Back in the 80's one of my favorite books on the inner journey was Joseph Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces. The problem with it, though, was that it was written from a male perspective. With The Heroine's Journey I am now at the end of my search for a book on the hero archetype from a feminine perspective. Although this book is not exactly Jungian in its approach, the author clearly seems to have been influenced by Jung's legacy of searching for mythic themes in our individual psyches. Thus, she writes of the archetype of the Journey, and all its symbolism, as it applies to the feminine psyche. But she goes beyond that and explores some of the modern social issues that have been quite troubling for many women. For instance, in the chapter "The Illusory Boon of Success," she touches upon how many of us, in striving to fulfill our dream of making an impact on the world, often end up buying into aspects of the male-dominated business culture that don't really benefit us as women. She then describes the process of building into our work and personal lives values that do benefit us, as well as others. Her chapter on "Initiation and Descent to the Goddess" is very helpful in showing how we can use loss and grief to become more strong and whole. There are so many issues and themes explored in this book that it really demands at least a couple of readings. This book has given me so much to think about, and has helped me clarify my thoughts on many different issues pertaining to myself as a woman and as a spiritual being--I am very grateful to Maureen Murdock for writing it.
While reading this book, I was happy to have many experiences which were synchronisticly tied with what I was reading. I.e. reading on Grandmother spider and having 2 such wonderful creatures greet me in the strangest of places. (One lived in a limo, (whom I spied as I was driven home) which I would not allow the driver to kill. Coming to terms with the anger I felt with my mother by finally piecing together some of my grandmother's behavior and her treatment of my own mother and what made her "react" to me in the way she did when I was a child. I think that there is a bit of magic here for all women bounded and gagged to their mothers who are struggling to finally grow up from under the apron and the cross. While it was similar to "Meeting the Madwoman" by Linda Leonard Schierse for it did stressed a process by which to come to peace within yourself, it did not have a lot of the psychologial jargon that Linda Schierse's books generally have. So that I would consider this book easier reading for those women who want the facts without too much sauce.