Updated with new material by the author, 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.
Stands out from the pack.... A joy and sparkle in [the] prose.... This book will become a bible for women interested in doing deep work.... It is a road map of all the pitfalls, those familiar and those horrifically unexpected, that a woman encounters on the way back to her instinctual self. Wolves.... is a gift.
Los Angeles Times
Folklore, fairy tales and dream symbols are called on to help restore women's neglected intuitive and instinctive abilities in this earthy first book by a Jungian analyst. According to Estes, wolves and women share a psychic bond in their fierceness, grace and devotion to mate and community. This comparison defines the archetype of the Wild Woman, a female in touch with her primitive side and able to rely on gut feelings to make choices. The tales here, from various cultures, are not necessarily about wolves; instead, they illuminate fresh perspectives on relationships, self-image, even addiction. An African tale of twins who baffle a man represents the dual nature of woman; from the Middle East, a story about a threadbare but secretly magic carpet shows society's failure to look beyond appearances. Three brief, ribald stories advocate a playful, open sexuality; other examples suggest ways to deal with anger and jealousy. At times, Estes's commentary—in which she urges readers to draw upon and enjoy their Wild Woman aspects—is hyperbolic, but overall her widely researched study offers usable advice for modern women.
A feminist counterpart to Iron John—or, how "a healthy woman is much like a wolf.'' Estes, a Jungian analyst, believes that a woman's wholeness depends on her returning to the sources of her repressed instinctual nature. To illustrate the ways of the "wild woman,'' the author draws on myths, legends, and fairy tales from a vast and eclectic range of traditions. This collection of stories may well be the most valuable element of the book, which otherwise reads like unedited transcripts of the workshops Estes leads to encourage women to return to their "feral'' roots. Each story demonstrates a particular aspect of woman's experience—relationship, creativity, anger, spirituality, etc. Estes finds evidence in the most diverse tales of the necessity for women to reclaim their wildness. The precise nature of this wildness is difficult to fathom, but, at best, it seems to include a genuine capacity to access feelings and to accept one's contradictions, while, at worst, it appears to amount to the kind of self-indulgence that prevailed during the "me'' generation. Estes claims that her book is for every woman, whether you be spicy or somber, regal or roughshod''; but her underlying assumption that every woman is free to abandon what holds her back seems ignorant of social and economic realities. The author provides few concrete examples that might help women understand what she expects them to do, and her prose abounds in generalizations and oddities ("the ambitious woman...who is heartfelt toward her accomplishments'') that further undermine her credibility and her considerable scholarship. Hortatory, ecstatic, and, ultimately, irritating.
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