I recently listened to the audio CD of Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths & Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D. My friend and mentor, Georgian, has been urging me to read this book for over a year, but I’m just getting around to it. As the Universe always works, listening to the audio CD at this point in time was just the right time for me. The message of the Wild Woman struck a deep, resonating chord in my soul. Hopefully, this blog is coming to you at just the right time too!
The Wild Woman archetype begins with an old woman, La Loba, The Wolf Woman, collecting all the scattered bones of a wolf skeleton from the desert and reassembling the wolf skeleton in her cave. She sings over the bones, and the creature begins to flesh out and breath. The revitalized wolf jumps up and runs into the desert. It transforms into a laughing woman – the Wild Woman – with long multi-colored hair who runs free toward the desert’s horizon.
So, what does this mean for us today?
The wolf bones represent our indestructible soul and creative spirit. Throughout life, our spirit can become scattered pieces, lost, bent and injured, but never destroyed. We need to recover each part of our soul, assemble the pieces into a whole, and nurture it – sing over it – to become our true creative selves and fulfill the Purpose for why we’re born. The Wild Woman represents our True Self. She longs to express her creative gifts, fulfill her Purpose, and to be free to fully express herself, not suppressed or tamed by society.
But, how can we nurture our soul and creative spirit? Dr. Estes teaches us 5 ways to reclaim and express our Wild Woman spirit.
- Recognize the urgings of your own soul.
Don’t blindly conform to the ideas of others around you or be the “persona” of who your family, job, culture, religion, or society thinks you should be without questioning: “Who does my soul long for me to be? What does my soul truly want out of life?”
- Rely on your intuition to guide your Wild Woman spirit.
Dr. Estes tells a story about a young girl named Vasalisa, who is sent by her evil step-mother and sisters to ask a witch for fire. Vasalisa has a doll in her pocket, and each time she needs to make a decision on which direction to go or on what to say, she touches the doll in her pocket who gives her the correct answers. The doll in her pocket represents her intuition. I love this metaphor because it shows how accessible our own intuition is. It’s always with us close at hand if we will only be aware of and listen to this calm voice within each of us instead of the drama going on around us.
- Don’t allow anyone to suppress what Dr. Estes calls our Vivid Energy – our creative thoughts, ideas, spirit, and intuition – or we will not be able to truly connect to our soul and be our True Self.
Dr. Estes says that Wild Women spirits are usually born into families that don’t quite understand who we are; we’re not quite the same as our other family members. As the only creative, artsy person in a family of logical, left-brained thinkers, I can relate to this notion! Even today as I’m transitioning careers from professor to artist and life coach, my artistic ideas and projects are usually met with, “Huh,” or “That’s nice, dear,” and then the conversation moves to a different (and usually much more mundane) topic. If you’ve experienced this with your family members, you know this can be extremely frustrating no matter how much you love your family!
The other part of not allowing anyone to suppress your Vivid Energy is to surround yourself with a partner and/or tribe who will fully support and nurture your creative spirit. Dr. Estes says that if you’re with a partner who doesn’t understand your creative spirit or who tries to extinguish it by cutting you off mid-sentence while you’re excitedly describing your current project, your creative soul will be caged and squelched. You need a partner and tribe – even if it’s only one or two close friends – who will water your creativity like a flower, allowing it to blossom and thrive. Only with complete support can you truly be connected with your True Self and soul.
- Be patient with yourself while reclaiming your Wild Woman spirit.
Dr. Estes says that we may feel rage if our creative spirit has been suppressed by family, a mate, our job, society’s ideas of who we should be, etc. If this is the case, we need to release that rage or else it will clog our creative flow and we’ll forever be blocked from expressing our True Self.
Give yourself time to get over and release any pain you feel. Feed yourself spiritual food that comforts you. Be patient with yourself. Use that rage as fuel to give birth to new creative ideas, but then let go of the pain. Don’t dwell in it. Some of my most meaningful paintings have come from the emotional purge of using those feelings of pain and anger – after divorce, during the uncertainty of big life shifts, when not feeling heard/valued by those close to me – and releasing those strong feelings onto the canvas. They became a symbol of inner strength and beauty, no longer a poison in my heart and soul.
- Remember, it’s NEVER too late to blossom into your Wild Woman spirit.
LOVE this one, because I’m changing careers to fully grow into my Wild Woman spirit and am turning 50 in a few months! Dr. Estes says that it’s common for Wild Women to be late bloomers, and age doesn’t matter a wit!
I would love to hear what you think about the Wild Woman spirit in the comments below. Are you a Wild Woman who longs to reclaim your creative freedom and allow your True Self to shine? If so, I’m in your wolf pack! Let’s howl together!