"Every woman has to learn where her true source of validation is."
― From The Heroine's Journey: Woman's Quest for Wholeness
Welcome to my website, which is devoted to memoir writing and the heroine’s journey. My work explores the mysteries of the psyche, a fascination with mythology and a love of story telling and memoir writing. In 1990 I wrote the best selling book The Heroine’s Journey as a response to Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey. It was groundbreaking at the time and continues to inspire a new generation of women. A critical stage of The Heroine’s Journey addresses every woman’s yearning to create so my blog will explore memoir writing as a powerful creative expression of each person’s desire to understand their life and the lives of their loved ones. My blog will also explore the public policy issues relating to mental health, addiction and the criminal justice system as they affect our world today. I hope you will also visit my photography gallery Changing Woman: Contemporary Faces of the Goddess where I present portraits and interviews of women whose focus is feminine spirituality.
The Heroine's Journey Anniversary Edition Now Available
In celebration of the 30th anniversary of its original publication, Shambhala Publications is reissuing Maureen’s groundbreaking book, The Heroine’s Journey: Woman’s Quest for Wholeness, as well as The Heroine's Journey Workbook: A Map for Every Woman's Quest. The new edition of the book will include an updated preface from Maureen reflecting on the last 30 years of women’s experiences and a new foreword by Christine Downing, PhD.
The Heroine’s Journey explores the rich territory of the feminine psyche and delineates the psycho-spiritual journey for women. Author Maureen Murdock wrote the book in response to Joseph Campbell’s A Hero with a Thousand Faces when he said to her, “Women don’t need to make the journey. In the whole mythological tradition the woman is there.”
Drawing upon cultural myths and fairy tales, ancient symbols and goddesses, and the dreams of contemporary women, Murdock illustrates the need for—and the reality of—feminine values in Western culture today.
The publication of The Heroine’s Journey touched a nerve in women’s consciousness around the world. It was quickly translated into French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Yugoslavian, Italian and Korean and Farsi. It has been used by screenwriters and novelists alike as a model of the woman’s journey.
View Maureen's extraordinary portraits and interviews with women artists, dancers, activists, and writers whose focus is feminine spirituality.
On Memoir, an Interview with Maureen Murdock
Some of the best memoirs you can read are those that are reflective, those which are informed by dreams, myth, and synchronicities, maintains Maureen Murdock, a Jungian-oriented psychotherapist and the author of multiple memoirs and books about memoirs. In other words, there’s a depth psychological perspective that can facilitate, enhance, and deepen the telling of one’s story in a profound way. Murdock is co-leading a 9-month certificate program on writing memoir at Pacifica Graduate Institute starting in March 2017, along with Dr. Jennifer Selig and Dr. Daphne Dodson, and with the participation of Kelly Carlin who wrote her own memoir about her famous father, in part as a result of her education with Murdock at Pacifica. In a recent interview, Maureen was asked to expound on what it takes to produce a good memoir.
> Read the interview
Poets and Writers Recommendation
I’m honored that Poets and Writers recommended my book Unreliable Truth as one of its “Best Books for Writers.”
“The job of writing memoir is to find one’s truth, not to determine the accuracy of what happened; that is history, a testimony, perhaps even an interesting tale. The memoirist, instead, both recounts an event and makes meaning from it.”
- Maureen Murdock, Unreliable Truth: On Memoir and Memory
For Aspiring Creative Writers...
For aspiring writers looking to earn a degree or pursue a career in creative writing, I recommend looking at “The Top Online Bachelor's in Writing Programs for 2019,” compiled by The Best Colleges.org.
Series: Keep Writing Forward!
This November, I’m excited participate in this upcoming workshop series with my International Women’s Writing Guild sisters. Each 90-minute workshop addresses a particular aspect of writing that can help you build a commitment to your writing life – that will help you keep writing forward. My workshop on November 13, 2021 is Writing What You’ve Never Had the Courage to Write.
Workshop: Writing What You’ve Never Had the Courage to Write
Saturday, November 13, 2021 – 1:00-2:30pm EST
“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.”
We often fear being judged if we put our truth on the page. We fear being criticized for being too angry, too vulnerable, too revealing, too sad. We’re told to stay small, not to take up too much space and, above all, to be likable, nice, straight, able-bodied, and mentally normative.
My workshop Writing What You’ve Never Had the Courage to Write provides an opportunity for self-reflection and revelation. What stories have you been afraid to tell? What parts of yourself have you locked away? Put your secrets on the page; you can omit and edit later. Allow yourself to reveal your innermost thoughts, experiences, and feelings to yourself and to others. The purpose of art is to change the conversation.
March 31-April 3, 2022
Hotel Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico
How can you identify and define your life’s narrative arc? How can you write yourself into a dynamic character and make the scenes in your memoir come alive?
This March, join me in Santa Fe for “The Heroine’s Journey Through Myth and Memoir: A Writing Workshop for Women.” In this three-day workshop, we will study excerpts of exceptional memoirs, and I will provide writing prompts designed to help you hone your writing skills and find the story in your life. Participants will have the opportunity to share their work and receive feedback.
> For complete information and registration visit tonidanca.com.
Latest Posts from the Blog
Books by Maureen Murdock
Maureen Murdock’s books have enriched the lives of thousands of people and been translated into over a dozen languages.
“Combining personal experience and painstaking erudition, Maureen Murdock's The Heroine's Journey shares with us the essence of the female journey. A fine, warm, and insightful book.”
—Carol Pearson, author of The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By
"What I love about the 30th Anniversary Edition of Maureen Murdock’s The Heroine’s Journey is that the premise and inquiry the author put forth originally, borne of her own desire for the expression of a woman’s quest rich with story and meaning, still bears fruit for us today. Companioned by a workbook which guides the reader through each of the stages of the Heroine’s Journey, the books provide context and a way to work through writing, ritual, and art making, that brings one toward wholeness. But it is not a straight path. It is not a clear road. It is labyrinthine, there are questions posed which could cause the reader to pause for days, for a week. And there are questions that will set our pens on fire. This paired set of books is an able and deeply provocative guide. The voice is that of the Wise Woman, a Crone to urge us on our journey towards what we all crave: wholeness, connection and integration of our inner and outer lives. Many thanks to Shambala Publications for this special edition of Maureen Murdock’s necessary and illuminating work."
—Suzi Banks Baum, artist, actress, writer, teacher
“Maureen Murdock's important book on the heroine's journey contains a wealth of insight that is of great value to contemporary Western women. It explores a rich territory of the feminine psyche and opens an understanding of female development that relates not only to personal transformation but cultural transformation as well.”
—Joan Halifax, author of Standing at the Edge
“Though the book is rich with examples drawn from myths and Jungian psychology, it is surprisingly easy to read. The journey requires serious, often frightening, wandering before one's true identity and power are known. Like the journey Murdock describes, there are no cheap, easy lessons. There are many rich, rewarding lessons, but these are gained only through integrity, courage, and the willingness to meet challenge with all the resources one can muster.”
“Murdock's personal journey will surely speak to many women, but I hope also to those men willing to hear these newly awakened female voices—and of the feminine in their own souls.”