Feminine Archetypes
-Ágnes Anikó Jánosi-

            The knowledge inherited from our predecessors, the wisdom condensed in our symbols, tales and myths has long been a matter of preoccupation for me. These mediums have helped us bring order into the unknown, into our fear-filled world, and create a secure environment, a home.

In his book “Fears and Symbols”, Elemér Hankiss argues that humans are “symbol-making beings,” and if they lose touch with the latter, chaos will occur in a society.

            In ancient times, young girls were introduced into the art of Femininity by wiser women from the community. The role of this initiation was to prepare them emotionally for the transition from youth to mature womanhood. We increasingly tend in our world to lose contact with our rituals, which results in a sense of separatedness and a lack of strength in adulthood. We feel  something is missing, but we can’t exactly determine what it is. The aim of my clothes and accessories is to reinforce those qualities with primeval spiritual purity and power that appear within the archetypes of the natural Wild Woman.

 

“The archetype is a huge, mysterious and at the same time teaching force. We can accumulate enormous reserves in its close proximity, namely, if follow and maintain a balanced relationship with it. Each archetype has specific features, indicated also by their names: the Great Mother, the

Divine Child, the Solar Hero and so on. ”[1]

”(...) to call back the hawk which has been let fly, to cause something of the wild to return when it is called. (…) We are using the voices of our minds, our lives and our souls to call back intuition, imagination; to call back the Wild Woman. And she comes.[2]

The Healing Priestess

The Healing Priestess with a gentle look, et a resolute manner has arrived with her herbs and amulets, incantantions and magic power. The Great Healer's archetype is characterized by wisdom, kindness, knowledge, care and other features related to healing. Acting with the generosity, kindness and helpfulness of the Great Healer is beneficial, but only to a certain extent.

“The cries of the suffering world cannot always be answered by the same person. We can only respond to those who enable us to return home regularly, otherwise the light of our hearts will fade into nothingness.”[3]

"Their knowledge was based on the universal wisdom of sacred femininity, their minds were sharp,

their intelligence was outstanding. They were trained in teaching, strategic, theoretical and practical

knowledge. They were aware of and used the healing power of plants and stones, they knew the cosmic laws and the order of natural change, they healed the wounded and the sick. As priestesses, they were present at the initiations in the mysteries of women's lives, assisted in childbirths, prepared young girls for womenhood, they would also marry the bridal pair, assisted the dying. "[4]

The Bride

The bride is a betrothed girl about to be married. The Hungarian equivalent of the word comes from the root men /megy (to go, goes), suggesting that the bride is leaving the hearth, namely, her usual environment, her girl companions. The old wedding ceremonies consisted partly of the long, slow procession of the participants from the maid's house back to their home, then to the groom's house. Walking down the relatively long route accompanied by slow singing and reciting rhymes was a reminder that the young couple reached one of the most important turning points, thresholds of their life.

            The bride's richly decorated garments would express - in any age or cultural area - the importance of her present life cycle, as she is on the verge of welcoming motherhood and the emergence of a new life. Her whole appearance would reflect the richness of this new life of divine origine. The colors of her dress are symbolic: white or silver represents purity, red stands for love, blue for fidelity, whereas gold, gemstones and jewelry hint to the readiness to receive God's gifts, and brown (earth) refers to a shared assumption of the hardships of life. The monochrome, snow-white garment has become widespread only later, following the marginalization of traditional clothing. The flowers interwound in the hair, pinned on the garment, or added to a bouquet are associated with fertility, whereas the garland refers to eternity.

            Veiling the bride is an ancient custom that refers to the sanctification of  motherland,  indirectly of motherhood, too. The veil in Christianity is also a sign of being reserved for God, expressing that the in-depth knowledge of humankind is  only accesible to God. This knowledge is given by God to the spouses as a reward for exclusive loyalty and perseverance, as well as part of the knowledge of the divine.

 

The Lady of the Harvest

According to popular tradition, the Lady of the Harvest is the caretaker of the poor and of those in need, the patron of the sick and of those languishing in captivity, and the protector of the dead. The Lady of the Harvest in a blessed state is the guardian of pregnant mothers. As the patron saint of the harvest, she is celebrated on July the 2nd. The priest blessed the tools, but people did not work in fact on this day. The harvest began on the third of July, and while women were cutting the wheat with a scythe, men were binding the sheaf. Wheat crown would be made on this day of intertwined stalks, which would then become a decorative element of the room. Plants gathered on this day would be attributed with healing power, especially in the domain of female diseases.

She is very motherly, caring, charitable in her relationships, she is basically a giver, a helper, a feeder. She is very grounded, has a practical "Mother Earth" vibe. She is an extrovert, paying attention to the others' needs, and is blessed with a rich world of emotions.

In the more general sense of the Seed, grain refers primarily to fertility. As seeds disintegrate when the plant dies, then they sprout again, they indicate the intertwining of life and death, the rebirth after death. Grains represent the cycle of nature: the vitality unfolding from the earth due to the power of the Sun and water, the falling on the ground, the annihilation. The first farming cultures  refer to it in this sense, as well; it constituted an important part of fertility spells, marriage offerings and funeral rites.

This also explains why, besides harvest deities and mother goddesses, one of the most important attributes of the dying and resurrecting gods is the grain and the ear of grain. As an substantial food supply and as a prerequisite for life, in many cultures it is the expression of life, abundance and the presence of God. The archaic fertility spells of the Hungarian popular tradition include the germination of wheat on Luca Day (the 13th of December), the so-called ”luca-wheat”, which sprouts during the winter solstice. Wheat is a particularly important grain for the Hungarians; it was called “life” in the central parts of the Transtisza.

