Press Release: Urgent Message from Mother Gather the Women, Save the World

Press Release

For immediate release (download pdf verson)

Contact: Bonni Hamilton, Director of Marketing
978/465.0504 x1112
Skye Wentworth, Publicist

Urgent Message from Mother
Gather the Women, Save the World
Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D.

In Jean Bolen’s poetic polemic, Urgent Message from Mother (Conari Press, September 2005), she explores both the psychological and the scientific aspects of women as leaders together. She begins with a Jungian examination of the barren Fisher King whose wound can only be healed by the Holy Grail; emphasizing the idea of the Holy Grail archetype as “every woman’s secret” and the transformative power of the sacred feminine – the Goddess, Gaia, Earth Mother. Bolen then moves to Rupert Sheldrake’s “Theory of Morphic Resonance,” which describes how societies and even species can undergo rapid evolution when they reach a tipping point. She explains “we learned that women gathering together in groups and telling the truth of their lives can actually change the world.”

Bolen points to a fascinating UCLA study proving that women react to stress differently than their male counterparts. Instead of the “fight or flight” reaction, women have a “tend and befriend” response as a result of an increase in oxytocin, the maternal bonding hormone. While men become more adrenalized and aggressive, women nurture and protect – biologically. From this and other compelling evidence Bolen makes a strongly convincing case that now is the time for women to lead – to fiercely protect all that we love.

Urgent Message from Mother offers a unique combination of visionary thinking and practical how-to and is Jean Shinoda Bolen’s most activist work to-date. Written in a lyrical language that inspires, this book seeks to galvanize the still untapped power of women coming together to change our world.

Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D. is an internationally known author, speaker and workshop leader who draws from spiritual, feminist, Jungian, medical, and personal wellsprings of experience. She is a Jungian analyst, psychiatrist and clinical professor at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco, and is the author of The Tao of Psychology; Goddesses in Everywoman; Gods in Everyman. Ring of Power; Crossing to Avalon; Close to the Bone; The Millionth Circle, Goddesses in Older Women, Crones Don’t Whine and most recently Urgent Message From Mother: Gather the Women, Save the World.


Interview with Dr. Jean Bolen: Personal Perspective

Interview with Dr. Jean Bolen

How did you come to favor Jungian Psychology? Why is Jung’s philosophy more meaningful to you than Freud’s?

I was intrigued by dreams and their potential meaning. In my residency training at the University of California Medical Center San Francisco, this was knowledge that Jungian analysts had. Spirituality and creativity, the use of metaphor and myths were within Jung’s psychology, and these were and are meaningful aspects of my life and how my intuitive mind works. I also thought that Jung’s psychology on women was an improvement on the classical psychoanalytic Freudian perspective that defined women as being inherently inferior because we lacked a penis and therefore suffered from penis envy. At the time that I entered the training program at C.G. Jung Institute in San Francisco, it was not to become a Jungian analyst but to learn Jungian psychology. In the process, I found that this was an identity that I gradually grew into, so that when I was certified, it was outer recognition of an inner attitude and way of working.
Did you use Jung’s philosophy and teachings for your own personal development?

I entered a Jungian analysis prior to entering the Jungian Institute because a number of hours of personal analysis was required before applying. I began working with my own dreams and talking about my life. In the process I saw how present and past are related, how events affected my family how my parents influenced me. Dreams brought up past emotional events which reverberated with the present. My analysis put my life in a larger context and was the beginning of my appreciation of what it means to have a personal myth.
How did it change your life? Does it underlie your spiritual beliefs?

My professional and writing life would not be what it is but for Jung and synchronicity. Many if not most of the major influences on my adult life have come through meaningful coincidences or synchronicities. (C. G. Jung coined the word and first described synchronicity toward the end of his long and creative life.) The direction I took when I became interested in Jungian ideas has shaped my professional life as both a Jungian analyst and an author. The nine books that I have written so far have a depth view of meaning and choice that draw from my Jungian practice and perspective. How I got to be a Jungian analyst was pure synchronicity as well as how I got to be an author. For example, at the time, I was at the only psychiatric residency in the United States where I could have had Jungian analysts as supervisors and could take a Jungian seminar. My first book, The Tao of Psychology: Synchronicity and the Self came about through a series of synchronicities, which I have recently told of in the introduction to The 25th Anniversary Edition. Jung’s theories do not underlie my spiritual beliefs, however. My spirituality and intimations of being part of a divine universe came first.
In your book, The Tao of Psychology you write: “Synchronicity gives us a glimpse into the reality that there is indeed a link between us all, between us and all living things, between us and the universe.” How did you discover this concept? What do you advocate that would enable us to “see” and appreciate this in our lives today?

