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The Faithful Gardener: A Wise Tale About That Which Can Never Die

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  1,322 ratings  ·  153 reviews
Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D., the internationally known poet, psychoanalyst, and author of the seminal classic Women Who Run With The Wolves (99 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, translated into eighteen languages, and a bestseller worldwide), touches our lives anew, rendering in the strong and lyrical voice for which she has become known a powerful series of h ...more
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published October 27th 1995 by HarperOne (first published January 1st 1992)
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 ·  1,322 ratings  ·  153 reviews

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Molly Ulmen
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Life is full of invitations to feel hopeless, especially in the face of real darkness and suffering. This book is a powerful tonic against despair. I keep it in the medicine cabinet.
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: inspiration
Simply deeply wonderful.

This book can easily be read in one sitting and it'll touch your heart and soul and make you smile and cry. Excellent.
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Magical, hypnotic story weaving as only Estes can.

New seed is faithful, it comes on the wind whether you want it or not and it roots in the places that are the most empty.

Stories came into the world because God was lonely.
Meghan Hughes
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“To be poor and be without trees, is to be the most starved human being in the world. To be poor and to have trees, is to be completely rich in ways that money could never buy.”- Clarissa Pinkola Estés 💚 I wanted to read this book because I loved “Women Who Run with the Wolves” so much & was eager to read more writing from Estés. I really loved this story. It was very short, but it touched on a lot of things that are important to me. I loved the story of That Which Can Never Die. I think I will ...more

After sobbing my heart out, I ended up staring at the wall with tears still running down my face, having so many thoughts, remembering my childhood, my 'uncle', my stories, the stories of those I love, their changes and their empty fields.

A wise tale indeed. Short but unforgettable and very powerful, one I'd like my child to know as soon as he's old enough to understand.

Thank you, Sofia, for uncovering such a jewel and bringing it to my attention.

***5 stars***
Aug 09, 2021 rated it liked it
“New seed is faithful. It roots deepest in the places that are most empty”

Gifted story-teller with a distinctive lyrical force, yet I found this book not as cohesive as the others. Still worth and precious tho 😋
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will never forget when I discovered this book. I was wandering about the library, preoccupied with thoughts of my Hungarian friend who had escaped her country a few years previous with little more than her immediate family and the clothes on her back. I wanted something to read that would honor her story. It's hard to explain, because by this time, I'd lost contact with my friend. But here was this book that all but leapt off the shelf. (The Hungarian connection: the author was adopted by a Hu ...more
reading clarissa pinkola estés is an opportunity to sit at the feet of a master storyweaver and teacher of the art of living, honestly. this one is no exception. here there is a tale about the alchemy that transforms trauma through storytelling through families, cycles of creation, the value of fallow fields and the way that to see and touch constant death/change is the way to know that which can never die.
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
New seed
is faithful.
It roots deepest
in the places
that are
most empty.

A little light in the dark. Short but powerful. Hopeful and deeply moving.
I will keep it close to me.
Karen GoatKeeper
The language in this book is fantastic. The descriptive metaphors create a mental picture and a mood.
"Squeezed together like canned plums in a pint-sized glass jar, we rode the interminably hot train all the way to Chicago."
The time is shortly after the close of World War II. The place is in the United States where refugees from German camps are trying to learn to live again.
"What does it mean to live with a war and memories of war inside oneself? It means one lives in two worlds. One looking fo
Amy Pfleegor
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I don't know how many of my lives, past, present, or future, that this book acted as a balm for, but reading it was quite a profound experience that left me feeling kinder toward my own war-weary heart. ...more
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Faithful Gardener is one of the most powerful books you can read in one sitting. Estés weaves stories around her uncle Zovar, a war-torn refugee and lover of gardening and storytelling. It's a hopeful, heartbreaking, beautiful book. ...more
Feb 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This is a nice little hopeful book about stories - stories about a man, a tree, and that which will never die.
Jul 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Amazing experience. The book is simple and simply magical. Easy to read for any person who reads with the heart open.
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lovely, beautiful story...everyone read this.
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very great metaphor for some great life lessons. I love that much of it is written like a poem
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really thought Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree was the only story about a tree that could ever possibly make me cry... I found out tonight that I was so very wrong.

Its completely true that as I read The Faithful Gardener: A Wise Tale About That Which Can Never Die, I sat here with a lump in my throat and tears streaming down my face. I was just so totally captivated by Clarissa Pinkola Estés' remarkable gift of storytelling and how her words breathed life into her beloved uncle--a Hungaria
Sep 02, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Simply beautiful
Patty Whitney
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I came across this delightful little book among my husband’s ‘stuff’ while unpacking recently. The timing seems pertinent, in a world rife with turmoil and unrest. The Faithful Gardener, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, is a slim, yet impactful book that can be read in one sitting, yet reflected upon for days.