 

Deer Mother, Deer Woman, Eneh

Hungarian people honor seven Virgins, among whom the Blessed Virgin is considered to be the greatest, revered – long time ago - as the Deer Mother. Eneh means hind, who is the mother of Hunor and Magor, the wife of Nimród, the Divine Mother of the Huns, the Hungarians, our ancestress, the beginning, the genesis, the Mother of God clothed in the rays of the Sun. Everything originates from her, creativity, willpower. Her ancient teachings and spirituality were passed on by her descendants and daughters.

The Blessed Virgin has always served as an example of femininity for Hungarian women, for which reason Hungarian men honored her as the earthly paragon of the Blessed Virgin.

She symbolizes vitality, willpower, energy, capacity to act and fight, ambition and active eroticism. She possesses high vitality, self-healing and regenerating power, successfully overcomes obstacles and manages challenges. She is characterized by impulsive energy, explosive, passionate temperament, strong femininity and good problem-solving skills.   Due to her wisdom, she bridles her aggression and raw impulses. “She is brave and empathic at the same time, with great reserves of power. She is the incarnation of the instinctual feminine power and the eliminator of ignorance. In our culture, the cult of Mary has displaced the ancient goddesses representing powerful female

energy, although the masculine female figure of our time, the extreme feminist movements, the

exaggerated freedom are also indicative of the harmful extreme. ”[5]

 

Lady of the Ravens

The raven is a messenger animal, a soul-carrying bird that can cross the threshold between the world of the living and the dead. It is a symbol related to death and war. It alludes to sorcery and

mysticism, intellect and penetrating cunning, flawless perception and the ability to transform at will.

Familiar with death and life, the Lady of Ravens knows how to help reveal the deeper secrets. Her black colour reflects that she can easily descend into darkness to bring light to the surface. When she appears in our lives, our imagination spreads its wings and many changes take place.

Resorting to the sorcery of the Lady of Ravens we discover the depths of our inner world, and besides the knowledge, we also gain access to the wisdom and the tools that help us make the necessary changes.

In many cultures, it is a common belief that the soul and knowledge do not perish with the body, as the ravens carry the former to the light, thus contributing to the natural cycle.

The Lady of the Ravens teaches us to be quick in our actions, but also circumspect in our procession, so that no one can intimidate us. She is in the future and in the past at the same time.

With the aid of raven spells, your intelligence becomes sharper, and your intuition increases, your level of consciousness and your perception increase greatly. You may find yourself looking for new intellectual pursuits, your ingenuity and self-esteem increase. You may be asked to embark on a

new mission, and will be given all the means to accomplish it.

Those who come in contact with her may experience the revitalization of their loquacity or gain the ability to connect with others in some form or other: through writing, painting, acting, dancing, or performing.

She is playful and extremely soulful, and those who hear her call may discover these qualities emerge in themselves, as well.

The essence of the Lady of the Ravens lies in the fact that she brings to the surface the creative life force from the dark depths.[6]

 

The Lady of Bones

In the tale of La Loba, there is an old woman living in the desert who collects bones. In archetypal symbolism, bones represent indestructible force. They are indeed not easy to destroy, they are difficult to burn due to their structure, and it is almost impossible to crush them into dust. In mythology and tales, they represent the indestructible soul/spirit.

In tales, wolf bones symbolize the imperishability of our primeval essence, instinctive nature, freedom and purity, which cannot accept the rigidity and demands of a dead, extremely civilizing culture.

In the tale, women reach the completion of their instinctive, unbridled feelings, turning into the flesh-and-blood creatures they once were.

La Loba today collects bones, she is rising the edifice and home of the soul. She creates and recreates the soul with her hands, keeping things as they used to be.

How do I connect with my instinctive self? When was the last time I ran free? How can I vitalize my life? In this consists the act of collecting the bones.

Once we have that, we have to sit by the fire and figure out which song, which hymn to sing over the bones.

Do you need psychoanalytic advice? Go and collect the bones. She is the path between the living and the dead. If a woman preserves her gift and can stay aged while she is young and stay young when she is old, she will always know what comes next.[7]

Danu, the guardian of the waters, the Water Goddess

She is the mighty goddess of waters, streams, lakes and rivers, magic springs were dedicated to her. For thousands of years, water has been a symbol of life, eternal youth and the desires associated with the quality of human existence and the overcoming of perishability. It represents wealth, the source of inspiration. Water is a constantly flowing, feminine emotion that makes up much of our body. It can be delicately caressing, healing, but also frantic, overflowing, sweeping aside obstacles. The river, the flow of water also represents the flood of forms, fertility, death and renewal. The downward flow hints to the gathering of waters, the return to elimination of inequalities.

Travelling upstream means returning to the divine source, reaching the essence. Water fills the available space, it freely mixes with everything else, thus it is also a symbol of adaptation.

The ocean is the king of waters, because although its bed lies considerably lower, it rules over the other waters due to its gentleness and humility. It is the symbol of the constant cycle, of the natural  order and the eternal return, of immaculacy and the pure authentic origin that can be found only through traveling upstream. In pre-Christian Europe, wells and springs were sacred places, hence the custom of baptism.

Goddess Danu is very much associated with water. Several rivers were named after her, including the Don, the Danube, the Dniester and the Dnieper.

 

[1]          Clarissa Pinkola Estes: Farkasokkal Futó Assszonyok (Women Who Run With The Wolves), Budapest, Édesvíz kiadó, 2019.

[2]          Idem, ibidem.

[3]          Idem, ibidem.

[4]          Pozsgai Nikoletta

[5]          Katalin Kiss

[6]          Szimbólumok/Állatszimbólumok: A Holló - Fényörvény (fenyorveny.hu)

[7]          Clarissa Pinkola Estes, op. cit.