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Goddesses in Older Women: Archetypes in Women over Fifty Paperback – July 1, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Recycling a format she successfully employed in Goddesses in Everywoman (1984), Bolen, the author of seven works of Jungian psychology, addresses an older audience, urging women over 50 to search out positive archetypes or patterns of behavior that lie dormant in their inner selves that will help them realize their full potential. A Jungian analyst and professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, Bolen relies heavily on her earlier work, in which Greek goddesses personified aspects of the feminine psyche. For "crones" (women in the postmenopausal stage of their lives), Bolen posits four principal goddesses--Metis, Sophia, Hecate and Hestia--each of whom embodies practical intellectual, mystical, spiritual, intuitive or meditative aspects of wisdom. She recounts the goddesses' mythic origins and shows how their attributes can help women forge a more meaningful life. Bolen also highlights the empowering attributes of outrage, mirth and kindness incarnated in certain Asian myths. In the second part of this work, Bolen revisits seven goddesses described in her original work, this time relating them to older women. Finally, Bolen urges older women to congregate in groups patterned on the consciousness-raising circles of the 1960s, to become a force for change spiritually and politically. Readers skeptical of Jungian philosophy may find the concepts here too abstract and convoluted to serve as a practical guide to aging. But for those who celebrate their maturity, Bolen's thoughtful mytho-psychology will be an inspiration. (Mar.)Forecast: Though this invitation to embrace their inner "crone" probably won't appeal to the wide female readership that made Goddesses in Everywoman a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and backlist staple, Bolen is closely connected to her core readers. With 32 workshops, bookstore appearances and lectures planned in 25 cities, she can look forward to solid sales.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Bolen is one of the most popular writers on goddesses, and with millions of baby boomers embarking upon their sixth decade, her new book should encounter a welcoming audience. Having shared her own midlife journey in Crossing to Avalon (1994), Bolen here looks to mythology for empowering archetypes for the older woman. For the first time in her work, she stretches her purview beyond the Greek pantheon to include goddesses from Egypt and Asia, and still she focuses primarily on the goddesses she has explored in such earlier works as Goddesses in Everywoman (1984). Bolen sees the aging woman as not only a font of wisdom but also a vibrant creative force, whose energies are free to move beyond the personal into the interpersonal and the transpersonal. Whether laughing like the mirthful Uzume or meditating with Hestia at the hearth, this "juicy crone" models power and passion in these pages. Patricia Monaghan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Reprint edition (July 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060929235
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060929237
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 ( inspired by her book and led to her involvement at the UN. She is an advocate for a UN 5th World Conference on Women (, which was supported by the Secretary General and the President of the General Assembly on March 8, 2012. Her website is

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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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Foster HALL OF FAME on March 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
Feeling a little under the weather as you arrive at that 50th or 60th milestone? Read Jean Bolen's GODDESSES IN OLDER WOMEN to give yourself a lift. Older women can "get a life" if they only pause to reflect on the inner self. Some think of aspects of the female self as archetypes or personality quirks, Bolen says they are "Goddesses within." Although we may fail to listen, and thus not hear them, inner voices occur throughout life. Different needs as well as life-long experience evokes different voices in the older woman. Her name may be wisdom, although she is more than wisdom, she is healing, compassion, and/or mirth. You may notice her voice which called to you when you were younger now has a new tone. We worship her, whether or not we think of her as a Goddess. She has been with you since girlhood as Mary or Kuan Yin or the Shekinah. First appearing as a maiden, then when we became mothers appearing as a mother. Now, she comes to us as a crone, the third phase of the moon-waxing-or the last aspect of the triple goddess. Known since ancient times, although appropriated by patriarchal faiths, still known if you listen to the small still voice in your heart.

As a 70s and 80s self-help junkie more disillusioned than ever by the US role in world events, I picked up this book-published in 2001-thinking, "Why am I doing this?" and "Been there, done that" "How could this apply to me" only to be pleasantly surprised by the delightful and helpful contents. After all these years, Jean Shinoda Bolen still has much to share. I am recommending this book to my daughter who is aged 43. There is more to life as an older woman than face lifts and sagging breasts.
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147 of 155 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
First let me note that I am non religious, and only read books like this because they are fun to read. I do NOT subscribe to what they say.

Goddess In Older Women reminds me a great deal of Women Who Run With The Wolves which my sister gave me a dozen years ago. Jean Shinoda Bolen MS notes in the beginning that "At some point after fifty, every woman crosses a threshold into the third phase of her life. As she enters this uncharted territory--one that is generally uncelebrated in popular culture--she can choose to mourn what has gone before, or she can embrace the juicy crone years."

The book is split into 4 parts. 1 is Her name Is Wisdom which covers the Goddess of pratical and intellectual wisdom; mystical and spiritual wisdom;Intuitive and psychic wisdom; meditative wisdom.

2 She Is More...Than Wisdom which deals with the Goddess of Transformative Wrath-Her name is Outrage; Healing Laughter Her Name is Mirth; Compassion Her Name is Kindness

3 She Is A Goddess Growing Older Goddesses in Everywoman Revisted Artemis Goddess of Hunt and Moon; Athena Goddess of Wisdom and Crafts; Hestia Goddess of Hearth and Temple; Hera Goddess of Marriage; Demeter Goddess of Grain; Peresephone the Maiden and Queen; Aphrodite Goddess of Love and Beauty

Part 5 She Is a Circle. Circles of Wisewomen clan mothers Grandmother circles and Crone circles.

Fact is European women seem to appreciate and honour the crone more than we do here in the states. Crone sadly is a misunderstood word. It simply means an older women who is wise and wonderful. It isn't anything dark or spooky.
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64 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Katherine Bryant on February 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
I read Goddesses in Everywoman years ago during a year long stay in Greece and can say now that I didn't "get it" really. I am now mentoring a young woman and decided to reread the book to see if I should use it with her. I loved it and decided to read Goddesses in Older Women for myself as I near 50. I am struggling with many issues; Mom with Alzheimer's, death of a child 5 years ago, insomnia and physical hormonal changes...and I immediately liked her conceptualization of menopausal symptoms like insomnia, hot flashes, etc. She allowed me to see my alone hours in the middle of the night as something to use for my own creativity and private time. I kept reading and I find the use of archetypal images of the Goddesses invaluable. It is well explained and even women who've never heard of Jung can "get" this book and I think every woman turning 50 would learn something of how to make the most of the transition from the second phase of life into a colorful, loving, wisewoman crone.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Schuyler Ford on February 23, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In a culture that worships youthful beauty, this book reminds us all that our esoteric standards are stifled, immature and limited. The wonderful Bolen leads women (and real men) on a revealing and empowering exploration of the many rich, strong, wise, diverse and beautiful identities that both shape and define the gifts of "older" women.

I have shared this book with my daughters, my friends and as a springboard to discussion in nursing homes with goddesses over 90 years rich.

There are truths here that we must affirm (as they affirm us!) in order to claim our true places in this world!
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Darcy on November 9, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a now "older woman", I surely appreciate this book. I found it inspiring, enlightening and empowering! I am so encouraged that I plan to invite some others to form a wise woman circle in order to celebrate our collective wisdom and share our varied and courageous stories. I am thankful for this book highly recommend it to you!
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