Women Who Run with the Wolves

By Clarissa Pinkola Estés,

Book cover of Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

Book description

First published three years before the print edition of Women Who Run With the Wolves made publishing history, this original audio edition quickly became an underground bestseller. For its insights into the inner life of women, it established Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes as one of the most important voices of…

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Why read it?

10 authors picked Women Who Run with the Wolves as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I feel that this is a book that every woman should read because it delves into the deeper lessons behind the folk tales ingrained in our psyches, which have been twisted with time to fit a patriarchal narrative.

Estés is a master storyteller herself; therefore, this book stays with you and keeps giving throughout the challenges you face in your life.

From Zuza's list on wild foods and ancient ways.

I first read Women Who Run With The Wolves 30 years ago and loved it.

Clarissa Pinkola Estés is a born storyteller, having grown up in an extended family where story-telling was a beloved daily tradition practiced by old and young alike. As a young adult, Clarissa became a Jungian analyst. For her doctorate, she travelled the world, seeking out tribal peoples and communities where the traditional stories were still told. These stories were to become the core of her doctoral thesis and this book.

Rereading this book after 30 years elicited palpable excitement in me. I recognized so many…

I never, never, never want to meet this author. This book had me crying on every page and at 520 pages it is a really long book. How dare she expose my soul warts and all to the world? That book set my soul free in a way that few other books have. If you want to face yourself and be yourself! Read this book.

From Irene's list on being a Black mother.

This is not a novel, but an extraordinary exploration of fairy stories, their meaning and their psychological significance. Women who run with the Wolves is an amazing work of scholarship, though it’s sometimes simplistic, and takes some digesting. Clarissa Pinkora Estes is herself a fine storyteller. Each section begins with her retelling of a well-known fairy story, sparse, unadorned, and very powerful. She then writes about its meaning, referring to psychological conditions that are related to the story. She maintains that understanding the story helps us to understand ourselves, our motives and fears, our inhibitions, and how we might move…

I am in love with Women Who Run with the Wolves! I was given a copy of it a few years ago, and though I'd read parts of it in the past, this time it felt like every word was written for me! I have been transformed by reading this book, and I now use it as a source book for teaching my women’s groups. Every time I read a passage, I feel deeply connected to my soul and my wild nature and am reminded of what I know deep within: that I am powerful beyond belief when I…

This book broke ground by bringing the ancient art of storytelling as a teaching tool into our modern times to inform us about our instinctual feminine nature. Like eating cheesecake, it is difficult to fully consume too much of it in one sitting. Each story is meant to be tasted and savored. Slowly. Pinkola-Estes’ words are beautifully lyrical and the wisdom conveyed by her collection of fairytales and folk tales is meant to bypass the limitations of our rational mind, penetrate our psyche, and nourish us at the deepest levels.

From Anita's list on the archetypal feminine.

This nonfiction classic reminds us that every fairy tale is a collective dream, and by exploring, retelling, and sharing its wisdom, we develop our calling as individuals and societies. Other great Jungian authors have done similar interpretations of fairy tales like dreams of how to live. But I love this one for its deep dive into feminine archetypes—because the wisdom of the feminine is what leads us to that watery, creative, inner world where dreams are made, a world sorely neglected in our achievement-focused world. Written with the haunting cadence of a fairy tale itself, this book is so much…

From Mindi's list on dream-like fairy tales.

Women Who Run with the Wolves is a classic; I can’t recommend it enough to anyone interested in the fascinating interplay between myth and fairytale, the female psyche, and the journey of self-discovery—in the literal and psychological woods. This book has led me to think much more deeply about the female archetypes present in both my solo travels and in my personal development (of course, the two are deeply interconnected). I am currently on my second reading of this epic book, and the tales shared and their profound interpretations continue to twine with my life in wild and unexpected ways.…

Dr. Estes’ book is seminal. Using her knowledge of symbols, this Jungian psychologist and cantadora, teaches women lessons about how we live our lives via fables from around the world. A deeply spiritual book, Women Who Run with the Wolves, is not a quick read. It is one that must be savored, chewed upon, digested, and internalized. After decades, I still pull this guide to life from my bookshelf and find something new each time. I recommend this book to every woman, young and old. Decades after discovering it, it is still my “go-to” book for lessons in living…

From Brenda's list on changing my way of viewing the world.

The archetype of the Wild Woman is a powerful figure, and Clarissa Pinkole Estes walks you through the myths and stories of healing and reconnecting, illuminating the pitfalls and triumphs of wild empowerment in our culture. You can find your own stories of trauma in these pages, as well as guidance on finding your way to your inner primal and powerful self. 

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