Monday, April 27, 2009

Women Who Run with the Wolves

For the past few months, I have felt compelled to dive into a deeper understanding of archetypes -- something I first learned about in my college psychology courses. Since then, they've cropped up here and there in my reading but I never felt pulled to learn more about them until my intensive study of Jung's work last summer.

Since then, I cannot seem to digest the information quickly enough; this fever to learn more has recently led me to Clarissa Pinkola Estes's "Women Who Run with the Wolves". This book discusses the archetypes most familiar to women and pairs them with well-known stories from our childhood story times. The result is a book of stories through which women can recognize themselves, their counter archetypes (as in what archetypes they're attracting into their lives) and learn to heal themselves as a result. It's been a truly extraordinary reading experience.

Early in my reading, I came across Estes's feeling that there is a wild woman who lives deep within each of us and that, if we can set aside time to journey to her, there is great healing and expression which awaits us.

She writes:

"Each woman has potential access to Rio Abajo Rio, this river beneath the river. She arrives there through deep meditation, dance, writing, painting, prayermaking, singing, drumming, active imagination, or any activity which requires an intensive altered consciousness. A woman arrives in this world-between-worlds through yearning and by seeking something she can see just out of the corner of her eye. She arrives there by deeply creative acts, though intentional solitude, and by practice of any of the arts. And even with these well-crafted practices, much of what occurs in this ineffable world remains forever mysterious to us, for it breaks physical laws and rational laws as we know them" (p. 27).

And, this is another reminder to me to keep working with art and poetry and my dreams and following the rabbit hole as it is presented to me. My work with poems has deepened and I feel called to bring to life some of the stories which find me in the dream world. This work has haunted me for years and I just haven't made time for it...until now! For every artist must claim that gift for him or herself and then make time to come to the table and give birth to what is complete the work of a life and the work of the soul.

No comments: