Sunday, February 24, 2013

Book Review: "Crones Don't Whine: Concentrated Wisdom for Juicy Women" and "Goddesses in Older Women" by Jean Shinoda Bolen

"Crones Don't Whine: Concentrated Wisdom for Juicy Women"* and "Goddesses in Older Women"* by  Jean Shinoda Bolen

Crones Don't Whine is a short book that succinctly describes the qualities of the Crone in today's world. In Bolen's works, a Crone is the Jungian archetype of the Wise Woman (i.e. Grandmother Willow).  Goddesses somewhat longer, with more mythological detail about the Goddesses who may make up the psychology of the Crone. The beauty of Jungian archetypes is that the reader can pick and choose from a number of personality types from which to draw the strength to face the challenges of life's various phases. Crones Don't Whine sets forth the qualities of the Crone in today's world. Goddesses describes the archetypes we can draw on in embracing the Crone.

In our youth, we had the opportunity to take a Hero's Journey (see Joseph Campell's works or Bolen's earlier work Gods in Everyman: Archetypes that Shape Mens Lives*  or Goddesses in Everywoman: Powerful Archetypes in Womens Lives*).  In the middle of our lives, we nurture our children and do our work. As we move toward old age, our children are grown and our work may be less important to our identity (although perhaps no less time consuming). The focus of our psychic energy shifts. In too many people, the shift is inward; they often become bitter and mean. In others, the shift is outward; they look for ways to help people and/or to make the world a better place. Jungian archetypes tell us that we all have the power in us to make the positive choice, no matter what bad things life has thrown at us in the past. Drawing on ancient and powerful archetypes, our souls can heal from nearly any injury and become strong, happy and to make a positive impact on our little corner of the world.

I have never read a book about women making the passage into old age that did not mention the Female Holocaust (aka the Witch Burnings). It is a cautionary specter that hangs over old women everywhere. Old Women are (often secretly) sought out by the people in their villages for their healing powers and wise advice. They are also feared by male power because the content of women's wisdom is secret and the male power structure feels threatened by it, perhaps with reason. If older women in large numbers would embrace and exercise their power for healing and speaking truth, interesting things could happen in our world.

(One thing is for sure: my current WIP is going to undergo a total metamorphosis in coming months!  It is about three women transitioning to retirement, one is recently divorced and the other two are widows. I can already tell, it's going to take on a whole bunch of new layers.)

See Jean Shinoda Bolen's Amazon Author Page, with all her books, here*.

*Affiliate Link: buy great stuff and support this site for no extra charge.

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