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Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  57,853 ratings  ·  3,903 reviews
Within every woman there is a wild and natural creature, a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. Her name is Wild Woman, but she is an endangered species. 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" in ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 584 pages
Published November 27th 1996 by Ballantine Books (first published 1992)
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Kateřina I think it's better not to hurry it up. I would recommend keeping the book lying around, reading the stories at the time they become relevant in your life.
Sandra Yes, and all of Dr. Estes' other works as well. This should be given to every young woman to read and share. She has amazing insight into the human co…moreYes, and all of Dr. Estes' other works as well. This should be given to every young woman to read and share. She has amazing insight into the human condition and how to be the best you can be.(less)

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Lamski Kikita
May 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all the ladies, and some guys who can handle it
Let me just start with saying that there are two kinds of people who would NOT like this book: 1- chauvanistic men/pigs(hehe), and 2- women who are uptight with their religious and social beliefs (and the stepford housewives type).

This book is for all women, who struggled through life because of the pressures and pre-tailored expectations of their families, socieities, religious leaders, husbands, children, etc, and finally saw the light of the moon and could not fight the urge to howl (owwwwwww
Jul 01, 2008 rated it did not like it
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? 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, ...more
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Women everywhere. And the occasional man.
Shelves: favorites
This book saved my life. I was seriously struggling with an enormous amount of class-related stress, centered around a completely unsuspected attack on my creative potential. After a few months of being shredded mentally and creatively by the people I'd expected to lean on for support and physically by the demands of moving to a new country, I was at a horrible place, alternating between periods of blind rage and near suicidal depression, and for the first time in my life I was watching my abili ...more
Bea Zee
Oct 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
Yeah yeah, the book may be seen as a cry of independence for all women out there who need to get in touch with their "wild" side.

However, my reservations:

- The author tried to say that women should be who they are, but continually portrayed one single type of women: women who had artistic urges, thick thighs and who had always felt like they were born from the wrong parents.
So, if you are a skinny archivist who had a decent childhood and no artistic talents, there's something terribly wrong with
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
New podcast episode reviewing this book! Check it out! ...more
Aug 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: creativity
Here's the deal on this book.

1) It is all too easy to make fun or roll one's eyes or be actually pretty nasty about it, because it's obviously got a ridiculously embarassing title. I personally got the book as a cheerful joke from my dad one Christmas, and I thought to myself, "gag me!"

2) But: Once I read it, I realized how smart this book is. (Eg, I learned the ever-useful term piloerection here.) What this book is is a master-key to the pictorial language that our right brain "speaks," (via dr
missy jean
Dec 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Jungian psychoanalytic theory applied to folktales and fairy tales from around the world. Yes? Yes.

I want to carry copies of this book around and hand them out, proselytorily, to everyone woman I encounter who feels confined, constrained, and soul-sick. This book has helped me to reconnect with my intuition, reevaluate what it means for me to live authentically, and reimagine what my life can look like when I live it wildly and freely. It really has been a gift to me.

There is lots of gender esse
Ahmad Sharabiani
Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild ‭Woman Archetype, Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype is a book by Jungian analyst, author and poet Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D, published in 1992 by Ballantine Books.

In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Estés analyses myths, fairy tales, folk tales and stories from different cultures to uncover the Wild Woman archetype of the feminine psyche.

The book stems from these inter
Mary Richert Hendrie
Every feminist/spiritual/literature/writing related teacher I've ever had has told me I should read this book, so I finally did. Frankly, it was annoying. The ideas are wonderful, but the writing is obnoxious. I didn't know what the phrase "purple prose" really meant until I read this book. She also refers to the "Rio abajo rio" frequently, and EVERY SINGLE TIME, she writes: "The rio abajo rio, the river below the rive ..." It's just not necessary. After reading 200 pages of this I wondered how ...more
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Evocative and exhilarating! I need to reread this. Many, many times.

... a scar is stronger than skin... (c)
The body is a multilingual being. (c)
Even if one has friends, those friends may not be suns. (c)
When a life is too controlled, there becomes less and less life to control. (c)
Nothing makes the light, the wonder, the treasure stand out so well as darkness. (c)
Talismans are reminders of what is felt but not seen, what is so, but not immediately obvious. (c)
Stories are medicine.
Written from the perspective of a Jungian analyst, the book is covering the interpretation of myths, fairy tales, folk tales and stories from different cultures aimed at exploring the Wild Woman archetype of feminine psyche. Pinkola Estés argues that the archetype of the Wild Woman is an essential archetype for a female path of individuation.

The writing style is more in line with books of popular psychology/self-help books than more “serious“ books about analytical psychology, which explain the
Mar 23, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010
Another reviewer summed it up: this book's cover was misleading! I know that authors often have nothing to do with how their books are advertised, and perhaps I should have read the introduction before I bought it or something, but it *still* isn't fair that I wasted my money on a book chock-full of Jungian psychoanalysis when what is advertised and what I expected was a book about the literary and mythological archetype of the wild woman. What's worse, the book isn't so much about Jungian psych ...more
Lauren (Shakespeare & Whisky)
“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.”

Three times in my life this book found its way into my greedy little hands at a time when I needed it most.

Every woman should own a copy of this book.

