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The Four Structural Forms

After many years as a analyst, Toni Wolff sketched the bipolar relational patterns of structural forms she characterized as the Mother, the Hetaira, the Amazon and the Medium. Each pattern is an instinctual response and is accompanied by the sure sign of quick emotional arousal. Relationships among the four are graphed using the fourness pattern of the Greek cross. Each form is subject to the stereotypical cultural imagination. Mother and Hetaira, seen through the lens of the male gaze as the force which nurtures, are frequently forbidden independence. The Amazon and the Medium must be constructed by the woman unthreatened by powerful impersonal relatedness. The female gaze, turned upon these forms, is challenged to emulate the agency of the Amazon, the visions of the Medium, the daring of the Hetaira, the compassion of the Mother. Wolff's lecture on individuation included sketches of each form.

Wolff presented the relational forms in their positive aspects and in their negative aspects. In each case the work of performance artist Laurie Anderson is posted as an expression of shadowy aspects for the form. For the archetypal Earth Mother itself, Anderson's The Lost Art of Conversation serves to recall the mythic conversation in the Garden of Eden. Laurie Anderson's husband, Lou Reed, died in October of 2013.

The four form structure of Toni Wolff's schema of women's individuating processes and personal identification with these energy fields is subject to the distortian of the central feminine archetype, the Mother Earth, as subject to our consumption and control. This site offers the possibility of a revision based in part on the suggestions of science which confirm a universe beyond our planet, one of unimaginable and awe-inspiring creative expression. The archetypal feminine may be understood as an endless rebirth of hetairan energy in creating new worlds. We can reexamine our understanding of the central feminine archetypal form. Wolff herself welcomed and recognized future contributions to her schema. For descriptions of the original schematic forms go to Mother, Hetaira, Amazon, Medial Woman.