Every Friday I will be recommending a work of fiction or non-fiction written by a woman who has influenced and shaped my intersectional feminist perspective, with special emphasis on women of colour, women in translation, LGBTQIA women and women of different religions.
‘Wolves and women are relational by nature, inquiring, possessed of great endurance and strength. They are deeply intuitive, intensely concerned with their young, their mate and their pack. Yet both have been hounded, harassed and falsely imputed to be devouring and devious, overly aggressive, of less value than those who are their detractors’.
I originally read Women Who Run With The Wolves on my e-reader earlier last year but treated myself to a physical copy at Christmas because I fell in love with it. It’s a book I will keep with me and return to again and again, finding new nuggets of information to draw strength from at different stages in my life.
Clarissa Pinkola Estés blends psychology and storytelling in such a way that it’s impossible to put down. Although parts of the theory can be quite difficult at times (not being a Jungian psychology myself), Pinkola Estés writes in a mostly easy-to-understand and effortless way, giving beautiful retellings and psychological analyses of old but timeless stories, fairy tales and myths from many different cultures. Through her analysis of these stories, which were originally handed down orally from one generation to the next, Estés explores the Wild Woman archetype. The Wild Woman who is brimming with creativity, intuitive wisdom, emotional truth and self-confidence – this woman that is within each of us but has been repressed for centuries by a structure and system that trivialises these qualities over logic and reason.
I think anyone at any stage in their life – from adolescence, adulthood, motherhood or old age – can find something to learn from Women Who Run With The Wolves.
An award-winning poet, senior Jungian psychoanalyst, and a cantadora (keeper of the old stories in the Latina tradition), Pinkola Estés has many accolades to her name. Women Who Run With The Wolves was first published in 1992 and spent a record 145 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller List. It still continues to be a popular and relevant book and was picked as one of Emma Watson’s choices for Our Shared Shelf book group last year.