It was like putting two and two together. The insight that we are part of a meaningful and beautiful universe was a humbling, full-of-grace experience, which I intuitively sensed. Synchronistic moments or reflections upon the past in which synchronicities are recognized, also touch upon and evoke similar feelings of being a recipient of grace. There is no logical way to explain synchronisitic events, they are beyond cause and effect,. When significant synchronicities happen, we experience a connection between the invisible and visible worlds–and it is awesome and numinous, mysterious, and full of grace.

Often it begins with the word “synchronicity”, without which these events are not noticed. Like how would we identify the color “blue” if we had no word for it. I also think that an ability to see beauty and be affected by it, is another beginning place.

(The following questions were answered below
as a collective by Dr. Jean Bolen:)

What does being a Feminist mean to you? How do you practice feminism? What is your view of feminism today?
What is your understanding of why society is patriarchal in nature?
How optimistic are you that a critical number of people will come to change how they think and behave thus causing a change in culture and society, as you propose in your book, The Millionth Circle?
How does the current global humanitarian and political turmoil with escalating and unprecedented levels of injustice and suffering fit into this view, as it would almost seem that the world continues to watch and accept it passively?

I am a Feminist, who in recent years has made a point of saying so. Every honorable word that once was used to describe an empowered woman, or a man who supports or has compassion for the vulnerable, has been denigrated or trashed, and thus avoided. Feminist and Liberal, are recent casualties. In Crones Don’t Whine, I am working on redeeming another one of these once honorable labels.

Feminist in my personal vocabulary means activist on behalf of women and advocate of the feminine principle. I see patriarchy as a hierarchal system which is bad for everyone and for the planet. It supports domination and exploitation of those with more political and physical power over those with less; dehumanizing both parties.

I believe we are in a time when a spiritually-energized women’s movement can bring the feminine principle of nurturing, sustaining and protecting what is vulnerable into consciousness. The women’s movement brought about extraordinary shifts in attitude and subsequent changes through women meeting together in consciousness-raising groups and supporting each other to take the actions that culminated in a movement. I wrote a small book called The Millionth Circle: How to Change Ourselves and The World that is like a seed packet that is quietly seeding circles with a spiritual center in many parts of the world, inspired the formation of the Millionth Circle Initiative and November 2 on the United Nations calendar as the “World Day of Circles of Compassion” as part of the millionth circle movement. The anti-nuclear proliferation activists were sustained by the allegory of “The Hundredth Monkey”, and the idea of critical mass which were the foundation idea of the metaphoric “Millionth Circle.”

With the Internet communication, the potential of 5th women’s world conference in the next few years, the existence of a huge number of women over 50 influenced by the women’s movement, and a vision supported by the UN Security Council resolution #1325 on “Women, Peace, and Security”, the potential exists to implement the idea that women become involved whenever and wherever violence is involved from the domestic to the international scene. This and the idea of “the millionth circle” makes me optimistic that the time is coming soon for the emergence of the feminine principle into collective consciousness and an end of patriarchy.
Do you see the goddesses in every woman as an entity that once lived in the physical world or do you see them as ideals that the uninhibited woman can strive to be with these ideals or qualities being refined in the psyche of women through time. How do you explain how the wisdom of these archetypes can apply to contemporary life? How can women discover their god-archetypes? How can this empower them?

Goddesses once were worshipped as feminine deities connected with the moon, seasons, earth, with motherhood, fertility, sexuality and the mysteries of life and death. These were awesome and powerful qualities that were personified by goddesses. While goddesses have disappeared from Judeo-Christian-Islamic religion, they are still held in reverence and worship elsewhere. My interest in the psyche, and in the images and qualities that exist in us that fit into personality patterns, passions and traits that are seen in ancient Greek mythology which is the basis of western mythology led me to write Goddesses in Everywoman and Gods in Everyman, and to say that it would have been more accurate psychologically to have written a book with the title Goddesses and Gods in Everyone.

