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Originally published in 1987, a well-known Jungian analyst, the late Bani Shorter writes here about how women are initiated into becoming themselves. Her book was an important contribution to the field of analytical psychology at the time, as well as to the increasingly popular study of women’s spirituality.

In former times transitions from one stage of life to another were prepared for and marked by ritual initiation; in modern times this necessity is overlooked and women’s natural development is made more difficult as a consequence. Through working in close therapeutic relationships with women, Bani Shorter found that when challenged by crises and transitions in their lives, today’s women instinctively create rituals nevertheless to mark their journey towards maturation, wholeness and meaning. In this process they discover something of who they are and recognise dimensions of themselves which have been previously repressed and undreamed of. The stories unfolded here can be a guide for all women through their own rites of passage.