“Within every woman there is a wild and natural creature, a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. Her name is Wild Woman, but she is an endangered species. Though the gifts of wildish nature come to us at birth, society’s attempt to ‘civilize’ us into rigid roles has plundered this treasure, and muffled deep, life-giving messages of our own souls. Without Wild Woman, we become overdomesticated, fearful, uncreative, trapped.”
In her now-classic book that spent 144 weeks on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list, and is translated into 35 languages, Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D., shows how woman’s vitality can be restored through what she calls “psychic archaeological digs” into the ruins of the female unconscious. Dr. Estés uses her families’ ethnic tales, washed and rinsed in the blood of wars and survival, multicultural myths, her own lyric writing of those fairy tales, folk tales, and stories chosen from her life witness, and also research ongoing for twenty years… that help women reconnect with the healthy, instinctual, visionary attributes of the Wild Woman archetype.
Dr. Estés collects the bones of many stories, looking for the archetypal motifs that set a woman’s inner life into motion. Her “La Loba” teaches about the transformative function of the psyche; in “Bluebeard,” we learn what to do with wounds that will not heal; in her literary story “Skeleton Woman,” we glimpse the mystical power of relationship and how dead feelings can be revived; “Vasalisa the Wise” brings our lost womanly instincts to the surface again; “The Handless Maiden” recovers the Wild Woman initiation rites; and “The Little Match Girl” warns against the insidious dangers of a life spent in fantasy. These and other stories focus on the many qualities of Wild Woman. With them, we retrieve, examine, love, and understand her, and hold her against our deep psyches as one who is both magic and medicine.
In Women Who Run With the Wolves, Dr. Estés has created a new lexicon for describing the female psyche. Fertile and life-giving, it is a psychology of women in the truest sense, a knowing of the soul.
Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D., is an internationally known poet, post-trauma recovery specialist, senior training psychoanalyst [Jungian], and cantadora [keeper of the old stories] in her mestizo Latina tradition. Her doctorate is in ethno-clinical psychology / indigenous history from The Union Institute. She is an award-winning author both performance art and spoken word.