Feminist Book Club: Women who Run with the Wolves 

Book choice by February MISSives guest editor, Mannie Kaur Verma

Women who Run with the Wolves is a call for action book by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, an American poet, a Jungian psychoanalyst and Cantadora, keeper of old stories. The book has been described as “a deeply spiritual book” by the Washington Post Book World. The famous civil rights activist, Maya Angelou had described this work as one that “hows the reader how glorious it is to be daring, to be caring, and to be women’ and she goes on to say that ‘everyone who can read should read this book”. 

Estés introduces her work with the following observation. “Wildlife and the Wild Woman are both endangered species.” Relying on her widely researched study on wildlife biology, particularly of wolves, Estés explores the intuitive and instinctive abilities of women and wolves, drawing upon their similarities to build a concept of the Wild Women archetype.

It is a book that uses the craft of storytelling to help women return to their ‘instinctive lives, their deepest knowing’. Through this book, Estés teaches women to heal and howl through the analysis of twenty fairy tales and myths from around the world. If I am being honest, this book is not an easy read, but one that is truly worth the journey. Here is an excerpt from the book to motivate you to get a copy: 

Healthy wolves and healthy women share certain psychic characteristics: keen sensing, playful spirit and a heightened capacity for devotion. Wolves and women are relational by nature, inquiring, possessed of great endurance and strength. They are deeply intuitive, intensely concerned with their young, their mates and their pack. They are experienced in adapting to constantly changes circumstances; they are fiercely stalwart and very brave.  

Yet both have been hounded, harassed, and falsely imputed to be devouring and devious, overly aggressive, of less value than those who are their detractors… The predation of wolves and women by those who misunderstand them is strikingly similar”. 

YWCA Australia wishes to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we work, live and play and pay our respects to Elders past and present. We recognise First Nations people as the custodians of the lands, seas and skies, with more than 60,000 years of wisdom, connection and relationship in caring for Country.

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