When we speak of the divine feminine, by no means is this something that applies only to women. I talk about this a lot in my book Open Wide but for those of you who have not read it... we all possess both masculine and feminine energy within us, regardless of gender or sexuality. Its presence is innate — it’s part of you, it’s always been there, and you couldn’t get rid of it if you tried, sista!
How To Embrace The Divine Feminine
Your dad, grandfather, uncle, boyfriend, the guy you sat next to in high school English — ALL of them have feminine energy inside them, just as all the women in your life have masculine energy too. In Eastern traditions, the left side of the body is believed to correlate to the feminine and the right side of the masculine. In yoga, these energies are known as Yin and Yang or Shiva and Shakti.
If all of this is sounding ‘new age’ and woo-woo, let me assure you: this is a model that’s been around since the dawn of time. (And I mean that literally: most cultures have creation stories built around the cosmic interplay between the masculine and feminine energies.) So it’s not a new concept. It is, however, experiencing a re-emergence; an exciting rebirth back into the collective consciousness. Why? Because we need her! We need to tap into our divine feminine energy now more than ever! The world is craving her softness, grace, love, warmth, openness, intuition, light, strength and leadership more than ever before.
To make sure we’re on the same page here, let’s talk definitions. Divine feminine energy is the energy that stems from a place of receiving, softness, being, allowing, listening, absorbing and nurturing. She embodies full acceptance of all, which means no longer trying to fix, change or improve others or one’s self. She is relaxed yet resilient, sensitive yet strong, gentle yet firm, loving and compassionate, and knows how to hold her boundaries. By contrast, she is not the energy of doing, pushing, building, fighting or forcing… those are the divine masculine.
There was a time when women and men walked the earth as equals.
Gods and Goddesses were revered, and they were both honored and celebrated for the qualities that made them unique. This was prior to the onset of the belief in one male God, which led to a patriarchal society and the denouncement of women and Goddesses. For the millennia since, the divine feminine has been downplayed, demeaned, and removed from her place of honor and reverence... which has caused some serious imbalance.
This is why for most of us — male or female — our relationship with our innate feminine energy is… well, kind of screwy. Right from birth, we’ve been programmed in a myriad of ways — some subtle, some overt — to believe that feminine energy and qualities are ‘less than’; that we should embody as many of the masculine qualities as possible, and do our best to hide and diminish everything else. I distinctly remember crying as a young girl and my father demanding me to pull my socks up and get on with it. Big girls don’t cry, he would say. That may be why many of us have some healing to do on our relationship with our divine feminine.
Before we go any further, let’s get one thing straight: this isn’t about dissing men, or promoting the idea that women are superior, better than, stronger or taking over... Not at all! This is about re-balancing the divine feminine and the divine masculine, so that we can consciously create TOGETHER as individuals, and collectively as a whole in this modern world.
The divine feminine lives in us all, as we do in her, but due to the repression she has been experiencing for so long, it takes healing at an individual level for a woman to reignite this power inside herself.
So, are you ready to come on the journey? Are you ready for some deep soul nourishment to unleash your divine feminine and balance your divine masculine? It’s time to ignite the powerhouse goddess inside you that has been waiting for the chance to shine.
Let’s do it, beautiful!
One of the most powerful ways to reconnect with your divine feminine energy is by consciously embodying one of her archetypes.
What’s an archetype? Great question. Essentially, it’s an idea, theme or motif that is so deeply embedded in our collective psyche that we all relate to it without even thinking. These universal themes are so powerful, they transcend time, culture, sex, everything. If you’ve ever read a fairy tale and encountered a ‘gallant knight’ or a ‘wicked witch’ or a ‘damsel in distress’, then you’ve experienced the power of an archetype before — instinctively, we know the essence of those characters, without even being told. (Though it must be said, many of the feminine archetypes in fairy tales aren’t exactly empowering!)
Thankfully, there are plenty of archetypes that are empowering to the divine feminine. By figuratively ‘stepping into the shoes’ of these different figures, you can start experiencing and strengthening different aspects of your feminine self and observing how the different character traits feel in your body. Though there are many archetypes present in the psyche, the following six are my favorite.
The Six Archetype
The Warrioress Archetype
Due to the dominant patriarchal culture, the Warrioress has been the least understood and represented archetype, yet she is so relevant. The Warrioress is strong yet remains warm. She is powerful and fights ‘the good fight’, all in the name of service. She is clear, selfless, truly humble, directional, courageous and decisive — particularly with respect to her role in serving others.
When a woman is expressing her Warrioress archetype, she is grounded, confident, collaborative, compassionate, and not competitive. She makes you feel safe, generous, grateful, calm, and her ego doesn’t need praise or attention. She treats all with love and respect, no matter their sex, colour or creed. She is sure of herself and where she stands in the world.
Sometimes it can help your understanding of each archetype to have a celebrity or literary character for reference. Examples of the Warrioress include Pocahontas, Joan of Arc, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Wonder Woman. My beautiful bestie, Jess Ainscough (who is no longer earthside, but whose presence I feel every day) is also an example of this archetype. As ‘The Wellness Warrior’, she was ‘fighting the good fight’ to spread the message of wellness, kindness, and joy across the globe.
The Lover Archetype
The Lover archetype is a blend of sex and spirit. She is passionate, creative and exquisitely engaged in life. She is an ecstatic being with primal urges for sex, food, well-being, and procreation. She desires all forms of sensory contact and basks in the beauty of life.
