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

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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. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D., Jungian analyst and cantadora storyteller shows how women's vitality can be restored through what she calls "psychic archeological digs" in 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. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D., Jungian analyst and cantadora storyteller shows how women's vitality can be restored through what she calls "psychic archeological digs" into the ruins of the female unconsious. Using multicultural myths, fairy tales, folk tales, and stories, Dr. Estes helps women reconnect with the healthy, instinctual, visionary attributes of the Wild Woman archetype. Dr. Estes 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.


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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. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D., Jungian analyst and cantadora storyteller shows how women's vitality can be restored through what she calls "psychic archeological digs" in 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. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D., Jungian analyst and cantadora storyteller shows how women's vitality can be restored through what she calls "psychic archeological digs" into the ruins of the female unconsious. Using multicultural myths, fairy tales, folk tales, and stories, Dr. Estes helps women reconnect with the healthy, instinctual, visionary attributes of the Wild Woman archetype. Dr. Estes 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.

30 review for Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lamski Kikita

    Let me just start with saying that there are two kinds of people who would NOT like this book: 1- chauvanistic men/pigs(hehe), and 2- women who are uptight with their religious and social beliefs (and the stepford housewives type). This book is for all women, who struggled through life because of the pressures and pre-tailored expectations of their families, socieities, religious leaders, husbands, children, etc, and finally saw the light of the moon and could not fight the urge to howl (owwwwwww Let me just start with saying that there are two kinds of people who would NOT like this book: 1- chauvanistic men/pigs(hehe), and 2- women who are uptight with their religious and social beliefs (and the stepford housewives type). This book is for all women, who struggled through life because of the pressures and pre-tailored expectations of their families, socieities, religious leaders, husbands, children, etc, and finally saw the light of the moon and could not fight the urge to howl (owwwwwwwwwwwwww). This book contains fairy tales and folklore stories which we were told as children, but never thought about as a tool for empowering women or entering their psyche. I did not give it five stars because the parts after each story in which the author explains the folkloric symbols, the achtypes, and the psychological implications, sometimes were too unneccessarily elaborate. In general, nevertheless, it is a very empoweing book. The basic concept is that everything that goes wrong in women's lives in the modern world is that they have forgotten their wild nature, that place inside their mind which still leads with an animal instict that makes women strong and with much power. The Wild Woman is between bars inside each one of us, howling and scratching her way out, demanding that she has time to create art, to heal, to protect her territory, to guide, to give life, to mourne, to make love, to laugh scandelously with no shame, to live with no boundries, to teach, to carry wisdom, and to trust her intuition and instincts. As a child, hearing the traditional fairy tales and reading Russian children's books, I remember never caring for the handome king, or the beautiful maiden, or the innocent mother; i was always obsessed with the evil charachters: the wolf, the vampire, the witch (especialy Baba Yaga), and the devil. I remember thinking of how strong they are, how wise, and how cunningly smart, and wanting to be like them, and not like the weak princess who's waiting in her stupid castle for some idiotic rich man with an ugly haircut to come and do all the work. After reading this book i realized that even as a child, my wild nature was healthy and active, and I did base so many decisions in my life as a kid and now as an adult on it...i sniff and see if something smells fishy, and i listen for the crack of broken twigs. I have to say though, that i still sometimes forget my canines and my claws, and start to drift into the appropriateness of the mainstream, but now I know how to always pounce right back into my furry, four-legged state with all its glory and pride. And i am thankful that I have a man who would not be surprised if i peed around a tree to mark it mine!! (just a figure of speech, don't ge any ideas, mia :-P) Ladies, go find your inner animal and live free... following but the laws of the wild...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    When I worked at Ballantine Books in the early to mid-1990s, this was by far the most successful book the house had ever published (it probably still is). I couldn't get over it -- this piece of shit was a runaway best-seller? Overblown, overwritten, self-important, pseudo-intellectual -- what the hell was to like? And to top it off, the author acted like a complete asshole, with personality traits that matched her book to a T. Her visits to the office were ludicrous; she used to prance around, When I worked at Ballantine Books in the early to mid-1990s, this was by far the most successful book the house had ever published (it probably still is). I couldn't get over it -- this piece of shit was a runaway best-seller? Overblown, overwritten, self-important, pseudo-intellectual -- what the hell was to like? And to top it off, the author acted like a complete asshole, with personality traits that matched her book to a T. Her visits to the office were ludicrous; she used to prance around, puffed up like a little marshmallow, waiting for everyone to fall at her feet. Shockingly, Clarissa (upon whom some of us bestowed a nickname that was, um, less than flattering, and which you can probably figure out) never wrote another book that got the slightest amount of attention (unless you count The Gift of Story, a little nothing of a book that she tossed out in a couple of weeks just in time for the Christmas rush. [Yep, nothing cynical about Dr. Estes.] I won't even tell you the advance they gave her for it because it will make you lose your will to live.) Can't imagine why. I mean, let's face it: you know a book is a must to avoid when you have Alice Walker saying stuff like, "Women Who Run With the Wolves isn't just another book. It is a gift of profound insight, wisdom, and love. An oracle from one who knows." Yeek.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lilith

