"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. 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.

—Maureen Murdock


The Heroine's Journey
Anniversary Edition

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of its original publication, Shambhala Publications has reissued 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 includes 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.

Download a Press Release from Shamballa Publications

The Heroine's Journey Audiobook

The audiobook version of The Heroine's Journey Anniversary Edition is now available, narrated by Laurel Lefkow. Learn more at Shambhala Publications.

“Anything is possible for women as we find our voice, honor our identity, work together for a common goal, and stand unapologetically with our arms wide open to the skies in a stance of pride and acknowledgment of the sacredness of the feminine.” (from the preface to the 30th anniversary edition)

Order the Book
on Audible


Joan Halifax

Changing Woman

View Maureen's extraordinary portraits and interviews with women artists, dancers, activists, and writers whose focus is feminine spirituality.

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

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What's New!
Maureen's New Book
Now Available

On March 5, 2024, Shambhala Publications released Maureen's new book, MYTHMAKING: Self Discovery and the Timeless Art of Memoir. Like myth, memoir reveals a profound unity to the human condition—that we all share similar hopes, dreams, and desires as well as fears, losses, and heartbreaks. Psychotherapist and writing teacher Maureen Murdock explores connections between ancient myths and popular contemporary memoirs to help readers examine their own life patterns and map their personal stories. Examining myth foundations as well as archetypal themes, the book probes universal questions like: Who am I? Who are my people? What is my journey? Where is home? With excerpts from beloved memoirs, practical advice, and writing prompts, readers will gain a deeper understanding of the rich scope of the memoir genre. And in turn, they’ll come out with a better grasp on their own life trajectory and their place within the rich tapestry of the human experience.

Scroll down to the books section for reviews and links to order.
> Download a Press Release from Shambhala Publications.

Upcoming Workshops:
Mythmaking and the Timeless Art of Memoir:
A Memoir Writing Workshop with Maureen Murdock

Writing Together, the IWWG’s 2024 Summer Conference
August 1 - 5, 2024
Roger Williams University
Bristol, Rhode Island

Join Maureen at the 2024 International Woman's Writing Guild Summer Conference on the beautiful, seaside campus of Roger Williams University in Bristol Rhode Island for a memoir writing workshop.

Memoirs help us find meaning in our lives by showing us how our lives fit into a larger mythic pattern. Although not every memoir reflects a mythic theme, most memoir writers unconsciously reveal mythic themes in their desire to find meaning in their lives. Memoirs address the domains of myth: Who am I? Who are my people? What is my journey? What is my purpose? We will explore contemporary memoirs by Joan Didion, Dani Shapiro, Natasha Trethewey and James McBride from a mythological perspective and respond to short writing prompts to expand your perspective about your own memoir.

For more information and registration, click here.

Maureen Murdock, Ph.D. teaches memoir writing in Pacifica Graduate Institute’s memoir certificate program, “Writing Down the Soul” and has taught memoir for IWWG for the last 22 years. Her new book Mythmaking: Self-Discovery and the Timeless Art of Memoir looks at the parallel between ancient myth and modern memoir. She is the author of the best-selling book, The Heroine’s Journey; Unreliable Truth: On Memoir and Memory; Fathers’ Daughters: Breaking the Ties that Bind; and others. Her books have been translated into 21 languages.

Maureen Discusses Mythmaking
at Chaucer's Books 

March 7, 2024
After a nice introduction by her friend Carolyn Butcher, Maureen talks about her book Mythmaking: Self-Discovery and the Timeless Art of Memoir at Chaucer's Books in Santa Barbara.

An Interview with Maureen About Her New Book

Join Maureen Murdock as she discusses her forthcoming book, MythMaking, with Karin Gutman, writer, story coach, and founder of Spirit of Story. 

Books by Maureen Murdock

Maureen Murdock’s books have enriched the lives of thousands of people and been translated into 20 languages.

