Do You Have Some Artemis in You?

Synchronicity: (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

The coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (such as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality.

Serendipity: (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

The gift of finding valuable or agreeable things not looked for

Persistence: (Oxford Dictionary)

The fact of continuing to try to do something despite difficulties, especially when other people are against you and think that you are annoying or unreasonable.  

Once you hear my story, I’ll let you decide which one best applies. Most likely they all do.

Way back in “the before times,” 2018, I was doing what I needed to do to launch my book, You Are a Heroine: A Retelling of the Hero’s Journey. I was following my publisher’s orders. “You need to get testimonials!” 

That has never been my favorite thing to do, ask people to say nice things about me or, in this case, my book. But once I got into it and some lovely and obliging people agreed to write testimonials for me to print inside my book, I got a bit cocky. I felt more comfortable going outside of my comfort zone, outside of my “sphere,” so to speak.

But then, of course - what was I teaching in my book for goodness sake? Be a Heroine! And we all know, Heroines ask. So, I reached out to Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D. to see if she’d write me one. 

OK, if you know her, I know what you’re thinking.

Susanna, she has written thirteen books – and is still writing.

She is profiled in the Living Spiritual Teachers Project.

She has been featured in award-winning documentaries.

Susanna – she is very famous. What are you thinking? She is way outside of your comfort zone and your “sphere!”

(Brava to you if you recognize that as the voice of the Threshold Guardians – always present when a Heroine is ready to take a step out of her comfort zone. And I’m not even telling you everything I heard. I also heard: Who do you think you are? She is so far above you, blah, blah, blah.)

Yes, if there’s a hierarchy of most amazing women then she’s at the very top - and I knew all this. And because I’m educated about the Heroine’s Journey, I know about the Threshold Guardians and have learned to tell them to take a seat in the back of my bus. Maybe I was just tired and feeling a little reckless and thought, why not just go for it - write her an email and ask? (As my daughter tells me, “Go big or go home.”)

Lesson learned 

(Lesson learned – always go ahead if you’re feeling it is right. Don’t assume you know what will happen.)_

I was most inspired by Bolen’s memoir Crossing to Avalon: A Woman’s Midlife Quest for the Sacred Feminine. She tells of her meeting with the Dalai Lama and visiting Chartres Cathedral in France which I have visited several times and about other sacred sites such as Glastonbury and Iona.

A Jungian analyst, psychiatrist and speaker, she is a champion of women’s circles and wrote the book: Goddesses in Everywoman: Powerful Archetypes in Women’s Lives. And way, way back when I read that book I had decided I was most in sync with Artemis. And now that she has written a book solely devoted to Artemis I feel I did choose the goddess archetype that I identify with the most.

I emailed Dr. Bolen back then in 2018, asking for a testimonial, and got the nicest email back from her administrative assistant telling me Dr. Bolen was very busy with projects and couldn’t help me.  I understood but how nice to get a reply, a thoughtful one. And I was glad to have done it.

The next time I sort of (well, not really) crossed virtual paths with Dr. Bolen was in January 2022. She was also a presenter, interviewed by Blanca Vergara for her online “From Wounds to Wings Summit,” of which I was also a guest speaker. 

Fast forward to 2023. I am assembling my list of guests for my The Real-Life Heroines Journey Podcast, Season 4 and I wrote to Blanca to see if she could connect me with Anne Baring and Jean Shinoda Bolen. I was feeling a pull and I was following it. When Anne accepted my request to be a guest (listen to our interview here and I wrote about it in this blog.) I was emboldened and reached out to Jean.

I heard nothing. Crickets. Blanca had told me that Dr. Bolen was very busy, doing a lot of writing. I wasn’t surprised – of course, she would be.

But, I persisted. Heroines do.

I called her on:

April 8th

April 26th

And again, on June 5th

I know – stalking, sort of…but inside, as I said, I was feeling a pull (a call, an intuitive nudge) to keep going.

And then, Jean called me. My phone rang and there she was on the other end!

Jean Shinoda Bolen called me!

She called it synchronicity when I told her it was a miracle. (Can you imagine how over the moon I was? I was gushing to her about how happy I was to speak with her.)

In her book, Artemis: The Indomitable Spirit in Everywoman:

“Synchronicity is a word coined by Jung to describe meaningful coincidences that occur between the inner world and outer events. …which supports the experience of people whose actions and intentions are motivated by a connection to the Self and who find that they get ‘help from the universe.’” 

I had no doubt that the Universe was helping me that day. And I was following an inner urge that wouldn’t let me give up. I told her, “The third time is a charm.” 

Yet, there’s more.

I had a great talk with her. My podcast is such a selfish indulgence really. I find all these marvelous women (and men, too!) that I want to talk to and am curious to learn from – and we get to chat. How fabulous is that? At the end of our recorded call, she told me she was going to The Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in August …

– and it happened again 

A nudge. An inner bell rang. I knew I had to go! 

Initially, I know I just wanted to go to meet her in person, to be able to walk up to her and shake her hand, maybe give her a hug and thank her for speaking with me. But then I began to look into the Parliament and there I find a workshop on the Sacred Feminine (just the very topic I’ve been researching since January!) and then, another one inspired by Dr. Bolen’s work with women’s circles, The Millionth Circle. Her book is Moving Toward the Millionth Circle. I’ve led many women’s circles (My current one happens at the end of every month, The Heroines Gathering. Women share stories told from within the framework of the Heroine’s Journey.) Here was the opportunity to connect to a much wider circle encompassing many circles. I knew I was meant to attend.

The trip came together, easily, and it seemed like it had been waiting for me to find it and reserve my place.

I’m wondering if this is you, dear Reader. Does the ancient goddess archetype of Artemis resonate with you as it does with me? I think if you’re attracted to my work on the Heroine’s Journey then I’m guessing you have a lot of the Artemis archetype in you. In fact, the more I’m learning about her, the more I’m thinking she’s such a good representation of what I think of when I say, “Heroine.”

Here's how Dr. Bolen describes an Artemis woman

“To be able to take to the woods, to turn to animals or to books, to have a rich imagination or to be nourished by solitude are solitary activities that feed self-sufficiency – a quality needed and strengthened in girls who have to raise themselves because of inadequate, absent, disabled, or abusive parents. Artemis can be alive in the inner lives of girls and women when there is no room for autonomy, education, or protest in the world they live in. In the inner world of the imagination, a girl can be heroic: she can have a place in her psyche that identifies with global expressions of feminism that are condemned or ridiculed.”

Yes. A girl and a woman can be heroic.

There is so much for me to learn. I know I’ll learn a lot at the Parliament in August. Look what happened when I simply declared in January that I was going on a pilgrimage to learn about the Sacred Feminine…the way opened up before me. It can be for you, too – set your intention and then hold onto your hat!