    This book saved my life. I was seriously struggling with an enormous amount of class-related stress, centered around a completely unsuspected attack on my creative potential. After a few months of being shredded mentally and creatively by the people I'd expected to lean on for support and physically by the demands of moving to a new country, I was at a horrible place, alternating between periods of blind rage and near suicidal depression, and for the first time in my life I was watching my abili This book saved my life. I was seriously struggling with an enormous amount of class-related stress, centered around a completely unsuspected attack on my creative potential. After a few months of being shredded mentally and creatively by the people I'd expected to lean on for support and physically by the demands of moving to a new country, I was at a horrible place, alternating between periods of blind rage and near suicidal depression, and for the first time in my life I was watching my ability to create dim and all but vanish. I had two weeks to pull together a film shoot with a script that I needed to edit and then direct, I knew no one, I had no idea what I was doing and felt like I was running into a brick wall with everyone but one of my tutors, a woman who I've subsequently given a copy of WWRWW (she loves it). This book brought me through that time. My level of self-awareness as both a woman and a product of my culture has reached a new peak, and through Estés' writing I have made one of the most difficult and empowering decisions of my life. This is a book for anyone who has ever asked why, and then shushed themselves. This book is a loud, shameless 'prayer for the wild at heart still kept in cages' (thank you Tennessee Williams), and as it boldly refutes the constraints imposed upon a wild nature by propriety, society, and that nature itself it cannot help but resemble a tall glass of water in the middle of the desert. Buy this book. Read it. If it offends with cliché, force yourself to ignore it and take in the message anyway.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bea Zee

    Yeah yeah, the book may be seen as a cry of independence for all women out there who need to get in touch with their "wild" side. However, my reservations: - The author tried to say that women should be who they are, but continually portrayed one single type of women: women who had artistic urges, thick thighs and who had always felt like they were born from the wrong parents. So, if you are a skinny archivist who had a decent childhood and no artistic talents, there's something terribly wrong with Yeah yeah, the book may be seen as a cry of independence for all women out there who need to get in touch with their "wild" side. However, my reservations: - The author tried to say that women should be who they are, but continually portrayed one single type of women: women who had artistic urges, thick thighs and who had always felt like they were born from the wrong parents. So, if you are a skinny archivist who had a decent childhood and no artistic talents, there's something terribly wrong with your psyche. - The author makes assertions and that is all. No evidence whatsoever is given to any of the sentences in any of the 500 pages this book has to offer. It's all "All women are like this. She may think she is not, but it's only because it's hidden in her subconscious or she needs psychoanalysis". - I really mean it, the assertions-with-no-evidence just permeates the whole book. Even the analyses of the stories, "the skull means her instinct" kind of thing. Why? Why can't the skull mean her fears, her past, or just simply a literal skull? I can give different plausible interpretations to all of her stories and dreams. - Highly repetitive. You could read the book just by reading the first sentence of each paragraph, because they all had circular logic/unnecessary illustration: "women are like wolves. wolves are wild and women are wild so women are like wolves". - I question all comparisons with animals. Can I compare myself to a scorpion and say that I should kill myself when facing an attack from which I can't escape? Of course women share some characteristics with animals, but not all. Disappointing. (This book is highly recommended in pagan circles, because it tries to elevate the status of women. And in goddess-centered religions, that should be nice, right? But.. I can read a book about religion and just accept its assertions, because that's the nature of religion. But I can't read a book about psychoanalysis and just accept it. And I think that instead of elevating the status of anything, it lowers it. A poorly written book accepted and revered by a whole community makes you question the judgement of that community. So I think it's the responsibility of the members of that community who think this way to stand for what they believe in.)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ariel

    New podcast episode reviewing this book! Check it out! http://arielbissett.com/booksunbound New podcast episode reviewing this book! Check it out! http://arielbissett.com/booksunbound

