The best books on the archetypal feminine

The Books I Picked & Why

Conscious Femininity

By Marion Woodman

Conscious Femininity

Why this book?

Marian Woodman has been my shero ever since I attended a workshop of hers. I recall sitting in the audience listening to her speak and blinking my eyes. How could it be that she could shape-shift from a coy flirtatious maiden, into a warm nurturing mother, and then moments later appear as a regal, confident, and sovereign queen and then a deeply wise crone? She clearly understood and embodied the full range of the conscious feminine in its various aspects.

Of her many books, this is the one I love the most because, in this collection of interviews with her, the passion of her speaking voice comes through the written word loud and clear. Her phrasing is so delicious, my tattered copy is underlined throughout.


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Goddesses in Everywoman: Powerful Archetypes in Women's Lives

By Jean Shinoda Bolen

Goddesses in Everywoman: Powerful Archetypes in Women's Lives

Why this book?

When I read this book, I felt much the way I did as a teenager when I discovered astrology and began to appreciate there were patterns of behavior found in humans that were reflected in the vastness of the cosmos -- and vice versa. Who would have thought that what I considered idiosyncratic tendencies within myself and others actually were a part of a much bigger pattern that had existed for millennia in the form of ancient goddesses? I was astounded to see the personalities of my sisters, friends, mother, aunties, as well as celebrities, accurately depicted by Greek goddesses. 

In this book, Shinoda-Bolen brings to life many dimensions of the archetypal feminine that get played out in our modern lives, our individual psyches, and in our relationships.


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Circle of Stones: Woman's Journey to Herself

By Judith Duerk

Circle of Stones: Woman's Journey to Herself

Why this book?

I have read this book nearly a hundred times. Given that it is less than seventy pages long with sometimes only twenty-five words (or less) on a page, that may not seem like much of a feat. But the exquisite spacing between the words invites the reader to drop deep into the lost feminine, to pause, and to feel her essence. This book allows us to not only recognize what has been lost but also to repeatedly imagine how our lives might be different if we could fully experience and embrace the archetypal feminine.


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Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

By Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

Why this book?

This book broke ground by bringing the ancient art of storytelling as a teaching tool into our modern times to inform us about our instinctual feminine nature. Like eating cheesecake, it is difficult to fully consume too much of it in one sitting. Each story is meant to be tasted and savored. Slowly. Pinkola-Estes’ words are beautifully lyrical and the wisdom conveyed by her collection of fairytales and folk tales is meant to bypass the limitations of our rational mind, penetrate our psyche, and nourish us at the deepest levels.


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Let Us Dance! The Stumble And Whirl With The Beloved

By Chelan Harkin

Let Us Dance! The Stumble And Whirl With The Beloved

Why this book?

This young woman is profoundly wise beyond her years. In a style reminiscent of the poetry of the mystics Rumi and Hafiz from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Harkin gives voice to the deep feminine as she is emerging into modern consciousness. This is poetry to touch your heart and quicken your inner feminine. Full disclosure: I was honored to write the forward to this beautifully written book.


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