by Christine Downing
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 to a book Esther Harding wrote fifty years ago (Woman's Mysteries) and an extension of her own much celebrated book, The Goddess: Mythological Images of the Feminine.
"For the last thirty years or so, we have been richly endowed with articulate explorations of the sociology of gender, critical theory about gender, philosophies and theologies of gender, and - both from the right and from the left - politics of gender. What we have needed is a poetics of gender, a work that stresses the process of the continual creation and alteration of gender identity. This is that work!
Internationally known for her earlier works on the feminine from the perspectives of mythology, religion, and depth psychology, Christine Downing in this book turns her attention to a poetics of gender that is as much for men as for women. It gives attention - from a feminine perspective, to be sure - to the mystery of the human and the humane." - David. L. Miller Watson-Ledden Professor of Religion Emeritus, Syracuse University Core Faculty, Pacific Graduate Institute
Christine Downing currently teaches in the Mythological Studies Doctoral Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, after serving for almost twenty years as chair of the Religious Studies Department at San Diego State University. She has also taught at Rutgers and Temple Universities and at the Jung Institute in Zurich. Her books include The Goddess: Mythological Images of the Feminine; Gods in Our Midst: Mythological Images of the Masculine; Psyche's Sisters: Re-imagining the Meaning of Sisterhood; The Long Journey Home: Re-envisioning the Myth of Demeter and Persephone for Our Time (ed.); Myths and Mysteries of Same Sex Love; and Journey through Menopause: A Personal Rite of Passage.