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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.
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on March 30, 2006
I found this book to be extremely helpful in understanding how a woman heals. Women have a different emotional pathway then men. As I read this book some of my confusion straightened out, the processes given were helpful for a time and I started to have more respect for myself as a woman. At a time when I most needed; this book really helped me in my darkest time. It does not take the place of a therapist or a trusted friend and confidant. But how nice to know I was not going insane, just moving through a growing period in my emotional and spiritual makeup. I hope if you purchase this book, it will be as helpful to you as it was to me.
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on October 10, 2000
The Heroine's Journey is an absolutely essential book that should be required reading for every woman! Maureen Murdock has blessed us with a way to look at our lives that helps us begin to make sense of them. In a time when so many of the boundaries of our souls have been blurred by the myriad contradictory images of what it is to be a woman, she gives us a map that illuminates many of the darker aspects of our collective and personal journeys. We always hear about the Hero's Journey, especially after the success of the PBS special done on Joseph Campbell, and the author has done the heroic work of reconsidering this classical mythological tale through a feminine lens. It will help you understand that baffling relationship with your mother and that distant relationship with your father and in the end will fill you with a renewed sense of compassion for your parents, and most importantly for yourself. ~ Juana Olga Barrios
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on December 11, 2000
I have just finished The Heroine's Journey. I have read Jung,Joseph Campbell, Carol Pearson, Vogler etc. All of them are fascinating but a little off, just a tiny bit away from my core experience as a woman. Murdock captures the truth of my 50 years on this planet better than anyone. Her book is a must read for anyone who is trying to make sense of the feminine experience. Thank you, Maureen.
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on July 27, 2005
My initial interest in this book was its discussion of archetypes and how they work within a woman's psyche. While this book doesn't break new ground in its discussion of archetypes and mythology, Murdock's personal approach to the topic (she includes her own experiences, both real and dreamed) makes this book especially engrossing. What surprised me was chapater 8, "Healing the Mother/Daughter Split." I was particularly drawn to this chapter, since this is a topic I've yet to deal with in my own writing (I've found it too difficult and painful to delve into). This chapter gave me strength to confront mother/daughter issues I've been avoiding. It also explained why certain imagery, particularly imagery of the female descent to the underworld, has cropped up in fiction that I've already written and published. All writers, male or female, will gain valuable insights from this book. Reading this book is a joyful, liberating experience. --Theresa Williams, author of THE SECRET OF HURRICANES
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on February 4, 2009
This is a book for every woman who has or will be going out in the world to have a career. And who hasn't in this day and age. The author enhances her research with her personal story as a way of exploring the universal split between mother and daughter when the daughter follows in her father's footsteps to have a career and work in a male centered world. Murdock even draws a diagram at the beginning of the book that explains the process. It is obvious she spent many hours conceiving and researching this idea which I felt had some real merit. She completes the heroine's journey by reuniting her with her feminine side and her mother through experiences and obstacles she encounters along the way. Although it was written in 1990, it is fresh and relevant today as young women enter the male-centered workplace in droves and try to find their place in it. A must read for every woman!
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on November 29, 2011
Maureen Murdock's "The Heroine's Journey" was a ground-breaking work when it came out in 1990, and is still useful today. This book has three aspects of value. The first is that Ms. Murdock puts a "Heroine's Journey" in the context of personal growth in recovery from damaging relationships, ranging from family to cultural norms and values. The second is that she presents a unique and interesting model of this "journey" - one distinct from the classic "Hero's Quest."

Finally, Ms. Murdock gives us a very interesting - and significantly telling - tidbit from her research. When Ms. Murdock herself spoke with Joseph Campbell, renowned for his work in mythology and human archetypal journeys, he said that "'In the whole mythological tradition the woman is 'there.' All she has to do is to realize that she's the place that people are trying to get to. When a woman realizes what her wonderful character is, she's not going to get messed up with the notion of being pseudo-male.'"

This points to the difficult that women have had in discerning their own journey. When women ask for insight or perspective from a man, the answer is often too simplistic, or is given from a male perspective that does not fully encompass the complexity of the feminine. Campbell was not incorrect; he was simply incomplete - he points to the "Medial Woman" as identified by Antonia Wolff in "Structural Forms of the Feminine Psyche," and as the "High Priestess" in my book, "Unveiling: The Inner Journey." However, Campbell - in common with other men - did not take into account other, essential feminine archetypes that a mature woman learns to know and integrate within herself.

Ms. Murdock's work shows, through both personal experience and many insightful stories, how a significant portion of each woman's "Heroic Journey" includes reclaiming and integrating previously denied and held-back feelings. For many women, this book will hold a special and revered place in their lives and their own healing journey.

Alianna J. Maren, Ph.D.
Author (under the nom de plume "Alay'nya")
"Unveiling: The Inner Journey"
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on May 9, 2013
THE HEROINE'S JOURNEY is very helpful to me as a man, a father, a writer. In addition to reading it twice and making detailed notes, I sent copies to both my ex-wife and stepdaughter, both of whom I love and respect, and both of whom are on their own heroic journeys
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on March 22, 2014
With so many books on the ancient gods, there is so few on the application of the mythology on the journey of the Heroine and the feminine principle or anima. Maureen shows no fear in diving into the knowledge and using her own life in examples of how Inanna and Persephone come alive within her and others. This is a must read for anyone wanting to explore the emerging and evolving goddesses in the modern world.
- Erik M Roth, Shamanic Astrologer
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on July 12, 2013
I started quoting this book before I finished reading it. That's pretty much an indication that it's an important one for me. If you write women's fiction and you haven't read this book, read it. If you write about women and you haven't read this book, read it. I'm having a reaction that I've heard others have when they "discover" Joseph Campbell's work for the first time: how did I not know about this book sooner? It's especially strange for me that I wrote a master's thesis in the 90's about the mother role in British lit and somehow I never came across this text. Ah well, I've read it now, and I'll be going back to it. In fact, I have a feeling that as I complete re-writes on my current project I'll be revisiting this text a lot.

The only complaint I have about The Heroine's Journey is that it's dated. Just like the thesis I wrote in 1995 is not what I would have to say, now, about the mother role in our society, I wish we could have an updated edition of The Heroine's Journey. We have a beautiful updated version of Christopher Vogler's The Writer's Journey (which is were I read about Murdock's work), so how about a similar edition for The Heroine? I'm just saying....
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