The Olympian deities exist as archetypal patterns in us. The Greek goddesses and gods provide us with images and names of psychological patterns, that when active in us help us to understand our priorities and behaviour. Depending upon family and culture, some archetypes are encouraged and others suppressed. In a patriarchal culture, both genders are forbidden or discouraged from developing some archetypes and are often forced into roles, which are not inherently meaningful if there is no archetypal support for the role. To develop any archetype requires the freedom or opportunity to do so.
How do you define leadership? Do you see yourself as a leader?

I think of leadership and how wild geese fly in formation. The leader is the point person who temporarily leads those that have agreed to travel together. Like a lead goose, a leader needs vision and a sense of direction. Strength to lead has to do with being trusted, and trust has to do with having qualities and experience needed for whatever the particular task is. Sometimes it is actual strength as on an athletic team, usually it is strength of character, conviction, and courage. I think leaders look out for those who trust them to lead, that they foster growth in others, and are generous with credit and appreciation. I do see myself as a leader.
What do you believe is good about getting old?

If we become juicy crones and not merely older, then this is a time when we are wiser and more appreciative of the good that comes our way, including knowing how lucky we are to be alive and healthy. It is possible to be more authentically ourselves than at any time in our lives, and to make time for neglected interests and parts of ourselves. Travel, meditation, music, creativity of all kinds, chosen service, reading and learning all may become possible. We also can be an influence in our families, institutions and the wider world.


Interview excerpt: Gather the Women, Save the World

Gather the Women, Save the World

Twin Cities Daily Planet
By Norma Smith Olson, Minnesota Women’s Press
An interview with writer Jean Shinoda Bolen

The situation: overpopulation, global warming, war and terrorism, domestic violence, threat of nuclear winter-the consequences of patriarchal goals of power acquisition and control?

The solution: gather the women, change the world

“The world can change when women speak from what we know. … It isn’t up to the men, it’s up to the women to bring to the table what we know as a gender,” Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D., recently told the Minnesota Women’s Press. “If you have a sister archetype and mother archetype, you can make change. We have a different approach than men.” Bolen, a psychiatrist and Jungian analyst, also writes and speaks about the importance of women joining together to initiate and make change in the world. She will bring her message to the Twin Cities on Jan. 20, when she is the keynote speaker and workshop facilitator at the inaugural event of a new organization called Honoring Women Worldwide.

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Advance Praise: Close to the Bone Life-Threatening Illness as a Soul Journey

Close to the Bone

Life-Threatening Illness as a Soul Journey
10th Anniversary Revised Edition
Jean Shinoda Bolen

Contact: Bonni Hamilton, Director of Marketing
978/465.0504 x1112
Skye Wentworth, Publicist
Download pdf version

“This book is a staff on which to lean as we ourselves walk or are called upon to help others walk into the valley of the shadow of death.”
—Alice Walker

“This is the book I needed when my daughter was sick. It would have helped me through it, like a map of the underworld. Myths, stories, prayer, touching, visualization, rituals, and especially love are some of the tools and wisdom that this extraordinary book gives us. Thank you, Jean.”
—Isabel Allende

“Jean Shinoda Bolen moves far beyond ordinary notions of medicine, treatment, and even suffering to place illness within a human framework. When you are sick, read pages from this book to be reminded that you and your illness are full of soul.”
—Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul

“If you or a person close to you have a catastrophic illness, this is one of the most wise and helpful books you could ever read.”
—Lawrence LeShan, author of Cancer as a Turning Point

“This book can be a companion to anyone in physical or mental pain or crisis.”
—Louise L. Hay, author of You Can Heal Your Life

“Beautifully written…Anyone affected by a serious illness will find Close to the Bone a wise and warm companion.”
—New Age Journal

“Simple and straightforward…this book probes beneath, urging the reader to plumb the depths and then return to the surface.”
—Houston Chronicle

“Practical and accessible…The author conveys well to her readers her sense of the immeasurable gift that is each life and all life, and they can be grateful to her and with her for this.”
—New Mexican

“This combination of the spiritual with the pragmatic will be helpful and even reassuring both to those facing death, particularly those with a catastrophic illness such as AIDS, and their caregivers and companions.”

