Carol Pearson, Author, Academic, Archetypal Scholar


In many indigenous traditions, a person seeking answers to questions would approach a medicine manor woman sitting by the fire and ask what they should do to resolve their dilemma. He or she classically would respond to this request by saying, “Let me tell you a story.” Moms, dads, mentors, and friends can do this, too…. In new situations, often what is needed is a new story that can help supply a map for the new journey and a toehold when that journey feels like climbing up a steep and dangerous mountain.
  — Persephone Rising: Awakening the Heroine Within

NOW IN PAPERBACK! With a new preface by the author relevant to the current political and cultural moment

JUST IN TIME, this revelatory manifesto speaks to the heroine in every woman and man, offering potent strategies drawn from ancient Greek wisdom that can help us find happiness even in today’s unfinished social revolution. Four archetypal plotlines—two feminine, two masculine—chart this path toward greater life satisfaction.

Each year, the Nautilus Book Awards are given to books that carry a powerful message aimed at making the world a better place. I’m honored to announce that PERSEPHONE RISING has won a gold award in category 27—books for women! Click to see the full list.

In this empowering work, Carol S. Pearson, the bestselling author of The Hero Within and Awakening the Heroes Within, reveals how the Demeter and Persephone story uncannily mirrors cultural and political dramas being played out today before our very eyes, and then shows how these conflicts could be resolved. In the myth, the earth mother wins a power struggle with a patriarchal god, thereby ending a famine (think climate change) that threatens human survival. As this is occurring, a youthful goddess gains her freedom, asserting gender partnership and equality, and as a result gives birth to joy and celebration.

The archetypal figures and narratives that galvanize attention in the public world also activate them within us as individuals. The challenge, then, is to live these stories wisely, shifting their expression within us and thus influencing our collective future for the better. The example of the four major mythic characters illustrates how readers can move from feeling powerless to purposeful, disrespected to esteemed, trapped to free, and anxious to joyful.

Drawing on her profound understanding of myth’s enduring power to catalyze such transformations, Pearson guides readers of Persephone Risingon a journey of self-discovery, teaching us how to apply lessons from Demeter and Persephone, as well as Zeus and Dionysus, in our own lives—examples that reveal unexpected choices and opportunities available to us all.

Illuminating ancient wisdom for a modern audience, Persephone Rising offers profound and powerful strategies to answer the call to heroism in our own lives: to locate and harness the unique potential within each of us, and ultimately to develop our own innate heroic gifts. Just as Demeter and Persephone discovered, in the midst of great difficulty, their own powers, gifts, and abilities for blazing a better path not only for themselves, but also for the world, Persephone Rising teaches that each one of us has more options than choosing whether to lean in or out—we have the power to change ourselves, and thus our world.

For many of us women, the story of Demeter and Persephone is the most challenging and illuminating of all myths. Each of us retells it in her own way, a way that reflects what it means to her. Carol Pearson’s rich revisioning focuses on Persephone’s rising, on her return to the upper world as emblematic of the power inherent in all of us to move beyond failure and conflict to lives filled with joy, fearlessness, and abundance. Wisely, she recognizes that the deepest message this myth conveys comes from attending to all the archetypal energies represented in it, not just Persephone but also Demeter, Zeus, and Dionysus.
Christine Downing, Author of The Long Journey Home
Pearson writes with an eye toward empowering women, not by disparaging men, but by pointing us in the direction of our lost history…. Her work has always been an exploration of the flowers that bloom through the cracks in the sidewalk. It would appear that those flowers, and Pearson herself, are now positioned for a spectacular moment in the sun.
Anna Jedrziewski, Retailing Insight
Persephone Rising spoke to my bone marrow—its truths resonating with clarity and power. A beautiful retelling and updating of these ancient archetypes—so relevant today.
Christiane Northrup MD, OB/GYN, and author of the New York Times bestseller Goddesses Never Age
Carol S. Pearson does a remarkable job of weaving together stories from Greek myths with profound metaphors, practical leadership applications, existing literature, and strategies for inner growth and development. In this carefully crafted book, leadership lessons emerge for women in any life circumstance on topics such as resilience, courage, connectedness, caring, joy, finding passions, and taking action. Pearson’s work can help women understand themselves more deeply to find their heroine within!
Susan R. Madsen
Founder, Women & Leadership Affinity Group, International Leadership Association

I always enjoy reading thoughtful commentary on my work. Such responses, whether they be praise or pushback, contribute invaluably to our shared insights. Below are links to reviews of Persephone Rising that have appeared to date. This list will be updated regularly as new reviews appear. In addition, the latest reviews are available on the Media page of this website.