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Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype Mass Market Paperback – November 27, 1996
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I must honestly confess that my partner advised me to read this book. To start with I had some doubts. I already knew a lot of the myths, legends and fairy tales that are used in this book but in another context and different explanation.
After reading I must say that it is true, that the book leads to a better and closer understanding of women. Now I can not only understand, but also ‘feel’ some of the ideas of my partner better.
Next to that I am also a father of two daughters. By reading this book I also gained a better understanding about my role as a father. Never before I say so clearly that it is a task of the father to guide his daughters in their contact with men and tell and explain to them about the nature of men.
So yes it was a very interesting (long) read.
I read the book with a special guide book (only as e-book on BookRags.com) next to it, that was very helpful. And it is certainly not necessary to read the book al at ones. Different chapters can easily be read separately.
Below you find some more information about the book and the used legends.
About the book:
Within every woman there lives a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. She is the Wild Woman, who represents the instinctual nature of women. But she is an endangered species. In Women Who Run With the Wolves, Dr. Estés unfolds rich intercultural myths, fairy tales, and stories, many from her own family, in order to help women reconnect with the fierce, healthy, visionary attributes of this instinctual nature. Through the stories and commentaries in this remarkable book, we retrieve, examine, love, and understand the Wild Woman and hold her against our deep psyches as one who is both magic and medicine. 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.
“Woman who run with wolves isn't just another book. It is a gift of profound insight, wisdom, and love. An oracle from one who knows." Alice Walker.
This volume reminds us that we are nature for all our sophistication, that we are still wild, and the recovery of that vitality will itself set us right in the world." Thomas Moore (Author of Care of the Soul)
"I am grateful to Woman who run with 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 women. Everyone who can read should read this book." Maya Angelou
"An inspiring book, the 'vitamins for the soul'
The book presents woman as strong and healthy. The older woman can find great power and joy within herself. Pay the right attention (not too much and not to little) to periods of transformation (external reality of inner life)
Also for partners and fathers there is a lot to be found in this book.
Chapters of the guidebook and of 'Woman who run with wolves'
Guidebook Chapter 1 page 8 'Woman who run with wolves' Chapter 2 page 38
Story of Bluebeard, female naïveté towards men. It is a task of the father to guide his daughters there.
Also see Blue Beard p59.
Guidebook Chapter 2
(this chapter failed in my version of the study guide)
Guidebook Chapter 3 page 11 Noising out the facts. 'Woman who run with wolves' Chapter 3 page 76
Tendency towards obedience in an effort to be treated properly or pleasing others with correctness and kindness. Under many conditions this is an effective strategy.
But there are times when it pays off to not be nice, whether we like this truth or not.
Guidebook Chapter 4 page 14 The mate. 'Woman who run with wolves' Chapter 4 page 121
A man is courting twin daughters. The father simply wants the man to be interested in the true essence of his daughters. If he takes a deep interest they can be married with an enduring kind of real love.
Guidebook Chapter 5 page 16 Hunting: when the heart is a lonely hunter. 'Woman who run with wolves' Chapter 5 page 137
Circle of life.
‘Eros and Tanatos’
Intimate relationships confront us also with feelings how have nothing to do with that relation.
Guidebook Chapter 6 page 18 Finding one’s pack. 'Woman who run with wolves' Chapter 6 page 177
Story of the ugly duckling.
Fitting in after not having done so for such a long time. One has learned much from being different, finding a ‘fit’ will all the more be gratifying.
Guidebook Chapter 7 page 21 Joyous body. 'Woman who run with wolves' Chapter 7 page 213
Discovering the beauty of the female form the position of strength. All marks (not only physical but also mental) of pregnancy and child birth are icons of natural female power.
Guidebook Chapter 8 page 23 Self preservation. 'Woman who run with wolves' Chapter 8 page 230
Part of what is being taught her is that development includes a long process of initiation. A multi-step process, where a set of tasks must be completed in order to arrive.
Guidebook Chapter 9 page 27 Homing: returning to oneself. 'Woman who run with wolves' Chapter 9 page 276
Story of the seal-woman.
Every woman has a ‘seal-skin’ or soul-skin. This is the true self. Return home does not necessarily mean divorce or separation, it can also be a powerful protection of a woman’s well-being.
The man who becomes her husband hides her skin in order to force her to stay in her human form and marry him. Her son later returns the skin to her and she can become her other aspect again, that of the seal.
Guidebook Chapter 10 page 29 Clear water. Nourishing the creative life. 'Woman who run with wolves' Chapter 10 page 322
This chapter is devoted to the flow of creative forces (a river) in a woman’s life. ‘the woman as life giver’ when the waters are pure there is plenty of life in the river.
The story of La Llorona ‘the weeping woman’
Guidebook Chapter 11 page 31 Heat: Retrieving sacred sexuality. 'Woman who run with wolves' Chapter 11 page 362
A sexually mature perspective of life can save a woman from depression.
Story of Demeter (the goddess of harvest) her daughter Persephone and Hades ( the god of the underworld)
Guidebook Chapter 12 page 33 Marking territory: The boundaries of rage and forgiveness. 'Woman who run with wolves' Chapter 12 page 375
The story of the war veteran and his wife.
The basic idea is learning to honour legitimate rage. It can be a great protector when in control.
Guidebook Chapter 13 page 37 Battle Scars. 'Woman who run with wolves' Chapter 13 page 404
Something’s on the surface seam unrelated, but are connected on a deeper level.
Story of the husband who commits suicide, this man had been treated extremely bad by his family, but his family did not admit that their cruelty had anything to do with his dead. It helped the woman when she finally did talk about that.