Clarissa’s Uncle Zovar was a Hungarian peasant farmer and refugee, who survived Nazi slave camps and eventually emigrated to America. With a gift of storytelling and a sacred connection to the Ea
Bayou des Cannes Cajun
If allowed, I would rate this book as a 10/5.
Beautiful. The tales are inspirational and encourage strength and the sage advice to embrace inevitable change with positivity. Tyrannical adversity and tragedy are conquered with the power of having the ability to control ones response, reaction and inner perception of not only that very moment but that change, if inevitable, can have a positive outcome even if only in one's perception. The author grew up in a home filled with refugees from World War
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book (while extremely short) was a DNF (did not finish).

It has a great message to it, especially tying in the story of the author's WWII horrors with stories of gardening. I actually wanted to like it, and skimmed for the parts about her uncle. Those were fascinating. But the writing was horrible.... Have you ever heard a hippie speak? That traditional "love the trees, god is good. I don't like complete sentences but live in another world cause i'm high outta my mind". Well that's the voic
Nov 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Meh. Self-conscious, at times clumsy, underdone, and ultimately underwhelming. I'm sad because I expected a tiny gem of treasure and got what seems to have been a stop-gap. There were moments of brilliance but sadly, a potentially wonderful premise has been allowed to slip by without being fully developed. ...more
Apr 26, 2008 rated it it was ok
Makes me think about the lives of my ancestors and what gifts they've given me. Sometimes boring and I had a hard time staying with it. ...more
Jul 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely beautiful book! Full of beauty, pathos and wisdom.
Superb and magical and I enjoyed every second
Melody Schwarting
A marvelous meditation on story, life, and hope. Estés, a cantadora (keeper of old stories in Hispanic tradition), calls forth life from dead ground, and we have the joy of watching newness spring forth from death.

The general topic of Christianity, imagination, and story attracts me. I thought Tolkien's Leaf by Niggle and "On Fairy Stories" were enlightening, but they stand in the shadow of The Faithful Gardener. These three texts would be delightful companions in a literature classroom.

Since I
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book doesn't take long to read and it does. I read it fairly quickly the first time around in March and knew I would want to read it again. And again. Stories are an intricate thread of the fabric of our lives. If you think of a tapestry, on one side you see the big picture, finished, and in harmony. The other side, you may find a thread ending; loose and at odds with the rest of that side; or as a beginning. Both sides tell a story and from that, we learn some lesson. So it is with stories ...more
Laura Thompson
Oct 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
My favorite was the short story about the pine tree. The rest of the book sets the context really well for that... But to me it felt a little lackluster in the flow.... just sort of a randomness of the post-modern approach to life that left an empty feeling in the "purpose" of this book... Maybe I was expecting more of a "complete lesson" from this writing.

So then I read the epilogue and wished that more of the actual purpose the author referred to a year after she finished the book had been sli
Oct 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
I've had this on audiobook for donkey's years, and picked it out for walking some miles with this morning. If you are in the right kind of mood, the stories are very gentle and soothing and multi-layered. I think the thought that is sticking with me this time is the importance of hospitality to the strange/r ... the regeneration that can be found in allowing ourselves to be open to what life brings next, in the same way as the earth, when it has been laid bare, is hospitable to the sun and rain ...more
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Faithful Gardener: A Wise Tale About That Which Can Never Die is a slim volume, but don't let the quantity of words fool you into thinking this book does have infinite wisdom. Dr. Pinkola-Estes was raised in a foster home in of refugees from World War II and was blessed to have been surrounded by the stories brought with them. There is a fairy tale told that can be a force for good in anyone's life. I urge you to read this book, it won't take long, but the seeds it plants can grow a lush for ...more
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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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“To be poor and be without trees, is to be the most starved human being in the world. To be poor and have trees, is to be completely rich in ways that money can never buy.” 198 likes
A Prayer
Refuse to fall down
If you cannot refuse to fall down,
refuse to stay down.
If you cannot refuse to stay down,
lift your heart toward heaven,
and like a hungry beggar,
ask that it be filled.
You may be pushed down.
You may be kept from rising.
But no one can keep you from lifting your heart
toward heaven
only you.
It is in the middle of misery
that so much becomes clear.
The one who says nothing good
came of this,
is not yet listening.
More quotes…