The basic assumption of the hero’s journey is that life is a quest. The stories that begin “Once upon a time...” resonate with something deep within us, with our questing self, the part of us that knows that life has meaning, that our presence here is no accident, and that we have each embarked upon a hero’s journey of our own.
Much older than the written word, these stories have been told since humankind first learned to speak. In their most primitive form, they have survival value, and heroism consists of the ability to overcome the dangers of a difficult and precarious life.
As human understanding has matured, the heroic ideal has been constantly redefined. Stories of early heroes like Gilgamesh, Achilles, and Ulysses were stories of individual accomplishment. Stories of later heroes like King Arthur more often extolled the hero’s efforts to seek the greater good. Stories with female heroes, however, have been hard to come by.
Many modern women learned to identify with male heroes, reading themselves into the part with a few modifications. They have found in these stories encouragement and inspiration for the journey they envision for themselves, a journey that has more of the adventurer and less of the handmaiden about it.
When Women Were Warriors takes the journey a step further, into a time when women will create heroes in their own image.