This book was highly recommended by a few witches whose channels I really like and admire. They were really impressed with this book, and found it life-changing. Looking through the Goodreads’ reviews, it seems people are pretty divided in their opinions on it. Lots of 4 and 5 stars, and many 1 stars! I would give it a one star! Wow…am I not impressed with this book at all! Granted I have only read 37 pages so far, but I’m finding it horrendously ponderous. One of the reviewers on Goodreads suggested to bypass the first 3 chapters…that it gets better. I will try that, because I do feel like I’m not being really fair to the book since I am literally HATING the book so far. I don’t want to read it at all. It’s that bad. I can read anything to be honest…if there’s only car magazines in the doctor’s office, then I will read them. I’ve actually learned a lot about cars that way! LOL I read the cereal box labels, while I am sitting eating breakfast. I’m a reader…I’ll read almost anything! This book…ick.
Women Who Run With The Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estes is supposed to be a repository of stories that relate to the Wild Woman archetype, and she is a Jungian analyst who interprets the story in a feminist way, supposedly to help women to heal from the cultural biases that our society imposes on women. This is the Goodreads’ blurb on it:
Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D., Jungian analyst and cantadora storyteller shows how women’s vitality can be restored through what she calls “psychic archeological digs” into the ruins of the female unconscious. Using multicultural myths, fairy tales, folk tales, and stories, Dr. Estes helps women reconnect with the healthy, instinctual, visionary attributes of the Wild Woman archetype.
I dunno…maybe this was revolutionary back in 1992, and needed to be said then, but it feels rather…anti-climatic to me. Maybe it’s my age…at 54 I don’t need this kind of “awakening” any longer. It also leaves me behind because I never married or had children, and the focus of the Wolf Woman is about her relationship to her mate and how fierce she is in protecting her family. Granted, most women still are expected to marry and have children, and I was one of the early ones who eschewed that societal norm. I have watched my 3 sisters marry and have children, and 2 are separated from men they should never have gotten involved with, and their children…well, let’s just say I am really glad I never had any! No one should suffer through unfulfilling marriages to unenlightened men, or the horrors of teenagers! bleah. Am I ever glad I didn’t want children so badly that I was willing to settle for whoever came along and asked us to marry them, to save them from loneliness.
Granted, I did have one therapist tell me I was way too comfortable with being alone, but I asked her, and still ask: “Why is that a problem?” I don’t think it’s a problem at all. She told me that most people have the opposite problem…they can’t be alone. I agree that’s a problem…but mine isn’t. If the answer to the problem of fear of being alone is being alone, then the answer is not a problem. Am I right? LOL If I should happen to find someone that I want to spend my life with, he will be exactly what I want and need…I will not settle just to save me from being alone. I love myself enough, and like myself enough, that I am perfectly happy with my own company. I don’t want to change or compromise for someone else. There is no problem here…despite everyone else’s lack of understanding of how I can be happy alone.
To be honest, I think I am already a woman who runs with wolves…no, not wolves, tigers maybe. LOL I’m a feline type, not a canine type. Personally, I guess I don’t agree with the idea of comparing the Wild Woman to a wolf…I kinda feel that wolves are more masculine to be honest. Yeah, I’m not feeling Dr. Estes’ viewpoint. So far, I have read 3 very short stories (most of the book is her expounding on her thesis points), and I have not been impressed with either the stories or her interpretations of them. La Loba is the Wolf Woman, and she sings bones she found in the desert into a wolf. Meh. It’s like a whole paragraph of a story. The author explains that we each must breathe life into our bones, which is the indestructible life force. Meh.
The story of the 4 male rabbis who are taken by an angel to see Ezekiel’s Wheel in heaven is about having “the optimal attitude for experiencing the deep unconscious” and not giving into deep fascination or too much cynicism. Okay…I fail to see how that relates to the Wild Woman. She couldn’t find a story about women who have a profound experience that affects each differently???? I dunno…maybe it’s me.
Then the next story is about Bluebeard…again, I wonder what the hell this has to do with the Wild Woman. The wife is not a Wild Woman…she has to enlist her sisters’ aid to call out to their brothers to come save her from her murderous husband. Bleah…the woman couldn’t even save herself! Three stories so far, and I don’t really understand or see the connection to the Wild Woman archetype here. I’m sorry, but it seems more like a ploy to expound on her personal understanding of Jungian psychology. I have to agree with this other Laura who left a scathing review (she sounds amazingly like me! LOL)
When I worked at Ballantine Books in the early to mid-1990s, this was by far the most successful book the house had ever published (it probably still is). I couldn’t get over it — this piece of shit was a runaway best-seller? Overblown, overwritten, self-important, pseudo-intellectual — what the hell was to like?
Yes…the writing was over the top and pseudo-intellectual alright…it was chock full of big, important words. Now, I have a huge vocabulary and knew what all the words meant, so they failed to impress me. But when every other word is an unnecessarily long, multi-syllabic word, it gets tedious IMO. Let’s face it…she is trying way too hard to be intellectual! This is only the second time I have encountered the term “numen” as well…and the first time was in Carl Jung’s memoirs! He likened his mentor Freud’s obsession with his sexual theories as being a numen to him. Jung impressed me with his genius, but he didn’t use a ton of big words! The author really seems to be trying too hard to impress the reader IMO. Or justify her opinions as being very important. But I am not impressed. This impression is borne out by the commenter Laura’s own observations on meeting the author:
And to top it off, the author acted like a complete asshole, with personality traits that matched her book to a T. Her visits to the office were ludicrous; she used to prance around, puffed up like a little marshmallow, waiting for everyone to fall at her feet.
I mean, let’s face it: you know a book is a must to avoid when you have Alice Walker saying stuff like, “Women Who Run With the Wolves isn’t just another book. It is a gift of profound insight, wisdom, and love. An oracle from one who knows.” Yeek.
Yeah, I’m not surprised by the characterization. I guess I don’t understand either why so many people seem to really love this book. I’m actually hating on it. I won’t be reading it any further…it has nothing for me. I’ll be a Wild Woman in my own way, thanks anyway. I don’t need silly stories that are only a paragraph or two long and then pages of the author’s “learned” opinions on what they mean. I’ll find my own stories…wait…I already have! I already have seen her in many of the stories I have read over the years. I have encountered stories of Wild Women in many books, and even movies. I don’t need a self-important Jungian analyst to tell me how to find her.
Addendum: Actually, here is a wonderful Wild Woman story for you I just encountered in my Reader newsfeed..."Defying Death"; a 60 year old woman's wonderful romp in the forest during a storm.