Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Wild feminine

A wonderful book I lived with for over a year by my bedside and as my bible, is the Women Who Run with the wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

I love her descriptions of the wild feminine - that hungry soul who is 'famished for a life that has meaning and makes sense', who has such creative urges that living in ease and comfort can make her feel like she is living in a famine.

"If a woman is supposed to be lady who sits with her knees kissing only each other, if she was raised to keel over in the presence of rough language, if she was never allowed anthying to drink but pasteurized milk...then when she is freed, look out! Suddenly she may not be able to drink enough of those slow-gin fizzes, she may sprawl like a drunken sailor, and her language will peel the paint off the walls. After famine, there is a fear one will again be captured someday. so one gets while the getting is good."

When creative spirit is thwarted or locked away, a wild woman becomes sad, like a wild animal kept in a zoo, no matter how pampered and fed. "Too much domestication breeds out strong and basic impusles to play, relate, cope, rove, commune..." Pinkola Estes calls these women 'instinct injured'.

A woman like this gives herself away and cannot recognize her own needs.

Pinkola Estes analysis of the Red Shoes story leads her to suggest it's overlaid on top of a matriarchal story about the onset of menarche and the taking on of 'less-mother-protected life'. Amazing, that colour red - symbolizing a woman's first blood, birth, and/or miscarriage. I have to re-read this chapter! Full of interesting information that I underlined the first time round.

Anyway, three cheers for the wild feminine! She will not subsist on crumbs, on little sips of fresh air. She will not be stifled, nor held back. "The wild force in a woman's soul demands that she have access to it all." We have adapted to captivity, but it does not suit us. Our instincts may have gone underground, but they are still steaming hot. Our bodies carry the ancient memory of being free, of feeling safe to be a woman, of being strong, sensitive, loving and fierce. All in one.

I, myself, am tired of living small, tired of squishing my 'freedom fighter' into a shoebox. I ache for all the women who are kept indoors, underwraps, who must serve and serve and never have a voice. It seems a small thing, to voice one's opinion without fear. But that voice rings out loud and clear, and clangs a bell in someone else's ear, who has the ears to listen.

I'm raving a bit here, loosening up the tight strings. While my daughter nurses a muscle spasm in her shoulder....from striving too hard, doing too much, already a little perfectionist in training at 14.....

good night,


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