Alumni Programs

Jody Bower

Jody BowerEducation

B.A., The Evergreen State College, 1974
M.S.W., University of Washington, 1980
M.A., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2010
Ph.D., Mythological Studies, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2012

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Biographical Note

Jody (Skinner) Bower was a "pioneer" who attended Evergreen in its first year of operation. She pursued a career in medical writing and editing for many years before returning to school in 2008 to earn her doctorate in Mythological Studies from Pacifica Graduate Institute. She now teaches classes on myths and archetypes in movies and television, archetypal psychology, and world religions and mythologies, as well as continuing to work as a free-lance editor and writing coach. Her book "Jane Eyre's Sisters: How Women Live and Write the Heroine Story" will be published by Quest Books in March 2015.

Publication Types

Non-Fiction, Scholastic, Academic Research

Latest Publication Title

Jane Eyre's Sisters: How Women Live and Write the Heroine Story, Quest Books, March 2015.

Publication Excerpt

When writers write the aletis story, they imagine a new woman, a woman who up until that moment may not have even existed. Once she is created, she immediately becomes a role model for other women. Doris Lessing says that her masterpiece, The Golden Notebook, “was written as if the attitudes that have been created by the Women’s Liberation Movement already existed.” But when she wrote the book, such attitudes were still to come. Lessing had to invent characters that could serve as role models to other women without having any such model herself. She used her imagination to create a new future for women; and, when women read her book, they could imagine it, too. The Golden Notebook was only one of many books that gave women of the 1960s ideas about a future they actually wanted and so helped spur the Women’s Liberation Movement. For as soon as women had a vision of a possible future, they could work to create that future in real life.

This act of imagining and creating the future is a spiral process. Each time women have gained more freedom, authors have promptly imagined a new future with even more freedom for women. Each advance in the imagination changes reality as women live up to that new vision and then wonder what could happen next.

No act of imagination happens in a vacuum, of course; nor is it a simple matter of one thing causing another. Fiction writing has always occurred within the context of a myriad of incessant discoveries and shifts in every field of human endeavor, most of which are interconnected in ways so complex and subtle that we can never hope to understand them fully. It is not a question of whether the chicken came first, or the egg; chickens and eggs are inextricably bound together. One cannot exist without the other.

The culture we dwell within is likewise a dynamic web. We are not separate from but integral parts of it, affecting the web at the same time that it affects us, in an ever-changing, unceasing dance. We cannot ask a question until the culture has reached a point that makes it possible for us to ask it. Once that point is reached, the question inevitably will be raised. Over and over in the history of science, the same discovery is made by different people almost simultaneously, even when they are unaware of each other’s work—a phenomenon known as “multiple independent discovery.” The state of knowledge has advanced to where the discovery not just can happen but has to happen, and it may happen in many places at the same time.

Once the new breakthrough is made, the matrix changes again, and the dance goes on. Just as with scientific discoveries, as soon as the culture changes, the new woman is not just possible but inevitable—and she will change the culture for her daughters, whose daughters will have lives today’s new woman cannot yet imagine

Additional Publications

"She’s Leaving Home: Recurrent Motifs in Women’s Narratives." Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Jan. 2013. http://pqdtopen.proquest.com/#abstract?dispub=3555145 .  Won Honorary Mention: Dissertation of Excellence in the 2014 Kore Award competition of the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology.

“The Loa Mounts: Physical, Religious, Cultural, and Psychological Aspects of Possession.” Mythological Studies Journal Vol. 3 (2012).

“Relinquishing Grief: Orpheus, Eurydice, and Hermes in “Truly Madly Deeply.” Mythological Studies Journal Vol. 2 (2011).

“Dyspareunia,” “Oppositional Defiant Disorder,” “Reactive Attachment Disorder of Infancy or Early Childhood,” and “Tardive Dyskinesia” in The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders, E. Thackery, Ed. Detroit: Thomson/Gale; 2002.

“The Lord of the Rings – An Archetypal Hero’s Journey” 2001.  http://greenbooks.theonering.net/guest/files/120101_02.html - won a “Commended” award in 2003 from the Mithril Awards for Tolkien Fanfiction in the category of “Best Critical Essay.”

How did Evergreen help you in your career?

Evergreen helped me in two ways: first, the emphasis on writing papers helped me hone my craft as a writer and make a solid argument, something very useful in non-fiction writing. Second, the seminar format made this introverted writer learn how to speak up and defend her ideas, and that has been useful for helping me to sell myself as a free-lancer and now, to sell my book.