In my earliest experiences with psychedelics, men seemed to take the reigns. While this is certainly not the case for everyone, I think there is a pattern of women being introduced to psychedelics and other substances through boyfriends or male friends, which can lead to a unique palette of issues and troubled experiences. Its important to infuse some feminine energy into the experience, even if retroactively.
Why does this pattern appear? I believe that men are given fewer outlets than women for their own emotions and are therefore more likely to turn to alcohol and substance use as a way to deal with or escape conflict they feel arising within themselves. This is an unfortunate, systemic problem with our own society which deserves attention in its own right. As women, we may be intrigued by a guy who seems mysterious, wise, or very easy-going, and it is often the case that he uses LSD, DMT, mushrooms, or at least marijuana. As we begin to trust this person, we may share a psychedelic experience with him. Trust is a beautiful thing, but when we trust a man as our guide in psychedelics, especially when we are newly in love, there is a potential for a bad experience.
Within each person, there are both divine masculine and divine feminine energies which must stay in balance. Our feminine side is our true, beautiful, vulnerable, emotional self, and our masculine side protects the feminine core. As women, meeting a new, masculine man and falling in love with him can cause us to drop our own masculine energy, leaving the soft, feminine core wide open for potential harm. In the context of psychedelics, completely dropping your guard and trusting a man can leave your entire subconscious, emotional structure wide open for confusion and harm, which could be entirely unrelated to this man. You must protect your core and take responsibility for yourself, no matter how good, loving, or well-intentioned he is.
As another way of looking at the feminine experience of psychedelics is through the lens of the classical goddess archetypes, because their energies can be used to guide our interactions with psychedelics and help prevent negative or scary experiences. In our modern world, it is so easy to get detached from the many different dimensions of femininity, and so I hope to bring these aspects of the goddess more into our conscious understanding.
Feminine Goddess Archetypes
She is beautiful, sensual, and seductive lover. She is in touch with her body, her own beauty, and her ability to attract and please men. She loves herself completely, seeing her own beauty and power. Rather than being a beautiful but empty vessel, she is filled with a profound, nourishing, completely intimate love that a man longs for and could never receive from a mother or sister.
When tripping with another person, the Aphrodite energy allows you to open up and realize your ultimate, penetrating connectedness to that person. It allows you to see them as yourself, to feel every aspect of them, and to love them completely. If you decide to engage in sexual behavior during your trip, Aphrodite’s energy will help you to feel yourself as a sensual goddess and feel fully present during sex.
She is a truly free spirit, forgoing attachment to a man for the opportunity to seek adventure. She is constantly looking for excitement and a challenge. She is untamable and unyielding, always ready for a change. She is not afraid to go solo, and she trusts her instincts. She may be considered a rebel in the eyes of society, but that is only because she refuses to be anything except her authentic self.
The energy of Artemis is one of the most important aspects of femininity to bring to a psychedelic experience, which can truly be the adventure of a lifetime. You must be prepared for anything, ready to take on any challenge, and willing to take a good, hard look at yourself in the name of living authentically. Even when tripping with another person, Artemis knows that it is a deeply personal experience, and this makes things all the more exciting because she is not afraid of going into the depths of consciousness alone. In fact, fear is not a factor in her mind. She knows that, whatever happens, she can rely on herself to get through it.
She is a wise, studious, woman who respects herself and her own intelligence. She fights for virtue and learning, pursuing her high ideals with courage and persistence. She does not accept the words of another blindly, but rather she examines things for herself. She knows that she must take care of herself in order to achieve her goals, dreams, and lofty aspirations.
It is wise to approach your use of psychedelics with Athena energy. Prioritize taking care of yourself, and never blindly accept what someone else tells you about a substance, no matter how much you love or trust them. Never accept a random, unknown substance from someone at a concert or festival. Always do thorough research before taking any substance, making sure to read a variety of (positive and negative) trip reports, know your dosage, and know the ways that this substance has been used in shamanic traditions. This is one of the most important steps in avoiding scary or negative experiences with psychedelics. The goddess Athena would never give away her responsibility to understand and know things for herself, even in a relationship of passionate love and trust.
She is caring, nurturing, and down-to-earth. She is a mother to all, but never gives more of herself than she should. She cares for herself just as she cares for others. She puts appearances last, focusing on the needs of the soul. She can feed the hungry, help the sick, cheer up the brokenhearted. She is warm and comforting.
When a trip takes a turn for the worse (whether it’s you or someone else experiencing the trip), you can let Demeter shine through you. If it’s someone else, be warm, caring, non-judgmental, and put their needs before your own, at least until the worst is over. No matter how much you care, never put yourself in harms way or give more than you have. Remember to care for yourself as well, because it is impossible to consistently nourish others without first being nourished yourself. If you’ve experienced an upsetting trip, take time to love and care for yourself, nurturing your psyche back to a state of health.
She is the queen mother, regal and respected by all who see her. She supports her husband in his career and pursuits, but is always respected in her own right. She is a loyal wife or partner, but she never sacrifices her own goals or self-respect for anything. She is elegant, refined, a role model, a wise woman.
When taking psychedelics with a significant other, be there to support them, but never sacrifice yourself in doing so. While many aspects of this goddess are consistent with that of Demeter, Hera’s unique energy is knowing how to be a fully supporting, passionately loving partner without giving away her own power or self-respect. Loving your S.O. does not mean that you have to “take their word for it” or put yourself completely in their hands. Another way of saying this is that Hera knows how to keep her own masculine and feminine energies in balance while being a beautifully feminine partner to a wonderfully masculine man.
She is mysterious, clairvoyant, psychic, a healer. She has the power to heal the spiritually sick, and nourish the spiritually hungry. She has ancient wisdom that few know, and she knows how to use it. She helps herself and others find their way to cosmic safety, away from the pain and damage of life. She has the courage to go where others won’t.
The energy of Persephone will resonate deeply with mystical, visionary psychedelic experiences, while also having the ability to bring about healing from a more upsetting trip. She is not afraid of the dark feelings of fear, anxiety, and confusion that arise from an upsetting experience – instead, she confronts them head-on in the name of renewal. No matter how terrifying a psychedelic experience was, she is always aware of the spiritual lessons involved and works tirelessly to make sense of her confusion.
When I was first introduced to these goddess archetypes, I kept thinking “That’s the one that’s most like me! No, that one… Actually, this one!” as I heard each of them described. The truth is that all of these aspects of femininity are in all of us, and you owe it to yourself not to become pigeon-holed in any single one of them. Allow yourself to experience all of them and discover what each one means to you.
From the perspective of psychedelics, accessing all of your multidimensional femininity is vitally important, because when we reside in only one or two of the aspects, we are potentially putting our delicate, invaluable cores in harms way. If you were to reside solely in Aphrodite, you may hurl yourself into a trip, hoping for passionate love and unity with your S.O., only to find that the it is a frighteningly different experience from what you expected, or that you didn’t even know what you were really getting into. If you approach the experience solely from the perspective of noble, intellectual Athena, you may know everything about the substance you’re taking but remain detached from the experience, overthinking it and missing out on the raw power of unity, beauty, and wonder.
Finding these goddess archetypes within yourself is a lifelong journey of self-knowledge, but it is so beautiful and transformative. You truly owe it to yourself.
(Thanks to True Brilliance for inspiring this perspective)