Solitude, and Women Who Run With Wolves

I read a wonderful book last year called Women Who Run with the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Clarissa is a Jungian analyst who believes that "a woman's wholeness depends on her returning to the sources of her repressed instinctual nature"...in other words, her wild woman. She compares healthy women to wolves (thru folklore and fairy tales) and talks alot about finding our intuitive selves. My first impression when I finished the book was that it was something I would give my girls when they graduated high school, to take with them to college or to read before they get married.  Definitely one to have on the shelves, or pass along to friends. I took a few notes while I was reading the book and stumbled on these notes recently. A few are striking my fancy today because they are about solitude. I'm learning, as a new homeschooler, how to fit solitude into my days (it is possible, just takes a little shuffling), and noticing now much more relaxed I feel on the days when I make more of an effort. I'm still a work in progress when it comes to discovering my wild, intuitive, wolf-woman, but the older I get the more I understand how important the journey is.

"Psychically, it is good to make a halfway place, a way station, a considered place in which to rest and mend after one escapes a famine. It is not too much to take one year, two years, to assess one's wounds, seek guidance, apply the medicines, consider the future. A year or two is scant time. The feral woman is a woman making her way back. She is learning to wake up, pay attention, stop being naive, uninformed. She takes her life in her own hands. To re-learn the deep feminine instincts, it is vital to see how they were decommissioned to begin with." (p272)

"Long ago the word alone was treated as two words, all one. To be all one meant to be wholly one, to be in oneness, either essentially or temporarily. That is precisely the goal of solitude, to be all one. It is the cure for the frazzled state so common to modern woman, the one that makes her, as the old saying goes, 'leap onto her horse and ride off in all directions.' In ancient times, solitude was used to heal fatigue and prevent weariness. It was also used as an oracle, as a way of listening to the inner self to solicit advice and guidance otherwise impossible to hear in the din of daily life."

"My experience in analyzing women leads me to believe that much of modern woman's premenstrual crankiness is not just a physical syndrome but is equally attributable to her being thwarted in her need to take enough time to revivify and renew herself. I always laugh when I hear someone quoting early anthropologists who claimed the menstruating women of various tribes were considered 'unclean' and forced to leave the village until they were 'over it.'  All women know that even if there were such a forced ritual exile, every single woman would, when her time came, leave the village hanging her head mournfully, at least till she was out of sight, and then suddenly break into a jig down the path, cackling all the way."

Ha! Ya gotta love it.

And now I need to go find my wild wolf woman...I know she's around here somewhere...

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