Bolen, Jean Shinoda 1936-
BOLEN, Jean Shinoda 1936-
PERSONAL: Born June 29, 1936, in Los Angeles, CA; daughter of Joseph (a businessman) and Megumi (a physician; maiden name, Yamaguchi) Shinoda; married James Bolen (a publisher), May 21, 1966; children: Melody, Andre. Education: Attended University of California—Los Angeles, 1954–55, and Pomona College, 1955–57; University of California—Berkeley, B.A.,1958; University of California—San Francisco, M.D., 1962.
CAREER: Los Angeles County General Hospital, Los Angeles, CA, intern, 1962–63; University of California—San Francisco, resident in psychiatry at Langley Porter Institute, 1963–66; private practice of psychiatry in San Francisco, 1967–; University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco, clinical instructor, 1967–69, assistant clinical professor, 1969–76, associate clinical professor, 1976–84, clinical professor, 1984–. C. G. Jung Institute, San Francisco, training analyst, 1978–, and member of board of governors; member of Ms. foundation board.
MEMBER: International Association for Analytical Psychology, American Psychiatric Association (fellow), American Academy of Psychoanalysis (fellow), American Orthopsychiatric Association, Psychiatrists for ERA (founder and co-chair), Association for Transpersonal Psychology, Society of Jungian Analysts of Northern California, C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco.
AWARDS, HONORS: Distinguished psychiatrist award, Friends of Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute UCSF, 1987.
The Tao of Psychology: Synchronicity and the Self, Harper (New York, NY), 1979.
Goddesses in Everywoman: A New Psychology of Women, Harper and Row (New York, NY), 1984, 20th anniversary edition published as Goddesses in Everywoman: Powerful Archetypes in Women's Lives, Quill (New York, NY), 2004.
Gods in Everyman: A New Psychology of Men's Lives and Loves, Harper and Row (New York, NY), 1989.
Ring of Power: The Abandoned Child, the Authoritarian Father, and the Disempowered Feminine: A Jungian Understanding of Wagner's Ring Cycle, HarperSanFrancisco (San Francisco, CA), 1992.
Crossing to Avalon: A Woman's Midlife Pilgrimage, HarperSanFrancisco (San Francisco, CA), 1994.
Close to the Bone: Life-Threatening Illness and the Search for Meaning, Scribner (New York, NY), 1996.
The Millionth Circle: How to Change Ourselves and the World: The Essential Guide to Women's Circles, Conari Press (Boston, MA), 1999.
Ring of Power: Symbols and Themes, Love vs. Power in Wagner's Ring Cycle and in Us: A Jungian-Feminist Perspective, S. Weiser (York Beach, ME), 1999.
Goddesses in Older Women: Archetypes in Women over Fifty, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2001.
Crones Don't Whine: Concentrated Wisdom for Juicy Women, Conari Press (Boston, MA), 2003.
Also author of audiotape, "Wisewoman Archetype: Menopause as Initiation," Sounds True, 1991. Contributor to International Encyclopedia of Neurology, Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, and Psychology. Contributor to medical journals. Editorial consultant to New Realities Magazine, 1977–; editorial adviser, Psychic, 1969–77.
SIDELIGHTS: Jean Shinoda Bolen's training in Jungian psychology has formed the foundation for her books and lectures, which take in female empowerment, the strength of older women, and the god-like qualities to be found in all people. Her first book, The Tao of Psychology: Synchronicity and the Self, studies possible links between Eastern Taoist philosophy and the idea of synchronicity in Jungian psychology. According to Antioch Review, Bolen's study "leads us better to understand and integrate our para-psychological experiences, to see them as more than coincidence." In her books Goddesses in Everywoman: A New Psychology of Women and Gods in Everyman: A New Psychology of Men's Lives and Loves, Bolen presents material from classical Greek mythology and uses it to present several personality types that correlate to the various gods and goddesses. John Lash, a contributor to Mothering, found Gods in Everyman at times simplistic, yet added that the author "is gifted with the ability to make what she knows accessible to everyone."
In Crossing to Avalon: A Woman's Midlife Pilgrimage, Bolen addresses women in their middle years, counseling them to be patient with themselves and discover new meanings in their lives. The book takes readers on a pilgrimage of sorts, with references to sacred sites such as Chartres, Glastonbury, and Iona. She shows how these sites were considered holy even to early societies with earth-based beliefs, and links them to the idea of key energy centers that exist all about the globe. "Creating a rich tapestry devoid of cliche, she weaves myth, metaphor, and personal story," related Andrea DuFlon in Whole Earth Review. In the end, Bolen links the spiritual journey of the individual to a primal understanding of sacred things that women have experienced for thousands of years. Whitney Scott, a contributor to Booklist, claimed that "this compilation of experiences, thoughts, scholarly research, and, above all, the feelings of a woman at midlife amounts to a revelation."
