What is Wild Woman?

    “So what is the Wild Woman? From the viewpoint of archetypal psychology as well as from the storytelling tradition, she is the female soul. Yet she is more; she is the source of the feminine. She is all that is of instinct, of the worlds both seen and hidden—she is the basis. We each receive from her a glowing cell which contains all the instincts and knowings needed for our lives.”
Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.
Women Who Run With the Wolves



    When wild women gather around the fire, the talking stick gets passed, and tales are told. Some are real stories – our bone songs – of the struggles and triumphs we each face in life. Other stories share wisdom from one to another, and pass along knowledge to the next generation. Some stories entertain us. And some stories scare us… We are women who love the stories Estes shared in Women Who Run With the Wolves. Story is important to us.
    “…Stories are medicine…They have such power; they do not require that we do, be, act anything –we need only listen…”

At midnight, the appointed hour,
the wolves and maids appear
With ears erect the wolves approach
to see what they might hear
The maidens lovely, glowing bright
are never far behind
The maids and wolves, the wolves and maids,
so tightly intertwined

The maidens dance with flowing hair,
the wolves they prance and fly
The wolves and maidens back and forth,
go dancing in the sky.



 Star Montain


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 the deep, life-giving messages of our own souls. Without Wild Woman, we become over-domesticated, fearful, uncreative, trapped. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D., Jungian analyst and cantadora storyteller, shows how woman’s vitality can be restored through what she calls “psychic archeological digs” into the bins of the female unconscious. In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Dr. Estes uses multicultural myths, fairy tales, folk tales, and stories chosen from over twenty years of research that help women reconnect with the healthy, instinctual, visionary attributes of the Wild Woman archetype. Dr. Estes collects the bones of many stories, looking for the archetypal motifs that set a woman’s inner life into motion. “La Loba” teaches about the trans-formative function of the psyche. In “Bluebeard”, we learn what to do with wounds that will not heal; in “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 Hand-less Maiden” recovers the Wild Woman initiation rites; and “The Little Match Girl” warns against the …

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