Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés is an author, Jungian psychologist, and spoken word artist who has studied stories about women passed down through the generations. She wrote Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype in the 1990s, and ever since, there has been a boom of amazing wild women changing the landscape of our patriarchal society.
In this post we will explore thirty-three Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés quotes that illustrate why she was such an important figure for women all over the world.
Exploring These Clarissa Pinkola Estés Quotes
Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés is known for her breakthrough book Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype. She grew up first generation American in a small rural village near the Great Lakes, but she currently lives in the American Southwest. She is Mestiza Latina and is an advocate and activist for those without a voice.
Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés Quotes about Life
“Though fairy tales end after ten pages, our lives do not. We are multi-volume sets. In our lives, even though one episode amounts to a crash and burn, there is always another episode awaiting us and then another. There are always more opportunities to get it right, to fashion our lives in the ways we deserve to have them. Don’t waste your time hating a failure. Failure is a greater teacher than success.”
“I hope you will go out and let stories, that is life, happen to you, and that you will work with these stories… water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.”
“Go out in the woods, go out. If you don’t go out in the woods nothing will ever happen and your life will never begin.” -Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés
“How does one know if she has forgiven? You tend to feel sorrow over the circumstance instead of rage, you tend to feel sorry for the person rather than angry with him. You tend to have nothing left to say about it all.”
“It is worse to stay where one does not belong at all than to wander about lost for a while and looking for the psychic and soulful kinship one requires.” -Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Clarissa Pinkola Estés Quotes about Creativity and Curiosity
“Women’s curiosity was given a negative connotation, whereas men were called investigative. Women were called nosy, whereas men were called inquiring. In reality, the trivialization of women’s curiosity so that it seems like nothing more than irksome snooping denies women’s insight, hunches, and intuitions. It denies all her senses. It attempts to attack her fundamental power.”
“Practice listening to your intuition, your inner voice; ask questions; be curious; see what you see; hear what you hear; and then act upon what you know to be true. These intuitive powers were given to your soul at birth.” -Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés
“Asking the proper question is the central action of transformation- in fairy tales, in analysis, and in individuation. The key question causes germination of consciousness. The properly shaped question always emanates from an essential curiosity about what stands behind. Questions are the keys that cause the secret doors of the psyche to swing open.”
“Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is creative life. It is made up of divine paradox. To create one must be willing to be stone stupid, to sit upon a throne on top of a jackass and spill rubies from one’s mouth. Then the river will flow, then we can stand in the stream of it raining down.”
“I learned about the sacred art of self decoration with the monarch butterflies perched atop my head, lightning bugs as my night jewelry, and emerald-green frogs as bracelets.” -Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés
“I’ve seen women insist on cleaning everything in the house before they could sit down to write… and you know it’s a funny thing about housecleaning… it never comes to an end. Perfect way to stop a woman. A woman must be careful to not allow over-responsibility (or over-respectability) to steal her necessary creative rests, riffs, and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she “should” be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only.”
“It makes utter sense to stay healthy and strong, to be as nourishing to the body as possible. Yet I would have to agree, there is in many women a ‘hungry’ one inside. But rather than hungry to be a certain size, shape, or height, rather than hungry to fit the stereotype; women are hungry for basic regard from the culture surrounding them. The ‘hungry’ one inside is longing to be treated respectfully, to be accepted and in the very least, to be met without stereotyping.”
“Forgiveness is an act of creation. You can choose from many ways to do it. You can forgive for now, forgive till then, forgive till the next time, forgive but give no more chances it’s a whole new game if there is another incident. You can give one more chance, give several more chances, give many chances, give chances only if. You can forgive part, all, or half of the offense. You can devise a blanket of forgiveness. You decide”
Quotes About the Wild Woman and Learning About Yourself
“The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.”
“Nature does not ask permission. Blossom and birth whenever you feel like it.” -Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés
“There is a time in our lives, usually in mid-life, when a woman has to make a decision – possibly the most important psychic decision of her future life – and that is, whether to be bitter or not. Women often come to this in their late thirties or early forties. They are at the point where they are full up to their ears with everything and they’ve “had it” and “the last straw has broken the camel’s back” and they’re “pissed off and pooped out.” Their dreams of their twenties may be lying in a crumple. There may be broken hearts, broken marriages, broken promises.”
