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Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. This workbook guides readers through the heroine's journey--the quest to heal the deep wounding of the feminine nature on personal, cultural, and spiritual levels. Each chapter recounts personal experiences as well as a myth or fairytale to describe a phase of the journey. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published June 23rd by Shambhala first published More Details Original Title.

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Apr 01, Emily rated it did not like it Recommends it for: Which is interesting because it was published 18 years ago. It's kind of wild that a book like this can seem so old because it indicates to me that quite a lot has happened in the last 18 years. This book came out when I was beginning my most radical feminist years and if I'd read it then, I'd probably have loved it. But the issues in it now seem like they are of another time, in a way. This is not to say that women don't still struggle with the balance of having it all or how to negotiate the masculine and the feminine but it seems like those issues are a lot more complex than this book makes them out to be.

This may be generational as well. The women in generations before mine had to fight their way into the workplace at all. My generation takes that for granted. This book makes a case for wounded femininity and a need for returning to the Great Mother. It's full of dreams that the author had and narratives of women's dreams about encountering images like the "dark woman" a concept I found disturbingly racist. Maybe I've leaned a little too far toward the masculine drive or something but this kind of stuff kind of gets on my nerves.

Maybe it's just because I'm hungry for someone to REALLY lay out a heroine's journey, to really take on the feminine experience of the mythic structure and not just some "let's remember to honor our mother, Gaia" song. Maybe that's my book to write! And maybe I will.

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And 18 years from now some snarky contemporary feminist will find it strangely dated. View 2 comments. Sep 13, Sue Mii rated it did not like it Shelves: story-structure-and-monomyth. This book at its best was a disappointment, and at its worst was literally offensive. First, you need to know that if you are looking for a study of narrative structure, you will be just as disappointed as I was, and will find very little of value for your writing or analysis.

Second, know that this is a feminist self-help book written in , and is rife with dated, unbalanced views of feminism cl This book at its best was a disappointment, and at its worst was literally offensive. Second, know that this is a feminist self-help book written in , and is rife with dated, unbalanced views of feminism clothed in new-age mysticism.

Some segments draw interesting parallels to mythology, however the bulk of the text is drawn from the author's own anecdotes with a dramatic flare. I respect that there are women out there who will find this text helpful or even healing, but I myself was frustrated with Murdock's theories and anecdotes, and a touch disgusted by the broad generalizations she makes regarding women's motives, choices, and experiences.

Aug 30, shyla rated it liked it. Very insightful read about spiritual and feminist liberation.

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However, there was a chapter on the continuation on the stereotype that women of color being the bearers of the great mysteries and great healers of the world. I don't see this as being much different than the black mammy stereotype. There was also a story in which she pointed out that the woman was black but which had nothing to do with the story. I think I am going to write her a letter. Feb 02, Brittany Nelson rated it did not like it. I was initially excited to read this book. Being a great fan of that book and Joseph Campbell, but finding lack of the feminine in that book, this is what first drew me in.

This book, besides being racist, or at the very least fetishizing race, and being backwards in its feminine politics is jus I was initially excited to read this book. This book, besides being racist, or at the very least fetishizing race, and being backwards in its feminine politics is just bad and a book with no value.

It is a self-help book with backwards feminist politics. Its psychology is based in mommy and daddy issues, rather than anything completely substantial. This whole book reeked of very bad psychology. I believe her aims were good. If I was writing this book, I would do a few things differently. She used ones that went against her supposed aims.

They are not as popular as the tales by the Brothers Grimm, but they are out there. View 1 comment. Apr 14, Christine Locke rated it really liked it Shelves: 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 t I started quoting this book before I finished reading it. 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 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 Apr 12, Shannon Heather rated it liked it Shelves: healing , exploring-my-spirit , exploring-the-mind , exploring-the-heart , non-fiction , own.

I felt that I connected with the intent and spirit of the book. Being a fan of Joseph Campbell, this went right along with that only from a feminine point of view; the heroine vs. There were quite a few phrases, stories and quotes that really did stick with me though. I believe it would be a good book to start off with to jump start research and exploration into the development I felt that I connected with the intent and spirit of the book.

I believe it would be a good book to start off with to jump start research and exploration into the development of feminine mythos and matriarchal archetypes for healing women's spirits as oppose to those which are patriarchally oriented. Nov 12, Laura rated it it was ok Shelves: headology , self-help , myth , hero-s-journey , religious-studies. Murdock proposes a different, 10 step mythic adventure for women: 1. Separation from the feminine 2. Identification with the masculine and gathering of allies 3. Road of trials: meeting ogres and dragons 4.

