"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.
The Heroine's Journey
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.
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)
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
Maureen's New Book is Coming March 5
Preorder now at a 30% discount
On March 5, 2024, Shambhala Publications will be publishing 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.
Mythmaking is available for preorder at Shambhala.com at a 30% discount. Use code MYTHMAKING30. The code is valid through April 5, 2024 only at shambhala.com. Enter code in shopping cart. Cannot be combined with other offers.
Scroll down to the books section for reviews.
> Download a Press Release from Shambhala Publications.
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.
Mythmaking and the Timeless Art of Memoir
A Writing Workshop for Women with Maureen Murdock
April 25-27, 2024
Hotel Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Memory fades, memory adjusts, memory conforms to what we think we remember.
—Joan Didion, Blue Nights
The story we tell ourselves and others gives us a sense of identity. It helps us organize our life in such a way that it gives us meaning and direction. Although not every memoir reflects a mythic theme, most memoir writers unconsciously reveal mythic themes in their desire to find meaning in their lives. They wonder: Who am I? Who are my people? What is my journey? What is my purpose? Where is home? Myth fuels the psychic desire of humans to understand their origins and therefore their destinies. Memoir brings forward an event of the past and re-enacts it by giving it form in writing.
The essence of a great memoir is the voice of the writer and how she brings the reader into a scene with sensory details. Memoir has to deliver vivid characters, evocative settings and pitch-perfect dialogue for the reader to remain interested. How you select and order the events in your life adds to the meaning you make of these events and helps you find a cohesive theme. Both myth and memoir arise from a human need for connection and that is why memoirs are so popular in culture today.
In an atmosphere of friendship, support, and safety in the beautiful Hotel Santa Fe, you will have time and the opportunity to write, read excerpts from contemporary memoirs that reflect mythic themes, and listen to the power of your own words and the words of your sisters.
The workshop will be held at Hotel Santa Fe in downtown Santa Fe. Owned by the Picuris Pueblo, the hotel will provide a warm and intimate environment for our gathering and offers you a relaxed yet deeply reverent immersion into the art, architecture, music, and language of the Pueblo people. The hotel has a full-service spa, an outdoor pool and hot tub, a fitness center, and the Amaya Restaurant.
Please plan to arrive on Thursday by 4:00 pm. Workshop check in is scheduled from 3:00-5:00 pm with our Welcome Dinner served 5:00-6:45 pm followed by the Opening Session. The workshop will end on Saturday at 9:00 pm.
For more information and registration, click here.
Books by Maureen Murdock
Maureen Murdock’s books have enriched the lives of thousands of people and been translated into 20 languages.
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“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.”