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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Book of the Month (April, 2012) - "Simply Irresistible" by Ellen T. White

Simply Irresistible: Unleash Your Inner Siren by Ellen T. White

"Simply Irresistible" by Ellen T. White is a delightful and lively little book; a perfect read for a summer vacation, a weekend at home during a snowstorm, or for a book club (with just the "right" other readers!).

Of various other books that are similar, and which I know and love (e.g., "Seductress," by Betsy Prioleau, and "Mama Gena's School of the Womanly Arts" by Regena Thomaschauer), this one offers the special advantage of psychological insights, deftly drawn character studies (we always learn the most by studying examples), and a light, breezy style that makes this a perfect stress-antidote.

Ms. White organizes the book into two different Parts. Part One describes the various "types" of seductresses who snag their men. Part Two teaches the useful "skills and methods." Both of these approaches are useful, and I'm delighted that she included both - each well-supported with juicy little examples and historical vignettes.

What I found particularly surprising and delightful is that Ms. White's organization of "Inner Siren types" corresponds so closely with the known "feminine archetypes." Ms. White came up with the her different "Siren types" on her own; she was not following anyone's particular organization or structure. However, through her own observation, intuition, and insight, she came up with "types" that actually map onto well-known feminine archetypes. These were first put forth by Antonia Wolff (a student and client, and later the lover of the renowned Swiss psychologist Carl Jung), and later interpreted by Dr. Toni Grant in her popular 1980's book, "Being a Woman."

Ms. White independently intuited these different "Inner Siren" distinctions. She didn't come by these through formal study, but rather through careful observation, reflection, and logical thinking. I am thrilled that the distinctions that she's made match so beautifully to the "core archetypes" first posited by Wolff and popularized by Grant, and (as of summer, 2011) introduced more completely as aspects of the "six core power archetypes" in my own book, "Unveiling: The Inner Journey."

The "Siren Types" introduced by White are:
  • The "Sex Kitten" - most easily understood as an archetypal role. Marilyn Monroe is the penultimate "Sex Kitten." This is the Hathor archetype in one version; specialized as a sexual playmate. By the time that the "Sex Kitten" has fully evolved her persona, she is less who she really is, and more a projection of what she believes that a man wants her to be. As a result, she is often confused and unhappy - but she has exceptional allure with men!
  • The "Companion" - a much more evolved version of the "Sex Kitten." She's intelligent and witty, and builds great relationships. (These often help the men in her life.) Ms. White cites the famous Lady Randolph Churchill as a "Companion Siren." Another good instance would be Veronica Franco, a sixteenth-century Italian courtesan who was also a woman of letters. Together, these two "Siren Types" ("Sex Kitten" and "Companion") combine to create our Hathor archetype; Hathor is the Egyptian goddess of beauty, love, sensual pleasure in all its forms (including wine, perfume, song, and dance), and - of course - sexual pleasure!
  • The "Competitor" - a true Amazon. The "Competitor Siren" is exciting because she inhabits a man's world as an equal, and often dares him to "master" her in terms of achieving challenging feats. Ms. White cites Beryl Markham as a "Competitor Siren." Other famous Competitors - this time from our movie genre - include the redoubtable Mrs. Emma Peel from "The Avengers," and the Lara Croft character in the "Tomb Raider" movie and video game.
  • The "Mother" - a caretaking role. The "Mother" corresponds to the classic Empress (or Isis, Egyptian mother-goddess) archetype. She is most concerned with providing nurturance. Ms. White offers Wallis, Duchess of Windsor as an example. Another famous "Mother" siren is Pamela Harriman.
  • The "Goddess" - a much more remote and unreachable archetype. Ms. White offers Evita Peron as an example. While true "Goddess" instances are rare, many of us find ourselves drawn to the High Priestess archetype - which is centered on her own inner wisdom and knowing. Being centered in herself, and not in a man, makes this type alluring; there is always the "thrill of the chase" when seeking attention from a Goddess/High Priestess!
Great minds think alike. I love Ms. White's examples, and Part Two of her book offers many more, along with useful tips and hints. Her book is one that I will cheerfully recommend to students and friends alike, and reread myself, just to brush up on pointers!

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