Women who run with the wolves - Clarissa Pinkola Estes
The Literary Club

Women Who Run with the Wolves: Towards an Instinctive Reunion.

Far from the accounts, they used to tell girls in the 90s, perhaps wisdom was to be found in fables, in the knowledge from mouth to mouth that reached one’s ears and became misrepresented as it transitioned from generation to generation. 

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, in her book ‘Women Who Run with the Wolves’, groups famous fables of different origins and brings to them an analysis where women find a typically abandoned identity, the Savage Woman.

Women go through this in their social and personal development from their past to the present; giving an ageless sense to the work. The instinctive force that wasn’t obvious until reading, the identification with each of the protagonists of the fables and self-reflection from previous analysis, passes the generations like a good present, recommendation or like that source to which she always returns when the Savage Woman is asleep. 

Savage Women

It is the nature behind all women. It is the force that breaks the rigidity of the social roles and distances them from the constant demands placed upon her. It is the self, not previously having been discovered or never having been given space to exist. 

It is this repressed side where instincts, creativity and wisdom are kept. It is a place without moral criticism nor necessity for that which is considered socially acceptable when the only thing that exists is freedom.

Women who run with the wolves

It is the journey into the inner psyche where reality is only essential. It is the certainty of doing the correct thing as long as she is your guide. It is the savage discovery of the repressed playful spirit. It is inhabiting your body from a place of love and pride without limitations or stereotypes. It is a reflection of the dynamic cycles of nature. It is the woman capable of everything.

Feminine psychology brings a knowledge of the soul outside of any other theory; it is here where space, natural force and the soul find one another. Like the Witch, the Mage, the Girl or the Wise One, from start to finish of the work, we embrace the Savage Woman, as we discover we are all of them.

This work of introspection to which the author points in each account, only emerges with psychic work that frequently brings discomfort and could even be accompanied by the necessity for moments of social rest when the gaze is turned inwards. 

We shouldn’t forget that the roles women are given in society – stereotypes – with the tendency to hide a woman’s true nature; could continue being obstacles to this work as we feel the need to continue showing ourselves to be sweet, structural and fragile even when we are not. 

Nevertheless, she will be waiting for the Savage Woman in silence as a new opportunity.

It is not about social isolation; losing our own relationships, or the connection of denying the occult, but rather making a tribe. To find ourselves in others, accompany the awakening of the Savage Woman, establish her own pack, develop the intuitive territory, and sustain this reflection in community. 

The Author

Clarissa Pinkola Estes is a Jungian psycho-analyst known as a specialist, story-keeper and guardian of old fables. 

Her doctorate in Intercultural Studies and Clinical Psychology earned her a place as the executive director of the C. G. Jung Centre for Education and Research

She exercised her specialism in the recuperation of post-trauma from a clinical psychology perspective. During her career, she observed that traditional psychology doesn’t give answers to diverse problems that she encountered in women. Intuition, cycles, innate wisdom and acquired wisdom, and stereotypes were outside of any theory that was being tackled.

To the same point, Clarissa Pinkola Estes inherited Hungarian wisdom. In that culture, the elderly convey their traditions as fables, stories and sacred accounts by word of mouth. 

In this way, she related these fables in order to cure her patients in a Jungian style. Each character of the account is a part of the psyche where the mind and the soul are presented as a dichotomy; constantly in conflict with the force of that which sustains each. This way, she gave place to the Savage Woman, understanding that it instantly resonates for every woman upon hearing it. 

Clarissa Pinkola Estes began writing this book in 1971 and took over twenty years to complete it. Surely it could take a woman much longer than this to rediscover her own spirit. Nevertheless, it is necessary to take out the occult from its hiding place in creativity, develop intuition and instinct, embrace the cycles and nature of each woman, and go through all of this together, as women.