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The Heroine's Journey Paperback – June 23, 1990
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From Library Journal
Murdock traces her journey from rejection of the feminine in order to "succeed" in a masculine world; through discovery of the inadequacy of "success"; through a dark night of the soul and a killing of masculine divine images; to a discovery of the Goddess and of the feminine (including her own feminine embodiment); to a healing of the separated feminine and of the wounded masculine within herself. She ends with the hope for true conjunction, true union beyond duality. This personal book by a family therapist is especially recommended for public and seminary libraries.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Though the book is rich with examples drawn from myths and Jungian psychology, it is surprisingly easy to read. The journey requires serious, often frightening, wandering before one's true identity and power are known. Like the journey Murdock describes, there are no cheap, easy lessons. There are many rich, rewarding lessons, but these are gained only through integrity, courage, and the willingness to meet challenge with all the resources one can muster."—Creation
"Murdock's personal journey will surely speak to many women, but I hope also to those men willing to hear these newly awakened female voices—and of the feminine in their own souls."—Utne Reader
"Combining personal experience and painstaking erudition, Maureen Murdock's The Heroine's Journey shares with us the essence of the female journey. A fine, warm, and insightful book."—Carol Pearson, author of The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By
"The Heroine's Journey offers a map of the feminine healing process. Murdock writes in a clear and compassionate voice which draws inspiration from her experiences as a mother, artist, and therapist and from the collective wisdom of the community of women on the path of the goddess. This book speaks to each woman who longs for a spiritually alive feminine self, one who is actively engaged in the world, and who embraces the masculine principle as a mirror of herself. The Heroine's Journey guides the reader in reweaving the threads of her life story into a mantle of empowerment for herself, for other women, and for Gaia, the Planet Herself."—Patrice Wynne, author of The Womanspirit Sourcebook and co-founder of the Gaia Bookstore and Catalogue Company
"Maureen Murdock's important book on the heroine's journey contains a wealth of insight that is of great value to contemporary Western women. It explores a rich territory of the feminine psyche and opens an understanding of female development that relates not only to personal transformation but cultural transformation as well."—Joan Halifax, President of the Ojai Foundation
"A great roadmap for the changing landscapes of women's lives. It's assuring, rich in personal stories, and leads us securely to the Goddess."—Z. Budapest, author of The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries and The Grandmother of Time
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Turns out, The Heroine's Journey was written by a therapist and even though it DOES relatively parallel the hero's journey as well as go over how radically different the journey is for a female, it is written more for the modern woman and her journey through her own life. Seriously... I had to hold back tears through the first quarter as I realized how much of my childhood experiences with my mother(s) and father(s) and our culture has shaped me.
Then it went on showing me how my masculine journey to gain my CPA by working full time, going to grad school full time, and have a long distance relationship would inevitably lead to mental and physical burnout (which it did) as I tried to numb my pain with alcohol, anti-depressants, and sleeping pills so I could just get through this s***. Then my next masculine journey that resulted in total physical collapse (my 1.5 year illness that nearly made me kill myself) since I didn't learn my lesson the first time and refused to take care of myself because I had to keep up with everyone!
Now I have been going through cycles of healing and getting a grip on who I am over the past year.
So yeah. That book outlined my life so far. Damn good book. Dragged in places. Was a bit new agey for my tastes... but damn.
Now I need to outline it to my protaganist's life... So, here is a bit of the conclusion if you want to know what the Heroine's journey is:
“Today’s heroine must utilize the sword of discernment to cut away the bonds that hold her to the past and to find out what serves her soul’s purpose. She must release resentment toward the mother, put aside blame and idolization of the father, and find the courage to face her own darkness. Her shadow is hers to name and embrace. Woman illumines these dark, shadowy spaces within her through the practice of meditation, art, poetry, play, ritual, relationship, and digging in the earth."
Maureen Murdock, working as a therapist, created the steps in a heroine's journey to help women integrate both their masculine and feminine sides. One of the quotes that I love from the book is, "The heroine must become a spiritual warrior." Only when a woman can merge both her masculine and feminine aspects of herself will she reach fulfillment. That is when a woman not only serves the needs of others but can value and be responsive to her own needs as well. This is definitely a book worth reading. It is thought-provoking and can be used by storytellers whose main protagonist is a female.
The hero's journey has been told throughout history that the hero's father is absent from the hero's life. The same sex parent has the most influence in a child's life.
In the heroine's journey, the mother figure is the most important. However, there is not that much written about the heroine's journey. All we have are tales of Cinderella, Snow White and they are dealing with stepmothers and sisters. As a society, we don't want to accept there are mothers and sisters who are just as cruel. In real life, the women who endure such cruelty become the caretakers for their elderly parents and who in society have been labeled; Old Maids. But, we are living in the twenty-first century and the caretakers can overcome their fate by an enormous amount of self-knowledge! Then they can use their positive father role model and be effective in the world...the servant becomes the heroine!
Of course, this process takes years of uncovering shame and doubt. The "Good Person" becomes a whole person. They are free from outside influence.
The Heroine and Hero's Journey is about transforming one's self into a whole person, linking together the personality with the intangible soul, creating; The Self
The message in The Heroine's Journey is NOT dated but so overlooked in our society.
IMHO this journey applies to everyone because it's about the rejection of the Feminine in favor of the Masculine. Since we're all more or less living under Patriarchal rule, we've all at some point pushed down our emotional, empathetic, spiritual selves in the pursuit of money, glory, or power, only to be led back to it later. Murdock's model is an improvement on Campbell's bc it talks about integration of Masculine and Feminine aspects, not just the outer and inner worlds. Campbell's model also focuses heavily on outside factors/influences while the meat of Murdock's journey happens within as spiritual work.
Worth a read for anyone who is feeling lost. I've returned to this book several times in my life and it's always given me the insight and information that I need.