Bolen, Jean Shinoda. Goddesses in Everywoman. (?: HarperCollins Publishers, 1993)
ISBN:006091291

Written by a Jungian/feminist psychologist (now THAT'S a paradox for you), Goddesses is combination of psychological text and self-help book. It reflects its age (original copyright: ??) in that it reads like a radical feminist tract in places; but it is one of the seminal (oval?) works on Goddess archetypes in psychology and women's lives.

Bolen describes seven archetypal Greek goddesses, three 'virgin goddesses' (Artemis, Athena, Hestia), three 'vulnerable goddesses' (Hera, Demeter, Persephone), and one 'alchemical goddess' (Aphrodite). For each goddess, she gives a profile of the the myth, strengths and weaknesses of the archetype, personality characteristics related to the archetype for each stage of life, personality strengths and conflicts of women related to the archetype, and how to activate and control the goddess archetype in oneself-- including many illustrations from mythology. A final chapter addresses working with ALL your goddess archetypes, Jungian fashion, and the Heroine's journey.

Bolen's treatement of the goddess archetypes tends to be, well, biased by the perspective of early feminism. Anyone who has ever wondered how Diana got to be such an important goddess need look no further than the chapter on Artemis as feminist. Bolen also makes Demeter, that fruitful grain goddess, only a mother archetypes-- she paints 'Demeter women' as not very fond of sex except as a means to procreation! Bolen is clearly in favor of Artemis, Aphrodite, and Athena, and negative about Hera, Demeter, and the young Persephone, while acknowleding that activating such archetypes are necessary for mating, motherhood, and growth.

If you can get past the writer's male-educated prejudices, the concept of the book is sound, and women and men who want to 'activate' goddesses within themselves, and/or are curious about feminist Jungian theory, would do well to take a look at this classic text. (I enjoyed it!)


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