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Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and…

Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman… (1992)

by Clarissa Pinkola Estés (Author)

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Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Not an easy book to explain or review but I'll try. I've heard of this book before (it was first published in 1992 and I know back then I would not have been interested), and recently found it at a local used bookstore. The cashier said, "Oh, this is a wonderful book! I loved it!" I can't remember the last time a bookseller raved about a book that I had up for purchasing.

The author is a Jungian analyst and also a storyteller. What this means for this book and its readers is that she tells the story of many myths -- there were just a few that I was familiar with, such as "Bluebeard" and "The Ugly Duckling" -- and re-interprets these stories in how it applies to the inner lives of women. The Wild Woman is her way of describing the soul of a woman.

While I question whether these old stories were actually meant as Pinkola Estes interprets them, I found them fascinating analogies of how women, from birth, are constantly told by others in words and/or actions that they should be "this way" or "not that way". This is a never-ending message to women that they cannot simply be themselves. It is not just men, but also other women, who can negatively influence the female soul. The author often uses the behavior of wolves to show how we can learn from them.

There's a lot to think about here and process, so much so that I feel that it deserves a re-read by me. It is not a quick read and it is the type of book that would need to be read at the right time. I would recommend it to others only if I thought they were ready for it -- if not, it would just be something that would be set aside because this book is far more than just re-telling of ancient myths from all over the world.

I have many folded-over pages in this book -- I am averse to folding pages as book-marking, but don't mind doing it (tiny corners!!) when I want to be able to refer back to something. Here are a few excerpts from those folded-over pages.

(note: for the first quote below, the [...] is the author's, and not an indication that I left out part of the quote. The "work" she refers to is helping with psychic development).

"The 'craft of making' is an important part of the work, I work to empower my clients by teaching them the age-old crafts of the hands...among them fetish and talisman making, these being anything from simple ribbon sticks to elaborate sculpture. Art is important for it commemorates the seasons of the soul, or a special or tragic event in the soul's journey. Art is not just for oneself, not just a marker of one's own understanding. It is also a map for those who follow after us". (p. 15)

"At a very mundane level, it is important for a woman having dark man and Bluebeardian sorts of dreams to cleanse her life of as much negativity as she can. Sometimes it is necessary to limit or thin out certain relationships, for if a woman is outwardly surrounded by persons who are antagonistic to or careless about her deep life, her interior predator is fed by this and develops extra muscle within her psyche, and more aggression toward her." (p.71)

"Friends who love you and have warmth for your creative life are the very best suns in the world. When a woman, like the Little Match Girl, has no friends she also becomes frozen by anguish, and sometimes by anger as well. Even if one has friends, those friends may not be suns. They may give comfort instead of informing the woman about her increasingly frozen circumstances. They comfort her -- but that is far different from nurture. Nurture moves you from one place to another. Nurture is like psychic Wheaties.

The difference between comfort and nurture is this: if you have a plant that is sick because you keep it in a dark closet, and you say soothing words to it, that is comfort. If you take the plant out of the closet and put it in the sun, give it something to drink, and then talk to it, that is nurture." (p. 323) ( )
  ValerieAndBooks | Nov 24, 2014 |
I read this book long before I was probably meant too - I was too young, and reading for an age far beyond my real life age. However, this book stuck with me throughout adolescence and 20's and I often found myself referring to it when talking to others. After recently re-visiting it, I was still as taken with it, and it still spoke to me: about knowing yourself and those around you, about the stories we tell ourselves and each other, and about the strength and resilience of women throughout time and history. It encouraged me to embrace the role of storyteller and memory keeper, and that this does not mean being maudlin and living in the past, but rather using the past to protect the future. Do read it - I hope it impresses on you as much it did on me!
  Em_Mac | Jul 25, 2014 |
Very interesting but perhaps best taken in small doses. A good fountain of ideas to use in thinking about your own life. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jun 17, 2014 |
Sort of embarrassed to admit that I am reading this, but...
I am finding it useful, and 12~ years later (from when I was first given a copy) I can finally read it. I suppose it helps to have been through a bit of life, to be able to grasp the archetypes well.

Works well with Carolyn Myss's Sacred Contracts, and her archetypes.
  MochiMama | Aug 21, 2013 |
Es un libro que no sólo nos ayuda a las mujeres a sentirnos identificadas con los diferentes problemas que atrapan nuestra mente sino que además nos sirve para superarlos por medio de cuentos. ( )
1 vote danielapalaciotoro | Aug 6, 2012 |
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A kedves szüleimnek
Mária és Joszef,
Maria and Joseph,
Szeretlek benneteket.

Para todos los que yo amo
que continúan desaparecidos.
First words
Dzikie zwierzęta i Dzika Kobieta to zagrożone gatunki.
[Introduction, English] Wildlife and the Wild Woman are both endangered species.
[Chapter 1, English] I must reveal to you that I am not of the Divine who march into the desert and return gravid with wisdom.
Women Who Run With the Wolves is the first part of a five-part series encompasing one hundred tales on the inner life. The entire twenty-two hundred pages of work took just over twenty years to write. In its essence, the work strives to de-pathologize the integral instinctual nature, and to demonstrate its soulful and essential psychic ties to the natural world. The basic premise that runs through all my work asserts that all human beings are born gifted.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345409876, Mass Market Paperback)

UPDATED, WITH NEW MATERIAL BY THE AUTHOR"WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES isn't just another book. It is a gift of profound insight, wisdom, and love. An oracle from one who knows."--Alice WalkerWithin every woman there lives a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. She is the Wild Woman, who represents the instinctual nature of women. But she is an endangered species. In WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES, Dr. Estés unfolds rich intercultural myths, fairy tales, and stories, many from her own family, in order to help women reconnect with the fierce, healthy, visionary attributes of this instinctual nature. Through the stories and commentaries in this remarkable book, we retrieve, examine, love, and understand the Wild Woman and hold her against our deep psyches as one who is both magic and medicine. 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."This volume reminds us that we are nature for all our sophistication, that we are still wild, and the recovery of that vitality will itself set us right in the world."--Thomas Moore Author of Care of the Soul"I am grateful to WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES and to Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés. The work shows the reader how glorious it is to be daring, to be caring, and to be women. Everyone who can read should read this book."--Maya Angelou"An inspiring book, the 'vitamins for the soul' [for] women who are cut off from their intuitive nature."--San Francisco Chronicle"Stands out from the pack . . . A joy and sparkle in [the] prose . . . This book will become a bible for women interested in doing deep work. . . . It is a road map of all the pitfalls, those familiar and those horrifically unexpected, that a woman encounters on the way back to her instinctual self. Wolves . . . is a gift."--Los Angeles Times"A mesmerizing voice . . . Dramatic storytelling she learned at the knees of her [immigrant] aunts."--Newsweek

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:27 -0400)

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A Jungian analyst explores the feminine psyche through stories of "wild women"--the mythological archetype of the strong, primitive woman.

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