I’ve just started reading Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ Women who run with the wolves. Some passages speak to me very profoundly… like the following one:
“This fact is one of the central truths… that all women must acknowledge – that both within and without, there is a force which will act in opposition to the natural self, and that that malignant force is what it is. Though we might have mercy on it, our first actions must be to recognise it, to protect ourselves from its devastations, and ultimately to deprive it of its murderous energy.
“All creatures must learn that there exist predators. Without this knowing, a woman will be unable to negotiate safely within her own forest without being devoured. To understand the predator is to become a mature animal who is not vulnerable out of naivete, inexperience or foolishness.
“The youngest sister represents a creative potential within the psyche. A something that is going toward exuberant and fissioning life. But there is a detour as she agrees to become the prize of a vicious man because her instincts to notice and do otherwise are not intact…. She is not only naive about her own mental processes , and totally ignorant about the murdering aspect of her own psyche, but is also able to be lured by pleasures of the ego…. It is to be hoped that she will finally open the door to the room where the destruction of her life lies. While it may be the woman’s actual mate who denigrates and dismantles her life, the innate predator within her own psyche concurs.
“In the tale, the sisters slam shut the door to the killing chamber. The young wife stares at the blood on the key…. now the naive self has knowledge about a killing force loose within the psyche. In this state the woman loses her energy to create, whether it be solutions to mundane matters in her life, or her concerns with compelling issues in the larger world, or with issues of spirit, her personal development, her art. This is not a mere procrastination, for it continues over weeks and months of time. She seems flattened out, filled with ideas perhaps, but deeply anaemic and more and more unable to act on them….
“We can say what we like, present the most smiling facade, but once we have seen the shocking truth of the killing room, we can no longer pretend it does not exist. And seeing the truth causes us to bleed energy even more…. A starved soul can become so filled with pain, a woman can no longer bear it. Because women have a soul-need to express themselves in their own soulful ways, they must develop and blossom in ways that are sensible to them and without molestation from others.
“Ironically, both aspects of the psyche, the predator and the young potential, reach their boiling point. When a woman understands that she has been prey, both in the outer and inner worlds, she can hardly bear it. It strikes at the root of who she is at centre, and she plans, as she must, to kill the predatory force. Meanwhile her predatory complex is enraged that she has opened the hidden door….
“When opposing elements of a woman’s psyche both reach their flashpoints, a woman may feel incredibly tired, for her libido is being drawn away in two different directions. But even if a woman is fatigued unto death with her miserable struggles, no matter what they might be, even though she be starved of soul, she must yet plan her escape; a woman must force herself forward anyway.
“This is the more profound initiation, a woman’s initiation into her proper instinctive senses wherein the predator is identified and banished. This is the moment in which the captured woman moves from victim status into shrewd-minded, wily-eyed, sharp-eared status instead.
“When women surface from their naivete, they draw with them and to themselves something unexplored… In the end several things occur. One is that the vast and disabling ability of the predator is disabled in a woman’s psyche. And second, the blueberry-eyed maiden is replaced by one with eyes awake, and third, a warrior to each side of her if she calls for them.”