  6. 4 out of 5

    Phoebe

    Here's the deal on this book. 1) It is all too easy to make fun or roll one's eyes or be actually pretty nasty about it, because it's obviously got a ridiculously embarassing title. I personally got the book as a cheerful joke from my dad one Christmas, and I thought to myself, "gag me!" 2) But: Once I read it, I realized how smart this book is. (Eg, I learned the ever-useful term piloerection here.) What this book is is a master-key to the pictorial language that our right brain "speaks," (via dr Here's the deal on this book. 1) It is all too easy to make fun or roll one's eyes or be actually pretty nasty about it, because it's obviously got a ridiculously embarassing title. I personally got the book as a cheerful joke from my dad one Christmas, and I thought to myself, "gag me!" 2) But: Once I read it, I realized how smart this book is. (Eg, I learned the ever-useful term piloerection here.) What this book is is a master-key to the pictorial language that our right brain "speaks," (via dreams, myths, stories & films), particularly when we are in trouble. If you are a writer, an artist, a scholar of poetry, fiction, or ancient oral traditions that don't make "sense," or even just someone who has gone through or is going through a hard time, you can use this book; you can "work" this book. It's a guidebook to the picture language and the narrative logic of our right brain and even if you think the author is a little full of herself, which I personally do, it doesn't matter. The subject is fascinating. 3) So: By all means, ignore the parts that turn you off or feel cheesy. But give your critical eye rolling side a break, remember what it was like to be a kid who adored Andrew Lang and C.S. Lewis, and dare to realize that this book has a highly pragmatic, powerful core that can change the quality of your life. For more along these lines, try also the books of Joseph Campbell, Mircea Eliade or Erich Neumann.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild ‭Woman Archetype, Clarissa Pinkola Estés Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype is a book by Jungian analyst, author and poet Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D, published in 1992 by Ballantine Books. In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Estés analyses myths, fairy tales, folk tales and stories from different cultures to uncover the Wild Woman archetype of the feminine psyche. The book stems from these inter Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild ‭Woman Archetype, Clarissa Pinkola Estés Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype is a book by Jungian analyst, author and poet Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D, published in 1992 by Ballantine Books. In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Estés analyses myths, fairy tales, folk tales and stories from different cultures to uncover the Wild Woman archetype of the feminine psyche. The book stems from these interpretations of old tales and creates this wolf-woman parallel, by incorporating her own previous studies that suggest "wolves and women are relational by nature." The notion of the archetype is associated with the work of Carl Jung. Estés produces this new collection of words to describe the female psyche in Women who Run with the Wolves as it is a psychology of women in the truest sense, a knowing of the soul. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیستم ماه ژوئن سال 2006 میلادی عنوان: زنانی که با گرگها میدوند اف‍س‍ان‍ه‌ ه‍ا و ق‍ص‍ه‌ ه‍ای‍ی‌ درب‍اره‌ ک‍ه‍ن‌ ال‍گ‍وی‌ زن‌ وح‍ش‍ی‌؛ نویسنده ک‍لاری‍س‍ا پ‍ی‍ن‍ک‍ولا اس‍ت‍یس‌ (استس)؛ مت‍رج‍م س‍ی‍م‍ی‍ن‌ م‍وح‍د؛ تهران، پیکان، 1383؛ در 648ص؛ چاپ دوم 1384؛ چاپ سوم 1386؛ چاپ چهارم 1387؛ چاپ پنجم و ششم 1389؛ شابک 9789643284305؛ چاپ هفتم 1390؛ چاپ هشتم و نهم 1392؛ چاپ دهم 1394؛ چاپ سیزدهم 1396؛ چاپ چهاردهم 1397؛ موضوع زنان روانشناسی از نویسندگان امریکایی - سده 20م دکتر «کلاریسا پینکولا استس»، در این کتاب، با استفاده از گنجینه ی غنی داستانهای: «اساطیری»، «کهن الگوها»، «افسانه های پریان» و «قصه های ملل»، راه اتصال دوباره به این نیروی توانمند و سالم طبیعت غریزی زنان را نشان میدهند. نویسنده در این کتاب، نخست داستان و افسانه ای را بیان میکنند، که بیشتر ما آنها را شنیده ایم، و با توجه به آن داستانها، و تحلیل روانشناسانه ی آنها، به بیان نکاتی، درباره ی «روح زنان» و چگونگی توجه به آن، و شنیدن حرفهایش میپردازند، تا زنان بتوانند: اعتماد به نفس خود را افزایش داده، و در تصمیم گیریها، به احساس و درون خود ایمان داشته باشند تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 25/03/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  8. 5 out of 5

    missy jean

    Jungian psychoanalytic theory applied to folktales and fairy tales from around the world. Yes? Yes. I want to carry copies of this book around and hand them out, proselytorily, to everyone woman I encounter who feels confined, constrained, and soul-sick. This book has helped me to reconnect with my intuition, reevaluate what it means for me to live authentically, and reimagine what my life can look like when I live it wildly and freely. It really has been a gift to me. There is lots of gender esse Jungian psychoanalytic theory applied to folktales and fairy tales from around the world. Yes? Yes. I want to carry copies of this book around and hand them out, proselytorily, to everyone woman I encounter who feels confined, constrained, and soul-sick. This book has helped me to reconnect with my intuition, reevaluate what it means for me to live authentically, and reimagine what my life can look like when I live it wildly and freely. It really has been a gift to me. There is lots of gender essentialism in here, but for some reason I don't care. A friend and I were talking about this the other, trying to figure out why Estes gets away with saying essentializing and even heteronormative things that we would never swallow from another writer... we thought it might have to do with her practice of putting essentialisms in the context of universal archetypes that we can accept or reject as we choose. Whatever it is, I can't say anything about this book other than that I love it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~ ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣

