Goddesses in Older Women: Archetypes in Women Over Fifty

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9780060191528: Goddesses in Older Women: Archetypes in Women Over Fifty

At some point after fifty, every woman crosses a threshold into the third phase of her life. As she enters this uncharted territory -- one that is generally uncelebrated in popular culture -- she can choose to mourn what has gone before, or she can embrace the juicy crone years. In this celebration of Act 3, Jungian analyst Jean Shinoda Bolen names the powerful new energies and potentials, or archetypes, that come into the psyche at this momentous time, suggesting that women getting older have profound and exciting reasons for welcoming the other side of fifty.

As Bolen has explained in her remarkable body of work, there are goddesses in every woman, deep archetypal sources of wisdom, authenticity and spirituality that, once tapped, energize us and give us a sense of meaning and self- acceptance. The knowledge of which archetypes are active within us at each phase of life-maiden, mother (or matron), and cronesupports us in making choices that are true to who we are instead of conforming to others' ideas of who we should be.

In Bolen's bestselling Goddesses in Everywoman, the classic work of the women's spirituality movement, the Greek goddesses personified these archetypes as they affected the first two phases of a woman's adult life. Now she explains that in the third stage, marked physiologically by menopause, there emerges a whole new cast of inner archetypes that a woman can draw on for guidance, creativity, personal integration, and joy. Once we learn to recognize these forces, we can feel empowered and wise, introspective and spiritual, sexually bold and full of mirth. For it is in the "wisewoman" years, when a woman has lived long enough to resolve the tasks of younger and middle adulthood, that she can fully and authentically become who she deeply is.

The generation of women who are approaching or who have reached the crone years is historically unique. Influenced by the women's movement, they have benefited from educational opportunities, women's support networks, and economic resources as excellent preparation for decades of active postmenopausal life. By recognizing the goddess archetypes that emerge in this phase, women of this special generation will be enabled to transform the crone years into the best years of their lives.

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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.

From Publishers Weekly:

Recycling a format she successfully employed in Goddesses in Everywoman (1984), Bolen, the author of seven works of Jungian psychology, addresses an older audience, urging women over 50 to search out positive archetypes or patterns of behavior that lie dormant in their inner selves that will help them realize their full potential. A Jungian analyst and professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, Bolen relies heavily on her earlier work, in which Greek goddesses personified aspects of the feminine psyche. For "crones" (women in the postmenopausal stage of their lives), Bolen posits four principal goddesses--Metis, Sophia, Hecate and Hestia--each of whom embodies practical intellectual, mystical, spiritual, intuitive or meditative aspects of wisdom. She recounts the goddesses' mythic origins and shows how their attributes can help women forge a more meaningful life. Bolen also highlights the empowering attributes of outrage, mirth and kindness incarnated in certain Asian myths. In the second part of this work, Bolen revisits seven goddesses described in her original work, this time relating them to older women. Finally, Bolen urges older women to congregate in groups patterned on the consciousness-raising circles of the 1960s, to become a force for change spiritually and politically. Readers skeptical of Jungian philosophy may find the concepts here too abstract and convoluted to serve as a practical guide to aging. But for those who celebrate their maturity, Bolen's thoughtful mytho-psychology will be an inspiration. (Mar.)Forecast: Though this invitation to embrace their inner "crone" probably won't appeal to the wide female readership that made Goddesses in Everywoman a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and backlist staple, Bolen is closely connected to her core readers. With 32 workshops, bookstore appearances and lectures planned in 25 cities, she can look forward to solid sales.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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