Review Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

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Content Summary

We will examine the book Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, who is of Mexican descent and grew up in a Hungarian family and is both a psychiatrist and a compiler of fairy tales, and we will include passages from the book in the section of excerpts from Women Who Run with the Wolves.

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Women Who Run with the Wolves is a book that examines women’s psychology based on myths, fairy tales and stories, as can be understood from its subtitle. Written from a feminist perspective, the book proposes important methods for women of all ages, young and old, to create, be strong and feel.

Who is Clarissa Pinkola Estes?

Clarissa Pinkola Estes was born on January 27, 1945 in the US state of Indiana, which means the home of the Indians. She was adopted to a Hungarian family when she was 5 years old, after her Mexican-born family was deported from the country. This region, where he lived and grew up since his childhood, is a region where refugees of Eastern European origin live. Growing up in a multicultural region gave Clarissa the ability to learn different languages and master the tales of these languages.

In all his works to date, the effect of the family and social traumas he experienced when he was a child can be seen. But he uses these traumas and wounds to gain strength, not pain. It aims to teach this vision to all women.

A view from the Jung Institute's Chicago campus.

A view from the Jung Institute’s Chicago campus.

Clarissa, who graduated from the Union Institute with a doctorate in ethnoclinic in 1981, was selected by the International Psychoanalytic Institution as a Diplomat of Jungian Psychoanalysis and also headed the Jung Education and Research Center for a term. She has both scientific and literary works.

Clarissa, a former tale and story compiler called “Cantadora” in the Latin tradition, is now 75 years old, married and has three children. She has been taking care of her students and patients for over 30 years.

The topic of Women Who Run with the Wolves, which we will examine in this article, is based on a comparative presentation and combination of motifs in Mexican and Hungarian origin fairy tales.

A photo from Clarissa Pinkola Estes

A photo from Clarissa Pinkola Estes

The Topic of Women Who Run with the Wolves

Clarissa Pinkola Estes completed Women Who Run with Wolves, which she started in 1971, after more than twenty years. The naturalness she tells as a wild woman is everywhere in the life of this woman who grew up with fairy tales.

She is a woman who can feel good by donning big earrings, big flower hats, long skirts and shawls, loyal to her roots and traditions, but also free. She is a wise woman who manages to put the characteristics attributed to men as well as being loving, compassionate and insightful, and who can use her emotions, mind, feelings and energy in the right places.

Women Who Run with the Wolves, in summary, “How to Become a Woman?” It is a long answer to the question. While it was initially rejected by 40 publishing houses on the grounds that it was not scientific, today it is a masterpiece translated into 37 languages.

Summary of The Women Who Run with the Wolves

Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ book Women Who Run with Wolves, dedicated to “all my loved ones and those still missing“, consists of 16 chapters and 542 pages. In each of these sections, there are sub-headings in which investigations about the “wild woman” archetype are made based on a fairy tale and fairy tales. Based on various myths, tales and stories, Clarissa has explained the change of women in social life, business life, family life, sexual life, as a mother, as a child, as a source of inspiration, as a creative force, as an artist, and what it should be since ancient times. and trying to explain what should not be.

It tries to remind women of their passions, their strength, their talents, their true home, their wounds, their rise, their childhood, their sexuality, their spontaneity and freedom. Women should discover themselves, not ignore their inner world and value themselves. The masculine should not be crushed by power and responsibilities, and should not lose their selves for the sake of sacrifices. According to Clarissa, wild nature largely completes human.

Art Work of Women Who Run with the Wolves (source)

Art Work of Women Who Run with the Wolves (source)

Like females of all wild animals, women have intuition. Feminine images and forces cannot fully develop when they are disconnected from the female instinct. Clarissa expresses this as a woman becoming unburdened and discharged when she is deprived of her essential resource. In the opposite case, “When we claim intuition, we are like the starry sky: we look at the world through a thousand eyes.”

Feminine energy and intuition can be innate or learned later. For this, it is important to have a good example, that is, a good mother, around the woman. Vital issues such as being protected from predators and being hunted, anticipating danger and escaping, choosing the right one, finding our home when we are lost, choosing the right spouse and the right job, being able to love and be loved depend on femininity, mother, intuition, experience and knowing nature well. The author describes all these in detail from the myths, tales and stories he compiled:

“The cure for both the naive woman and the woman whose instincts are damaged is the same: practice listening to your intuition, your inner voice; ask questions; wonder; see what you see; listen to what you hear; then act according to what you know is right. These instinctive forces are engraved in your soul from birth.”

