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Books By Christine Downing
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In a remarkable series of books Christine Downing has given us "perfected" as well as ambivalent images of the great goddesses of classical antiquity. In her latest book she turns to the "gods in our midst," the gods as they appear to women, and she shows how these energies and epiphanies embodied in male gods help us to see who we are and what we might become.
Women's Mysteries: Toward a Poetic of Gender 25-May-2020
In Women's Mysteries, Christine Downing celebrates the gains and achievements of women, psychologically speaking, as they have been recovered, reclaimed, and repossessed by women over the past several decades. Her title is itself a conscious appropriation, in homage, of a book Esther Harding wrote fifty years ago and an extension of her own much celebrated book The Goddess.
This work is an exploration of the ongoing significance of sister relationships throughout our lives, bringing together personal narrative with the illuminations provided by myth, fairy tale, and the depth psychological reflections of Freud, Jung, and their followers. The book suggests that an imaginal return to our relationship with the actual sister of our early years is only the beginning; it leads forward to an understanding of how that relationship reappears, transformed, in many of our friendships and love affairs, and to a challenging revision of our innermost self, and even toward a new way of imaging our relation to the natural world. The book in no way sentimentalizes sisterhood. In her retelling of the familiar story about Psyche and Eros, Downing focuses on Psyche’s relation to her envious sisters who, she suggests, push Psyche in a way her soul requires. Reflections on this aspect of the story initiates us into an appreciation of how our sisterly relationships challenge and nurture us, even as we sometimes disappoint and betray one another.
This intensely personal account of the little written-about sacred dimension of menopause combines religious studies with psychology to "understand menopause as soul-eventregarding its symptoms as symbols" and provides insight into what this transition can be like for those women who choose to embrace it as a meaningful part of their lives.