    Evocative and exhilarating! I need to reread this. Many, many times. Q: ... a scar is stronger than skin... (c) Q: The body is a multilingual being. (c) Q: Even if one has friends, those friends may not be suns. (c) Q: When a life is too controlled, there becomes less and less life to control. (c) Q: Nothing makes the light, the wonder, the treasure stand out so well as darkness. (c) Q: Talismans are reminders of what is felt but not seen, what is so, but not immediately obvious. (c) Q: Stories are medicine. Evocative and exhilarating! I need to reread this. Many, many times. Q: ... a scar is stronger than skin... (c) Q: The body is a multilingual being. (c) Q: Even if one has friends, those friends may not be suns. (c) Q: When a life is too controlled, there becomes less and less life to control. (c) Q: Nothing makes the light, the wonder, the treasure stand out so well as darkness. (c) Q: Talismans are reminders of what is felt but not seen, what is so, but not immediately obvious. (c) Q: Stories are medicine. (c) Q: Though fairy tales end after ten pages, our lives do not. We are multi-volume sets. (c) Q: Stories set the inner life into motion, and this is particularly important where the inner life is frightened, wedged, or cornered. Story greases the hoists and pulleys, it causes adrenaline to surge, shows us the way out, down, or up, and for our trouble, cuts for us fine wide doors in previously blank walls, openings that lead to the dreamland, that lead to love and learning, that lead us back to our own real lives as knowing wildish women. (c) Q: Dogs are the magicians of the universe. (c) Q: There is nothing wrong with ducks, I assure them, or with swans. But ducks are ducks and swans are swans. (c) Q: I like to use mice. What if you were raised by the mice people? (c) Q: Wild Woman comes back. Through night dreams, through events half understood and half remembered. ... To take the world into one's arms and act towards it in a soul-filled and soul-strengthening manner is a powerful act of wildish spirit. (с) Q: We are all filled with a longing for the wild. There are few culturally sanctioned antidotes for this yearning. We were taught to feel shame for such a desire. We grew our hair long and used it to hide our feelings. But the shadow of Wild Woman still lurks behind us during our days and in our nights. No matter where we are, the shadow that trots behind us is definitely four-footed. (c) Q: Don't waste your time hating a failure. Failure is a greater teacher than success. Listen, learn, go on. (c) Q: Every creature on earth returns to home. It is ironic that we have made wildlife refuges for ibis, pelican, egret, wolf, crane, deer, mouse, moose, and bear, but not for ourselves in the places we live day after day. We understand that the loss of habitat is the most disastrous event that can occur to a free creature. (c) Q: I hope you will go out and let stories, that is life, happen to you, and that you will work with these stories... water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom. (c) Q: Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is creative life. It is made up of divine paradox. To create one must be willing to be stone stupid, to sit upon a throne on top of a jackass and spill rubies from one’s mouth. Then the river will flow, then we can stand in the stream of it raining down. (c) Q: The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door. (с) Q: A woman may crave to be near water, or be belly down, her face in the earth, smelling the wild smell. She might have to drive into the wind. She may have to plant something, pull things out of the ground or put them into the ground. She may have to knead and bake, rapt in dough up to her elbows. She may have to trek into the hills, leaping from rock to rock trying out her voice against the mountain. She may need hours of starry nights where the stars are like face powder spilt on a black marble floor. She may feel she will die if she doesn’t dance naked in a thunderstorm, sit in perfect silence, return home ink-stained, paint-stained, tear-stained, moon-stained. (c) Q: Practice listening to your intuition, your inner voice; ask questions; be curious; see what you see; hear what you hear; and then act upon what you know to be true. These intuitive powers were given to your soul at birth. (c) Q: It is good to have many personae, to make collections, sew up several, collect them as we go along in life. As we become older, with such a collection at our behest, we find we can portray any aspect of self most anytime we wish. However, at some point, most particularly as one grows into past mid-life and on into old age, one's personas shift and meld in mysterious ways. Eventually, there is a kind of 'meltdown', a loss of personae complete, thereby revealing what would, in its greatest light, be called 'the true self. (c) Q: Go out in the woods, go out. If you don't go out in the woods nothing will ever happen and your life will never begin. (c) Q: When the personal soul life is burnt to ashes, a woman loses the vital treasure ... In her unconscious, the desire for the red shoes, a wild joy, not only continues, it swells and floods ... (c) Q: You are born to one mother, but if you are lucky, you will have more than one. And among them all you will find most of what you need. (c) Q: I was an aesthete rather than an athlete, and my only wish was to be an ecstatic wanderer. (c) Q: I’ve not forgotten the song of those dark years, hambre del alma, the song of the starved soul. But neither have I forgotten the joyous canto hondo, the deep song, the words of which come back to us when we do the work of soulful reclamation. (c) Q: Healthy wolves and healthy women share certain psychic characteristics: keen sensing, playful spirit, and a heightened capacity for devotion. Wolves and women are relational by nature, inquiring, possessed of great endurance and strength. They are deeply intuitive, intensely concerned with their young, their mates, and their pack. They are experienced in adapting to constantly changing circumstances; they are fiercely stalwart and very brave. (c)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mary Richert Hendrie

    Every feminist/spiritual/literature/writing related teacher I've ever had has told me I should read this book, so I finally did. Frankly, it was annoying. The ideas are wonderful, but the writing is obnoxious. I didn't know what the phrase "purple prose" really meant until I read this book. She also refers to the "Rio abajo rio" frequently, and EVERY SINGLE TIME, she writes: "The rio abajo rio, the river below the rive ..." It's just not necessary. After reading 200 pages of this I wondered how Every feminist/spiritual/literature/writing related teacher I've ever had has told me I should read this book, so I finally did. Frankly, it was annoying. The ideas are wonderful, but the writing is obnoxious. I didn't know what the phrase "purple prose" really meant until I read this book. She also refers to the "Rio abajo rio" frequently, and EVERY SINGLE TIME, she writes: "The rio abajo rio, the river below the rive ..." It's just not necessary. After reading 200 pages of this I wondered how much shorter the book would've been if she'd cut out even half the unnecessary adjectives and repeated translations. I'm sorry. Maybe this makes me a shitty feminist, but this book is really annoying. I gave it 3 stars because I still think some of the ideas in it are really good, and maybe one day I'll try reading it again when I've developed greater patience.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chelsey

