Excerpts from Women Who Run with the Wolves

It took me a long time to discover this book. M said she’d underlined nearly the whole thing and how had I not already read it?! So I got myself an old fashioned paper copy some months ago. And have underlined and notated all over the place. Better late than never.

Without her [the Wild Woman; the wild nature], women’s inner eyes are closed by some shadowy hand, and large parts of their days are spent in semi-paralyzing ennui or else wishful thinking…Without her they take too much or too little or nothing at all. Without her they are silent when in fact they are on fire…Sanitized…self-conscious, away from one’s God or Gods, drawn far into domesticity, intellectualism, work, or inertia because that is the safest place for one who has lost her instincts….

[But] with her, their creative lives blossom; their relationships gain meaning and depth and health; their cycles of sexuality, creativity, work and play are reestablished; they are no longer marks for the predation of others; they are entitled equally under the laws of nature to grow and to thrive. Now their end-of-the-day fatigue comes from satisfying work and endeavors, not from being shut up in too small a mindset, job, or relationship. They know instinctively when things must die and when things must live; they know how to walk away and they know how to stay. When women reassert their relationship with the wildish nature, they are gifted with a permanent and internal watcher, a knower, a visionary, an oracle, an inspiratrice, an intuitive, a maker, a creator, an inventor, and a listener who guide, suggest, and urge vibrant life in the inner and outer worlds. When women are close to this nature, the fact of the relationship glows through them. So the word “wild” here is not used in its modern pejorative sense, meaning out of control, but in its original sense, which means to live a natural life, one in which the criatura, the creature, has innate integrity and healthy boundaries…

The wild nature has a vast integrity to it. It means to establish territory, to find one’s pack, to be in one’s body with certainty and pride regardless of the body’s gifts and limitations, to speak and act in one’s behalf, to be aware, alert, to draw on the innate feminine powers of intuition and sensing, to come into one’s cycles, to find what one belongs to, to rise with dignity, to retain as much consciousness as possible.

-Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run with the Wolves

I believe men also need connection with the wild nature. Estes is just focused on the awakening and reenlivening of lost or sleepwalking women. There’s a nice interview here in which she mentions men at length.


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