I realized it has been more than 10 years since I first read Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés and in that time I have reread it numerous times and scoured some chapters more than 10-20 times. (I'm looking at you Skeleton Woman and Sealskin, Soulskin.) For several years I ran a group based on reading these myths together and in that time collected a running tab of my favorites.;) Obviously, the book covers a gazillion different topics around wildness and the soul, though my favorites usually surrounded sex, power, and creativity. I suppose those feel like my favorite witch topics? I have listed my favorites below with those has main themes. I hope it inspires your own wild connection just reading her words!
And if you like this sort of stuff, check out my Gathering Witches, Wild Women, and Wolves page or Facebook Group community at the intersection of sex, power, and creativity.
SEX & DESIRE
“A woman’s heat is not a state of sexual arousal but a state of intense sensory awareness that includes, but is not limited to, her sexuality.”-Clarissa Pinkola Estés
“The way to maintain one's connection to the wild is to ask yourself what it is that you want. This is the sorting of the seed from the dirt. One of the most important discriminations we can make in this matter is the difference between things that beckon to us and things that call from our souls. Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than in the choice of mates and lovers. A lover cannot be chosen a la smorgasbord. A lover has to be chosen from soul-craving. To choose just because something mouthwatering stands before you will never satisfy the hunger of the soul-self. And that is what the intuition is for; it is the direct messenger of the soul."
“Sometimes the one who is running from the Life/Death/Life nature insists on thinking of love as a boon only. Yet love in its fullest form is a series of deaths and rebirths. We let go of one phase, one aspect of love, and enter another. Passion dies and is brought back. Pain is chased away and surfaces another time. To love means to embrace and at the same time to withstand many endings, and many many beginnings- all in the same relationship.”
“Although many things are good and nutritious for the soul, most fall into Wild Woman's four basic food groups: time, belonging, passion, and sovereignty. Stock up.”
“The sacred and the senxual/sexual live very near one another in the psyche, for they are all brought to attention through a sense of wonder, not from intellectualizing but through experiencing something through the physical pathways of the body, something that for the moment or forever, whether is a kiss, a vision, a belly laugh, or whatever, changes us, shakes us out, takes us to a pinnacle, smoothes our our lines, gives us a dance step, a whistle, a true burst of life.”
“...in the sacred, the obscene, the sexual, there is always a wild laugh waiting...laughter is hidden side of women’s sexuality; it is a physical, elemental, passionate, vitalizing, and therefore arousing.”
“As we create, this wild and mysterious being is creating us in return, filling us with love. We are evoked in the way creatures are evoked by sun and water. We are made so alive that we in turn give life out; we burst, we bloom, we divide and multiply, we impregnate, incubate, impart, and give forth.” -Clarissa Pinkola Estés
"...A woman's creative ability is her most valuable asset, for it gives outwardly and feeds her inwardly at every level: psychic, spiritual, mental, emotive, and economic...As we create, this wild and mysterious being is creating us in return, filling us with love."
"Creativity is the love of something,having so much love for something whether a person, a word, an image, an idea, a land, or humanity that all that can be done with the overflow is to create. It is not a matter of wanting to, not a singular act of will, one solely must."
“I've seen women insist on cleaning everything in the house before they could sit down to write... and you know it's a funny thing about housecleaning... it never comes to an end. Perfect way to stop a woman. A woman must be careful to not allow over-responsibility (or over-respectability) to steal her necessary creative rests, riffs, and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she "should" be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only.”
"At it's root, creativity is not about success and not about failure. It's not about knowing why, or what, or even who. It's a mystery. And it's a spiritual place to live."
“The craft of questions, the craft of stories, the craft of the hands- all these are the making of something, and that something is soul. Anytime we feed soul, it guarantees increase.”
POWER & SOUL
“The psyches and souls of women also have their own cycles and seasons of doing and solitude, running and staying, being involved and being removed, questing and resting, creating and incubating, being of the world and returning to the soul-place.” ― Clarissa Pinkola Estés
“The things that women reclaim are often their own voice, their own values, their imagination, their clairvoyance, their stories, their ancient memories. If we go for the deeper, and the darker, and the less known we will touch the bones.”
“The comprehension of this Wild Woman nature is not a religion but a practice. It is a psychology in its truest sense...a knowing of the soul. Without her, women are without ears to hear soultalk or to register the chiming of their own inner rhythms...Without her, they forget why they’re here, they hold on when they would best hold out. Without her they are silent when they are in fact on fire. She is their regulator, she is their soulful heart, the same as the human heart regulates the physical body.”
"One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your own soul."
“If you have yet to be called an incorrigible, defiant woman, don’t worry, there is still time.”
“The things that women reclaim are often their own voice, their own values, their imagination, their clairvoyance, their stories, their ancient memories. If we go for the deeper, and the darker, and the less known we will touch the bones.” - Clarissa Pinkola Estés