Am I Athena? Always A Daughter, Never A Wife


Am I Athena? Always A Daughter, Never A Wife
Dr. Jean Shinoda Bolen once described the Jungian archetype of an Athena woman, the eternal daughter

Dr. Jean Shinoda Bolen wrote a book called Goddesses in Every Woman where she described feminine archetypes using the mythical Greek Goddesses. A Jungian psychoanalyst, Dr. Bolen outlined the characteristics of each archetype and common patterns in their lives that identified them. When I first read this book I initially thought I was Artemis, or whom the Romans called Diana, who formed brotherly relationships with men. The more I read the book it was clear that Athena describes me best.

My life and psychological tendencies have been defined by my father. Actually, it has been defined by my two fathers. Growing up I called my grandfather Papa and my father, I call dad. When I was an infant my father moved to another country. My mother and I were left behind and so my grandfather became my father figure. The separation between my parents was logistical. Before my third birthday my family was reunited and that was when I realized that my dad was not my grandfather. Nothing changed. I just had two fathers in my mind and relationally ever since.


Athena is known as the Father's daughter. She was identified as the daughter of Zeus but not much is written about her mother. Athena was also called the Goddess of Wisdom and her talents included strategy, intellect, and an ability to stay rational. Dr. Bolen wrote that an Athena woman was ruled by her head far more than her heart. I loved what I read.

Growing up my dad would bemoan when I put on nail polish. He thought that the time spent painting my nails and waiting for them to dry could have been applied elsewhere, to more productive endeavors. Over time, his demanding expectations became normal, while my grandfather would express satisfaction over achievements he made it clear .... it was could never be enough. It could have always been better. How I was raised was typical of many old cultures. There is nothing I regret about it.

The one thing that seems to be the legacy of my two fathers is my pattern with men I work with. Like Athena, it mimics the father-daughter dynamic. This happens with men regardless of age but almost always with a man raised in an old culture. For example, one boss was only five years older than I but he came from a traditional German family, and I was his "Tochter". That is the German word for daughter. If not the daughter I am the sister or "Schwester".

Wilhelm was actually born and raised in Los Angeles but he pushed me the same way my dads did. When I mean push, it was not in the brutish fashion people think, just that he would never let me get away with slacking. He'd remind me that this isn't your best because I know what your best looks like.

Must-see Videos
Most Popular