    Another reviewer summed it up: this book's cover was misleading! I know that authors often have nothing to do with how their books are advertised, and perhaps I should have read the introduction before I bought it or something, but it *still* isn't fair that I wasted my money on a book chock-full of Jungian psychoanalysis when what is advertised and what I expected was a book about the literary and mythological archetype of the wild woman. What's worse, the book isn't so much about Jungian psych Another reviewer summed it up: this book's cover was misleading! I know that authors often have nothing to do with how their books are advertised, and perhaps I should have read the introduction before I bought it or something, but it *still* isn't fair that I wasted my money on a book chock-full of Jungian psychoanalysis when what is advertised and what I expected was a book about the literary and mythological archetype of the wild woman. What's worse, the book isn't so much about Jungian psychology in general as it is about the author's experience. I just get the feeling that this book was clearly written for the author, other woman just happen to become "empowered" by her writings on wild women. And honestly, I understand wanting to reclaim wildness and all, but making essentialist claims about all women-- even if they aren't "negative" (or turning a negative into a positive)-- is still annoying. I just wanted to scold, "No, not all women are 'robust'." And so is comparing women to (non-human) animals. These assertions and comparisons may be an attempt to reclaim or subvert sexist tenets about women, but Estes seems to forget that women have been compared to and thus treated like animals throughout history, and that this has negative consequences! I understand what she's attempting to do, I know she isn't ignorant of these facts, and I can appreciate the worth and need of a focus on women's psychology, but this just doesn't work for me. One thing I can laugh at is the fact that I would have adored this book during high school, when I was really into Jung, Freud, psychology and feminism in general and I suppose I could finish reading it out of embarrassed nostalgia. But who reads a 500+ page book out of pure nostalgia? Not I.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lauren (Shakespeare & Whisky)

    “I hope you will go out and let stories, that is life, happen to you, and that you will work with these stories... water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.” Three times in my life this book found its way into my greedy little hands at a time when I needed it most. Every woman should own a copy of this book. Women Who Run With the Wolves is a collection of short stories/ fairytales interspersed with commentary by the author. It “I hope you will go out and let stories, that is life, happen to you, and that you will work with these stories... water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.” Three times in my life this book found its way into my greedy little hands at a time when I needed it most. Every woman should own a copy of this book. Women Who Run With the Wolves is a collection of short stories/ fairytales interspersed with commentary by the author. It sounds weird, perhaps a little too academic, maybe even a bit of a literary wank. It isn't. This book is the best "self help" book I have ever read. It takes really painful experiences, swallows them, then regurgitates them into metaphors and stories my heart could hear and respond to. It's hard to talk about this book without getting into really personal details about why it means so much to me. I'll use an example I'm comfortable sharing. When I was in rehab for drug addiction I struggled terribly. I was isolated, I hated having every aspect of my life controlled by staff, and worst of all I wasn't sure I would succeed- when I thought about never using again I was filled with a yawning horror. This was the second time Running with Wolves found me in need of nourishment. I had been in rehab for a month or two when someone dropped in my lap and said they thought I might like it. I can't begin to describe how soothing it was. The stories in Leg traps, Cages, and Poisoned Bait such as the girl with the red shoes taught me how to accept who I was and what I would become if I kept chasing relief in all the wrong places. It dealt with addiction in a way that allowed me to sidle up to it and get used to the idea before facing it head on. The Handless Maiden and The Girl with Golden Hair helped me acknowledge and honour the pain that had crippled me originally and led to my addiction. Sealskin/ Soulskin and La Llorona helped me to find myself again. I have been clean and sober for six years. It would be an exaggeration to say this book is the reason why, but it did help enormously. This isn't a book to be deliberately read. It is a book that you stumble across, a book that a friend lends to you in a time of need. It's a book my hand brushes against when I'm reaching for another. I pull it out, flick through the pages and decide it is time to read it again. I'm not a religious person, I don't believe in god. But when I read this book I feel spiritually connected to the world. I feel some inkling of the wonder and awe others feel when they commune with their god. If you haven't read this book yet, put on your shelf. You might stumble across it again when you most need it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    kate

    I have read this book a few times. I pick it up from time to time to look over a chapter of this or that - it affected the way I think about other fables and even the movies. I am half convinced that the end of the Wedding Crashers is really about two healthy psyches driving away together into the future, married to themselves. I was rereading this book about the same time I saw that movie. Any woman who is interested in empowering herself will be inspired. It is a jungian read on the darkest ve I have read this book a few times. I pick it up from time to time to look over a chapter of this or that - it affected the way I think about other fables and even the movies. I am half convinced that the end of the Wedding Crashers is really about two healthy psyches driving away together into the future, married to themselves. I was rereading this book about the same time I saw that movie. Any woman who is interested in empowering herself will be inspired. It is a jungian read on the darkest version of popular folk tales and fairy tales. for me, that made it very accessible. Some chapters resonated deeply, others not so much - I think it would be different for each individual reader. This is not the easiest book to get into or read, but someone recommended I skip the first three chapters. Once I tried that, I dived right into the book and, reading some chapters, every page turned revealed some piece of knowledge I had been trying to grasp on my own. I read this book at a time of great searching within myself for answers, and if you are at that kind of a point in your life, I would recommend it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Saadiah

