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Crossing to Avalon by Jean Shinoda Bolen

Feb 10, 2012

Jean Bolen

Posted by Kimmy Sophia Brown

Sometimes I’m astounded by how the universe leads me toexactly what I need to read at certain intervals in my life. Crossing to Avalon, subtitled, “AWoman’s Midlife Pilgrimage’, by Jean Shinoda Bolen, was truly nectar for my soul.

The genesis of Ms. Bolen’s journey began almost like theplot of a mystery novel. She received an invitation in the mail from a woman she had never met who had read her book, Goddesses in Everywoman,(whichI also recommend, by the way). This woman suggested an itinerary visiting spiritual sites in Europe, including the cathedral at Chartres, France, the cathedral in Glastonbury, England, Findhorn and the island of Iona in Scotland, and several other locations. The benefactress who would later join Ms. Bolen and two other women during the pilgrimage covered travel and lodging fees.

Ms. Bolen ponders legends and then posits possibilities.The Legend of the Holy Grail depicts the story of the wounded king and his ruined kingdom. She observes that present times are seeing an awareness of Goddess consciousness emerging, especially in regard to the Earth as Gaia, which is the name of the Greek goddess-mother of the earth. The patriarchal philosophies that have dominated the world thus far are floundering not only for lack of recognition of the feminine counterpart of everything, but also because of desperate need of it, (whether they realize it or not). Ms. Bolen explains that for the world to truly heal, its male and female aspects need to co-exist in equal union.

Ms. Bolen, a psychiatrist and Jungian analyst, is theauthor of several books that teach about using archetypes, legends and myths to better understand ourselves. She cites common threads among the lives of historic figures, ordinary people and mythological beings. In Crossing to Avalon, she pays particularattention to the visions of tenth century monastic figure, Hildegard of Bingen. Hildegard coined the term, veritidas,which is a combination of the words truth and green. She likened spiritualmaturation to greening – suggestingthat a human life that is moist, fluid and alive spiritually reflects God’s qualities -- in contrast to dry, deadened and arid points of view, which she undoubtedly encountered in the clergy of her day.

Crossing to Avalon book coverMs. Bolen’s narrative explains about the epiphanousmoments she had in various physical locations that suggest that there are meridians passing through the earth that are something akin to spiritual bloodstream flow. People built towers, cathedrals and temples on consecrated ground, and their subsequent usage by people over the centuries has given them powerful atmospheres.

Ms. Bolen’s intelligent, honest and warm tone impressesme, I want to know her. I won’t attempt to recount her journey and revelations in this short review, but I will include this quote from the book that to me summarizes the essence of the book.

“We need time out of our everyday, outer-directed lives,and not just at major life transitions, when it is most advisable, but regularly. I think metaphorically of how necessary it is that we have “diastolic” time. For it is during diastole that the heart relaxes and fills. During systole, the heart contracts and sends a powerful stream of lifeblood out. For the heart to work and provide sustenance to the whole body, it must relax and fill. And so must we.”

Ms. Bolen’s pilgrimage taught her life lessons that shebeautifully conveys in Crossing to Avalon.I highly recommend this book as a resource to women and men who seek guidance from the Divine Source and who wish to be a part of the maturation of humanity in this age. (Published in 1990 by Harper Collins.)

(photo by Christine Krieg)

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