Mythmaking is Maureen Murdock’s best, most all-inclusive achievement of all that she has written to date. The one word that came to mind repeatedly in reading it was elegant. She is an elegant writer and teacher, encouraging us all: ‘Write the story your soul wants to write.’”
Dennis Patrick Slattery, coauthor of Deep Creativity

“This book bridges the gaps between diverse populations by showing how we all share similar hopes, dreams, and desires as well as fears, losses, and heartbreaks. In the end, we are connected in our timeless and universal quest to find the meaning and purpose of our lives.”
Flor Fernández Barrios, PhD, author of The Mask of Oyá

“Add Maureen Murdock’s Mythmaking to our love and understanding of the memoir form as her salient volume does what no other writing book I know of has done before: Present myth and folktale as necessary tools to stimulate and center the memoirist’s deepest aim—to find a life purpose via personal narrative. Informed by Greek tales, Bible stories, sacred feminist tracts, and an epic cohort of contemporary memoirs, Murdock shows how myths of the gods and the commonfolk harbor roadmaps, from our storytelling pasts, which may, in turn, ground an author’s hunt for an authentic self."
Tom Larson, author of The Memoir and the Memoirist

“[A] thoughtful and empowering guide to memoir writing. . . . Memoirists and memoirists-in-the- making: Read this wise, inspired, and inspiring book.”
Brooke Warner, publisher of She Writes Press

“Murdock masterfully weaves together the exploration of our mythic foundations and the archetypal themes that inform our journeys. The result is an eloquent experience for readers. We all share a deep need to tell our story. Mythmaking not only helps us do that but also guides us toward a better understanding of the people and paths that have made us who we are.”
John Bucher, PhD, Executive Director of the Joseph Campbell Foundation

“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.”
Utne Reader

"This 'map for every woman's quest, with guided imagery, dreamwork, and creative exercises,' a companion workbook to Murdock's best-selling Heroine's Journey, is an eye-opener. My first jolt came while addressing the author's initial "Question for . . . Reflection," which was, "Who are the heroines in your life . . .?" I could have reeled off a whole list of heroes, but even one heroine was a stretch. There's message enough in that, yes? We'd better get working! And this workbook is a great tool, for individuals or for groups. Skillful prompting and multiple techniques guide readers through various stages of recognition, acceptance, healing, and integration of the feminine. Others' experiences, myths, and fairy tales further combine with personal realizations to produce a much-needed antidote to an affliction of the spirit that haunts us more than we know." — NAPRA ReView

“Drawing on her background as a psychotherapist, she richly illuminates questions about memory and the self, the way emotions are embedded in metaphors, and the underlying myths of our stories. A pleasure to read.” —Kimberly Snow, In Buddha’s Kitchen   “Unreliable Truth is both a beautifully crafted book about memoir writing and a rich, honest memoir on its own.” —Susan M. Tiberghien, Circling to the Center

“An incisive, engrossing book...Murdock has beautifully illuminated an important aspect of many people’s lives.”
Los Angeles Times

“Groundbreaking and dynamic. ...a moving exploration of the feminine journey from father’s daughter to peer.”
—Brenda Peterson, Nature and Other Mothers

"Murdock's work should be fundamental to education, not stuck in the 'enrichment' category. Our brain thinks in imagery; imagery is part and parcel of symbolic-metaphoric thinking, on which all higher intelligence is based. This book will surely be on my recommended list to parents, teachers, and everyone interested in development." —Joseph Chilton Pearce

“Perfect to turn your Monday blues to pink.” — Goodreads

"A fresh look at mental illness written by a mother who loves her son. Family therapist, psychology professor, creative writing teacher — Murdock has it all but the key to unlock her son's illness and set him free. What I love about this book and what made me want to keep on reading was the voice that told the story — a mother's voice. I heard the yearning for answers, as well as the shame in acknowledging mental illness in the family. This is a book full of insight even as the reader feels the heartbreak." —Julie F. Maloney "It provides guidance for those going through this first hand, and is an excellent source of information for family members and friends who what to learn more." —Rosemary McGlynn