STEVEN KALAS: Search for the goddess leads to common archetype


I read with great interest the beginning of the article describing the goddess. I know someone that almost exactly resembles the person you describe. I, unfortunately, am in the line of fools who would, if given the opportunity, profess feelings. I ran across the term "unrequited love" some months ago and have read some articles about it. Interesting that people have been writing about it since the time of Ovid. I wonder if this goddess personality type has a clinical or descriptive name. Is there some keyword or subject heading that I could look up that would give me a better understanding of what motivates this type of person or just how they think? Any information that you could give me may be helpful. Thanks in advance for any more wisdom that you are willing to extend. - D.S., Las Vegas

Unbelievable. Last week a reader referenced symbolist painter Edvard Munch. Now you reference Ovid, a poet of Roman antiquity. Born in 43 B.C., Publius Ovidius Naso wrote a lot about love. I find it both telling and ironic that he wrote "Ars Amatoria" ("The Art of Love"), only to follow up with "Remedia Amoris" ("The Cure for Love"). In the end, this guy invited us to find love and to run from love as fast as we could.

In the parlance of Jungian psychology, "the goddess" is not a reference to a personality type; rather, it is the name of an archetype. A very, very powerful archetype accessible to any woman. Yet not every woman does access her. Or wants to.

The goddess refers to that particular integration of feminine magic, mystery and sexuality. I emphasize "integration." This culture invites women into myriad caricatures of sexuality and pretenses of mystery. But if you pay attention, it's easy to tell the difference between the pretenders and the real deal. Just search Tina Turner on YouTube singing "Proud Mary." That's the real deal. That's The Goddess. You can't fake it. And any mature man knows her when he sees her.

The goddess was palpable in Tina's art, but it took a while for the goddess to find her way into Tina's personal life. And no surprise, when Tina embraced the whole of her feminine selfhood, her husband Ike got the ol' heave-ho. The goddess would never tolerate being abused by a punk disguised as a husband.

But I digress ...

There are any number of great articles, psychoanalytic theses and books written about the goddess archetype. Two I recommend are: "Goddesses in Everywoman," by Jean Bolen, and search on Google for a pdf file "Embodying Aprhodite," by Kimberly Hirsch.

In my Sept. 2 column (lvrj.com/living/only-with-balance-can-love-find-the-stability-to-flourish-168303606.html), I am not using my passing reference of "goddess" any differently. The woman I described has a lot of authentic "goddess" energy. This makes her compelling, historically, to many men who have crossed her path and otherwise made her acquaintance.

A separate issue is that the woman about whom I was writing has "an avoidant attachment style." That's its descriptive, clinical name. A few weeks ago, I wrote a column lauding Amir Levine's book "Attached." I recommend this book to you, as Levine does a great job describing a variety of attachment styles in love relationships, including avoidants. You can also research "attachment theory." There is a wealth of information online.

And, generally speaking, woe to the kind of man who is wont to profess feelings when he falls in love with an avoidant. An avoidant attachment style is notorious for inconstancy, ambivalence and ambiguity regarding the issues of love and commitment. And this kind of behavior makes sensitive, romantic-minded people feel like they are losing their mind.

Unrequited love is agonizing. But in its objective sense, unrequited love merely means loving someone who does not love you back. Oddly enough, a man or a woman with a severely avoidant attachment might be head over heels in love with you. But that fact threatens a deep insecurity inside of them. And they manage that fear with inconstancy, ambiguity and ambivalence.

They don't "not love you." It's more that they love you but cannot ever entirely choose you.

Steven Kalas is a behavioral health consultant and counselor at Las Vegas Psychiatry and the author of "Human Matters: Wise and Witty Counsel on Relationships, Parenting, Grief and Doing the Right Thing" (Stephens Press). His columns also appear on Sundays in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Contact him at 702-227-4165 or skalas@reviewjournal.com.

 

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