Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Women Who Run with the Wolves is a collection of myths and stories venerating Wild Woman, the powerful, instinctive nature that lives within every woman. Collected over a lifetime from around the world, and especially from Estés’s Latina and Eastern European ancestors, the stories teach us how Wild Woman brings vitality, good instincts, and creative fire to the female soul. Through her characters and archetypal symbolism, Estés teaches women, in any stage of life, how to nourish Wild Woman in order to avoid falling victim to an over-civilized culture and other predators both external to and within our own psyches.
The writing style is mesmerizingly poetic. Estés stays true to the traditional language of the cantadores when telling the stories and combines this with an academic voice in analyses informed by her studies of Jungian psychology. In contrast to the watered down, Christianized fairy tales of modern times, these stories are dark and messy. Each one, combined with commentary, reveals insight into topics such as romantic relationships rooted in soul-craving, seeing through illusion, finding people we belong to, embracing the Life/Death/Life cycle, and how to live in a way that honors the untamed criatura within.
This book was my first experience with story as medicine, and I hope that all of the women I love will read it for the spiritual healing it can bring to females at any stage of their post-adolescent life. I plan to read it multiple times and suspect that different chapters will speak to me more at different points in my journey.
“The balanced valuing of emotion is certainly an act of self-respect. Even raw and messy emotions can be understood as a form of light, crackling and bursting with energy. We can use the light of rage in a positive way, in order to see into places we cannot usually see.”