Artemis: The Indomitable Spirit in Everywoman by Jean Shinoda Bolen

Artemis: The Indomitable Spirit in Everywoman by Jean Shinoda Bolen

artemisIn Artemis, Jean Bolen discusses the importance of archetypes and mythological stories. She asserts that we don’t just enjoy the stories for their entertainment value- we respond to the psychological truths contained between the lines.

I’ve always enjoyed academic discussions of mythological tales. I never really knew why though until I read this book.

The meanings of mythology are so layered that our conscious minds may not even know that our subconscious minds are latching onto the veiled truths. We love them without realizing their importance.

Artemis: The Indomitable Spirit in Everywoman contains an intricate dissection of the tale of Atalanta, a mortal whose life paralleled the goddess, Artemis, in many ways.

I think I had been exposed to this tale in a classical mythology course in college, but the complex Jungian psychology that goes along with it wasn’t explained to this extent. Bolen’s explanation of the myth is masterful.

One archetype in particular that I enjoyed learning about was Selene/Endymion. Sometimes, in the frantic growth to adulthood, one can feel alone in their struggles and inner landscape.

I’ve known so many girls (myself included) who were living that pattern but they didn’t even know it. Bolen’s explanation of the motivations and the potential growth that can accompany this life pattern was enlightening as well as encouraging.

Bolen ties humanity together through shared experiences and mythologies. She makes the reader feel that, no matter what they have gone through, they are not and have never been alone. It’s a very empowering message.

My minor in classics covered much that was discussed in this book but the feminist lens that was applied to the mythologies was very unique and different from what I have learned in the past.

In addition to the myths, Bolen includes contemporary fictional heroines as well as real life figures who embody the archetypes. I liked that she traveled beyond the boundary of the tales to apply the energies to real life.

Young women who aspire to embody the vision of Artemis in all of her variations in their own life will find many examples to emulate within these pages.

I enjoyed this quite a lot. I haven’t read Bolen’s Goddesses in Everywoman but this book makes me want to dive into it.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s interested in Jungian psychology, mythology or the elevation of the human spirit.

I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads. FTC guidelines: check!

Thanks for reading!


The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell

The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell

thepowerofmythThough a bit rambling at times, The Power of Myth is a great introductory text on archetypes found within all world mythologies from almost every time period. Campbell explains why the underlying stories are the same from all over the world and what they mean in both cultural, personal, and world contexts.

He breaks down some of the major archetypes like the sacrificed god and resurrection, virgin births, goddesses, trees, snakes, and more. As someone who has studied tarot and The Tree of Life extensively, I found it to be an illumination.

I particularly liked learning about the mythology of Star Wars. With the release of the new film, that particular series is back in the top of the pop culture charts. I think that The Power of Myth explains why it has such enduring appeal.

If you liked The Power of Myth, you may want to pick up Artemis: The Indomitable Spirit in Everywoman by Jean Shinoda Bolen. It is another examination of mythology from a feminist perspective.

Or pick up any of the many books about mythology from any country you’d like. If you immerse yourself in enough of the stories, you will pick up on the reoccurring patterns yourself.

I believe that one of the many purposes of mythology, beyond its entertainment value, is to teach us about what we have in common with each other, and also, the hidden dimensions of ourselves.

As the doorway to the Delphic Oracle said, “Know Thyself.” And, really, that is the greatest power there is. Mythology helps you do that.

Thanks for reading!