Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

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"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.


"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 a woman. Everyone who can read should read this book."

"A deeply spiritual book . . . She honors what is tough, smart, and untamed in women. She venerates the female soul."
--The Washington Post

"Women Who Run With the Wolves isn't just another book. It is a gift of profound insight, wisdom, and love. An oracle for one who knows."

"An inspiring book, the 'vitamins for the soul' [for women] who are cut off from their intuitive nature."
--San Francisco Chronicle

"Millennia of humans have gathered around fires to hear words that transferred hard-won wisdom and allowed dreams of unlimited possibilities. In a modern world that limits wisdom to 'facts,' and women's access even to those, Dr. Estés has restored the fire--for us all."

"Stands out from the pack . . . 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

Product Details

BN ID: 2940157295899
Publisher: River Wolf Press
Publication date: 01/31/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 29,673
File size: 971 KB

About the Author

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.

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Women Who Run With the Wolves : Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What is it that makes a woman not like a man? The common answer, of course, has to do with genitalia and reproduction, a less common though still frequent distinction comes from the presence of two X chromosomes in every cell of the female body. Neither of this means of differentiation, as obvious as they seem, help answer the question. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, both a Jungian Analyst and professional story teller ('contradora') draws on a rich mix of background from both of her professions to lay the underpinnings from the collective unconscious and archetypes to provide a much more sophisticated if complex answer to the nature of a woman. If you are a woman, this may help you define yourself, uif you are a man, the book will both enhance your respect for as well as add a bit to your dim understanding of those marvellous aliens with two X chromosomes. Very Highly Recommended indeed!
LaBefana More than 1 year ago
This book was and still is a great read. It's definetly one of my favorites! It's inspirational, it makes you think, gives you an understanding, it's down to earth and it's real. Every woman should own this book! Honestly, I sometimes use this book as a guide. I open it randomly, as I do with most all my books and where I open it, I go to the beginning of that story and I read it. Ususally the story is pertaining to things that are happening around me at that time and it gives me a different outlook, a different view or opinion about my situation. Bottom line, it's a must for woman, and I feel if/when men buy her book they will get a better understanding of woman on a deeper level. In paperback, I have had my book, The Woman Who Run with Wolves since 1996. I wanted it as a gift and I got it. I actually didn't just want it, I had to have it. At that time the book was not as popular as it became. About 3 yrs ago I bought another book to have as back-up for this one. Although the book can now be purchased in hardcover I bought another paperback. Personally I like this book in paperback, it's easier to take with me eveywhere.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read this book 5 times and each time I extract new insight. Absolutely fascinating psychological explanations of childhood fairytales. This book is a MUST for any woman who desires to live her life honestly and fully.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
FancyFractals on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A good book for young women to read.
SheilahVance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is fabulous! It has helped me understand and gotten me through many a life change at different stages of my life. This time, another failed romance. This time, deeper understanding. I highly recommend it to all women who are trying to understand themselves.
SusaninParis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At the time the book was published, it was probably considered groundbreaking. These ideas have been floating around the public consciousness since then so it doesn't seem as novel. At this stage, I would have preferred a little condensing. I think I'll need to read it again.
oke on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Changed My Life. Deep reading and well worth it.
fraise on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While the author does give good insights onto women's issues, her use of fairy tales to do so is weak at best. She changes them to suit her own interpretation, often - and quite worrisomely, given the message she claims to want to give - placing more blame on the woman than the original fairy tale did. Compare, for instance, the original "Handless Maiden" and Marie Louise von Franz's interpretation of it, to Pinkola Estes' modified version.I had a very hard time taking the "interpretation" of modified fairy tales seriously, and wish that Pinkola Estes had given more weight to her own individual thoughts, rather than trying to validate them through fairy tales that often say something quite different from what she tries to say.
tcoulter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A book that I have returned to many times over the last decade or more, Estes analyses of women in folklore and mythology resonate with me deeply. Women Who Run with the Wolves is a book that can be read over and over, and some new insight - about oneself or our relationship with our environment - will be gained. A beautiful marriage of psychology and feminist spirituality, this is one of my most cherished reads.
moonstormer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very enjoyable use of myth and legend to explore elements of the female psyche. Some aspects were a bit overdone and I found the explanations to be a bit lengthy for my taste, but overall it was an interesting and very well written book. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who likes the use of myths, stories or fairy tales in gaining greater understanding.
pru_mitchell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very special book for our bookclub 'The Wolves' named after this our first book. It took us a year to read it - sometimes we only got through one story a month. Thanks to the amazing expertise and life experience of women in the group, especially leader of the pack and Wolf mother, Shirley Trippe, we extracted so much inspiration and discussion from the Jungian themes and rich stories. Wolves, both book and book club made a major contribution to my literary and spiritual growth.The Wolf Rules for Life1 Eat2 Rest3 Rove in between4 Render loyalty5 Love the children6 Cavil in moonlight7 Tune your ears8 Attend to the bones9 Make love10 Howl often
thewatch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An amazingly insightful and inspiring book, making you look at both fairy tales and women across society in a new and uplifting manner. It's a great book for discussion and to understand things about your life and relationship with the natural and wild world. Worth many rereadings!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sarahinfla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is not your average self-help book. Estes relys on old stories from her heritege as well as practical advice from her practice as a Jungian analyst to provide women with a self-help book like no other. The legends she disperses throughout the chapters tie in neatly with the topic of each chapter. And chapters can be read as single units.
thairishgrl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was recommended to me by a fellow therapist after a discussion about the positive impact of stories on the psyche. Estes uses mythology from around the world to explore the universal struggles experienced by women. A great self help book without being preachy. Not light reading.
MiaAndPatrick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is really fascinating. It ties in women's psychology with story telling traditions in a really effective way.
capnk8 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Finding this book was the purest accident. I started reading the introduction while in the bookstore and started crying, right there in public. This is officially my favorite book. I simply had to have it in hardcover - I half-destroyed my paperback before I even finished it.
johnthefireman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An excellent book. A bit long and slow at times, but very interesting and informative. I read it when I was studying spirituality in the USA. It has an important place in understanding the jigsaw which makes up human spirituality.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For anyone wanting a better understanding of the female psyche this is a must read whether they are male or female. This is actually my third copy of this book my first was so worn the pages were no longer readable. You develop a deeper understanding every time you pick it up. As an audio book it is a convenient way to continue getting things done when you don't have a free hand. I definitely recommend this and other books by Estes. It is a valuable learning tool and can have a great impact on the lives of many women.
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