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EHE Process/Spiritual Path
Record Type: Review   ID: 785

The Heroine's Journey

Murdock, Maureen

 This is a much needed book that defines the stages of the modern woman's quest even as countless scholars, among them Joseph Campbell, have done for males. Campbell even told Murdock women have no quest—they need simply to be—that "she's the place that people [i.e., men] are trying to get to" (p. 2). For the author (and this reviewer) this was a very unsatisfactory answer. Murdock sets out the stages of the heroine's journey, guided by her own experience as a "father's daughter." She had first to find her own values within herself and then relate them to the masculine. In a nutshell, she says: "The task of today's heroine . . . is to mine the silver and gold within herself. She must develop a positive relationship with her inner Man with Heart and find the voice of her Woman of Wisdom to heal her estrangement from the sacred feminine. As she honors her body and soul as well as her mind, she heals the split within herself and the culture" (pp. 184-185). She conceptualizes the journey in 10 stages, each of which has a number of subsidiary aspects. The stages are (1) Separation from the Feminine, (2) Identification with the Masculine, (3) The Road of Trials, (4) The Illusory Boon of Success, (5) Strong Women Can Say No, (6) The Initiation and Descent to the Goddess, (7) Urgent Yearning to Reconnect with the Feminine, (8) Healing the Mother/Daughter Split, (9) Finding the Inner Man with Heart, and (10) Beyond Duality. Examples from all stages are given, consisting of experiences of the author or of women in her workshops. This is an important book, practically as well as conceptually. The role of exceptional experiences is paramount here, as it is in the hero's journey. The way ahead (or back), as the case may be, is revealed in dreams, visions, strange meetings, and synchronicities—all of which can be EHEs.
Publisher Information:Boston, MA: Shambhala, 1990. 213p. Bibl: 197-201; Chap. bibl: 187-195; 7 figs; 3 illus; Index: 205-213
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