Woman can recognize and honour the scars and battles they came from as integral tot the lives of woman as a whole.
Guidebook Chapter 14 page 40 The initiation in the underground forest. 'Woman who run with wolves' Chapter 14 page 418
A story needs a receptive mind in order to make an impact.
Story of the Little Match Girl.
A story of gain, loss, redemption followed by real love, separation, living with grieve and sorrow and finally reunion and real happiness.
Guidebook Chapter 15 page 44 Shadowing: Canto Hondo. 'Woman who run with wolves' Chapter 15 page 493
Here Estés uses the metaphor of the ‘shadowing of wolves’ in a way of gathering vital information.
Later she tells about the power of dreams and the wisdom of the ‘one who knows’ together they can help naïveté girls to become woman who will let the right men close. Again the father is important here as an example for his daughters.
Readers are encourage to find out where they belong, to be the swan and not the outsider. See Chapter 6 page 18 Finding one’s pack.
Guidebook Chapter 16 page 47 The wolf’s eyelash. 'Woman who run with wolves' Chapter 16 page 499
Story of the woman and the wolf.
A woman helps a trapped wolf and receives a gift, an eyelash in return. This eyelash gives the woman the power to sense motives. Thanks to that power she is able to surround herself with kind and good people. All without losing sight of the truth that a wolf is a wolf.
Estés’ hope is clear: that readers have found the joy of many stories and a greater access to wisdom within themselves and the world.
Guidebook Chapter 17 page 49 Afterword story as medicine. 'Woman who run with wolves' Afterword page 504
Stories are a special kind of medicine designed to be used as such.
Storytelling is a skill and a profession with an extensive training, both as a medicine and as entertainment.
Stories also require the right audience.
Estés is specialist in Jungian psychology and archetypes. The roots and branches of archetypes are from diverse sources; ethnic roots, daily life, the history of the pre urban or even contemporary rural life.
Archetypes can help us to heal on an emotional and mental level. Archetypes can point us directions for growth.
Guidebook p51 'Woman who run with wolves' Chapter 3 page 76 and many other places
This is the wild woman as the wise old woman, she is depicted as old, ugly, intimidating and extremely powerful. A girl child (also a version of the wild woman?) is sent to meet her.
Baba Yaga harbours all manner of wisdom and insight, knowledge and skills. She provides discipline and basic training for adulthood. She is protective as well as educational. The Baba Yaga is equally magical as realistic.
Guidebook p52 'Woman who run with wolves' page 8, 99, 209 and many other places
The Spider woman has transformative and healing powers.
La Que Sabe
The one how knows. She is the wild woman in the form of a wizard, the powerful and wise old lady. As the one who knows she is able to assist others in gaining knowledge and wisdom.
Guidebook p53 'Woman who run with wolves' Chapter 5 page 137 and many other places
The skeleton woman is all about the circle of life.
She is terrifying and deeply sad. She finds herself restored through a loving and intimate relationship with a man. Neither the man nor the woman expected this. After he surrenders to his inability to escape, he sets her in order, attends to her needs and when he relaxes enough to rest himself, she comes to life and becomes his companion.
Guidebook p54 'Woman who run with wolves' Chapter 3 page 76
Vasalisa is a young girl. She suffers. She represents the hard childhood in contrast to the easy, idyllic one. The child suffers the disappointment that the step relatives may have been fine for her father but were not doing her any good at all.
He is La Llorona’s lover and the father of her two children. He leaves her to return to his family.
Hidalgo is perhaps the archetype of the man who is never able to leave his mother/ family and transfer his loyalties to his female lover and their family.
Guidebook p55 'Woman who run with wolves' page 345 - 355
The little match girl
This unsupervised child is endeavouring to make her way in the world.
As a result the child in the fairy tale dies, freezing to death after the last flickering light of her matches fades away.
(also see Vasalisa p54 and Hidalgo p54 about parents/ adult who have no attention for the needs of children, while this should be our first responsibility)
Here this Olympian is shown as ‘the bad guy’ how casts out his own son, because the boy stuck up for his mother, how is Zeus opponent in this argument.
In an argument between his father and his mother het takes sides for his mother the goddess Hera. Therefor he is reminded that he is weaker and less powerful than his father. He is thrown out of the Olympus and granted his own realm below, where his great smiting skills will prosper and despite his ugliness wins fame an respect. (and marries the beautiful goddess Aphrodite, alto she is not very faithful to him)
In an argument with Zeus her sun agrees with her and is banished from the Olympus.
This is something with a poisoning effect rather than being truly nourishing or healthy.
These are talked about in the chapter on self-preservation. In this context they are intentionally used with an analogy or metaphor comparing them to traps set for animals.
Famous for being Gods adversary and former right hand man.
In his confrontation with god he meets a similar fate to the one Zeus meted out for his son Hephaestus: Down and out he goes to get his very own realm within which to exercise the power that truly is his own.
Objects and places:
The cave is a natural strong shelter in the wild. Powerful natural strong shelter in the wild. Powerful natural magic takes place. It contains the power of the woman inside.
Guidebook p59 'Woman who run with wolves' Chapter 2 page 38
It is the remains of a powerful man who is of exceptional danger to woman.
It is only to the violence other men that the man with the blue beard is defeated.
There is no explanation as to why his blue beard is kept by nuns, who live together in seclusion, mainly for reasons of mutual aid and protection.
Also see Chapter 1 page 8 ‘Bluebeard’
Woman who run with wolves: Myths And Stories Of The Wild Woman Archetype by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés.