Sensual, Thoughtful, and Very Naughty
It is the nature of our soul to aspire towards the infinite. This infinite can be the Divine. This infinite can be also be thought of as archetypes. Carl Jung (renowned psychologist) and Plato taught us that archetypes are a collection of inherited unconscious ideas revealed through patterns of thought, images, dreams, mythology, fantasies, etc., that exist for all humans regardless of culture or time in history. We are born with them pre-wired in our psyche and they are universally present.
The Greek gods represent archetypes or combinations of archetypes. Many of these gods were also found in other cultures (with different names) or represented as important characters through stories and images. Modern-day superheroes as well as literary and movie characters channel the archetypes or combinations of archetypes. They resonate deeply within us and we connect with them.
As I try understand my past and forge a better future, I am increasingly confronted with the reality of archetypes and the psychological frameworks developed by Carl Jung. Knowingly or not, they have influenced my life and assuredly those of others. Our draw to them is seemingly instinctual. In Romantic Love: Hearts of Fire, I explore the dangerous projection of divine love we place on others. This often ends in a repeating cycle of extreme highs followed by crushing despair in a never ending quest for Romantic Love as the highest form of love. In Shadows, I explore Carl Jung’s psychological concepts around shadow and psyche and the struggles we all face to merge our darkness and light into Self. In Dawn of Understanding, I have some fun with Batman and how our personality types (Jungian-based classifications) and psyche influence our connection to superheroes and what it says about us as individuals.
One could build an entire blog around archetypes or an individual archetype and some do. My goal here is more limited and seeks to only recognize that archetypes exist, appreciate their influence, and understand what it means in our relationships.
Hestia vs. Aphrodite
At a very high level, Hestia is thought of as the goddess of the hearth (symbolic of home’s center and public center of gathering) and family. Interestingly, despite her being the center of the home she is identified as being a virgin (perhaps to discourage her sexualization). In contrast, Aphrodite is the goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation. Aphrodite is highly sexualized.
It is the nature of our soul to flow towards infinite perfection. A woman can aspire towards Hestia OR Aphrodite and feel content to the degree she feels she is succeeding. In contrast, if a woman’s aspirations flow towards both Hestia AND Aphrodite, she experiences cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual holding two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time. A woman cannot be highly sexual and non-sexual. A woman cannot, as a steady state of being, exist simultaneously as both Hestia and Aphrodite. Of course, there is a happy middle ground. She can flow between these archetypes. At times, she can dial up her Hestia. At other times, she can dial up her Aphrodite.
If only life were so simple. A man also has a preference for Hestia or Aphrodite as his ideal. A man may dream of and crave Hestia as his anchor and center of his home. He dreams of a wife that is a wonderful homemaker and mother to his children. He doesn’t see her in a passionate or intimate way and finds comfort in her not having these desires. She is above such base desires and is placed upon a pedestal of purity. This is the idea behind Courtly Love which is a form of Romantic Love without physical intimacy. For the sake of brevity, I think we can all recognize that some men (not all) also have desires for Aphrodite, the sexual and eroticized goddess. I also suspect many men want Hestia AND Aphrodite. We can’t have both in their infinite and perfect forms. Like women, man’s desire for both leads to cognitive dissonance.
This leads me back to an early post, What is Ideal Love? Seven Forms of Love. There are three elements (passion, commitment, and intimacy) that intermingle to create seven forms of love with consummate love being the highest order. Aphrodite can give us Infatuation, Romantic Love, or Fantasy Love. Hestia can provide for Friendship Love, Empty Love, or Companionate Love. It seems that what we need is a combination of Hestia and Aphrodite to reach the ideal love known as Consummate Love.
From a man’s perspective, we need to understand something very clearly. I need Hestia and Aphrodite. But, I can’t expect them to exist simultaneously in their divine, infinite perfection in a woman. They are conflicting states of perfection. I need to be more forgiving when a woman isn’t Aphrodite when I want her to be. I need to support her efforts to channel her Hestia as well and acknowledge this as equally important. She is fighting her own struggle for balance. While my sex drive and affection isn’t what I consider a weakness, I know there are men that overvalue a woman’s Hestia and discourage her Aphrodite. A woman is also a sexual being and has needs. My ongoing story about Yumi is one example where a husband denies his wife’s need for passion and intimacy. While I’m not sure, I expect Keisha was in a similar position.
From a woman’s perspective, women should understand that men do appreciate Hestia even if we aren’t aware of it or seemingly take it for granted. When we don’t express our gratitude, approach us with grace about it. Remind us why it is important to you and the value you receive from it. It fulfills a goddess in you that isn’t sexual but equally important. We love you and want you to feel appreciated. We are just block heads sometimes and need a gentle nudge. We also want your Aphrodite. Don’t treat your passion and intimacy as a gift our reward to us. That is treating us like a child. Passion and intimacy is a gift we share with one another.
I once had a female friend that was separated and heading towards divorce. She said, “Well, I guess I better get back to the gym and get tight again.” I recall feeling very deflated by this comment. She felt like she needed to workout to look and feel more beautiful and sexy. She was now willing to put in the work to look her best for a man she hasn’t even met yet. Yet, for the man that had once loved and married her, feeling and being sexy hadn’t been important enough. I know plenty of guys going through divorce that have said the same thing as they joked and rubbed their beer belly. We can do better for each other and ourselves.
My story about Virginia and Hannah that began with Someone’s Knocking at the Door was the driver behind this Hestia-Aphrodite post. Virginia was a virgin and I believe I saw Hestia in her. Unfortunately, Hestia was all I saw. I didn’t feel her desire to give pleasure at all. Passion felt like a reward she was wielding. Aphrodite was not present. As Hannah knocked on my door looking for “ice”, I joked and called her an “Aphrodite looking babe”. She definitely channeled her Aphrodite. I continued Hannah’s story in Hannah – Uncaged and shared a fantasy letter she had written. I shared it because it is dripping with Romantic Love and passion. The same is true of Paris in the Video: Strawberry Letter 23. The love expressed in these moments felt like divine perfection. The letters are real and the feelings felt by these women and others I will share are also real. But, believing they are real and sustainable at this level of intensity is the illusion of Romantic Love.
Hestia or Aphrodite? Please, each of you take my hand and lead me to the bridge from Romantic Love to Consummate Love. Maybe we can stop along the way to bake some blueberry muffins and have a hot threesome?