Psychoanalyst Jean Bolen's career soared in the early s 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.
And she demonstrates in this book how understanding them can provide the key to self—knowledge and wholeness. 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. Originally published in , Goddesses in Everywoman presented a new psychology of women based on the goddesses of ancient Greece, whose names and mythologies have endured for more than three thousand years.
It became a bestseller and then a never-out-of-print classic—like a woman with good bone structure, seemingly ageless. Goddesses in Everywoman brought together what I knew as a psychiatrist and Jungian analyst, and as a woman in an era of feminism. I saw uniquely female ways of being and behaving that were rewarded or rejected by patriarchal judgments. I also recognized underlying personality patterns that determined how an individual woman responded to unwanted events and opportunities.
Goddesses in Everywoman
I found myself turning to the literature of Greek mythology, and there I found remarkable parallels that transformed my thinking. In myths about the Greek goddesses, every goddess has different qualities and values, and as a whole, they include the full panorama of human attributes, including attributes such as competitiveness and intelligence. It was very exciting for me to make this connection. I felt the way an archeologist must feel when a pattern emerges and instead of pottery shards to puzzle over, she now sees a whole vessel, its uses becoming clear in the context of its time.
And so it has been for my readers. Over the years, many of them have reported having an aha! Goddesses in Everywoman has validated their authentic selves and thereby changed their lives. Goddesses in Everywoman has been spreading its message through translations in Europe, South America, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, and most recently Russia and numerous former Soviet republics.
It has been secretly translated into Farsi and is being circulated and read underground by Iranian women. There are geographical parallels to the spread of ideas of democracy and human rights, which will naturally and invariably lead to ideas about the empowerment and equality of women. These are ideas whose time has yet to come in some places, but they are on their way.
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A psychology that supports individual women to make their own choices and see themselves as protagonists in their own life story changes them. And this has a ripple effect across the globe. There has never been a better time in history for women in the Western-influenced world to live their individual potential in the outer world and to live fulfilling, long, and healthy lives. To live a meaningful life has to do with what matters per-sonally: love of what we do, who we love and are loved by, and living by our values. When those values are courage, kindness, compassion, justice, and service, we help make our world a better place.
At a time when humanity could self-destruct and take life on the planet down with us, what we do matters beyond us as well. We see through two eyes, and the two images are then merged in the brain into a three-dimensional picture. We each need to become conscious about both in order to make informed choices about what we do with our one precious life. In Goddesses in Everywoman , I describe the qualities that personify each goddess, her symbols, and her lineage, and I retell ancient myths about her. All of the goddess-archetypes have potential shadow qualities, some of which can become symptoms, oth-ers of which can cause problems for other people or conflicts with them.
The strength of any particular archetype varies in individuals—in the same way that innate potentials such as musical gifts, types of intelligence, or physical coordination vary among us. Developing or expressing what is deeply within us can be a source of joy. The goddess archetypes are deep desires that vary from woman to woman: for autonomy, creativity, power, intellectual challenge, spirituality, sexuality, or relationships.
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These urges lead to careers, professions, political action, meditation, or artistic expression; they create the yearnings to have a lover, to be a mother, to be married or alone. Meaning is what we experience subjectively when what we do with our lives engages our archetypal stirrings and yearnings, which are sources of joy and grief.
Five years after Goddesses in Everywoman , Gods in Everyman was published. I had heard from men who asked, What about us? Many had read Goddesses in Everywoman and now better understood the women in their lives. Many men could see that they were attracted to a particular goddess-archetype and were drawn to women who had something about them that hooked this projection.
There were even men who said that they had discovered a goddess archetype who lived in and through them. By the time I wrote Gods in Everyman , I found myself saying that a more accurate title—and a book twice as long—would have been called Gods and Goddesses in Everyone. March Everywoman has the leading role in her own unfolding life story. As a psychiatrist, I have heard hundreds of personal stories, and I realize that there are mythic dimensions in every one.
