In 1986 Jungian analyst and author Jean Shinoda Bolen was experiencing a midlife crisis at age 49. She had just separated from her husband of 19 years when she received a package from an admirer of her bestseller Goddesses in Everywoman. It contained an invitation to embark on an all-expenses-paid pilgrimage to sacred sites in Europe including Chartres, Glastonbury, Avalon, Findhorn, and Iona. Bolen accepted, and this book recounts her spiritual adventures on this journey of self-discovery and personal renewal.
The author moves fluidly between outer events and inner reflections, between a consideration of the Grail myth and a spinning out of its many interpretations. On the road, the author meets sister pilgrims who share the stories of their lives and bear witness to the feminine aspects of God. The book is filled with sacramental or "Grail experiences" where women reach out to each other with understanding and support. While visiting sacred places, Bolen also gets in touch with the mystical experiences of her life and the feminine mysteries of childbirth, nurturing, and friendship that link women together.
At one point, Bolen notes that pilgrims go to sacred places in order to "quicken the divinity within themselves, to experience spiritual awakening, or receive a blessing or become healed." This trip restores the author's depleted soul and pulls her out of her midlife funk. And by bearing witness to her spiritual journey Bolen helps her readers recognize similar moments of quickening in their own lives.