“Jean Shinoda Bolen has created a poetic rhythm that will uplift the spirit and soul. This is a deep, powerful, and gentle book, in which Dr. Bolen masterfully discusses the search for meaning as well as the power of prayer and angels.”
—Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D., Founder,
Center for Attitudinal Healing

“Should be required reading in medical schools and by anyone who wants to understand how illness can be a midwife that helps the soul to emerge.”
—Natural Health Magazine

“Dr. Bolen sees with an insightful eye into the true meaning of healing. A compelling and compassionate book!”
—Marion Woodman, co-author of Dancing in the Flames

“For those who yearn for a deeper meaning to disease and death, Close to the Bone is a healing breath that will be a tremendous comfort.”
—Hugh and Gayle Prather, authors of Spiritual Parenting

“Richly Probing…A skillful assemblage of views on the harrowing experience of physical illness and mental dissociation from which we can and may emerge with a new clarity about who we are and what we want our lives to be.”
—Publishers Weekly

“The great teacher is our mortality. Let this book be a guide to your feelings and enlightenment. There are no exceptions, we are all mortal. Accept that—read this book and live a fuller, healthier, more meaningful life.”
—Bernie Siegel, M.D., author of Love, Medicine and Miracles

“A finely polished mirror for the healing heart and body. An important statement of theories and practices which have aided many in the course of their illness and recovery.”
—Stephen Levine, author of Who Dies?

“Thought-provoking and optimistic.”

“Immensely readable and revealing…this book is a godsend.”
—Patricia Holt, The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review


Press Release: Close to the Bone Life-Threatening Illness as a Soul Journey

Close to the Bone

Life-Threatening Illness as a Soul Journey
10th Anniversary Revised Edition
Jean Shinoda Bolen

Contact: Bonni Hamilton,
Director of Marketing x1112
Skye Wentworth, Publicist x1110

It is terrifying to be healthy one moment, and then to suddenly find there is a malignancy that could kill you, a sudden loss of consciousness, waking up in the I.C.U. after a heart attack, or any other close call, when something is so wrong that nothing will ever be the same. In Close to the Bone (Conari Press, April 2007), Bolen recognizes that a life-threatening illness is a crisis for both body and soul, that it can be a wake-up call or a turning point.

A serious illness has the impact of a stone hitting the still surface of a lake, sending concentric rings of disturbance out, as feelings, thoughts, and reactions radiate out from this center. It impacts relationships, it stirs the depths of others, it potentially brings the patient and those who are affected “close to the bone,” into the proximity of the soul. Soul questions arise about the meaning of life when the mind is ill or the body is ailing. Healing and recovery may depend as much or more upon a deepening of relationships and connection to one’s own soul and spiritual life, as on medical or psychiatric expertise.

Most people don’t see a connection between what ails the body and their soul’s need for authenticity, love, and purpose. Bolen affirms that the price of going into the realm of confusion, facing the fear of death and shadow, is worth the reward of spiritual growth. The outcome depends upon paying attention, becoming conscious of what truly matters, and acting upon what we know to save our life or to heal our relationships and our soul.

Close to the Bone is meant to help and heal, to make people less afraid, and to encourage them to trust the wisdom they have inside – what they know in their bones.

Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D. is a psychiatrist, Jungian analyst, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco, a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and the recipient of the Institute for Health and Healing’s “Pioneers in Art, Science, and the Soul of Healing Award.” Close to the Bone grew out of her involvement with Healing Journeys: Cancer as a Turning Point conferences, the initial Planetree project, and her private practice. She is an internationally known lecturer and a best-selling author of The Tao of Psychology, Goddesses in Everywoman, Gods in Everyman, Ring of Power, Crossing to Avalon, The Millionth Circle, Goddesses in Older Women, Crones Don’t Whine and Urgent Message from Mother. She resides in Marin County, California, and you can find her online at www.jeanbolen.com.


