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Clarissa Pinkola Estés


Born
January 27, 1945

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An American poet, psychoanalyst and post-trauma specialist who was raised in now nearly vanished oral and ethnic traditions. She is a first-generation American who grew up in a rural village, population 600, near the Great Lakes. Of Mexican mestiza and majority Magyar and minority Swabian tribal heritages, she comes from immigrant and refugee families who could not read or write, or who did so haltingly. Much of her writing is influenced by her family people who were farmers, shepherds, hopsmeisters, wheelwrights, weavers, orchardists, tailors, cabinet makers, lacemakers, knitters, and horsemen and horsewomen from the Old Countries.

Average rating: 4.18 · 34,703 ratings · 2,639 reviews · 44 distinct worksSimilar authors
Women Who Run With the Wolv...

4.16 avg rating — 29,576 ratings — published 1996 — 95 editions
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The Faithful Gardener: A Wi...

4.18 avg rating — 800 ratings — published 1992 — 19 editions
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Warming the Stone Child: My...

4.36 avg rating — 449 ratings — published 1990 — 6 editions
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Untie the Strong Woman: Ble...

4.11 avg rating — 593 ratings — published 2011 — 15 editions
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The Creative Fire: Myths an...

4.48 avg rating — 313 ratings — published 1992 — 6 editions
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The Gift of Story: A Wise T...

4.07 avg rating — 296 ratings — published 1993 — 10 editions
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The Dangerous Old Woman

4.49 avg rating — 237 ratings — published 1997 — 7 editions
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Mother Night: Myths, Storie...

4.46 avg rating — 185 ratings — published 2010 — 2 editions
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The Red Shoes: On Torment a...

4.46 avg rating — 185 ratings — published 1992 — 4 editions
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Bedtime Stories: A Unique G...

4.41 avg rating — 175 ratings — published 2002 — 4 editions
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“There is probably no better or more reliable measure of whether a woman has spent time in ugly duckling status at some point or all throughout her life than her inability to digest a sincere compliment. Although it could be a matter of modesty, or could be attributed to shyness- although too many serious wounds are carelessly written off as "nothing but shyness"- more often a compliment is stuttered around about because it sets up an automatic and unpleasant dialogue in the woman's mind.

If you say how lovely she is, or how beautiful her art is, or compliment anything else her soul took part in, inspired, or suffused, something in her mind says she is undeserving and you, the complimentor, are an idiot for thinking such a thing to begin with. Rather than understand that the beauty of her soul shines through when she is being herself, the woman changes the subject and effectively snatches nourishment away from the soul-self, which thrives on being acknowledged."

"I must admit, I sometimes find it useful in my practice to delineate the various typologies of personality as cats and hens and ducks and swans and so forth. If warranted, I might ask my client to assume for a moment that she is a swan who does not realzie it. Assume also for a moment that she has been brought up by or is currently surrounded by ducks.

There is nothing wrong with ducks, I assure them, or with swans. But ducks are ducks and swans are swans. Sometimes to make the point I have to move to other animal metaphors. I like to use mice. What if you were raised by the mice people? But what if you're, say, a swan. Swans and mice hate each other's food for the most part. They each think the other smells funny. They are not interested in spending time together, and if they did, one would be constantly harassing the other.

But what if you, being a swan, had to pretend you were a mouse? What if you had to pretend to be gray and furry and tiny? What you had no long snaky tail to carry in the air on tail-carrying day? What if wherever you went you tried to walk like a mouse, but you waddled instead? What if you tried to talk like a mouse, but insteade out came a honk every time? Wouldn't you be the most miserable creature in the world?

The answer is an inequivocal yes. So why, if this is all so and too true, do women keep trying to bend and fold themselves into shapes that are not theirs? I must say, from years of clinical observation of this problem, that most of the time it is not because of deep-seated masochism or a malignant dedication to self-destruction or anything of that nature. More often it is because the woman simply doesn't know any better. She is unmothered.”
Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

“It is worse to stay where one does not belong at all than to wander about lost for a while and looking for the psychic and soulful kinship one requires”
Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

“I hope you will go out and let stories, that is life, happen to you, and that you will work with these stories... water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.”
Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

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