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Monday, June 10, 2013

Run free and Wild like the Wolf

A Message for All Women
by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Run free and Wild like the Wolf
THE wildness of the wolf is not readily apparent in the easy manner of Clarissa Pinkola Estes, a cheerful, soft-spoken woman who wears a red ribbon in her hair and a medal of the Virgin Mary around her neck.
"Mary is a girl gang leader in Heaven," said Dr. Estes, who has ordered the lunchtime special of meat loaf and mashed potatoes. "She is fuerte -- strong, fierce. We have been given this cleaned-up, Anglicized version of her. But the saints had calluses on their hands."
It was here in a quiet neighborhood bar and grill that Dr. Estes, a Jungian analyst for 20 years and a consummate cantadora, or storyteller, spent her afternoons writing "Women Who Run With the Wolves," a book that was scarcely reviewed after publication but has become a best-seller.
In the book, Dr. Estes has interpreted old tales in ways that merge Carlos Castaneda with Bruno Bettelheim, from Bluebeard to the Little Match Girl, that reveal an archetypal wild woman whose qualities she says have today been dangerously tamed by a society that preaches the virtue of being "nice." Like the wolf, pushed to the brink of extinction, the innate powers of womanhood have been driven deep within, she argues, but they can yet be summoned as tools in a fight for survival.
Dr. Estes found the wolf-woman parallel while studying wildlife biology, especially wolves. "Wolves and women are relational by nature, inquiring, possessed of great endurance and strength," she writes. "They are deeply intuitive, intensely concerned with their young, their mate and their pack." She also writes: "Yet both have been hounded, harassed and falsely imputed to be devouring and devious, overly aggressive, of less value than those who are their detractors." A Savage Creativity
Dr. Estes defined wildness as not uncontrolled behavior but a kind of savage creativity, the instinctual ability to know what tool to use and when to use it."All options are available to women," she said.  "Everything from quiescence to camouflaging to pulling back the ears, baring the teeth and lunging for the throat. But going for the kill is something to be used in rare, rare, rare cases." She smiled and took a sip from a diet soda.
"Women who have always been taught to be nice do not realize they have these options," she said. "When someone tells them to stay in their place, they sit and stay quiet. But when somebody is cornering you, then the only way out is to come out kicking, to beat the hell out of whatever is in the way."
While she urges a liberation for women, Dr. Estes cringes at the label of feminist. "No Latina woman would be called Ms. -- that's an invention of middle-class Anglo women," said Dr. Estes, who was born to Mexican parents and adopted by immigrants from Hungary in rural Indiana. "Latina women are proud to be called Mrs. That simply means that we have a family."
She added: "The soul has no gender. I wrote a book about women because I am a woman. If I were a man, I would have written about that." The knowledge of the inner self comes mostly from hardship, Dr. Estes said. People with money and privilege have a harder time "making the connection with the natural self," she said. But Dr. Estes, who is now writing the second volume of a planned "Wolves" trilogy, said she did not believe that her own success would get in the way of personal exploration.
"No chance of that," she said. "Want to see my scars?"
Published by Dirk Johnson

Books to read of Dr. C.P. Estes

Women who runs with the wolves
Untie the Strong Woman:
Blessed Mother's Immaculate Love for the Wild Soul

The Power of the Crone
Myths and Stories of the Wise Woman Archetype


Joanna DeVoe said...

LOVE -xo

Susan Graham said...

re Clarissa's comment of anglo women and being called Ms, well yes i am an anglo woman, wild woman, and i call myself Ms, I am 60, not because i am not proud to be a mother, but because I am no Miss and i am no longer married, calling yourself Mrs does not mean you have children per se, also that Clarissa uses Mrs, this is another anglo word, and it's meaning stems from England, Mrs. is a contraction derived from Middle English maistresse, “female teacher, governess.” so what the hell, dont dish on Anglo women and our choices, when she is not clear on her own use of anglo words....... just saying. bless and peace

Lee Cahill said...

I'm with Susan on this one. I'm unmarried by choice and I'm 55, so I feel that to be called 'Miss' would be derogatory. Also, for me, the problem with the term 'Mrs' is that it assumes a relationship to a man that gives married women a certain value in society which unmarried women don't have. Leveling the playing field for women to reflect the level playing field that has always been in place for men is, I feel, absolutely essential. Words have power, and we need to use them wisely.

As for Ms Pinkola Estes cringing at the term 'feminism', I'd suggest that she consider not only the gains that feminists have won for women over the course of the past century, but also how relevant and necessary feminism still is. Women still earn less, own less, are less free, are the victims of patriarchy and are subject to appalling sexual abuse. To cringe at the term 'feminism' is therefore, as I see it, the kind of denialist and self-hating behaviour that women have been taught to embrace in a fundamentally male-dominated society. I'm profoundly disappointed to see this author in particular taking this backlash position. It makes me think very differently about her ...

Olivia said...

Great article! One of the best books i've ever read. Very excited to hear about a second one!!

Turenne said...

I define myself as a Courageous Wild Woman who comes alive through dance. I Love Dr. Estes' definition of wild as a kind of savage creativity. I am a gentle woman who seeks harmony in all but i never accept anything that stands in the way of my freedom and creativity. I strive to dance my soul and believe that it is a freedom innate to all woman and all men and all creature for that matter. Dr. Estes' work and vision is tremendeously appealing to me and resonates as factual truth...

Alanna said...

I read this book when I was 15 and in high school. I don't think I'd be where I am today without it. Still on my "currently reading " bookshelf.

Anonymous said...

We should never lump any group of people all as one. I have heard many times what you have said here,Women earn less, own less, are less free and in a male dominated society. I do not find that to be true I myself have worked in a male dominated field most if my career, our pay scale is the same, I own more than many men i know my age, make far more than many men i know,i am single now by my choice and more freedom than most people i know. I also only have a high school diploma,some college, many many hours of specific training in my science. I am now a supervisor and many of our upper ranking supervisors and officers of our company are women. I know and have met many women like myself in my travels.

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