Bolen again called on her knowledge and understanding of Greek mythology to illustrate her premise in Close to the Bone: Life-Threatening Illness and the Search for Meaning. In this book, she explores the ways in which struggling with life-threatening illness can stir a person to new heights of spiritual striving and understanding. While inevitably harrowing, confronting a possibly terminal illness can lead one to a clearer understanding of what is really important in life, she proposes. Although the material is written primarily for a female audience, Caren Goldman advised in Natural Health that it is "not just for females. It 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." A Publishers Weekly reviewer stated that while its subject matter is serious, Close to the Bone is "far from being a grim tract," but is instead "a kind of metaphysical how-to filled with hope, second chances and sound guidance."
Cultivating respect for older women is the focus of Bolen's Goddesses in Older Women: Archetypes in Women over Fifty. The author points out that in many cultures, a woman's life is divided into three parts: maiden, mother, and elder, or "crone." In Western society, the youthful maiden is celebrated while the wise older woman in rendered nearly invisible, or even subject to contempt. Yet Bolen points out that experience and increased freedom can allow an older woman to make great contributions to society. In addition to her usual references to Greek mythology, she draws on Asian and Egyptian archetypes as well. Her book has "power and passion," concluded Patricia Monaghan in Booklist. A Publishers Weekly writer warned that "readers skeptical of Jungian philosophy may find the concepts here too abstract and convoluted to serve as a practical guide to aging. But for those who celebrate their maturity, Bolen's thoughtful mythopsychology will be an inspiration."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Antioch Review, summer, 1981.
Booklist, May 15, 1994, Whitney Scott, review of Crossing to Avalon: A Woman's Midlife Pligrimage, p. 1646; October 1, 1996, William Beatty, review of Close to the Bone: Life-Threatening Illness and the Search for Meaning, p. 313; February 15, 1997, Nancy Spillman, review of Close to the Bone, p. 1038; March 1, 2001, Patricia Monaghan, review of Goddesses in Older Women: Archetypes in Women over Fifty, p. 1209.
East West, March, 1989, Mirka Knaster, review of Gods in Everyman: A New Psychology of Men's Lives and Loves, p. 40A; December, 1990, Mirka Knaster, "Reclaiming the Goddess," p. 43.
Fate, July, 1980, D. Scott Rogo, review of The Tao of Psychology: Synchronicity and the Self, p. 108.
Herizons, fall, 2002, Andrea Adair, review of Goddesses in Older Women, p. 50.
Houston Chronicle, October 12, 1996, Cecile S. Holmes, review of Close to the Bone, p. 1.
Library Journal, May 15, 1991, Jacqueline Smith, review of Goddesses in Everywoman: A New Psychology of Women, p. 133; August, 1992, Marilyn E. Schafer, review of Ring of Power: The Abandoned Child, the Authoritarian Father, and the Disempowered Feminine: A Jungian Understanding of Wagner's Ring Cycle, p. 132; May 15, 1994, Carolynne Myall, review of Crossing to Avalon, p. 77; October 1, 2003, Mary E. Jones, review of Crones Don't Whine: Concentrated Wisdom for Juicy Women, p. 100.
Midwest Quarterly, winter, 1991, Robert L. Severbush, review of Gods in Everyman, p. 235.
Mothering, spring, 1990, John Lash, review of Gods in Everyman, p. 52.
Natural Health, December, 1996, Caren Goldman, Close to the Bone, p. 146.
New Realities, February, 1980, Antoinette May, review of The Tao of Psychology, p. 39; September-October, 1984, Carolyn Gracie, review of Goddesses in Everywoman, p. 59.
Publishers Weekly, April 27, 1984, review of Goddesses in Everywoman, p. 76; March 3, 1989, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of Gods in Everyman, p. 90; July 5, 1999, "Dream Catchers," p. 54; August 19, 1996, review of Close to the Bone, p. 44; January 29, 2001, review of Goddesses in Older Women, p. 75.
Seattle Times, June 2, 2002, Dayna Harpster, review of Goddesses in Older Women, p. L4; September 22, 2003, review of Crones Don't Whine, p. 100.
Utne Reader, November-December, 1989, Keith Thompson, review of Gods in Everyman, p. 108.
Whole Earth Review, winter, 1995, Andrea DuFlon, review of Crossing to Avalon, p. 93.
Jean Shinola Home Page, http://www.jeanshinoda.com (September 17, 2004).