From Girl to Goddess: The The Heroine’s Journey – Valerie Estelle Frankel

From Girl to Goddess: The Heroine’s Journey is an interesting enough book, but not overall convincing. Because it dealt mostly with fairy stories, there was little in it that illustrated the complete journey that Frankel describes – each story would tend to cover only parts of it, which makes it difficult to see a pervasive pattern. I would go along with her argument for the course of each chapter … but I never felt I saw the whole thing in its entireity.

I think the book would have been better served by not limiting itself to folklore. Certainly stories like The Labyrinth, The Wizard of Oz and Spirited Away have enough in common with the arc that she describes, and more completely, that they could have strengthened her thesis.

Also, I know I shouldn’t complain about a book that models itself off Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces dealing too much in archetypes. But all the characters in a folk tale being aspects of the protagonist, et cetera, drives me a bit batty. Especially some of the stuff about Athena – Frankel speaks of her as the quintessential woman upholding-the-patriarchy, but then discusses how Perseus defeats Medusa on Athena’s behalf – like Athena is so disconnected from her inner wild feminine that she has to send a man to meet with it on her behalf.

And I am just not quite buying it. Especially in combination with the idea that once upon a time all cultures worshipped a great mother goddess, at least until patriarchy came along, and the goddess was split into her different aspects while gods took over.

I’m sorry, I just find it hard to believe that before the ‘patriarchal’ religions took over, all faith was the same. Surely the patriarchy didn’t invent variety in religion?

So that was that book. I did enjoy the discussion of the individual stories a lot, and the variety of them pleased me … but I think I should just stay away from the Jungian folklore books.

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