Women Who Run with the Wolves

Women Who Run with the Wolves
by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

The creation Mother is always also the Death Mother and vice versa. Because of this dual nature, or double-tasking, the great work before us is to learn to understand what around and about us and what within us must live, and what must die. Our work is to apprehend the timing of both; to allow what must die to die, and what must live to live.” (p.32)

Psychically, it is good to make a halfway place, a way station, a considered place in which to rest and mend after one escapes a famine. It is not too much to take one year, two years, to assess one’s wounds, seek guidance, apply the medicines, consider the future. A year or two is scant time. The feral woman is a woman making her way back. She is learning to wake up, pay attention, stop being naïve, uninformed. She takes her life in her own hands. To re-learn the deep feminine instincts, it is vital to see how they were decommissioned to begin with.” (p.272)

Do not cringe and make yourself small if you are called the black sheep, the maverick, the lone wolf. Those with slow seeing say a nonconformist is a blight on society. But it has been proven over the centuries, that being different means standing at the edge, means one is practically guaranteed to make an original contribution, a useful and stunning contribution to her culture.” (p.212)

What must I give more death to today, in order to generate more life? What do I know should die, but am hesitant to allow to do so? What must die in me in order for me to love? What not-beauty do I fear? Of what use is the power of the not-beautiful to me today? What should die today? What should live? What life am I afraid to give birth to? If not now, when?” (p.159)

If you’ve lost focus, just sit down and be still. Take the idea and rock it to and fro. Keep some of it and throw some away, and it will renew itself. You need do no more.” (p.361)

“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.” (p.57)

If you are surrounded by people who cross their eyes and look with disgust up at the ceiling when you are in the room, when you speak, when you act and react, then you are with the people who douse passions – yours and probably their own as well. These are not the people who care about you, your work, your life.” (p.115)

When women open the doors of their own lives and survey the carnage there in those out-of-the-way places, they most often find they have been allowing summary assassinations of their most crucial dreams, goals, and hopes.”

The difference between comfort and nurture is this: if you have a plant that is sick because you keep it in a dark closet, and you say soothing words to it, that is comfort. If you take the plant out of the closet and put it in the sun, give it something to drink, and then talk to it, that is nurture.” (p.350)


Metamorphosis has been on my mind of late. The process of personal transformation is akin to the butterfly’s metamorphosis from crawling caterpillar to flying creatures with vibrant wings.

The caterpillar literally outgrows its own skin in the stages of metamorphosis, and must shed its skin, (a process called “instar”), five times, to make room for its transformation into an entirely new creature.

It must find and attach itself to a place safe from predators, (usually the underside of a leaf) while it transforms.

During this process it has a voracious appetite and actually feasts on its own eggshell, which contains vital nutrients. It produces enzymes to “digest” plant nutrients and itself, as it rearranges its structure to become a new being. The shed skin is replaced by a durable, resilient layer called the chrysalis during the process of transformation.

After its metamorphosis is complete, it must allow its wet, wrinkly new wings to dry for a day, (a significant time in the short lifespan of the butterfly), in order to be strong enough to fly. It literally pumps up its wings during this time.

How does the caterpillar know when it’s time to begin transforming? It feels an internal push, which nudges it to find a safe place to cocoon. Inside the cocoon, it liquifies into a puddle of goo and a glob of DNA. It is out of that puddle of goo that the butterfly arises.

It’s all very much like the voluntarily and involuntarily transformations we undergo during major life transitions. We transform many times throughout the stages of our lives.

Transformations can be fulfilling and exciting, arduous and demanding, or deeply painful experiences of grief and loss.

Some transformations are welcomed, others make us feel like a puddle of goo.

The process of metamorphosis is called “instar.” Like the caterpillar, we shed our outgrown layers to discover our instar…our internal star.

It’s essential to nourish ourselves during our transformation and build up our resilient layers.

Give yourself time to pump up, before you try to fly or find your own ways to soar.

Caterpillars shed their skin five times before they transform into flying creatures. An average butterfly species has an adult life span of two weeks or less. No species of butterfly can live more than a year.

Considering the brevity of their life spans, shedding their skin five times is a significant number. Given the average lifespan of a human being, we shed our previous selves and our outgrown layers countless times during our lives.

The butterfly hangs upside-down to strengthen its new wings, but perhaps you can skip that part. 😊 Safe ‘in-starring’ to you!

The butterfly counts not months, but moments, and has time enough.

Rabindranath Tagore

First He Looked Confused

First he looked confused

I could not lie anymore so I started to call my dog “God.”
First he looked
then he started smiling, then he even
I kept at it: now he doesn’t even
I am wondering if this
might work on

Landlocked in fur

I was meditating with my cat the other day
and all of a sudden she shouted,
“What happened?!”

I knew exactly what she meant, but encouraged
her to say more – feeling that if she got it all out on the table
she would sleep better that night.

So I responded, “Tell me more, dear,”
and she soulfully meowed:

“Well, I was mingled with the sky. I was comets
whizzing here and there. I was suns in heat, hell – I was
galaxies. But now look – I am
landlocked in fur.”

To this I said, “I know exactly what
you mean.”

What to say about conversation between

Tukaram – 17th century Marathi poet, Dehu, India.