Into the Circle with Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D.


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Program Description

A monkey on an island near Japan begins washing her sweet potatoes in the ocean. In time, all the monkeys on the island are washing theirs; then, all the monkeys on all the other islands are doing the same. “Not logical,” says Jean Shinoda Bolen, but “when each of us individually changes” there is a “critical number…after which the culture changes.” With this story as an opening metaphor, celebrated Jungian analyst, psychiatrist, and author Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D., champions women’s circles as sanctuaries for transformation, a million of which could change the world. Circles are fertile ground for changing our hierarchical, patriarchal culture to one of communication, support, and growth. A circle may be a dialogue group, prayer or meditation group, support or project group, but whatever the agenda, its members can create “soul connections” for each other that become “agents of sociological change.” Explore the potentials and possibilities of circles, their history, their structure, their ultimate purpose and significance when members uncover “reciprocal revelations” that lead to “sacred dimensions” of their voices and their souls. (Hosted by Justine Willis Toms)

Bolen is a clinical professor at San Francisco’s University of California Medical Center and the author of Goddesses In Everywoman (Harper, 1984), Crossing To Avalon (HarperSanFrancisco, 1994), Close To The Bone (Scribner, 1996), The Millionth Circle (Conari Press, 1999), and Urgent Message From Mother: Gather the Women, Save the World (Conari 2008). To learn more about the work of Jean Shinoda Bolen go to

Topics Explored in this Dialogue:

  • How and why women use conversation differently than men
  • Eight essentials for a successful circle
  • How to start and maintain a circle
  • The difference between a hierarchy and a circle
  • How hierarchies are like dysfunctional families
  • How circles get into trouble
  • Transformations that emerge from circles
  • How to avoid conflict in a circle
  • The sacred dimension of circles

Program Number: 2803               Host: Justine Willis Toms              Interview Date: 12/22/1999


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