In 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!