In my last post, I identified one of the Greek gods with a Myers-Briggs assessment. As a reminder, the Myers-Briggs assessment is an assessment of a person’s psyche, more specifically, how that psyche interacts with (and gains an understanding of) the world around us. The assessment gave me an idea that mapping Greek gods in Myers-Briggs categories could provide insight into the human psyche and perhaps even the collective unconscious.
So, I’ve selected (more or less at random) the names of five Greek gods (hell, maybe they’re Roman–mythology is not my forte). I’m going to do a quick assessment and see if any patterns form. Disclaimer: Keep in mind, this is not the way Myers-Briggs assessments are undertaken. A real assessment involves a questionnaire involving the actual person being assessed.
So, here’s my list of gods (and goddesses):
Wait, that’s six! Ha–just seeing if you’re paying attention. Let’s look again at the four sets of attributes that go into a Myers-Briggs score:
Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I)
Sensing (S) or Intuition (N)
Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)
Hera, the goddess of women and marriage. She was said to be solemn (I for introverted), possessing a woman’s intuition (N for Intuition). Hera was known for her jealous and vengeful nature (F for Feeling). And she often cast judgment on those who crossed her, such as Paris for selecting Aphrodite as the most beautiful goddess (J for Judging). Assessment: INFJ
Ares was the god that represents the physical or violent and untamed aspect of war (E for Extroverted), in contrast to his sister the armored Athena, whose functions as a goddess of intelligence include military strategy and generalship. Ares used his senses to fuel his lust for war (S for sensing) and unlike Athena was feeling (F for feeling) instead of Thinking. Ares judged (J for Judging) the world and often dealt death as a result of his judgment. Assessment: ESFJ
Eros was the Greek god of love and has a root name related to desire. He was one of the winged gods and had a Roman equivalent of Cupid. His mischievous interventions in the affairs of gods and mortals caused bonds of love to form, often illicitly. Later he was seen as an adult male who embodies sexual power, and a profound artist. Eros, then was introverted (as most artists are, I for Introvert), saw and created love when there was only a potential (which puts him as using Intuition, N), and placed more importance on feeling (F for Feeling). Perception was everything to Eros, and he could alter people’s perceptions, especially regarding the opposite sex (P for Perceiving). Assessment: INFP
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, wine, ritual madness, fertility, theater and religious ecstasy. Wine, music and ecstatic dance frees his followers from self-conscious fear and care, and subverts the oppressive restraints of the powerful. Those who partake of his mysteries are possessed and empowered by the god himself. Hmmm. Sounds like a drunken high to me. Anyway, as a party guy, he is extroverted (E for Extroversion), believes in his senses (and altering them in pleasant ways) and so is sensing (S for Sensing). Parties are all about enhancing feelings, reveling in them in fact (F for Feeling). He is more into perceiving (P for Perceving) then judging, likely wouldn’t judge a soul. Assessment: ESFP
Athena was the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, mathematics, strength, war strategy (as opposed to Ares, who was more aligned with the actual physical fighting aspect of war), the arts, crafts, and skill. She is noted to have only fought for just reasons, and would not fight without a purpose. For me, she is a polar opposite of Ares and is introverted (I for Introversion). Also unlike Ares, she uses her intuition and sense of justice to interact and understand the world (N for Intuition). Completing the trend for being the opposite of Ares, she is thinking (T for Thinking) and uses her perceptions (P for Perceiving) for her sense of justice. Assessment: INTP
Note: It’s interesting that Athena and Ares have the opposite letter in each of the four letter selections. Perhaps more can be made of this. Did Greek cities (each of which had a god that was selected by its inhabitants to protect the city) who worshipped these opposite Myers-Briggs personality types? Another good Ph.D. thesis suggestion!
Aphrodite was the god of Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation (Venus was the Roman equivalent). Other gods feared that their rivalry over her, because of her beauty, would interrupt the peace among them and lead to war, so Zeus married her to Hephaestus, who was not seen as a threat. Aphrodite had many lovers—both gods and men. The son of Aphrodite is Eros. As an object of intense beauty, she is introverted (I for Intorverted). I would guess she’s intuitive (going to bed with both men and gods when intuition guided her, N for Intuition). I’d put her as feeling (F for Feeling) and perceiving (P for Perceiving). Assessment: INFP
So, here are the six Myers-Briggs assessments:
- INFJ (female)
- ESFJ (male)
- INFP (male)
- ESFP (male)
- INTP (female)
- INFP (female)
It’s interesting that two of them match. They are Eros and Aphrodite at INFP. Eros is the son of Aphrodite. And there appears to be a tendency for boy children to favor their mothers and girl children to favor their father. So, this overlap of the Myers-Briggs makes perfect sense! I wonder if there can be a correlation made of Myers-Briggs between children and their parents. Perhaps some variables could be identified that could help with raising well-rounded children! (I suggest making a grant request.)
Other than a mother-child connection, it’s interesting that the others all have different Myers-Briggs assessments. I believe there could be some letter mapping of gods into the “good” gods versus the “bad” or “mischievous” gods. All of the female gods I looked at are Intuitive (N) and Introverted (I). All of the males were Feeling (F). I wonder how much farther that difference between the sexes could be explored, and what it would suggest about ancient Greek culture. I think it would be worthwhile for some Ph.D. student to explore!