Apart from the summary of Women Who Run with the Wolves, it would be useful to briefly mention Clarissa’s suggestions for women. Clarissa advocates that women should never lose their feminine energies, love and affection. She is exactly such a woman herself. According to her, every woman has a passion and a woman who cannot find her passion will not prosper.

Every woman is naturally creative. Creativity is not the monopoly of anyone. Whether we like it or not, the greatest creativity comes from our passions and pain. Clarissa says, “Know, discover your own pain, your wounds, seek out, know, the pains and wounds of your ancestors, because pain and trauma is such a great creative force,” says Clarissa.

Woman Who Run With The Wolves Cover Image from Rider Publiciation

Woman Who Run With The Wolves Cover Image from Rider Publiciation

According to her, our wounds are a door.

19 Tales in The Book

The book contains nineteen texts that are told as fairy tales, but there are also many short narratives that are instructive and contain motifs of the wild woman archetype. Some of these are La Loba (Wolf Woman), La Mariposa (Butterfly Woman), and Wild Woman. The names of the remaining nineteen main texts and the summary information about their contents are as follows:

  • The Four Rabbis (The importance of the spirit, the spiritual, the art)
  • Blue Beard (Pure women and gullible women are prey, the importance of smelling)
  • Wise Vasalisa (Nine important assignments to wonder, ask, and confront mysteries)
  • Manawee (Women’s dual nature, the power of two, the ability to be ruthless and the woman inside)
  • Skeleton Woman (First and last stages of love, lover)
  • The Ugly Duckling (Finding where you belong)
  • False Zygote (Creation of belonging nature)
  • Red Shoes (Eight dangerous traps and healing injured instincts)
  • Seal Skin, Soul Skin (Find your way home, return to yourself)
  • La Llorona (The nurturing of the creative life)
  • The Little Match Girl (Feeding the creative life)
  • Three Golden Hairs (nurturing of creative life)
  • Baubo (Recapture of a sacred sexuality)
  • Jackal Dick (Recapture of a sacred sexuality)
  • A Rwanda Trip (Recapturing a sacred sexuality)
  • Crescent Bear (Anger and righteous anger as a teacher, the limits of anger and forgiveness)
  • Withered Trees (Damaged instinct and anger, the four stages of forgiveness)
  • Golden Haired Woman (Killing secrets, dead zone, scar clan membership)
  • Handless Girl (Finding love in the lower world, battering the soul, wild woman’s world)

Women Who Run with the Wolves Quotes

Page 35

“Let me tell you right away, the doors to the wild Self’s door are few, but valuable. If you have a deep scar, it is a door; If you have an old, very old story, it’s a door. If you love the sky and water too much to tolerate, it is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a reasonable life, that’s a door too.”

Page 49

“If a woman trusts her ability to be old when this young and young when old, she will always know what’s next.”

Page 97

“Re-acceptance or re-watching of initiation, whatever the woman’s age, re-activates deep intuitions.”

Page 111

“Meeting with one’s own divinity without escaping means living a life intertwined with the wild nature according to one’s own mind. Being able to learn means being able to put up with what we know. It means enduring and living.”

Page 205

“If a woman could sit by herself and look into her heart, she would see the need for a respectful acknowledgment of her talents, talents, and limitations.”

Page 206

“No, it is better, gracious, and more heartfelt to be what you are and let other creatures be what they are.”

Page 208

“It is never a mistake to seek what one wants. Never.”

Page 304

“Many of a woman’s depressions, boredom, and delirious confusions are; stems from an extremely limited spiritual life in which innovation, enthusiasm, and creativity are restricted or prohibited.”

The Books of Clarissa Pinkola Estes

The author’s Spanish podcasts are available on Deezer. Apart from his scientific research, he actually has six books, but the ones translated into our language are as follows:

  • Untie the Strong Woman: Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Love for the Wild Soul
  • Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
  • The Faithful Gardener: A Wise Tale About that Which Can Never Die
  • The Gift of Story: A Wise Tale About What is Enough
  • Tales of the Brothers Grimm; 50-page introduction by Estés
  • Hero With A Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell; 50-page introduction by Estés


Women Who Run with the Wolves Review
  • Story
  • Fiction
  • Wording
  • Atmosphere

Briefly My Opinion

It is a guiding book based on myths, tales and legends that should be read by those dealing with the idea of being a woman.

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