Mythology Inspires Successful Life Strategies
Jan 29, 2016 10:57AM
Jean Shinoda Bolen’s search for an archetypal myth that best represents women activists with the courage, will and indomitable spirit that cannot be subdued led her to Atalanta, a mortal woman in Greek mythology. For Bolen, a psychiatrist, Jungian analyst and author of Artemis: The Indomitable Spirit in Everywoman, this woman who identified with her protector, Artemis, goddess of the hunt and moon, not only exemplifies courageous girls, but also the women they become.
Bolen notes that in today’s world, Artemis’ archetypal grit, passion and persistence to go the distance, survive and win is made visible in Katiss Everdeen, the protagonist in The Hunger Games trilogy, as well as in Lisbeth Salander, the main character in The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo. Julia Butterfly Hill, an environmental activist who lived for 738 days in a 1,500-year old California Redwood tree, and Gloria Steinman, founder of Ms. Magazine and spokesperson for feminism, are other examples in addition to female characters in videogames, comic books and television series. According to the Jungian psychiatrist and analyst, these stories and others are vehicles for images, feelings and depth that lead a reader or an audience to identify with and learn from the characters.
Bolen paints vivid word pictures of Artemis to set the stage for a reader to resonate with inner archetypal traits that might be seeking outward expression. A personal connection that rings true, combined with the experience of an illuminating moment in which a reader recognizes something important about themselves that they previously hadn’t, is defined by Bolen as an “Aha!” moment, when the unacknowledged archetype can come to life.
How have archetypes influenced your life?
Archetypal traits, like personality traits, can show up early in life. My parents sent me off to Girl Scout camp when I was a child. Some of the girls didn’t like camp, got homesick and refused to return to the rustic setting. Unlike them, the experience energized the Artemis archetypal pattern in me and I couldn’t wait to return.
I learned about archetypes later in adolescence. A different kind of experience made me aware of how I had arrogantly taken my achievements for granted as self-accomplished, whereas every single one was a gift of circumstance. I was humbled by the insight and wanted to say thank you by helping others. This was really my call to service, which set me on my path to becoming a doctor.
The capacity to set a goal to be a doctor and stay with it is another Artemis trait that may have activated a domino effect of synchronicities that happened throughout my life. These synchronistic moments that presented the right people and circumstances informed me, helped me to achieve my potential and moved me along on my path of self-realization. Looking inward and reflecting upon these synchronicities is another Artemis trait.
What are some of the intentions for your Happehatchee workshop?
I want to empower women so they learn to trust their intuitive feelings, their “gnosis”, which is Greek for spiritual knowledge. This gnosis can inform women of the next steps to take when they sense that they are at crossroads and seeking clarification of what their heart wants to do or what their intuition is telling them. Tuning inward can activate Artemis energy, which can help them feel courageous enough to move forward and trust whatever they are being directed to. I also want the women to learn to use the archetypal gifts of synchronicity and symbols in their dreams.
We all need to respect who we were at the beginning of our story. Women who can recall the qualities of their inner child before they were influenced by their families, culture and religion gain insight into their true nature. They learn why they are still standing even though they’ve adapted and persevered in spite of any bad things that have happened to them. This is the indomitable spirit of Artemis in every woman that we will tune into at the workshop.
For more information on the fundraiser Feb. 19 lecture on Artemis: Goddess, Archetype and Source of Meaning and Activism and the weekend workshop Feb. 20 and 21, email [email protected]. Cost: $100/Fri. lecture. $250/entire weekend. Limit 60 people.