typically portrayed to be brave, strong, intelligent, and leaders. On the other hand, females are typically portrayed to be empathetic, passive, nurturing, and child-like.
But if you study ancient matriarchal traditions, you will realize that goddesses have always represented qualities that are not often thought of as “feminine.” In these societies, they have been portrayed as destroyers, heroines, huntresses, creators, warriors, and more. These qualities go way above and beyond the typical archetypes of mother, crone and maiden that have been assigned to women.
Divine Feminine Qualities
To broaden your horizon and understand different qualities that you as a woman can embody, you can learn about myths and culture of ancient and contemporary societies, such as African, Latin American, Mexican, Roman, Greek, and Indian cultures. You can also consult many spiritual texts. Here I’ve chosen some different powerful goddesses, each having her own unique divine feminine qualities that you can take inspiration from to heal, grow, and be a force of change.
Examples of roles that goddesses have represented:
The well-known Greek goddess Athena is often represented as a warrior goddess possessing traits like wisdom and courage. She is depicted wearing her signature breastplate armor and fighting alongside other Greek gods, the favorite offspring of Zeus. “As the guardian of the welfare of kings, Athena became the goddess of good counsel, of prudent restraint and practical insight, as well as of war.” (Source)
Similarly, in ancient Mesopotamia, Inanna was the most popular goddess and worshipped as a goddess of war – even though she was also associated with love, fertility, sex, and beauty. Unlike “mother” goddesses, Inanna was depicted alongside or riding upon a lion, and as powerful, vengeful, seductive and calculating. (Source)
Diana is another well-known goddess in Roman and Hellenistic religions. She is primarily depicted as a huntress who is also a patroness of the countryside. She had a shorter tunic and is often shown with a dog or deer by her side and a quiver full of arrows. (Source) Possessing a fighter spirit, she serves as an inspiration for those pursuing their dreams and goals.
Another deity who is often portrayed as a huntress is the Greek goddess Artemis. She was goddess of chastity and childbirth, and hunter and maiden of beasts. She valued her singlehood and independence, and there are stories of a few who tried to force her to make love who were killed or bested. So one story goes, her hunting partner saw her bathing in a sacred spring and tried to rape her. She turned him into a deer and his own hunting dogs did not recognize him, attacked him and tore him apart.
3) Fertile Farmers
The Zulu goddess Mbaba Mwana Waresa ruled over the fertility of the lands and people, and was celebrated for rainbows and the crack of thunder announcing the rains. She taught her people agriculture and also taught them how to make beer, was were feats certainly worth worshipping. Demeter was the goddess of grain who brought fertility to the land for the Greeks.
The list of goddesses who blessed their people with children, safe childbirths, and bounty in blessings is endless. From the Venus of Willendorf statue dating 25,000-30,000 BC to the topless Minoan Snake Goddesses of Crete, we can look back with wonder and imagine the fertility rituals that occurred at the temples of these goddesses. Women have always presided alone at the doorway bringing new life to this world.
Who says women have to be subjects of other people’s judgments? Nemesis, the goddess of retribution was said to punish evildoers and cocky, arrogant people. She employed cosmic justice. Nemesis serves as an inspiration to all women who feel like they are suppressed by unjust laws and patriarchal religious dogmas. She signifies power and rising up against injustices, being a force of change in society.
The goddess Themis was an original goddess of justice, divine order, and fairness. You’ll recognize her scales of justice now appearing on statues in front of courthouses around the world.
Since time immemorial, men are portrayed as the breadwinners of a family. This is one of the reasons why they have tried to keep women limited to their homes and child-bearing. They were told that they had no business doing business. This hasn’t always been the case, from ancient and indigenous matrilineal societies like the Iroquois to even some current matriarchal societies that thrive today.
Isn’t it ironic that the term breadwinner is attributed to men when women were the ones who arguably invented farming and bread-making?
In Hinduism, the goddess Lakshmi is said to be the embodiment of wealth and prosperity. She is also said to impart knowledge of wealth creation. In fact, in many cultures in India, it is said that unless the women in a family are happy, that family can never be prosperous.
In many patriarchal religions of the world, masculine forces are said to be the creators of our reality. However, there are religions and cultures where the divine feminine is said to have an equal or greater part in the creation process. In Native American mythology, Grandmother Spider, weaving her webs, thought the universe into existence. In Chinese mythology, Nuwa is said to be the mother goddess who created humanity. In some sects of Hinduism, Shakti is said to be the diving energy that created the entire universe. In fact, she is said to be the energy that animates all living beings and is often called “Primordial Inconceivable Energy”.
There are countless creator goddessess which have been worshipped for their abilities to create reality, create abundant crops and blessings for the people, and to be one with all the creatures and plants of the earth.
Anyone who considers women to be weak and submissive needs to be introduced to this divine feminine quality. History is filled with examples of goddesses who played the role of destroyers to maintain the cycle of life and death. It shows that if feminine energy can create, she can also destroy.
In ancient Egyptian religion, Sekhmet was one of the most powerful deities who was tasked with destruction. Similarly, in Hinduism, Kali is a fierce and angry goddess who wears a garland of skulls. She destroys all evil forces and protects those who are good of heart. It is believed that she will outlast the end of the universe.
Destroyer goddesses can inspire women to not only vanquish evil forces around them but also inside them (like self-doubt, lack of self-esteem, self-loathing, etc.)
Choose a Divine Feminine Quality You’d Like to Embrace to Help You Right Now
In the face of any struggle, women can channel divine feminine qualities and roles. This of an inspiring goddesses and the ancient people who worshipped her. You can channel the strength and power needed to triumph over your current challenge. Ancient women can give us hope to gather our power during dark times.
Divine Feminine Qualities Reading List
- The Sacred Hoop – Recovering the Divine Feminine in American Indian Traditions – Paula Gunn Allen
- The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets – Barbara Walker
- Goddesses and the Divine Feminine: A Western Religious History – Rosemary Radford Ruether
- Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood – Merlin Stone
- Heart of the Goddess – Hallie Igleheart Austin
- Warrior Goddess Training: Become the Woman You Were Meant to Be – Heatherash Amara