Channeling Your Inner Greek God (Or Goddess)

The Greek pantheon of gods and goddesses had many tell-tale characteristics — which ones do you identify with the most? Read this guide to discover which one you most resemble in the pursuit of love!

By Laura Schaefer

hen it comes to something as important as finding true love, the cleverest among us often turn to the wisdom of the ancients. The Greek gods embody all extremes in human nature, and somewhere amongst the pantheon, you’ll find yourself.

According to Dr. Richard Martin, Ph.D., Classics department chair at Stanford University and author of Myths of the Ancient Greeks (2003), “No matter how advanced we think we might be, we still are subject to the same urges and desires, problems
You might be an Athena if you tend to over-think social interactions.
and possibilities, that people living in a small-scale society 2,500 years ago experienced — lust, anger, jealousy, ecstasy — it’s all still here, and we have to deal with it. The more we can look back to the stories of the ancients, the more perspective we have on our own problems.”

Which Greek god or goddess do you identify with most when it comes to love? Read on, find out, and learn from their mistakes.

Aphrodite — Goddess of lust, beauty, and seduction.
You might be an Aphrodite if you let your, ahem, carnal side guide your dating life. Aphrodites are alluring, charming and always sought-after by others.

Tips for Aphrodite types: Evaluate others on more than just their looks and magnetism. Tune into subtler signs of your mutual compatibility, such as shared laughter and interests. Spend less time primping and more time cultivating the parts of your personality that have nothing to do with sexual attractiveness. Balance and complement your alluring looks with your own substantive opinions and unique talents.

Athena — Goddess of wisdom and reason.
She excelled at strategy, but she was also a virgin who was fully armored. According to Dr. Martin, Athena could be thought of as “too tightly wrapped.” You might be an Athena if you tend to over-think social interactions and prefer to work or read rather than going out. You are a wonderful — if slightly shy — conversationalist who attracts others with your rich intelligence and insight. Someone who appreciates your formidable brain will be well-rewarded.

Tips for Athena types: Relax and try to live in the moment. Quiet your mind long enough to have fun and listen to your gut instinct about others. Consider going on group dates that focus on a shared activity instead of just making conversation in order to reveal your fun-loving side. It is there somewhere, right?

Dionysus — God of wine, parties, and pleasure.
He knew how to have a good time and put people at ease with intoxicating beverages and talk. You might be a Dionysus if you love going out in big groups and letting loose at concerts, bars, and clubs. Those in touch with their inner Dionysus are extroverted, popular, and always having a good time. Others are drawn to their joie de vivre.

Tips for Dionysus types: Step away from the bar — just this once! To find a worthy partner and counterpart to your wild ways, you’ll need all your faculties intact. This means balancing out your love for partying with some quiet time. Try going on daytime dates that center around having real conversations: hiking, kayaking, and museum trips are all good options. Give your dates the chance to get to know the real you… the person behind the pleasure-seeking exterior.

Hermes — God of thievery, cunning and language.
He was the messenger of the gods and therefore excelled at diplomacy and wordplay. According to Dr. Martin, Hermes was “a good god to have on your side; sensitive to what one wants (if only so he can try to get around you).” You might be a Hermes if you value witty repartee above all else on dates. You often find that you want what you can’t have. If a potential partner becomes infinitely more interesting to you the moment he or she is unavailable, you’re a Hermes. You like to use your language skills to draw people
When things don’t go your way, watch out.
in, and it works. You’re gifted at making people laugh and impressing them with obscure references to art, history and popular culture.

Tips for Hermes types: Stick to pursuing romantic partners who don’t belong to others. Stealing love is a good way to hurt yourself in the end, no matter how fun you find the game. Channel your language skills toward a partner who sees more in you than just a smokescreen of fancy words. Let others talk and refine your listening skills — and who knows, you might be shocked to find someone even cleverer than you are!

Zeus — Alpha dog among the Greek pantheon, the king of the gods.
He was the god of the sky, weather, and of law and order. You might be a Zeus if you prefer to control situations and if you like things done in an orderly way. You’ll often be the one who plans things for others and you’re very neat — even majestic — in appearance and bearing. When things don’t go your way, watch out: Zeus’ symbol is the thunderbolt.

Tips for Zeus types: Give others a chance to take the lead. Let people surprise you, and don’t forget that a date should be a dialogue, not a monologue. Ask your date’s opinion on where to eat and what to do, and then open your mind to his or her tastes. If you don’t learn to tone down your domineering side, you’ll frequently be shuffling back to Mount Olympus alone.

Rhea — Goddess of female fertility and motherhood.
The mother of Zeus, she was also the goddess of comfort and ease, representing the eternal flow of time and generations. You might be a Rhea if you’re a natural caretaker and find yourself putting the needs of others first. If you feel like a protective and clever “old soul,” you might be a Rhea. People are drawn to Rheas for their warmth and giving dispositions.

Tips for Rhea types: Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Make time for maintaining your own health, wellness, and looks as you meet new people. Be a little wary as you enter the dating world, because the goal is to find a partner — not a charge to take care of.

Apollo — Youthful god of music and the sun.
He invented the lute and was very popular for playing the lyre. He had a gift for making accurate prophecies and was known for being handsome (if also a bit stuck up). You might be an Apollo if things generally go your way and if you enjoy pursuing many talents. Apollos are sought after by others for their charisma and charmed lives.

Tips for Apollo types: Realize you have some living to do before you settle down. Cultivate compassion for others who might not be as charmed as you. Work to share the spotlight that often falls on you with other people. Use your talents and luck for good, and when you go on dates, take things slowly.

No matter which god or goddess you are, however, Dr. Martin contends that the melodrama of the ancients is clear on one point: “Love saves the soul, even when the tale is tragic. It’s powerful.”

Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls (Simon & Schuster, 2009 and the forthcoming novel, The Secret Ingredient (summer 2011).
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