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Crossing to Avalon: A Woman's Midlife Quest for the Sacred Feminine Paperback – May 20, 2004


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Crossing to Avalon: A Woman's Midlife Quest for the Sacred Feminine + Goddesses in Older Women: Archetypes in Women over Fifty + Goddesses in Everywoman: Powerful Archetypes in Women's Lives
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 303 pages
  • Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco; Reprint edition (May 20, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062502727
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062502728
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #439,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In 1986, in the midst of a midlife crisis, Bolen (Ring of Power, HarperSanFrancisco, 1992) received an invitation to a pilgrimage to sacred sites in Europe. With three other women, she traveled to places such as Chartres Cathedral, Iona, and Glastonbury-where traditionally "one crossed the mists to Avalon, the realm of the Goddess." Bolen interweaves her personal spiritual journey and midlife passage with a discussion of the psychological significance of mythic quests and a reinterpretation of the Grail Legend that illuminates its feminine aspects. While lacking the storytelling immediacy of Clarissa Pinkola Estes's Women Who Run with the Wolves, Bolen's narrative has a sweetness that lingers with the reader. Many will respond to the author's hopes that her story will remind others of the importance of their own "soul journey." An essential purchase for public libraries; important also for academic libraries with popular psychology, women's, and religious studies collections.
Carolynne Myall, Eastern Washington Univ. Libs., Cheney
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

This compilation of experiences, thoughts, scholarly research, and, above all, the feelings of a woman at midlife amounts to a revelation. On pilgrimage to sacred sites including Chartres, Glastonbury, and Iona, Bolen, a physician, Jungian analyst, and professor of clinical psychiatry, traces their histories and significance. She relates these places' earliest uses by societies with earth-based belief systems to the concept of key energy centers all about the globe, and she links her inner journey of the spirit to her physical travels and the primal knowledge of the sacred that women have experienced for thousands of years without naming it. This quest for the holy grail involves more than a personal transformation; it is, she says, everywoman's secret, potential pathway to the roots of her strength and wisdom. An essential addition for collections concerned with women's spirituality and goddess worship. Whitney Scott --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Jean Shinoda Bolen, M. D, is a psychiatrist, Jungian analyst, and an internationally known author and speaker. She is the author of The Tao of Psychology, Goddesses in Everywoman, Gods in Everyman, Ring of Power, Crossing to Avalon, Close to the Bone, The Millionth Circle, Goddesses in Older Women, Crones Don't Whine, Urgent Message from Mother, Like a Tree, and Moving Toward the Millionth Circle, with over eighty foreign translations. She is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a former clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco, a past board member of the Ms. Foundation for Women and the International Transpersonal Association. She was a recipient of the Institute for Health and Healing's "Pioneers in Art, Science, and the Soul of Healing Award", and the Asssociation for the Study of Women and Mythology's Demeter Award for her lifetime achievement in women's spirituality. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She was in two acclaimed documentaries, the Academy-Award winning anti-nuclear proliferation film Women--For America, For the World, and the Canadian Film Board's Goddess Remembered. The Millionth Circle Initiative (www.millonthcircle.org)was inspired by her book and led to her involvement at the UN. She is an advocate for a UN 5th World Conference on Women (www.5wcw.org), which was supported by the Secretary General and the President of the General Assembly on March 8, 2012. Her website is www.jeanbolen.com.

Event schedule: http://www.jeanshinodabolen.com/schedule.html
Most current and past newsletters: http://www.jeanshinodabolen.com/newsletters/index.html

2014 New Publications: 30th Anniversary Edition of Goddesses in Everywoman, 25th Anniversary Edition of Gods in Everyman (both from HarperCollins, July 2014), and Artemis: The Indomitable Spirit in Everywoman (Conari Press, an imprint of Red Wheel Weiser, September 2014).

Customer Reviews

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A friend of mine brought me her copy of this book.
Phallix
I love how she relates the places and things she experiences on her pilgrimage to The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.
Willow Catkin
It's what we've always done & hopefully will continue to do and benefit from.
Shahrazad

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Shahrazad on March 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
Womens' wisdom & ways of knowing are almost always discounted by the male-dominated world. The Kirkus Review says, "... quickly degenerates into pop psychology and pseudo-profundities." Why do supposedly intelligent people bother to negate what's profound for someone else? A simple statement that the profundity was lost on you would suffice.

