Goddesses in Everywoman by Jean Shinoda Bolen is AMAZING. I couldn’t put it down. I love it because it looks at goddess spirituality from a totally different approach: as the myths and archetypes being alive within us, rather than a force outside of us. This book shows us how we interact with the divine archetypes every day, even when we are aware of it.
Jean uses the Greek Pantheon as the basis for her work, which describes the archetypes present in every woman. The brilliance is that it doesn’t deny the patriarchal nature of our culture and the female archetypes represented within the culture. The Greek Goddesses were all Goddesses reflected in a system where they had very little power or respect, where they had to deal with the antics of the male deities and Jean reflects that in her archetypes. Jean is fearless and does not shy away from the shadowy aspects of femininity in her work, and find it fascinating.
Traits like jealousy, coldness, and self-sublimation to a consort are recognised and weighted equally, and mostly non-judgmentally, as traditionally desirable divine feminine traits such as independence, strength, wisdom, beauty, graciousness.
Because all of us have a shadow created by our light – why should we ignore it?
This book has really helped me understand and come to terms with the archetypes I carry in myself. I am very much an Artemis woman (introverted, independent, maiden-like and outdoorsy), but I realized that I have spent a long time longing to be more like confident, gregarious Aphrodite, feeling that my wholesome, innocent maiden vibe was girlish and silly. I wanted to be a woman! I wanted to be seductive and fabulous like Aphrodite!
Reading Goddesses in Everywoman really helped me see the strength in the dominant Maiden qualities in myself I was not so keen on, and helped me claim myself as a Maiden Goddess, with touches of Aphrodite, for sure!
I really recommend this book for women seeking to explore their archetypes more. Are you an Artemis, or and Athena? Do you identify with the wifely nature of Hera, or the shadowy darkness of Persephone? Are you a Virgin Goddess or a Vulnerable Goddess?
I also suggest reading Gods in Everyman, also by Jean Shinoda Bolen. After reading the book. I began looking at all the men in my life through the archetypal len and it helps me truly understand them and accept them as they are. I learned that my Dad is a TOTAL Hades archetype. Knowing that helped me understand and have compassion for him. You just have to explain stuff to me in the concept of mythology and I get it!
Gods in Everyman also really helped me see and understand how my then-partner was not compatible for me long term. The book was partly a catalyst for helping me take off my love goggles and really look at our relationship to see and understand how he related to me. Dead useful, even if it had sad ending.
You can get your copy of Goddesses in Everywoman here and I am interested to hear what archetype you are!