A classic work of female psychology that uses seven archetypcal goddesses as a way of describing behavior patterns and personality traits is being introduced to the next generation of readers with a new introduction by the author.
Psychoanalyst Jean Bolen's career soared in the early 1980s when Goddesses in Everywoman was published. Thousands of women readers became fascinated with identifying their own inner goddesses and using these archetypes to guide themselves to greater self–esteem, creativity, and happiness.
Bolen's radical idea was that just as women used to be unconscious of the powerful effects that cultural stereotypes had on them, they were also unconscious of powerful archetypal forces within them that influence what they do and how they feel, and which account for major differences among them. Bolen believes that an understanding of these inner patterns and their interrelationships offers reassuring, true–to–life alternatives that take women far beyond such restrictive dichotomies as masculine/feminine, mother/lover, careerist/housewife. And she demonstrates in this book how understanding them can provide the key to self–knowledge and wholeness.
Dr. Bolen introduced these patterns in the guise of seven archetypal goddesses, or personality types, with whom all women could identify, from the autonomous Artemis and the cool Athena to the nurturing Demeter and the creative Aphrodite, and explains how to decide which to cultivate and which to overcome, and how to tap the power of these enduring archetypes to become a better "heroine" in one's own life story.
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I wrote Goddesses in Everywoman as a psychology of women, that has over the past fifteen years since I wrote it, become something of a classic. I've been told how useful it has been to facilitate discussions between mothers and daughters, sisters, and friends about their differences and similarities. It's helped men understand the significant women in their lives (something women who have given the book to husbands and lovers, with chapters or passages marked, hoped would happen). It's a book that has become a text in a very wide variety of courses from high school to graduate school, in mythology, psychology, women's studies, literature, creative writing, drama, and counseling, and had a major influence in women's spirituality. Its perspective and mine is Jungian, feminist, spiritual, clinical, right brain and left.
I wish that women readers would also read Gods in Everyman, for a complete understanding of themselves. I think that just about every woman who does so, will find an aspect of herself in a god-archetype, which completes her internal pantheon. For example, Hermes (Mercury) the messenger god, is a very significant archetype in me. I have the exploratory energy of Artemis, but it is Hermes that puts what I learn in words and makes the intuitive connections.
Besides Gods in Everyman, two of my other books are related. Ring of Power (a new edition will be published February 1999) based on Richard Wagner's operatic Ring Cycle, focuses on dysfunctional family relationships between these same archetypes (with different names). In Crossing to Avalon, I wrote about my pilgrimage to sacred sites and what I experienced of goddess spirituality. A "sequel" to Goddesses in Everywoman is in the works -- I am now writing Goddesses in Older Women.About the Author:
Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD, is a psychiatrist, a Jungian analyst, and an internationally known author and speaker. Her books include Goddesses in Everywoman, Gods in Everyman, and many others. She is a distinguished life fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and was a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco. She lives in Marin County, California.
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