In the midst of these winter blues, I've been reflecting on the things that remind me of my spark. When I'm feeling dried out or uninspired, I return to these wonderfully vibrant books that remind me of myself--of my wildness, fierceness, creativity and power. I find that it's an active practice to remind myself of these feelings. Sometimes they slip away, and we must call them back to us.
That's the message of the first book on my list, Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. This huge, sprawling book explores dozens of manifestations of the "wild woman" archetype; the part of our psyche that is tied to nature, to animals, to fierceness, to survival, to joy. This book uses myth, psychology, and poetic language to explore the wild and deep nature of our inner selves. Women are deeply related to the wolf, says Estes. We are born with deep, fierce instincts for life, for self-protection, for tenacity and vivid senses. We can tap into these attributes when we feed our inner beings. This is a great one for anyone who's lost a sense of passion, or who's searching for their sense of inner fire. When you need to remember that you are truly a wild animal, reach for this wise book.
For anyone intrigued by goddess mythology, Mysteries of the Dark Moon by Demetra George is a must-read. It explores the Divine Feminine in the form of several extremely badass goddesses: Medusa, Demeter and Persephone, Lilith, and Hecate, just to name a few. I found it riveting to read about the stories of each of these figures, and what they can represent to us today. Hecate, Queen of the Witches, particularly enthralled me. The book also talks about the cyclical nature of life, reminding us that we live in cycles of nature, of life and death. Just look at agriculture, or the turning wheel of the year, or the ever-waxing, ever-waning moon. This book reminds us that we are part of these cycles, and have been for centuries, since the times when we lived in matriarchal, goddess-worshipping societies. (There have been doubts about the scientific veracity of these claims. Personally, I find it a beautiful and healing notion to believe these matriarchal societies existed, even if we don't have evidence. It is part of our mythology, and mythology is a powerful, very real tool). If you need some goddess energy, and some knowledge of our deep-rooted history, this book will heal and help.
For some more recent history, the small but intensely informative book Witches, Midwives and Nurses by Barbara Ehrenreich & Deirdre English ties a history of women healers to the modern medical profession, showing how women have been pushed out of the role of healer in our society. Women have long been keepers of healing knowledge; centuries ago, they held the homeopathic remedies to cure ailments in the village. Then with the rise of Christian, patriarchal authority, these women were persecuted for such practice. It's an infuriating truth to read about, and Ehrenreich and English are fierce and fearless in their portrayal of this history. But it's also healing, in its own way, to learn about. I find it immensely strengthening to remember the wisdom that has been held by women for centuries upon centuries. When we read works like this, we can tap into this lineage.
Do you have books that remind you of your wildness? If so, please list them in the comments section-- I'm always looking for more!! And I'll be sure to post another batch soon. Next up for me is Witch in Every Woman by famed witch-queen-of-Salem Laurie Cabot. I can't wait. Let me know your recs below! xo