The Aphrodite and Persephone Archetypes

For today’s post, I have chosen to go over the Aphrodite and Persephone archetypes as they can be active in a woman’s personality.    This is rooted in the work of Jean Shinoda Bolen in her book Goddesses in Everywoman.    She elaborated on this work by writing Gods in Every Man and Goddesses in Older Women.    For the purpose of this post, I will be going over the two most active archetypes in myself, and explaining how they may have an impact on life!

As I am sure you have gathered by the title my main archetype is Aphrodite, the Alchemical Goddess.    My very close secondary archetype is Persephone.    I will also briefly mention that my tertiary archetype is Artemis, however as this is much less active I will not be going over that one here.   Aphrodite and Persephone can be seen as almost mirror archetypes of one another, in some ways.    Aphrodite is the physical and very sensual realm, and Persephone is the deep abyss and Underworld realm of the subconscious.

Aphrodite is considered by Bolen to be the Alchemical Goddess, as she combines aspects of both the Virgin and Vulnerable Goddesses in turn.   Aphrodite is in touch with the creative and the sensuous deeply.   To have Aphrodite as the main archetype means that I am innately connected to my emotions.    There is a bit of the muse in the Aphrodite woman, as she is both an artist and one who inspires creativity in others!   This shows itself for me in my artistic nature, and my Bohemian attitude.   Aphrodite women are deep lovers of beauty and pleasure in all of its various forms.   This means being a lover of great art, music, literature, in addition to loving self-care and beauty rituals.   As those who have read this blog for a while will know, I certainly love beauty in all forms!   Aphrodite women tend to draw others to them like moths to the flame, and they are very nurturing but not necessarily in a motherly way.

Persephone women are often seen as youthful and in need of protection, as Persephone was the classic mother’s daughter in an overprotected home.   However, the aspect of Persephone I feel is very active within myself is the Underworld Goddess aspect.   This is the empowered Queen that helps to lead you into the deepest and darkest parts of the soul.   My interest in shadow work and my lack of fear of digging deeply into myself is the Persephone in me acting up!   Persephone women can be seen to be in true partnerships with their significant others, as Persephone is a true wife to Hades and his equal!   It is this ability to be a true mate that balances the Aphrodite tendency to be promiscuous, as I am instead a serial monogamist (and have been deeply in love with my husband for seven years now)!   A final Persephone aspect that is active in me is the youthful energy, and it is even said that this feminine youthful energy often makes Persephone women look much younger than their physical years!

To have both Aphrodite and Persephone active means that you are both the sexual sensual woman and the imaginative feminine child!    To me, this means that I can be very mature at times, while also being very in touch with the innocence of my inner child.   It presents an interesting dichotomy, but one which works well for me.   After all, being too mature (or centered only in the sensual) can blind us to what is really happening around us, or deeper down.   Being too imaginative and in touch with the inner child (or inner world) can prevent us from being in touch with our own bodies.   Having both allows a balance to be reached within myself, for me at least!    I am not so head in the clouds as a Persephone woman may be (especially as this is my secondary) but I am also not sexually promiscuous as an Aphrodite woman can be (as I explained above).   

I feel most of us have a primary archetype that is active for us from our childhood onward, and for me that is Aphrodite.   Our secondary ones usually come in during puberty to balance or enhance our primary.   Any other archetypes can evolve and become active as your life path develops circumstantially.    I hope reading about my journey to discover my active archetypes will help get others interested in discovering their own!   It must be noted that you need not be a specific gender to have a Goddess or God archetype present.   Reading all of Bolen’s books will help one to discover which male and female archetypes may be active within themselves!    Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is a lovely painting of Aphrodite.   I found the image on

Further Reading

  • Goddess in Everywoman by Jean Shinoda Bolen
  • Gods in Every Man by Jean Shinoda Bolen
  • Goddess in Older Women by Jean Shinoda Bolen