by Naomi Kashinsky
For the last several years, I have taken great glee and pleasure in reading about notorious historical figures who bucked defiantly against the status quo of their time and circumstances.
Some were political savants, some artists, adventurers, others still were scholarly intellectuals. But nearly all were seducers. Either recreationally or professionally; courtesans, concubines, rakes, philanderers, mistresses, royal favorites, sirens, dandies, studs.
I’m not sure if my intense interest in seducers was the result of secret desire to be one myself because I so wanted to be wanted. I imagine that’s exceedingly common for those of us who grew up as lonely ugly ducklings in need of excitement.
The inherent trap in that method, however, is the continuing persistent lack of confidence and self-awareness. Without that, there is no authenticity. Without authenticity, there is no true seduction.
Pure imitative artifice can dazzle the eye and stir the loins, but it doesn’t stir the soul or the heart. Our subconscious minds that long for ritual and strangeness. Our psyches’ recognition of primeval archetypes that humans crave as one of most enduring qualities that connect us to the way our ancestors understood life.
By and large, most people have always wanted to be seduced (with all due respect to our asexual homies).
The Venus of Willendorf, Paleolithic sex symbol, Image Source
Myth. Deities. Mystery and initiation into it. All the fun stuff.
In Seductress: Women Who Ravished the World and Their Lost Art of Love, incidentally one of my favorite goldmines for this sort of thing, Betsy Prioleau presents stark comparisons between historical consummate heart-breakers and their mythological predecessors.
Cleopatra was not a natural beauty by even the standards of her time, but she was extraordinarily educated. She was the first of the Greek Ptolemaic Dynasty to actually speak Egyptian among 7 other languages.
Cleo gobbled up rhetoric, drawing, arithmetic, philosophy, and science next to the males of her household. She had an incomparable grasp of the theatrical, flamboyant, and sensuous to match her smarts and savvy.
Her literal public presentation alternated between Isis (shining goddess-queen of wisdom and knowledge) and Aphrodite, Greek poster girl of love, beauty, and pleasure. Her ill-fated husband Mark Antony was so inspired by her penchant for celestial dress-up that he ruled alongside her as her Dionysus until their dramatic snakey deaths.
Josephine Baker, the “Ebony Venus” rose from abject poverty and abuse in segregated St. Louis to the bombshell of the Jazz Age who gave “all Paris a hard-on”.
In utilizing her gift for frenzied dancing, her unique exoticism, and carefree sexuality, she conquered the world with her unconscious update of Stone-Age priestesses who brought transcendence through art spawned by consciousness-altering and its resultant ecstasy.
“… I improvised, crazed by the music… Even my teeth and eyes burned with fever. Each time I leaped I seemed to touch the sky and when I regained earth it seemed to be mine alone.”
Josephine Baker: Are those bananas in my pants or are you just happy to see me? Image Source
Mae West didn’t become one of Hollywood’s biggest stars until she was almost 40; a whip-smart witty queen of suggestive one-liners with an unstoppable voracious libido that didn’t quit until she died at 87.
Her companion at the end? A bodybuilder young enough to be her grandchild who changed his name for her, happily waited on her, and believed that God had put him “on this earth to take care of Miss West.”
She was right out of the playbook of silver fox wise “crone” goddess archetypes who seduced with their combination of confidence, maternal charm, and wisdom acquired through experience. “Personality is the glitter that sends your little gleam across the footlights and the orchestra pit into that big black space where the audience is.”
Mae West: Did I mention that she could apparently reach orgasm within 30 seconds? Hence the cigarette, I guess. Image Source
Pioneer shrink Carl Jung wrote at prodigious length about the inextricable and seemingly universal link between the human unconscious and archetypes:
“The primordial image, or archetype, is a figure–be it a daemon, a human being, or a process–that constantly recurs in the course of history and appears wherever creative fantasy is freely expressed. Essentially, therefore, it is a mythological figure. . . . In each of these images there is a little piece of human psychology and human fate, a remnant of the joys and sorrows that have been repeated countless times in our ancestral history. . . .”
It’s all too easy to see how ageless and still-effective archetypes can be subconsciously desired and emulated unceasingly, even if some of the minor details or commonly-preferred aesthetic minutiae may shift or cycle over time.
Although human beings have always built myths to try to understand and illustrate everything from natural phenomena to the human condition, we can never dismiss the power that they have as exploratory tools to look within ourselves.
Psychodrama (whether done in the context of spiritual practice, private bedroom roleplay, or even cosplay) has nearly unlimited potential to teach us about ourselves and how we embody archetypes every day.
Further, how to channel what we desire to embody through the filter of our own unique personalities and style in a fashion that makes it authentic, believable, satisfying, and therefore all the more seductive.
“I woke up like this. #NoFilter” Image Source
No chick who slaps on a platinum dye job and red lipstick after watching ‘Some Like It Hot’ and wiggles around doing her best literal Monroe impression will come anywhere close to the genuine article’s ass-scorching and iconic personal expression.
Wannabes never have a lasting impact by comparison. Just ask Mamie Van Doren or Jayne Mansfield.
Know yourself. Explore roles and archetypes that interest you and see what they have to teach you about yourself and who you have the potential to be.
Dissect why they appeal to you.
Play with yourself. (That’s what she said.)
It may very well teach you more about how to fall in lust with yourself first as a creature of your own creation. And, you know, have lots of lusty time with others on your own terms, with your own style, which is the most satisfying kind one can have.
Further, you just might attract a lover just as adept at transformation as you.
Nothing builds confidence more than playing god/goddess/what-have-you and creating yourself in your own image with some bad-ass inspirational material.
Just make sure it’s still you.
About the Author:
Naomi Kashinsky is an aspiring writer working on her first (and witchy) graphic novel. A synesthete, the steward of the World’s Cutest Dog and one of the World’s Whinest Cats, a bad-ass in the midst of concocting the recipe for her dream life, curator of muses both historical and contemporary, a beauty fetishist, a big fan of oxytocin, and a life-long student of the occult. She is the proud momma of a new blog, Cinderella of the Wastelands.
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