    Juicy and satisfying, this book is for any woman who feels an urge to connect with wild and ancient concepts of what it means to be female: messy, raw, and full of luminously passionate creative energy. If this book doesn't make you want to howl out loud, I'm not sure what will!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Grace Sutachan

    pfft.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Krystal

    This is the longest it's ever taken me to read something I've enjoyed so thoroughly. I had to take regular pauses because it's so dense, and if my heart wasn't in it I read something else instead rather than risk missing bits through lack of attention. Imagine Wonder Woman gave birth to a girl who was even more badass than her mother and was raised by wolves. And her sole goal in life was to tell stories to women to inspire them to be just as badass and basically wreak femininely havoc on the wor This is the longest it's ever taken me to read something I've enjoyed so thoroughly. I had to take regular pauses because it's so dense, and if my heart wasn't in it I read something else instead rather than risk missing bits through lack of attention. Imagine Wonder Woman gave birth to a girl who was even more badass than her mother and was raised by wolves. And her sole goal in life was to tell stories to women to inspire them to be just as badass and basically wreak femininely havoc on the world. It is not an easy read. The language is fancy and elaborate (I'm pretty sure she made a ton of words up but I'm okay with that) and the material is so rich that every sentence is a loaded one. There are themes that will make you feel uncomfortable, and if you're a bit cynical there'll probably be a lot of eye-rolling. But if you approach this with an open heart and mind, I promise you will get so much out of it. This book is like a fluffy wolf cub that you wanna cuddle coz it looks so cute and friendly but then when you go to stroke its furry little head it's face launches towards you and you feel the searing pain of teeth in your hand as it rips a chunk out of you. And you wanna get mad at it but then it looks all cute and starts licking the wound and you kind of just think, well, it is a wolf cub, after all ... I love myths and legends. I love how stories from the past and from different cultures can teach us so much about our present-day lives. To see them so thoroughly explored here was absolutely fascinating. Each story is delivered then followed up with a chapter that divulges how the story can represent a facet of the female psyche. Familiar stories like Bluebeard and The Ugly Duckling took on new meaning. I love symbolism, and when the dots were connected I could see the new picture quite clearly. There were so many times I picked up this book only to find the next portion I read directly related to a current aspect of my life. I've never considered myself to be a feminist, so parts of this did make me feel a bit awkward. But it also allowed me to understand a bit about that awkwardness. It is an incredibly empowering book, and I do certainly feel more comfortable in my feminine presence. I'm a woman, yo. I am a strong, beautiful, wild creature that cannot be contained by the rules and regulations of a rigid society. *flexes* That being said, I do wonder how this would be received by non-traditional genders. (Forgive me if that's an offensive term, I am consciously incompetent on the subject). I really appreciate that it inspires women to be badass and embrace their wild woman, but I wonder if that means it will be less relevant to non-female readers? BE WARNED: This book may make you want to strip naked and dance under the moonlight. It may make you want to sell everything you own and journey out into the wild world with nothing but the clothes on your back. It may make you want to quit your job, bathe in the ocean, practice witchcraft, or howl at the moon. It may awaken your soul in unexpected ways. It may also have you scratching your head wondering what the heck is going on. If that's the case, put it down. Give yourself time to grow. Pick it up again when you feel a little more open to new ideas. Honestly this is such a wonderful, empowering book and I cannot recommend it highly enough to woman looking for strength, growth and just that little something that might be missing in life.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Arianna

    I couldn't even finish this shit. It was patronizing and self-mastabatory, as well as incredibly reaching, overflowing with weak arguments, and otherwise full of shit. (Seriously. That story of her and the couple telling her the myth of the coyote and the penis was *SO* funny they were howling, weeping, and banging the table for an extended period of time? Fuck off.) Check out Goddesses by Campbell or Goddesses in Everywoman. Much better analysis of the Divine Feminine in literature and mythos t I couldn't even finish this shit. It was patronizing and self-mastabatory, as well as incredibly reaching, overflowing with weak arguments, and otherwise full of shit. (Seriously. That story of her and the couple telling her the myth of the coyote and the penis was *SO* funny they were howling, weeping, and banging the table for an extended period of time? Fuck off.) Check out Goddesses by Campbell or Goddesses in Everywoman. Much better analysis of the Divine Feminine in literature and mythos than this narcissistic shit show of "analysis." Who the fuck gave this woman a doctorate?

  18. 4 out of 5

    Leila

    This is a fabulous book of almost 500 pages. It is described as..."Myths and Stories of the Wild Women Archetype. Written by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph. D. It is a gift of profound wisdom and love. It is...'Full of wonderful passionate, poetic, psychologically potent words and images that will inspire, instruct, and empower women to be true to their own nature........ These are not my words but just a few of many on the back cover. It is almost like a bible and not an easy read but certainly wor This is a fabulous book of almost 500 pages. It is described as..."Myths and Stories of the Wild Women Archetype. Written by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph. D. It is a gift of profound wisdom and love. It is...'Full of wonderful passionate, poetic, psychologically potent words and images that will inspire, instruct, and empower women to be true to their own nature........ These are not my words but just a few of many on the back cover. It is almost like a bible and not an easy read but certainly worth dipping into now and then.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Malaika