Some women come to see a psychiatrist when they are demoralized or not functioning, others when they wisely perceive that they are caught in a situation they need to understand and change. In either case, it seems to me that women seek the help of a therapist in order to learn how to be better protagonists or heroines in their own life stories.
To do so, women need to make conscious choices that will shape their lives. Just as women used to be unconscious of the powerful effects that cultural stereotypes had on them, they may also be unconscious of powerful forces within them that influence what they do and how they feel.
These forces I am introducing in this book in the guise of Greek goddesses. These powerful inner patterns—or archetypes—are responsible for major differences among women. For example, some women need monogamy, marriage, or children to feel fulfilled, and they grieve and rage when the goal is beyond their reach.
For them, traditional roles are personally meaningful. Such women differ markedly from another type of woman who most values her independence as she focuses on achieving goals that are important to her, or from still another type who seeks emotional intensity and new experiences and consequently moves from one relationship or one creative effort to the next. Yet another type of woman seeks solitude and finds that her spirituality means the most to her. What is fulfilling to one type of woman may be meaningless to another, depending on which goddess is active.
Moreover, there are many goddesses in an individual woman. The more complicated the woman, the more likely that many are active within her. And what is fulfilling to one part of her may be meaningless to another. Knowledge of the goddesses provides women with a means of understanding themselves and their relationships with men and women, with their parents, lovers, and children.
These goddess patterns also offer insights into what is motivating even compelling , frustrating, or satisfying to some women and not to others.
Knowledge of the goddesses provides useful information for men, too. Men who want to understand women better can use goddess patterns to learn that there are different types of women and what to expect from them. They also help men understand women who are complex or who appear to be contradictory. Goddess patterns help account for differences in personality; they contribute information about the potential for psychological difficulties and psychiatric symptoms.
And they indicate the ways a woman in a particular goddess pattern can grow.
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This book describes a new psychological perspective of women based on images of women—provided by the Greek goddesses—that have stayed alive in human imagination for over three thousand years. This psychology of women differs from all theories that define a normal woman as a woman who conforms to one correct model, personality pattern, or psychological structure.
It is a theory based on observing the diversity of normal variations among women. Much of what I have learned about women was gained within a professional context—in my office as a psychiatrist and Jungian analyst, through supervising trainees and teaching, as Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, and as a supervising analyst at the C. Jung Institute in San Francisco. But the female psychology I develop within these pages comes from more than just professional experience. In , I began my residency in psychiatry.
First, Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique, articulating the emptiness and dissatisfaction of a generation of women who had lived for and through others. Friedan described the source of this unhappiness as a problem of identity, the core of which was a stunting or an evasion of growth.
Goddesses in Everywoman by Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D. - Read Online
She maintained that this problem is fostered by our culture, which does not permit women to accept or gratify their basic need to grow and fulfill their potential as human beings. That same year, , President John F. Women were not being paid the same as men for doing the same job; women were being denied employment opportunities and advancement. I became aware of inequalities and discrimination against women and learned that cultural standards determined by men rewarded or punished women for adhering to or rejecting stereotyped roles.
During the same period that I was acquiring a feminist perspective, I was simultaneously becoming a Jungian analyst. After completing my psychiatric residency in , I entered the C. Jung Institute of San Francisco as a candidate in the training program and was certified as an analyst in My perspective on the psychology of women grew steadily over this period, incorporating feminist insights with Jungian archetypal psychology. It felt as if I were bridging two worlds as I ventured back and forth between Jungian analysts and feminist psychiatrists.
The two provide binocular vision into the psychology of women.
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The Jungian perspective has made me aware that women are influenced by powerful inner forces, or archetypes, which can be personified by Greek goddesses. And the feminist perspective has given me an understanding of how outer forces, or stereotypes —the roles to which society expects women to conform—reinforce some goddess patterns and repress others.