When the goddess Aphrodite claims us too fully, over time, our bodies become abandoned temples of physical perfection, sexual allure, and romantic passion.
Her seductive archetypal power has captivated us for eons, but in today’s world, the enhancements of fashion, beauty, and physical appearance have intensified veneration of this goddess. However, her enchantments can have profound consequences, particularly when it comes to aging and the pressures of perfection.
In this episode, we delve into the mysterious realm of the archetype with guest Arlene Landau, Ph.D. – a Jungian analyst, mythologist, lecturer, and author of Tragic Beauty: The Dark Side of Venus Aphrodite and the Loss and Regeneration of Soul.
An intricate and complicated relationship exists between women and the goddess of love. Arlene fills a gap in Jungian literature from the female gaze, providing a reflective 21st-century examination of the Aphrodite archetype’s dark shadow. When pressured to concretize Aphrodite symbols — pursuing beauty can be a treacherous path, especially for women in the entertainment industry who must always be young, beautiful, sexy, and attractive. In addition, body dysmorphic disorder and anorexia are common challenges among the daughters of Aphrodite.
Arlene shares her Hollywood experiences, including a declined opportunity to date Elvis Presley. In addition, she sheds light on the tragic fate of “dead blondes” like Marilyn Monroe and Anna Nicole Smith, who over-identified with Aphrodite goddess of love.
Fairytales warn us the aging Aphrodite type may feel bitter and dangerous as her beauty fades. She prompts us to engage in extreme beautification measures leaving us vulnerable to disfigurement or grotesque approximations of her qualities. She can poison our hearts against seeming rivals, leaving us hollow and alienated from love. Men are not immune to her demands for perfection either.
To balance the psyche, we explore embracing the goddesses sisters Athena, Hestia, and Artemis and developing a relationship with them to counteract the hold of Aphrodite. Finally, we explore an alternative to her excesses – to nurture character and embrace the beauty of selfhood and laughter as we age.
Seeking wisdom offers a crucial balance in our appearance-driven, youth-oriented culture. Arlene writes: “I have had to carry powerful Aphrodite energies, along with a numinous yearning to learn—holding both. It is my task to understand Sophia not just from my mind and animus but from my imagination and soul”.
Join us as we embark on a journey of exploration, navigating the perils and pleasures of Aphrodite and discovering the hopeful path toward the regeneration of soul.
Here’s the dream we analyze:
“I’m looking down from the terrace of a house, which could be the house I grew up in as a child. Down in the front garden I see two men cooking something in a bucket. The two men are chit-chatting and mingling with a certain ease. I have this packet of beans with me that I want to cook, and I’m tempted to try to toss the beans down into their bucket without them noticing, but abandon that idea as impractical. In any event, when I finally tear the package of beans open, I realize they are dry beans, not soaked. I’m a bit daunted now. I decide to try to microwave them for ten minutes to soften them up and try to eat them.”
Arlene Diane Landau. Tragic Beauty: The Dark Side of Venus Aphrodite and the Loss and Regeneration of Soul. https://a.co/d/gpcLp5X
Arlene Diane Landau. Professional Website. http://www.arlenelandau.com/
Douglas Stuart. Shuggie Bain: A Novel. https://a.co/d/eREcBvu
Jean Shinoda Bolen. Goddesses in Everywoman: Powerful Archetypes in Women’s Lives. https://a.co/d/2W66QOj
Walt Whitman. Eidolons: a poem. https://www.bartleby.com/142/256.html
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