Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Hero Within by Carol S Pearson

The Hero Within:  Six Archetype We Live By by Carol S. Pearson is a slightly feminist look at archetypes, drawing on Jungian psychology, and how these basic mythic figures define various stages in individual emotional growth.  The six archetypes featured are:  Innocent, Orphan, Wanderer, Martyr, Warrior, and Magician. 

Throughout the book, although Pearson presents the material in a very linear manner, reminders that the journey through and within each archetype is not purely progressive.  Rather, the reader is told that the journey is circular in nature, a spiral that goes wider, higher, and deeper as the various types are experienced and realized and revisited. 

Pearson is sensitive to possible New Age oversimplification and openly admits she is feminist, something that is evident in the text before she declares herself.  But she manages to reign in her personal inclinations lending the text a necessary balance.  The author also limits herself to only these six archetypes although she allows that there are many others the reader may encounter and experience on the path to personal growth.

In the expanded edition, Pearson has added some journaling and meditation exercises to help work with each of the six types.  There is also a quiz, to help determine which of the archetypes are most dynamic to the reader’s life at the time.  I would recommend waiting to take the quiz until after you have read the book.  Human nature suggests that if you know which archetype is most dominant we are most inclined to focus on that part of the book.  Pearson does not emphasize these appendices, suggesting that her intention is to allow the reader to come to them after the book’s content has been read and appreciated.

Like Moore’s Care of the Soul, this is a strongly Jungian book so if you are not into mythology and archetypes skip this book.  Over all, this is a good book, perhaps better if I had read it before Moore’s book rather than afterward.  

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