Finding the boon of success 5. Awakening to feelings of spiritual aridity: death 6. Initiation and descent to the Goddess 7.

Urgent yearning to reconnect with the feminine 8. Healing the wounded masculine Integration of masculine and feminine. That seems more like a family therapy journey, not a mythic one. Murdock might have been able to persuade me if she tried. Instead, she offers variants on myths and a lot of ahistorical woo-woo.

Mary Balogh

In the Roman Empire, three-fourths of the people were slaves or descended from slaves, and he preached that these people, not solely the emperor, were one with God. This union of divinity and humanity had far-reaching political ramifications, and that is why Christ was put to death. Jan 24, Warren Rochelle rated it really liked it. Murdock wrote this book to be therapeutic, to not just share the "essence of the female journey," but to guide women through a journey of self-actualization, of self-discovery, as she grows up, comes of age, as she becomes her self, as she becomes an adult woman.

The heroine's journey template used is akin to the Hero's Journey or the Monomyth made so familiar by Joseph Campbell, and the book takes the reader through each stage, from Separation from the Feminine to Integration of the Feminine an Murdock wrote this book to be therapeutic, to not just share the "essence of the female journey," but to guide women through a journey of self-actualization, of self-discovery, as she grows up, comes of age, as she becomes her self, as she becomes an adult woman.

The heroine's journey template used is akin to the Hero's Journey or the Monomyth made so familiar by Joseph Campbell, and the book takes the reader through each stage, from Separation from the Feminine to Integration of the Feminine and the Masculine, to wholeness.

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This is not a matter of placing yourself on a map of the world or stating your address, because you can know where you are and still be lost. Placing oneself in a broader context is essential to identity formation both for the individual and for a country as a whole. These tight knit communities are characterized by Frye through their strong loyalty towards the group and the overhanging need to protect the community from the outside world. But while the garrison keeps danger out, it simultaneously fences people in:. It is this mentality that Frye finds dominating in Canadian literature and culture in general, even though it is no longer necessary to protect oneself from wild animals, blizzards, or hostile natives.

This has resulted in a literary tradition which is deeply entrenched in its settler history, advocates moral and social conduct, and is uncomfortable with the uncivilized wilderness. However, this classic motif that requires protagonists to protect themselves from unknown, outside forces symbolized by the wilderness has been refigured in the late s:. This causes Atwood to caution Canadians that a continued lack of national identity is a serious threat to their survival as a country. One senses in her warning a fear of being swallowed up, not by the wilderness, but by the vast and clearly defined nation to the south encroaching on Canadian borders.

From this perspective, the garrison protects the community, not from the wilderness, but from what this has come to symbolize: an unknown, threatening, and over-powering enemy. She argues further that in later Canadian fiction, the danger one must survive has shifted from without to within, thus becoming an internal struggle rather than a physical one. This means that the struggle to survive is no longer a matter of retrieving the bare necessities to sustain the body but a spiritual and emotional struggle.

Canada has a rich literary tradition which encompasses works by Anglo-Canadian and French-Canadian writers as well as First Nations and immigrant authors [7]. The process of recognizing the value of these has been obscured by the tendency to focus on the rich literature of large nations such as Britain and the United States.

But the continually growing body of work produced by Canadian authors continues to shape a tradition. Before the country can reach international acclaim for its literature, it has to assert within itself what makes the Canadian genre unique and not simply a part of a larger North American tradition. Uniting the writing of Canada and the U. As Rebecca Raglon suggests, the wilderness writing of the United States [8] is very different from the Canadian tradition:.

This is, however, far from true. The duality of nature as both giver and taker of life has brought an easily detectable gothic element to Canadian literature. The wilderness instills both awe and fear in the Canadian writer who in turn becomes both attracted to and terrified of it. According to Margot Northey, the gothic is expressed through this ambiguity which:. It is an attitude which recurs in numerous later books to the present day, and may well be identified as typically Canadian. This perception of nature as an unknowable entity has linked it to the human psyche that similarly resists being fully explored.

As Atwood suggests, people rarely live happily ever after in Canadian fiction as well as in real life. Maybe Canadians should just accept and embrace the fact that:. They must have told stories about something as they sat around the kitchen. Recent literary criticisms read the wilderness as a more nuanced entity that cannot be characterized as ultimately bad or good.