When a woman is expressing her full Lover archetype she has a wide open mind, body, and soul. She is grounded in her body and moves her hips with vigor and spirit. She is the epitome of sensuality and her mood, looks, the way she walks talks and engages with others reflect that. She loves to play and doesn’t feel guilt or shame around her healthy expression of erotic embodiment. In fact, she embraces it.
Examples of the Lover archetype include Aphrodite, Mary Magdalene, Shakespeare’s Juliet, and Belle from Beauty and the Beast.
The Goddess Archetype
This is my favorite of all the archetypes because she is the domain of spirituality, mystical experience, and intuition. She is the Creatrix, intrinsically desiring newness, and actively seeking out fresh experiences, possibilities, and connections out of stagnation. She doesn’t like to sit still and is vigorously searching for transcendent experiences to reconnect with source and nurture her divine essence.
When a woman is expressing her fullness of the Goddess archetype, you will know it. It’s alluring! She is bursting with energy, wisdom and creativity. Being in her presence you feel renewed, inspired and revitalized by her divine composure, groundedness, love, drive and wisdom. You yearn to be around her to soak up some of her light, which is perfect because she loves to collaborate (although she does not need it).
Every culture in the world has their own examples of the Goddess archetype, like Athena (Greek goddess of strength and clear thinking), Diana (Roman goddess of nature and hunting), Branwen (Celtic goddess of love and beauty), Freya (Norse goddess of love, sex, beauty and fertility), Tara (Tibetan goddess of compassion), Kali (Hindu goddess of time, creation, destruction and power), and Turan (Etruscan goddess of love, health and fertility).
The Queen/Mother Archetype
The Mother, fittingly, is the strongest of the archetypes... yet she is also the one who can at time get the most overwhelmed with her role, which is as the authority and stewardess of the home and family. She is the giver of life and the Queen of the castle.
While the Goddess archetype is the Creatrix (inspiring vision and imagination), the Queen is the one who births these into being and actively looks to their growth and prospering. She is the domain of material manifestation, family, ‘kingdom’ (that is, sphere of life influence), and also of material wealth and abundance.
When a woman is expressing her fullness of the Queen/Mother archetype, she is concerned with the well-being and happiness of her home and the people in it. Her demeanor is ‘seasoned’ and carries deep wisdom with it, not fickle impulsiveness. She is compassionate, benevolent, caring, loving, evenhanded, calm, persistent, present and brings order, blessing, fertility, balance, compassion, fairness and unconditional love.
Examples of this archetype abound in both the ancient world (Mary, Cleopatra, Euripides's Medea) and the modern (Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones and Miranda Bailey in Grey’s Anatomy). Perhaps the best-known embodiment, however, is Mother Nature — maternal creator and nurturer of Earth and all its inhabitants.
The Wise Woman Archetype
This much-misunderstood archetype is often labeled a ‘witch’ by the patriarchy and is feared for her abilities. But rather than being a tool for evil, her wisdom is actually a powerful force for transformation, healing and growth. She elicits visions of the Shaman, one who marries spirit and practical action to produce solutions for the advancement of all. She advocates ‘right action’ (dharma) and is known for observing without judgment.
When a woman is expressing her fullness of the Wise Woman Archetype, she is inspiring ‘right action’ and revealing pathways to direct people there, exposing new possibilities they may not have been aware of. She does this without seeking acclaim or recognition.
This archetype is so very misunderstood and maligned that examples of her in popular culture are almost nonexistent. The Wise Man is very common (think: Dumbledore, Gandalf, Obi-Wan Kenobi), but the Wise Woman trope is frequently distorted to only show her shadow side (like the Evil Queen in Snow White, Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty, and Ursula in The Little Mermaid).
The Priestess Archetype
The Priestess is the domain of intuitive awareness and insight. She is the connector between the material and spiritual worlds.
When a woman is expressing her fullness of the Priestess archetype, she is the master of her spiritual and material worlds and knows how to dance elegantly between the two. She is intentional and reflective, having great depth to her presence and intellect. She understands that the inner and outer worlds are reflections and doesn’t let them rock her from her grounded presence, because she knows there is something bigger at play. She is not affected by faddish impulses and brings ease and grace to challenges.
This archetype plays an important role in the mythology of many cultures, like Pythia (priestess of Apollo’s temple at Delphi, known for her prophecies) and Ishkhara (priestess of Ishtar and Babylonian goddess of love).
- Is there a particular archetype that resonates with you right now?
- Which of her qualities do you feel most attracted to?
- How could you embody more of her essence in your life?
- Is there a particular area of your life where you especially need to call on her?
At different times you may connect with one goddess in particular, or perhaps a blend of two or three. Look closely at the qualities you want to cultivate more of, then see how you can call on and embody the corresponding archetypes for different periods in your daily life.
One of my favorite ways to embody a particular archetype is to choose a personal talisman that represents her. For example, I have many long flowy skirts, that to me, has always symbolized The Goddess. If I want to draw on that power and essence, I’ll wear one of those skirts to help me call on that particular energy.
I also have a big, heavy wooden necklace, that immediately makes me feel like Cleopatra or some sort of tribal queen! When I want to feel especially Queen-like, I’ll pop this necklace on and I’m instantly reminded of my sovereign power.
Of course, there are plenty of other ways to spark up your feminine side but these are just a few.
Now I would LOVE to hear from you. What are some ways YOU connect and embrace the divine feminine? Share them below so we can create a long list that we can all come back to when we need it.