“A woman may crave to be near water, or be belly down, her face in the earth, smelling the wild smell. She might have to drive into the wind. She may have to plant something, pull things out of the ground or put them into the ground. She may have to knead and bake, rapt in dough up to her elbows.
She may have to trek into the hills, leaping from rock to rock trying out her voice against the mountain. She may need hours of starry nights where the stars are like face powder spilt on a black marble floor. She may feel she will die if she doesn’t dance naked in a thunderstorm, sit in perfect silence, return home ink-stained, paint-stained, tear-stained, moon-stained.” ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Someone recommended Women Who Run With the Wolves to me well over a decade ago.
They said it had changed their life.
I soon brought it home from the bookstore, made myself a cup of tea, and sat down to peruse…
Quickly, I realized that this book was not like consommé, clear, drinkable soup, but more like a thick stew of complex flavors and textures. At first, I was disheartened, this would take me months to read—if I were to understand the magical words. But I was wrong. It took years. In fact, I am still reading it.
The book looks a bit worse for wear now. I keep crawling back into its pages, hungry, learning more and more about the archetype of woman, and my place within that mystery.
I have to admit that what I see in the pages now is a lot different from years ago. I was in my Mother stage of life then, now I am Crone. Then, I wanted a solution to many persistent questions. Now, I see that the journey Estes takes us on is one of constant discovery.
It is recognizable from my own journey through life and from the lives of women I witness in my practice, that there is a deep instinct for coming home to ourselves. But what does this mean?
What is this deep, visceral feeling?
It is a longing—to be free, to be in solitude, to understand our emotions, to reflect, surrender, and restore. It is to return to the wild nature of woman. Rooting down to the core of our soul through rewilding, we can hear once more what is important and vital to our survival. Our wild gets buried beneath expectations and life’s circumstances, patriarchy and misogyny, society and dogma, responsibility, and a fierce dedication to those we love.
The burial leaves us lost to ourselves.
At the point where we can no longer feel whole or even able to interpret the impulses of our soul, we are deemed hysterical, mad, moody, cranky, the b*tch, and the witch. It is up to us to claim the rewilding, no matter the cost.
This quote reminds me of the way we seek. We are intuitively challenged to knock on any door that will bring us back to the wilderness of our being.
For some, it is literally screaming on a mountain top, or lying ecstatically naked in a field of long grass, wading through the mud, or embracing the waves of an orgasm. It can be kneading bread until our arms are ready to fall off. It can be exploring our sexual orientation and kinks, pitting ourselves against some massive challenge, or howling at the moon.
For some, it is lying in silence in a dark room, tears soaking the pillow, for hours or even days.
For all of us, it must be a love of ranging emotions, honoring that b*tch, witch, crazy woman.
She is the storm that clears the clouds. She reclaims the words hurled against her, holds them close to her heart, and whispers, “I love myself in my totality, not always peaceful, smiling, accommodating, but also the hurricane, the tsunami, and the thunder.”
Wild Woman, tend to the fire in your heart. Give yourself permission to explore the nether regions of your holy territory. Life is not meant to tame you but to expand you. Tend to the mystery of your spirituality, your psyche, and your imagination. Take back your voice. Create art that expresses the unimaginable inside you—make art of your life.
Become moon-stained and tear-stained. Become stained with the freedom you allot to yourself.
“For some, home is a forest, a desert, a sea. In truth, home is holographic. It is carried in full power in even a single tree, a solitary cactus in a shop window, a pool of still water. It is also at full potency in a yellow leaf lying on the asphalt, a red clay pot waiting for a root bundle, a drop of water on the skin.” ~ from Women Who Run With the Wolves
The most ordinary moment can bring us to the realization that there is more to us and more to why we came here than the obvious life we are living.
When you meet yourself in that moment, I hope you smell the wild smell, trek the hills, bake the bread, scream your way home. I hope you fall into the portal of the woman who runs with the wolves.
Tell me your coming home story, Wild One.