Women Who Run With the Wolves is a collection of short stories/ fairytales interspersed with commentary by the author. It
Nov 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
I couldn't even finish this shit. It was patronizing and self-mastabatory, as well as incredibly reaching, overflowing with weak arguments, and otherwise full of shit. (Seriously. That story of her and the couple telling her the myth of the coyote and the penis was *SO* funny they were howling, weeping, and banging the table for an extended period of time? Fuck off.) Check out Goddesses by Campbell or Goddesses in Everywoman. Much better analysis of the Divine Feminine in literature and mythos t ...more
Grace S.
May 17, 2011 rated it did not like it
May 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
I have read this book a few times. I pick it up from time to time to look over a chapter of this or that - it affected the way I think about other fables and even the movies. I am half convinced that the end of the Wedding Crashers is really about two healthy psyches driving away together into the future, married to themselves. I was rereading this book about the same time I saw that movie.

Any woman who is interested in empowering herself will be inspired. It is a jungian read on the darkest ve
This is the longest it's ever taken me to read something I've enjoyed so thoroughly. I had to take regular pauses because it's so dense, and if my heart wasn't in it I read something else instead rather than risk missing bits through lack of attention.

Imagine Wonder Woman gave birth to a girl who was even more badass than her mother and was raised by wolves. And her sole goal in life was to tell stories to women to inspire them to be just as badass and basically wreak femininely havoc on the wor
This is a fabulous book of almost 500 pages. It is described as..."Myths and Stories of the Wild Women Archetype. Written by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph. D. It is a gift of profound wisdom and love. It is...'Full of wonderful passionate, poetic, psychologically potent words and images that will inspire, instruct, and empower women to be true to their own nature........ These are not my words but just a few of many on the back cover. It is almost like a bible and not an easy read but certainly wor ...more
Jun 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Juicy and satisfying, this book is for any woman who feels an urge to connect with wild and ancient concepts of what it means to be female: messy, raw, and full of luminously passionate creative energy. If this book doesn't make you want to howl out loud, I'm not sure what will!

Mar 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: self-improvers
I learned a lot from this book. The big ideas for me were:

1. "even if the mother vine is damaged, it doesn't mean her children are"


2. "it will never hurt you to go after something you want or something that is calling to you"

The books is sort of a slow-read, but I find the author generous and familiar and enjoyed the way she reconstructed women's psychology through myth.

It's good to have new (complete?) stories in my mind as well.
Ksenia Anske
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
If I could buy this book for every woman in the world, I would. This book will become your mother when you need a mother and there isn't one around. Hell, it will be a mother you've never had. A mother of all mothers, from the birth of time. And a heart that will keep you alight when you think you're surrounded by darkness that blinds you, suffocates you, destroys you. A book every woman needs to read, if only to know she's not alone but standing on the bones of all the other women who died for ...more
Eva St. Clair
Nov 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: soul searchers, fairy tale lovers, fearless men
Recommended to Eva by: Jane St. Clair
Shelves: itwasgood
As a person who has always loved fairy tales, I read this book very slowly and carefully, enjoying every page. The author's explanations, which incorporate Jungian psychology and principles of women's intuition, enriched and deepened my appreciation for the ancient feminine and the lost art of teaching through fable, myth, and allegory.

Dr. Estes is a very effusive person, which comes across in her writing and can be at times overwhelming. She is quite incapable of using fewer than 3 synonyms st
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2017
To me, this book is a little like Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter. Sometimes she says something incredibly insightful, and then she starts talking about crumple-horned snorkacks. However, while I love Luna, I don't love this book. Not only that, but it seemed that while she was trying to mend centuries of women being put into a particular box that is damaging, she put them all into a different box. There were several times in the book that she said something like, "All women are ...." fill in th ...more
Poetry! I so enjoy Estes's use of language and imagery and the various interpretations of stories and the universal and profound themes hidden underneath the layers of seemingly simple stories. I think this book is very important for women to read, especially for women who must protect and guide their daughters. My favorite story is Sealskin, Soulskin about a young seal/woman who loses her self in someone else's dream and finally finds the courage to pursue her dream and enrich her life. ...more
Jan 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I bought this book years ago at a garage sale and never could get into it. Until one day I was walking past and had the urge to flip through it. I ended up reading the whole thing. I do agree with both sides of the love/hate reviews as it is hard to read and the author does seem to be a bit over the top but I read it at a time in my life that I really needed a bit of a pep talk. You really need to be mentally ready for this book.

I think this book is for people going through some issues in their
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing

For those of us who struggle with life, expectations and how to be ourselves, this is a validation, a benediction. Saying yes this is you and you are beautiful and unique just as you are.
Kylie Young
Jun 19, 2017 rated it did not like it

She says, quite negatively, that women were once only considered to be kept as fallow gardens, yet in the next pages she states that she's only felt like she was a wild woman when she was a mother. Again, I felt she was just reinforcing the belief that women are still just "fallow gardens." Contradictory to the notion she was trying to convey that women are more than just a womb.

Does the author need help? I feel like these are the scratchings of a crazy person. It was
Jul 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Generally uplifting and served its purpose, yet -1 star for general TERF-iness/the general biological essentialism and -1 star for being weird about the birth stuff. I don't think giving birth is an experience necessary for all women to be considered true women. ...more
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
When I picked up this book, I was expecting alot more story and alot less babbling.

I was disappointed with the amount of analysis, especially since it was heavily psycho-analysis. I suppose if you went into this book wanting spiritual guidance or to revive your woman strength and feminist power, then it would be a great read.

Having taken my share of english literature courses, I didn't want to read more analysis of what it meant when this female character lusted after red shoes. I just wanted s
Mounia Farida
May 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Very Interesting book, have to say I had to put it down many times just because it need some deep thinking following some passages.
It linkes old cultures to the modern pshyche of women.
Incredible..I definitely recommend it!!
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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 hal ...more

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