Thursday, October 1, 2009

Women Who Run With the Wolves

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD is a certified Jungian psychoanalyst, cantadora (keeper of old stories), poet, and author of The New York Times Best Seller Women Who Run With the Wolves (Ballantine Books, 1992). The subtitle, Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, illuminates the concept of the book. (The term archetype is used therein to define the instinctive blueprint of thought and/or symbolic imagery that comes from the collective experience of the past contained in the individual unconscious of all women in the now).

Multi-cultural myths and folk tales such as La Loba (The Wolf Woman), Vasalisa, The Handless Maiden, and The Crescent Moon Bear are vehicles with which the author engages the female reader so they may reconnect with the wild feminine (their instinctual self) and be empowered by her. Of course the book isn’t solely for women; enlightened men would likely appreciate it as well. The stories are about relinquishing inborn creativity, wisdom, strength (among other innate gifts), and reclaiming them as a birthright. They are about descent and transformation. They are about loss of instinct and resurgence of spirit. They are about the resilience and endurance of the soul.

Stories about the instinctual archetype of the wolf augment those describing the wild nature of women. The value of the wolf metaphor as it relates to the feminine instinctual psyche is made clear on page two of the book where Dr. Estés writes, “healthy wolves and healthy women share certain psychic characteristics: keen sensing, playful spirit, and a heightened capacity for devotion. Wolves and women are relational by nature, inquiring, possessed of great endurance and strength. They are deeply intuitive, intensely concerned with their young, their mates and their pack. They are experienced in adapting to constantly changing circumstances; they are fiercely stalwart and very brave.”

As this fabulous book comes to an end, the author states, “Over my lifetime as I’ve met wolves, I have tried to puzzle out how they live, for the most part, in such harmony. So, for peaceable purposes, I would suggest you begin right now with any point on the (following) list. For those who are struggling, it may help greatly to begin with number ten.”

General Wolf Rules For Life

  1. Eat
  2. Rest
  3. Rove in between
  4. Render loyalty
  5. Love the children
  6. Cavil in the moonlight
  7. Tune your ears
  8. Attend to the bones
  9. Make love
  10. Howl often

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