A former television producer and college professor, Dr. Jean Raffa changed directions in midlife to discover and write about her passions. Informed by over 30 years of psychological and spiritual study, her books and teachings guide others to growth and self-empowerment.
To be released in October 2020, her newest book, The Soul’s Twins, is about reconciling differences between masculine and feminine, overcoming oppositional conflicts, and finding balance to live a more authentic life. It “offers a self-guided journey to wholeness and enlightenment by transcending masculine-feminine oppositions.”
To celebrate the upcoming release, we are delighted to share this Q&A with Jean Raffa.
Swenson Book Development: What has the journey of writing The Soul’s Twins taught you personally?
Jean Raffa: I started this book in the early 90s. About 540 pages later, I realized I still had much to learn. Intending to return to it one day, I set it aside and started a different book. Then three years ago, a series of synchronistic events came together to rekindle my passion for The Soul’s Twins.
But tackling it was still so daunting that when another synchronicity led me to Jill Swenson, I asked for her help. She was the midwife I needed. The Soul’s Twins gestated for 27 years, but the timing for its birth couldn’t be better. Neither I nor the world were ready for them in 1993. We are now.
Writing The Soul’s Twins taught me two lessons. First: If I commit myself to a realistic goal I passionately believe in and ask the universe to help me, it will. Second: Sometimes I need to ask other people for help too.
SBD: How do you envision The Soul’s Twins as a stepping stone to breaking down harmful stereotypes?
Jean Raffa: A child of the late forties and fifties, I absorbed the gender stereotypes of my era. In college I majored in education. When I married I tried to be a perfect mother, housewife, and cook while teaching at the local university. By mid-life, this wasn’t enough for me, so I turned to Jungian psychology, mythology, and my dreams. What I learned transformed my life.
Everyone has an unconscious self. It’s like a garbage heap of everything we don’t remember, like, or know about ourselves. It contains mental images of our instincts, which are called archetypes. The Soul’s Twins is about eight powerful archetypes that traditionally have been associated with the binary genders. Throughout history, people have projected their powers onto gods and goddesses and created myths about them. For instance, Mother goddesses represent the feminine pole of our instinct for nurturance, and Father gods represent the masculine pole.
Here’s what fascinates me most. The psychological qualities we associate with the gods and goddesses differ between cultures. In Japanese mythology, Amaterasu is a gentle sun goddess. Her brother, Tsukuyomi, is a fierce god of the moon. In Greek mythology it’s the reverse: Apollo’s symbol is the sun and his sister Artemis is the moon goddess. In Tibetan Buddhism, wisdom is a feminine quality and compassion is masculine; in the western world it’s the opposite. The truth is, the soul has no gender. We all contain the same instincts and archetypes. It’s just our dualistic thinking and cultural differences that divide us into opposites and assign limiting stereotypical roles.
My goal is to nurture a sacred marriage of oneness in collective consciousness. But to integrate our opposites, we first need to be aware of them. A self-assessment tool called The Partnership Profile gives readers a personalized status report on four masculine and four feminine archetypes, plus a newly emerging archetype of egalitarian partnership. I envision that this knowledge, combined with examples and suggestions, will empower readers to address their imbalances and create the lives for which they yearn. Then gender stereotypes will fall away of their own accord.
SBD: How does your book relate to the fall of the patriarchy?
Jean Raffa: Patriarchy’s masculine one-sidedness has undermined its noblest goals. We have repressed feminine wisdom and devalued so many feminine qualities that every institution of society has suffered. But with the onset of depth psychology, founded by Dr. Carl Jung, our Mother of wisdom, nature, relationship, and life is returning from her long exile.
The wars of the 20th century destroyed millions of lives. Yet, during that same time, our government gave women the right to vote, granted equal rights to people of color, and became sensitive to gender inequalities and trans rights. Our emerging feminine twin has righted numerous wrongs, but those who are threatened by these changes have taken off the gloves and put up a fierce fight. They don’t realize that they can’t stop the evolution of the mind.
I wrote The Soul’s Twins to help others find greater self-knowledge and spiritual meaning. One advance reader calls it “a 21st century road map for the soul.” Another writes, “…The Soul’s Twins offers a practical approach to reclaiming aspects of your whole self that have ‘gone missing’ due to personal, cultural, gender, religious, and parental influences. Is it your Queen, your Lover, your Warrior, your Sage?” A third reader calls it, “…a must-read for anyone who is looking to deepen their spiritual work and is brave enough to shine a light on what is driving their behavior.”
SBD: Why do you think your book is urgently needed in these times of #MeToo?
Jean Raffa: The world’s chaos can be healed when we accept our feminine twin. We have nothing to fear from her. She is the great balancer – the rhythm, music, poetry, and dance of life who carries our drive for species-preservation. She’s the part of you and me that wants our children, grandchildren, and all species to survive and thrive. Weaving respect for her through every aspect of ourselves and society will extinguish the fear and hatred of those who suffer so much from her absence that they kill each other and abuse women and children. We already see her healing effects in the emboldened women who started the #MeToo movement.
She’s the Mother archetype in us all who protects and nurtures life. She’s the indomitable Queenly authority, courage, and ethic of care that inspires social activism to combat racial, gender, religious, age, and economic injustice. She’s the Mediatrix whose wisdom bridges divides and erases one-sidedness and intolerance. She’s the Beloved whose magnetism and receptivity soothe savage instincts and bring pleasure, meaning, and richness to starving souls. We desperately need her healing touch.
SBD: What do you believe is the most important thing that people can take away from your book?
Jean Raffa: Our species is evolving toward an integration of all opposites, for which femininity and masculinity are universal metaphors. Our problems are caused by our ignorance and fear of them, and our fate hinges on our willingness to emancipate them from the prison of our unconsciousness.
Pre-order your copy of The Soul’s Twins today!
4 thoughts on “Finding Balance – Q and A with Jean Raffa”
Thank you for this wonderful interview. Lovely questions and answers bringing the urgency of the necessity of bringing consciousness of The Feminine inter alia into the world, so that we can leave it healed in every way. It’s a big ask, but it’s very possible –
In spite of the virus chasing us, I look forward to summer and finishing 3 of your books while anticipating “The Soul’s Twins.” Most of all, I look forward to meeting you. I was also a child of the 40s and 50s, studied psychology and taught in college. I am still learning and that keeps me happy and alive. My very best wishes to you.
Oh, Sandra. What a delightful surprise! While most of us are bingeing on Netflix during these trying times, you’re bingeing on my books about psychological and spiritual oneness! I love it. It seems we have very much in common. If you haven’t already subscribed to my blog, Matrignosis, please do. That way you’ll be sure to get my newsletter that will tell you all about my new book, upcoming events, and so on. I look forward to meeting you too! Thank you so much for making my day. Jeanie
Thank you Susan. I agree. It is a big ask. We have some very old, very firmly entrenched attitudes about masculinity and femininity that must be broken down before we can hope to create true partnerships within ourselves and with others. But I know it can be done. It will be a very slow process. We humans seem to be slow learners. But we are learning and evolving, and with every step each of us takes toward conscious oneness, we move closer to our goal Thank you for writing. Jeanie