Goddesses in Everywoman
A New Psychology of Women
by Jean Shinoda Bolen M.D.
A classic work of female psychology that uses seven archetypal 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.
I evidently identify with Athena. For my last birthday I received a very cool charm from a friend who had recently visited the Italian & Greek Islands. Athena is on one side and an owl (my totem) on the other. Looking at the list, it is the only one that is appropriate. Her sentiment too 😊 Fabulous! We all have some of each of these archetypes in ourselves.
“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.”
Besides Jean Shinoda Bolen, I have read much of Clarissa Pinkola Estés, both who promote women voices and whom I’ve featured before. Seek and identify with your archetypes.