Review: Close to the Bone Life-Threatening Illness as a Soul Journey

Close to the Bone
Life-Threatening Illness as a Soul Journey
10th Anniversary Revised Edition
Jean Shinoda Bolen

Reviewed by Angela Hutchinson

When one faces a life threatening illness, it changes the way we view life, death, relationships, everything we knew about feeling secure in the world. Dr. Bolen shares her theories and experiences with readers to extend a compassionate hand to those currently suffering from the many facets of illness. As many historical figures before, Bolen finds meaning in mythology and relates it to this specific soul journey. Her stories are empowering and can quite possibly bring solace to those who are dealing with the enormous task of life and death circumstance.

The author begins Close to the Bone with the lotus, “a symbol of soul development because it rises through and above muddy waters to bloom”. Out of our suffering, may bring the possibility of soul development. Each experience brings us an opportunity to move toward a deeper wisdom, beyond words, from another realm.

Bolen writes, “The premise of this book is that illness can be soul evoking and that the soul realm is one akin to dream or reverie, a source of personal meaning and wisdom that can transform life and heal us.” When one first discovers an illness, it is as though the “ground gives way”. In the book, we are introduced to Greek mythological character Persephone and her journey into the Underworld. The Underworld may be depression, grief, and the shock of life taking a much unanticipated course, although Bolen describes it as a “place of great inner richness.” She directs the reader to keep a journal and be still, staying aware to the soul’s message. One never really knows how they will respond to the news of an illness or how life will change. Priorities tend to shift and we must decide how we will respond to this sort of “underworld”. The patient must collect information of treatment options while dealing with relationships that are affected. It is a daunting time to say the least. Bolen urges those enduring this challenging time to conserve energy and to tend to self as much as necessary. We must learn how much we can extend or how little we can extend to others.

There are many challenges in this journey that we must almost be as “warriors”. “Difficulties are soul shaping, depending upon how we respond. They can be lessons that lead us to know who we are, and they can stretch us into becoming larger souls and more authentic human beings than we were before.” Inanna, a mythological goddess, descends into the underworld, to be with her sister, goddess Ereshkigal, who was suffering and in mourning. Ereshikigal represents that part of us that is denied, unheard, that suffers silently until it can no longer go on in silence; it may be the illness that manifests or the parts of ourselves we repress only to have them consciously or unconsciously control our reactions to life. Inanna decides to descend to the Underworld in order to listen and be witness to her “sister” and in return, she is healed after Ereshkigal is finally heard. “In life as in this myth, to cry out in pain and anger at our lowest points and be cared about and not rejected, is healing. When Ereshkigal’s suffering was transformed into gratitude and generosity, Inanna could come back to life.”

As a response to an illness we may begin to listen to that lost part of ourselves, or acknowledge the dreams we denied to please other people. We must recover and integrate these qualities into who we are and what we want our life to hold. We are questioned in Close to the Bone…what is true for you? What is your bliss? These are the priorities of the soul.

Bolen writes of the mind body spirit connection and how our thinking can alter our physiological health. Our belief in recovering may indeed increase our ability to heal more fully. “Neuropeptides are messengers, small molecules of emotion, that can go to all the cells of the body and change them.” “Sometimes a person really does need a story-one that provides hope, nourishes the will, or provides meaning- to stay alive.” The author indeed serves the reader well as she shares her knowledge of myth and the psyche.

She also writes of prayer, visualization, supportive relationship connections, healing touch, healing energy, affirmation, and creating ritual in the journey.

Ultimately, it is not necessarily what enters the life; it is how we respond and interpret it. What do we make of this challenge? How does it change us?

Close to the Bone is an amazing lot of information given in the form of myth. It goes beyond the superficial and exterior, extending inward to the Bone of who we are and what we know. It is a time to gain Soul wisdom; to sit quietly and let the Soul chant to you in the sacred language of its own. This book will penetrate what you thought you knew and bring you into the world of your own Myth.

“I have come to my own personal conclusion that the timing is not what matters. What we do between being born and dying is what matters. The point, it seems to me, is to live a meaningful life, however long or short it may be. If a life-threatening illness or a chronic disabling illness is what the soul encounters, then this is the itinerary of the soul journey.”