Furthermore, Frye has been criticized for basing his analyses of Canadian literature largely on works by male authors [10]. The thematic criticism advocated by these two authors is very limiting in describing a diverse nation such as Canada, as it necessarily reflects a white Anglo-Canadian view. If approached critically, however, these theories provide exceptional guidelines to reflecting on literature and identity.


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It should also be clearly stated that there is no such thing as one true, static national identity that will resound with everyone in a multicultural society such as Canada. My discussion of national identity reflects the topic which has dominated public debate in the country for several decades now and which appears to continue well into the 21st century. Their objective was primarily the mapping of unknown territory in an attempt to document their findings to the British government.

None such explorers were female and for this reason, the first accounts of Canada were written from a male vantage point. However, with the first male settlers came their wives, and even though the wilderness was usually considered a male dominated sphere, Canada boasts many female authors dating back to the first settlements. Contemporary women writers such as Atwood, Wilson, and Engel were clearly inspired by their predecessors and the female Bildungsroman; a genre in which. The early 19th century saw literary publications by women who had followed their husbands to the colonies and thus came face to face with the strange Canadian nature.

As an upper-class woman, Jameson had already established herself as a writer in England before departing for the colony. Having recently divorced her husband, Jameson finds a reflection of her newfound freedom in the nature of eastern Canada:. Anna sees the land as a passionate woman whose beauty has been ravished.

Sisters Catherine Parr Traill and Susanna Moodie reported of their experiences as settlers adapting to life in Canada in very different manners. She clearly did not mean to persuade her peers in the Old World to migrate to Canada, but rather to advise them not to follow in her footsteps.

The wilderness was seen as something to endure, because once they had crossed the Atlantic, only very few had the opportunity of returning to the mother country. Thus, pioneer women came to perceive the wilderness as the antagonist in their stories of achieving domestic bliss. The wild was indeed gendered space associated with male dominance. This begs the question: Is the Canadian wilderness even a place for women? But the male activities outside the house were considered to be higher on the hierarchical scale of importance than those of domestic tasks inside.

Female settlers such as Jameson, Parr Traill and Moodie were forced to follow their husbands to the colonies and endure the rough nature of the North. Instead of being placed in the wilderness by others, this heroine made the conscious decision to enter the unknown and male dominated territory of the North.

According to Steenman-Marcusse, this is a postmodern tendency that can be detected in much of the literature from this period:. Whatever the objectives of their quests, the female protagonists break away from patriarchal society by refiguring themselves and their roles as women. This thesis deals with Canadian women writers of the second wave, who both incorporate and contrast the experiences of their predecessors.

Howells describes how the new colony provided women with a creative space to express personal thoughts, fears, and desires:. Or maybe, under frontier conditions, the men were kept so busy chopping down trees and strangling wolves that the arts came to be regarded a sissy stuff, and women were left to do the cushion embroidery, the flower-painting, and the poetry-writing. Or perhaps being so close to frontier conditions, under which women with lots of muscles were valued for their water-hauling and plough-pulling capabilities, Canadians never developed the concept of women as merely brainless decoration.

As this quote suggests, powerful female figures in Canadian history and literature abound, and the telling and retelling of these stories makes their presence undeniable. Whether this expresses a lack of clearly identifiable characteristics in Canadian writing or a strong female tradition is another question presented by the first.

Defining the actual location of the Canadian wilderness is a futile quest. In a country where most of the major cities are located to the south along the US border, the most specific geographical description of the wilderness is merely a direction: north. But north of what? This is not a matter of coordinates, longitudes, and latitudes, but rather one of imagined space. Several Canadian authors have chosen the wilderness as the setting for their novels and poems, and it would appear that this vaguely defined space is a source of great literary inspiration to many.

Especially female writers have found the Canadian nature an attractive destination for their female protagonists. It provides a mythical setting about which the tales are plenty, but no one holds the one true answer. The fascination with mysteries of this unexplored land has made it a recurring theme in Canadian fiction closely linked with spiritual quest. To regard the North as merely the backdrop of Canadian fiction would be restricting to a critical reading of the quest novels and the importance of their setting.

Though the wilderness can be defined as a physical place, however intangible, many of the qualities ascribed to it are personifying characteristics. In this sense, the wilderness has itself become a character in Canadian fiction, and I will attempt to define the unique nature of the wilderness throughout this thesis. Despite the lack of a clearly defined geographic position, the wilderness can be described in terms that would normally be applied in the characterization of a person, more specifically a woman.