    I learned a lot from this book. The big ideas for me were: 1. "even if the mother vine is damaged, it doesn't mean her children are" and 2. "it will never hurt you to go after something you want or something that is calling to you" The books is sort of a slow-read, but I find the author generous and familiar and enjoyed the way she reconstructed women's psychology through myth. It's good to have new (complete?) stories in my mind as well.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Diana Alksne

    I'm a person who reads scientific books for fun. Or grammar books. Or psychoanalysis books. But this was just some vain, hollow babbling. I honestly don't understand people who might enjoy these texts. They do not inform, they do not educate, they do not explain. They just sort of go on and on and on. When I read comments like "this book saved my life", I wonder if some U2 song with particularly vague lyrics wouldn't have done the job (I love U2, but just read the lyrics, let's say, of "Heartlan I'm a person who reads scientific books for fun. Or grammar books. Or psychoanalysis books. But this was just some vain, hollow babbling. I honestly don't understand people who might enjoy these texts. They do not inform, they do not educate, they do not explain. They just sort of go on and on and on. When I read comments like "this book saved my life", I wonder if some U2 song with particularly vague lyrics wouldn't have done the job (I love U2, but just read the lyrics, let's say, of "Heartland" http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/u2/hea...). I really wanted to like the book, I spent a three month book budget just on this one book, and I have never been so disappointed in a book. First I just skimmed, turning pages and reading bits and pieces here and there, wherever something caught my eye, and it seemed OK. I thought - if I really got down to it and read it from the beginning to the end, I'd see the depth and the wisdom. Alas, it was just some self-centered blabber. Even if the idea might have been good or even great, Estes's airy style of writing kills it completely. For me, at least.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Eva St. Clair

    As a person who has always loved fairy tales, I read this book very slowly and carefully, enjoying every page. The author's explanations, which incorporate Jungian psychology and principles of women's intuition, enriched and deepened my appreciation for the ancient feminine and the lost art of teaching through fable, myth, and allegory. Dr. Estes is a very effusive person, which comes across in her writing and can be at times overwhelming. She is quite incapable of using fewer than 3 synonyms st As a person who has always loved fairy tales, I read this book very slowly and carefully, enjoying every page. The author's explanations, which incorporate Jungian psychology and principles of women's intuition, enriched and deepened my appreciation for the ancient feminine and the lost art of teaching through fable, myth, and allegory. Dr. Estes is a very effusive person, which comes across in her writing and can be at times overwhelming. She is quite incapable of using fewer than 3 synonyms stacked together with commas to explain whatever it is she's discussing. The book could have been a lot shorter with an editor, but then it would have lacked Dr. Estes' personality, which I came to appreciate with a rather grudging affection, although at first I found it too gushy. Her somewhat romanticized view of ancient religions results in an accompanying distrust of modern Western religions, with the most unfortunate result that she often dismisses outright or simply overlooks the positive contributions the latter have had on the stories she discusses. Many myths survive because they are timeless and adaptable to the changes of culture - had she taken the time to think about how the story may have spoken to women whose faith enabled them to believe in a Western religion while clinging to the ancient folklore of their ancestors, she may have been able to elucidate yet deeper meanings within them. Stripping out the many layers of culture without examining them too closely results in an analysis that, while still signficant and meaningful as a universal trope, does a disservice to those who, in meditating on their own religion, incorporated those meditations into the wisdom of the ancients. Overall however this book is a must-read for the soul-searching woman, and brave men who actually do want to understand "what women want" would do well to pick it up and jump fearlessly into realms where men are usually not allowed to enter.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ksenia Anske

    If I could buy this book for every woman in the world, I would. This book will become your mother when you need a mother and there isn't one around. Hell, it will be a mother you've never had. A mother of all mothers, from the birth of time. And a heart that will keep you alight when you think you're surrounded by darkness that blinds you, suffocates you, destroys you. A book every woman needs to read, if only to know she's not alone but standing on the bones of all the other women who died for If I could buy this book for every woman in the world, I would. This book will become your mother when you need a mother and there isn't one around. Hell, it will be a mother you've never had. A mother of all mothers, from the birth of time. And a heart that will keep you alight when you think you're surrounded by darkness that blinds you, suffocates you, destroys you. A book every woman needs to read, if only to know she's not alone but standing on the bones of all the other women who died for her so she could keep blazing her path, to make it easier for the women who'll come after her, our daughters.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne

    Poetry! I so enjoy Estes's use of language and imagery and the various interpretations of stories and the universal and profound themes hidden underneath the layers of seemingly simple stories. I think this book is very important for women to read, especially for women who must protect and guide their daughters. My favorite story is Sealskin, Soulskin about a young seal/woman who loses her self in someone else's dream and finally finds the courage to pursue her dream and enrich her life.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sofia