That said, I found this to be a glorious book about a woman's pilgrimage in midlife that changed her deeply and will affect the rest of her life. Women need to hear womens' stories. It's what we've always done & hopefully will continue to do and benefit from.
I found her descriptions of the places she visited absolutely lovely and enriching. Without her extremely intimate perspective, this book would only be an interesting travelogue - not something that inspired me to listen to myself and my body!
To know that my perspective may help someone else clarify theirs is reason enough for me to say all women everywhere should read this one, and share it with the people in their lives.
If you choose not to believe that women all over the world are reawakening to Goddess, that's fine. No one who reveres Goddess will try to change your mind. We simply understand there also was a time when most people thought Earth was flat.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 7, 1998
Format: Paperback
I am not middle-aged - I'm just 30, and I picked this book up only because it was next to "Goddesses in Everywoman" on the library shelf. But all the way through, I found the book speaking to me and to the transitions I have experienced in my own life. I thought at first it might be too new-agey, but it actually helped broaden my spiritual perspective, which I appreciated. When I was finished, I wanted to call up Jean Shinoda Bolen and invite her over for a cup of tea and a long chat.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Phallix on January 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
I was laying in a hospital bed sicker than I had ever been in my life....not sure how it was going to turn out and terrified. A friend of mine brought me her copy of this book. I told her that it was one of this authors that I had not read, in part because it was so focused on women's issues. She wisely told me to read it.....and I did.
It made a difference. The idea that women experience pain in childbirth but understand that through that pain something good comes helped me survive a hell of a lot of pain.
I returned the copy my friend lent me and bought my own. Whenever I see it....I remember what I learned....how do you review such a thing? Hmmmm maybe this is the way.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 19, 1999
Format: Paperback
Bolen goes into territory that most of us have forgotten about. She reminds women of the part we play in life. Not just now but for thousands of years before. I am not going through I mid- life change, but what I call my quarter life change. She helped put into words some of experinces I have felt for the past few years. I have yet to talk with other women my age who could put words to the changes I am experiencing. I think any woman who is experiencing a significant change, what ever the "age" should read this book and share it with others who she feels are in similiar postions.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
Three meaningful themes emerge in this account of one woman's midlife passage: the struggle for authenticity, the importance of naming experiences and sharing life stories, and the merging of masculine and feminine energies. Not only is her journey one of hard-won insight, it is also a description of a real-life pilgrimage to sacred places. Her pilgrimage experience creates an archetype for menopausal women. Standing barefoot on the High Altar at Glastonbury, she experiences the merging of God and Goddess--the divine flow of masculine and feminine. A year later she looks back and knows that at that moment she was experiencing her last bleed--it was her MOMENT of menopause. Her integration of the Grail story creates a work that should be just as meaningful to men as women, particularly the last half of the book. Powerful, comforting, loving. Each time I finish a book, I think of someone I know that would benefit from reading it. Crossing to Avalon goes on my list for &qu! ot;Everyone Over 40 and Nearly Everyone Else."
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 12, 1997
Format: Paperback
I am only 25 years old but did not let the "a woman's midlife pilgrimage" phrase on the cover stop me, and I was definitely not disappointed. This book struck a chord by bringing to light many things that ring true. An excellent help for any woman who has ever in her life felt that something wasn't quite right, or "isn't there more than this?" (and who hasn't?) I would recommend this to every woman (and even men), no matter if we realize yet that what we've been searching for is the Goddess. I felt a kinship with the author when she mentions her divorce, and I feel a little better understanding toward childbirth and menopause. An excellent step toward our much-needed realization that we are WOMAN and are all beautiful. Also, her references to _The Mists of Avalon_ (by Marion Zimmer Bradley) excited me since that is my all-time favorite novel. From here I continue my quest for the Goddess within us and through us, and I wish every one of you the best of luck in your own search
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By S. Forrest on June 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book DID literally hit me over the head - in a book shop! I was browsing through the books and this novel fell off the top shelf landing on my head before it hit the floor. At the time I was more interested in the books I had under my arm so I placed it back on the shelf....but 6 months later I regretted that decision and trackedit down.

I have a large interest in Avalon - I find that era particularily fascinating and this book was a great insight but more importantly it was just a great read about one womens journey and connection to Avalon. There are so few books like this around (that I can find) - I am grateful this one smacked me over the head to be noticed, lol!
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