Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes


Padawan Learner
The book The Women Who run with Wolves is known as a key, a way into yourself , like EE breathing it accesses a part of you, and makes you able to look at your life, and see the patterns and behaviours that have controlled you.

One of the ways this book works is by the use of stories and tales, by conveying a message through a story we put ourselves into, and become part of the story, one of those characters, rather then detaching and the subject being outside ourselves.

We also enter the story through the door of inner hearing, it is said that the ear has 3 or more different pathways to the brain. One pathways was said to hear the mundane conversations of the world, the second apprehended learning and art, and the third existed so that the soul itself might hear guidance and gain knowledge.

Early on in the book Clarissa Pinkola Estes discusses The Bones of a Story and how her research and studies of myths, fairy tales and folklore over the past 50 years have taught her to be able to see the structure of a tale and where the bones are missing. Over time, wars and religious conversions have been ways of sanitizing old texts, altering the original core, shifting the meaning, and in so doing losing their power, truth and integrity that was intended. It is as though a thread that is fundamental to the pattern of a story has been removed, but a shadow remains , a faint outline of the intended structure , with the true thread in place the full force of the tale hits home, jolting us awake, as our perspective reassesses. We often see this reflected in films, were the story from a book has been over sentimentalised and a contrived happy ending is created. All resonance of the truth of the story is gone, and in our hearts and in our intuitive side we know this, and it makes us feel like a piece of the puzzle is missing or wrong.

Depending on our different life-experiences, each and every one of us will be affected by the various tales in this book. Sometimes the impact of a story will be particularly strong.
The vast majority of reviews on the book are consistent in there positive and enthusiast responses. It is an inspirational book that can benefit you, throughout your life, young or old, male or female. You also don’t have to have read Jung or have a great background in psychoanalysis, but what you do have to do is engage, do not be passive and weak and expect answers to be given away . This is not a self help book to follow the steps one by one and you will be healed. This book won’t do the work for you, it is about learning to understanding yourself and others, so that you can see the pitfalls and situations of life and engage once more.
Just remember this is only the start.
Re: Review Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Hi Liberty,
This post makes me want to go back and re-read this book.
I particularly like the way she brings out and gets the reader to focus on archtypes in all stories and how they reoccur everywhere.
I have revisited several of the stories in her book as they related directly with themes of my life and every time I re-read a part I percieve it differently.
Thank you for posting this


Dagobah Resident
Re: Review Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I recommend Unholy Hungers by Barbara Hort as a companion reading to Women Who Run With Wolves.
The allegorical avenue to connecting new pathways between the intellect and the feeling center works in
both of these fine, shall we say, psychological thrillers.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Re: Review Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I actually just ordered Run with Wolves" the other day, along with Trapped in the Mirror to complete my collection of the big 5. I am reading In Sheep's Clothing at the moment, can't wait to to get Run Th Wolves now after that insightful review, thanks for posting Liberty :)


FOTCM Member
Re: Review Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

That's a great review of a special book, thank you Liberty!

I read it s-l-o-w-l-y during the summer and indeed could relate to some stories more than others. I got the most from it whenever I really engaged it by reflecting on my past.

But then there were times when no amount of 'intellectual application' would work. I would struggle to comprehend and just have to put the book down for a while, maybe even a few days. La Loba would then come to me in a dream or out walking my dog and I would hear what I couldn't before :)


FOTCM Member
Re: Review Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Here is one of my favorite quotes from this book :)

"Remembrance and Continuance, No Matter What"

"We all have a longing that we feel for our own kind, our wild kind.
The duckling, you will recall, ran away after being tortured without
mercy. Next he had a run-in with a gaggle of geese and was almost
killed by hunters. He was chased from the barnyard and from a farmer's
home, and finally exhausted, he shivered at the edge of the lake.
There is no woman among us who does not know his feeling. And yet, it
is just this longing that leads us to hang on, to go on, to proceed
with hope.

"Here is the promise from the wild psyche to all of us. Even though we
have only heard about, glimpsed, or dreamt a wondrous wild world that
we belonged to once, even though we have not yet or only momentarily
touched it, even though we do not identify ourselves as part of it,
the memory of it is a beacon that guides us toward what we belong to,
and for the rest of our lives. In the ugly duckling, a knowing
yearning stirs when he sees the swans lift up into the sky, and from
that single event his remembrance of that vision sustains him. [....]

"It is interesting to note that among wolves, no matter how sick, no
matter how cornered, no matter how alone, afraid, or weakened, the
wolf will continue. She will lope even with a broken leg. She will go
near others seeking the protection of the pack. She will strenuously
outwait, outwit, outrun, and outlast whatever is bedeviling her. She
will put her all into taking breath after breath. She will drag
herself, if necessary, just like the duckling, from place to place,
until she finds a good place, a healing place, a place for thriving.

"The hallmark of the wild nature is that it goes on. It perseveres.
This is not something we do. It is something we are, naturally and
innately. When we cannot thrive, we go on till we can thrive again.
Whether it be our creative life that we are cut away from, whether it
be a culture or a religion we are cast out of, whether it be a
familial exiling, a banishment by a group, or sanctions on our
movements, thoughts, and feelings, the inner wild life continues and
we go on.[....]

"The duckling is led to within an inch of his life. He has felt
lonely, cold, frozen, harassed, chased, shot at, given up on,
unnourished, out there way out of bounds, at the edge of life and
death and not knowing what will come next. And now comes the most
important part of the story: spring approaches, new life quickens, a
new turn, a new try is possible. The most important thing is to hold
on, hold out, for your creative life, for your time to be and do, for
your very life; hold on, for the promise from the wild nature is this:
after winter, SPRING ALWAYS COME.

And in commemoration of the 5th of November...

"It seems strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three years I had roses and apologized to no one. I shall die here. Every inch of me shall perish. Every inch, but one. An inch. It is small and it is fragile and ...it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must NEVER let them take it from us. I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the worlds turns, and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that, even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you. With all my heart, I love you. -Valerie."


Jedi Council Member
Re: Review Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

go2 said:
I recommend Unholy Hungers by Barbara Hort as a companion reading to Women Who Run With Wolves.

I bought them together :) I just finished reading Women Who Run With Wolves and just picked up Unholy Hungers.

I really enjoyed Women Who Run With Wolves, it gives you a real appreciation for folk tales and stories-telling, amongst a real requesting of working on yourself.

My only criticism though is, I found she focus a lot on the sort of 'Women Empowerment' aspect, and I personally think that makes the book miss a lot of points and drift off a bit. But I guess that's what you would expect with a book geared towards women.

While I agree that some portions of the book discuss issues that are exclusive to women, I wish she would have been more inclusive to the other gender, because I really think anyone can benefit from reading this book.

Over all, I have mostly good things to say about Clarissa's work. :) I found myself highlighting chucks of the book that I think would be useful to come back to every now and then.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
In the introduction to Session 30 August 2009, there is an interesting comment:
30 May 2009

Q: (J) Who broke in to ________’s store?

A: In this instance it was just cabin fever craziness. But beware in the future. {The owner} should also be aware of his emotional vulnerability to "break in". He should read Pinkola Estes...

Q: (L) Women Who Run With the Wolves. But that's for women.

A: It also applies to men.
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