Goddesses in everywoman : a new psychology of women

by Jean Shinoda Bolen

Book, 1984



Call number


Call number



San Francisco : Harper & Row, c1984.

Original publication date


Physical description

xiv, 334 p.; 24 cm

Local notes

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.

User reviews

LibraryThing member PamelaWells
"Archetypes are a powerful tool for self-knowledge because they tap into the universal collective language we all share. Learning to become more aware of your own archetypes can help you see yourself, the bigger picture and is a good place to start creating solutions for yourself and others. This book is for women."
LibraryThing member rbtwinky
Every woman who has ever had any interest in psychology or mythology must read this book. It is excellent! Bolen unlocks the secrets behind the Greek myths and shows us that those goddesses are alive within each of us. And she does it in a way that is useful and insightful.

The foundation of the book is that mythology, in all its manifestations, is a representation of universal truth. Commonalities across cultures that had no interaction show that they come from a place that is common to all human experience, regardless of situation, culture, or influence.

Bolen focuses on the Greek Goddesses as archetypes for female behavior. The jealous wife as Hera, the focused Artemis, etc. But what is so great about these archetypes is that Bolen shows the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities in each. She shows how they work together, how they conflict, and how to mediate between.

My only real struggle with the book is that I felt Bolen was a bit biased against some and towards others of the archetypes. She is clearly a strong Artemis, and tends to speak of Artemis in glowing terms. Persephone, Athena, and Hera don't fare nearly as well. I suspect this comes from her experience as a psychiatrist and seeing those types suffer more than others. That doesn't excuse devaluing those goddess types, though.

I can't speak highly enough of this book. If you haven't read it, go out and get it. If you have, pick up your copy and give it another go. Amazing!
… (more)
LibraryThing member sarahinfla
another excellent book by a well-known Jungian analyst.
LibraryThing member ritaer
Greek goddesses as archetypes of female behavior in Jungian framework

Similar in this library

Page: 0.21 seconds