We as a western culture have grown up with the Hero’s journey as the story of a person who accepts the call to adventure, faces challenges that test his character and strength, succeeds in his quest, and returns home the victor, having resolved the situation that called him to action. This theme was identified by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, published in 1949, as the basic myth in all myths worldwide.
In 1990, Maureen Murdock, a Jungian psychotherapist, developed a female version, known as The Heroine’s Journey, that centered on women’s journey as she knew it through her healing work with her patients. This identified the Heroine’s journey as an inner healing of the wounds of the feminine that result from living in a world defined and controlled by men. Interestingly, the heroine’s journey is defined within the context of the masculine, yet the Hero’s journey is not framed in the context of the feminine.
This reminds me of men’s early efforts at bringing the feminine into their stories. Who remembers Xena: Warrior Princess? This television series was written, directed, and produced by men, and was a number one hit from 1995-2001. However, they simply took their successful Hero myth and placed a woman in the role, scantily dressed of course. Is that really a true picture of the feminine? Of feminine values? Of what women hold sacred? Of women’s journey to wholeness and well-being?
Where are the stories that convey women’s journey separate from the context of the masculine? Where are the stories that reveal a Heroine’s journey to be her true self, honor what she values, and unite for change?
*When women gather, free to give full expression to their spiritual truths, what do they identify that matters?
- The natural rhythms of their bodies as sacred rhythms with life-giving, life-renewing relevance
- Their emotions as powerful indicators of the truth of their experience, offering insight and direction on their journey
- Their access to intuitive and instinctual wisdom inherent in women’s design to ensure the survival and well-being of the human race
- Their spiritual connection with nature to reveal truths that withstand the test of time
- The sacred experience of sitting in circle with other women, sharing their truth, and aligning their power to bring the world into balance
Questions for Circle Discussion
**I had the privilege of hearing Pat McCabe speak about redefining what it means to be masculine and feminine outside the patriarchal context. In her vision, with females being the “life-bringers and life-bearers,” women have the AUTHORITY to “guide life back to life”, to “speak on behalf of life in every situation”. (See References below.)
- When have you felt called to speak on behalf of life?
- What movies, books, or television programs have you encountered that presented a heroine’s story based on women’s spiritual truths and values?
- Who would you name as a true heroine in your life and why?
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*Wisdom’s Delight “About” Page.
**Women Elders: Offering Spiritual Companionship to the World. Woman Stands Shining (Pat McCabe) for Thriving Life, Light, and Love, Feminist Perspectives on Spiritual Companionship and Direction: a 12-week online course from Spiritual Directors International, Session Three.