“If you have yet to be called an incorrigible, defiant woman don’t worry, there is still time.” -Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés
“As a woman gathers more years she becomes more bold, which is not the same as brave: brave is jumping in. Bold is jumping in led by angels. In age, we learn to know the difference, for certain, “Older is Bolder”.”
“A healthy woman is much like a wolf: robust, chock-full, strong life force, life-giving, territorially aware, inventive, loyal, roving.” -Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés
“Though her soul requires seeing, the culture around her requires sightlessness. Though her soul wishes to speak its truth, she is pressured to be silent.”
“Bone by bone, hair by hair, Wild Woman comes back. Through night dreams, through events half understood and half remembered…” -Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés
“And then there are the cravings.. Oh, la! A woman may crave to be near water, or be belly down, her face in the earth, smelling the wild smell. She might have to drive into the wind. She may have to plant something, pull things out of the ground or put them into the ground. She may have to knead and bake, rapt in dough up to her elbows.
She may have to trek into the hills, leaping from rock to rock trying out her voice against the mountain. She may need hours of starry nights where the stars are like face powder spilt on a black marble floor. She may feel she will die if she doesn’t dance naked in a thunderstorm, sit in perfect silence, return home ink-stained, paint-stained, tear-stained, moon-stained.”
“There is no one a wildish woman loves better than a mate who can be her equal.” -Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés
“The psyches and souls of women also have their own cycles and seasons of doing and solitude, running and staying, being involved and being removed, questing and resting, creating and incubating, being of the world and returning to the soul-place.”
“Having a lover/friend who regards you as a living growing criatura, being, just as much as the tree from the ground, or a ficus in the house, or a rose garden out in the side yard… having a lover and friends who look at you as a true living breathing entity, one that is human but made of very fine and moist and magical things as well… a lover and friends who support the ciatura in you… these are the people you are looking for. They will be the friends of your soul for life. Mindful choosing of friends and lovers, not to mention teachers, is critical to remaining conscious, remaining intuitive, remaining in charge of the fiery light that sees and knows.”
“The way to maintain one’s connection to the wild is to ask yourself what it is that you want. This is the sorting of the seed from the dirt. One of the most important discriminations we can make in this matter is the difference between things that beckon to us and things that call from our souls.
Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than in the choice of mates and lovers. A lover cannot be chosen a la smorgasbord. A lover has to be chosen from soul-craving. To choose just because something mouthwatering stands before you will never satisfy the hunger of the soul-self. And that is what the intuition is for; it is the direct messenger of the soul.”
“She is often the broken-winged one, who does everything all wrong until people realize she’s been doing it… pretty right all along. She’s the poor girl who never dressed right, who had torn hose, and they were all baggy around her ankles. She’s the Raggedy Ann of the sophisticated world, who pulls it out at the last minute, flies by the seat of her pants, cackling all the way home. She is the late bloomer, the late start, the autumn bush, the winter holly. She is Baubo, all the classical Greek goddesses. She is the old girl who still blushes, and laughs, and dances. She’s the truth teller, maybe that people hate to hear, but they learn to listen to. She is not dumb and in some ways is not shrewd. She works on passion, and the doll in her pocket, and the intuition that leads her into and through all the world.”
21 Ways to Live Boldly in a Fearful World
Clarissa Pinkola Estés Quotes About Delving Into the Darkness and Changing the World
“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to men the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not give to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What we needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.”
“Sometimes there are no words to help one’s courage. Sometimes you just have to jump.” -Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés
“Tears are a river that takes you somewhere…Tears lift your boat off the rocks, off dry ground, carrying it downriver to someplace better.”
“A woman must be able to stand in the face of power, because ultimately some part of that power will become hers.” -Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés
“To be strong does not mean to sprout muscles and flex. It means meeting one’s own numinosity without fleeing, actively living with the wild nature in one’s own way. It means to be able to learn, to be able to stand what we know. It means to stand and live.”
“One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it.” -Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés
“I once dreamt I was telling stories and felt someone patting my foot in encouragement. I looked down and saw that I was standing on the shoulders of an older woman who was steadying my ankles and smiling up at me.
I said to her, “no no come stand on my shoulders, For you are old and I am Young.”
“No no” she insisted, “this is the way it is supposed to be.” I saw that she stood on the shoulders of a woman far older than she, who stood on the shoulders of a woman even older, who stood on the shoulders of a woman in robes, who stood on the shoulders of another soul, who stood on the shoulders…”
What It Means to Be Wild and Free as a Woman