    For those of us who struggle with life, expectations and how to be ourselves, this is a validation, a benediction. Saying yes this is you and you are beautiful and unique just as you are.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    I bought this book years ago at a garage sale and never could get into it. Until one day I was walking past and had the urge to flip through it. I ended up reading the whole thing. I do agree with both sides of the love/hate reviews as it is hard to read and the author does seem to be a bit over the top but I read it at a time in my life that I really needed a bit of a pep talk. You really need to be mentally ready for this book. I think this book is for people going through some issues in their I bought this book years ago at a garage sale and never could get into it. Until one day I was walking past and had the urge to flip through it. I ended up reading the whole thing. I do agree with both sides of the love/hate reviews as it is hard to read and the author does seem to be a bit over the top but I read it at a time in my life that I really needed a bit of a pep talk. You really need to be mentally ready for this book. I think this book is for people going through some issues in their life whether it is a separation (what I was going through) or some confidence issues, so that they can relate and take in what she is saying. I definately agree that women have lost a bit of themselves as to what we used to be, but as the author says we a great at adapting and that's what we have done. Whether it is for better or worse is up to the individual. So if your going through a crisis and need someone to say that you are strong and powerful then you will enjoy this book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mounia Farida

    Very Interesting book, have to say I had to put it down many times just because it need some deep thinking following some passages. It linkes old cultures to the modern pshyche of women. Incredible..I definitely recommend it!!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarai

    I am really loving this book, it covers so much of what I already believed in/felt (and I'm not even finished but wanted to write something even if it be incoherent) such as listening to your intuition, instincts, the life/death/life cycle knowing something good can and will arise from something bad, but reading it in such a way with folk stories followed by analyses, embellish the ideas and make them more solid in my mind and unwavering, knowing others believe the same helps and allows these be I am really loving this book, it covers so much of what I already believed in/felt (and I'm not even finished but wanted to write something even if it be incoherent) such as listening to your intuition, instincts, the life/death/life cycle knowing something good can and will arise from something bad, but reading it in such a way with folk stories followed by analyses, embellish the ideas and make them more solid in my mind and unwavering, knowing others believe the same helps and allows these beliefs to stand up to the doubt which creeps in all of us from time to time. Many have said they feel they found this book at the right time in their lives and it helped them, I feel the same, I can't even remember where I first saw this book but I do remember as soon as I did I knew I needed it. I have been riding through the death part of the cycle these last couple of years and now I feel I am ready to ride the life part again and with the help of this book I am on my way to a path of reawakening, as cheesy as that may sound to some, this book makes me happy just having it close by, definitely a keeper! No review could do this book justice, it is packed full of magical words! Like many others I have the impulse to buy lots of copies and give them to friends and family. A book I will read again and again, or simply pick up and open to a specific part/ story. I dragged the last 100 pages out as I didn't want to finish but finishing does not mean the end it is only the beginning of a love affair with this book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    When I picked up this book, I was expecting alot more story and alot less babbling. I was disappointed with the amount of analysis, especially since it was heavily psycho-analysis. I suppose if you went into this book wanting spiritual guidance or to revive your woman strength and feminist power, then it would be a great read. Having taken my share of english literature courses, I didn't want to read more analysis of what it meant when this female character lusted after red shoes. I just wanted s When I picked up this book, I was expecting alot more story and alot less babbling. I was disappointed with the amount of analysis, especially since it was heavily psycho-analysis. I suppose if you went into this book wanting spiritual guidance or to revive your woman strength and feminist power, then it would be a great read. Having taken my share of english literature courses, I didn't want to read more analysis of what it meant when this female character lusted after red shoes. I just wanted some good old stories about "wild women." And even on that aspect of it I was disappointed. There were some stories I'd never heard and they were good and really illustrated an element of the "wild woman" that I'd never seen. But there were also other stories that were pretty common (and seemingly irrelevant, like "The Ugly Duckling.") I skipped most of the analysis, because that's not what I went in for, so I can't comment on that much. The stories she did tell seemed true to their telling and were well done. Overall, probably a good book, just very misleading and a disappointment.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Melody

    To me, this book is a little like Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter. Sometimes she says something incredibly insightful, and then she starts talking about crumple-horned snorkacks. However, while I love Luna, I don't love this book. Not only that, but it seemed that while she was trying to mend centuries of women being put into a particular box that is damaging, she put them all into a different box. There were several times in the book that she said something like, "All women are ...." fill in th To me, this book is a little like Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter. Sometimes she says something incredibly insightful, and then she starts talking about crumple-horned snorkacks. However, while I love Luna, I don't love this book. Not only that, but it seemed that while she was trying to mend centuries of women being put into a particular box that is damaging, she put them all into a different box. There were several times in the book that she said something like, "All women are ...." fill in the blank, and I don't think that all women are necessarily what she was describing. There are people that I love beyond all reason that would love this book. It just wasn't for me.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tiemu

    There could be some good ideas in this bloated 600 page block of cheese, but the author's self-importance and purple prose dominate every page of the book. That can make it very difficult to read without recoiling, making it difficult to focus on the topic at hand. The author refers to herself as a poet; the front cover states that every person able to read should read this book, then the back cover calls her an oracle. So much cheese and that's before you've even opened the cover. Important jarg There could be some good ideas in this bloated 600 page block of cheese, but the author's self-importance and purple prose dominate every page of the book. That can make it very difficult to read without recoiling, making it difficult to focus on the topic at hand. The author refers to herself as a poet; the front cover states that every person able to read should read this book, then the back cover calls her an oracle. So much cheese and that's before you've even opened the cover. Important jargon like psyche, which appears on nearly every page of the book, isn't even defined. There are sentences like "dogs are the masters of the universe". I'm adding this to my list of squeemish self-help titles.

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