One of the best, comprehensive books I’ve read on the psychology of women is Clarissa Pinkola Estes book, Women Who Run with the Wolves. It’s the only book I’ve ever
read twice cover-to-cover and still pull it down from my bookcase to
peruse through it when preparing for a lecture or workshop on women and
divination practice. She has captured, as a soulful storyteller, the
true nature of woman. Mind you, it takes her five hundred pages in which
to do it!
Teaching Divination Practice
I have been teaching divination practice for almost 20 years, mostly
to women. They come to my class from all walks of life and range in age
from twenty-five to seventy-five. What they have in common is that
they have felt the beat of what Estes’ refers to as the “wild woman” in their breast.
Many ask, “Do I have to be psychic to read oracles?” And in apologetic tones they whisper, “Because I don’t think I’m psychic.”
I’m always surprised and dismayed. How is it possible that a woman signs up to learn divination, and still
doubts that she is psychic? She has obviously felt the flutter of the
wild woman in her breast, and intuits truths beyond the scope of logical
linear perceiving, yet she adheres sadly to that doubting, critical and
disparaging good-girl woman ruling and oppressing her true wild nature.
Forging a Bond with Wild Woman
I immediately forge a bond with that wild woman who has carried her
through the process of actually getting her to my class, and answer with
absolute conviction, “Of course you are psychic. You wouldn’t be here
otherwise. And when you graduate from this class, you will know without a
doubt that you are indeed very psychic!”
She smiles back at me. Now the wild woman who is struggling for
energy inside her, gulps in a deep, clean and relaxing breath. She
knows she is home.
”…when women connect with wild woman they are gifted with oracle.” (Estes, p. 8)
The process of learning divination must be grounded in this
knowledge. To be good at divining, a woman must regularly give the wild
woman a place to call her own.
Women throughout their study, continuously negotiate for a place in
their life for the wild woman to be free. Even Virginia Wolf, early in
the twentieth century declared that women must have a room of one’s own.
Setting boundaries around their time, privacy, and inner work, they
learn to say, “NO!”, and establish a space to practice, read, meditate,
dance, and find their way to wild woman home. It is in the core of her
being that a woman discovers a sense of the sacred. A space where
linear time has no meaning. Obligations and unconditional
responsiveness to others melts away, and numinous knowledge floods the
now open gates.
“..Asking the proper question is the central action of
transformation-in fairy tales, in analysis, and in individuation.”
“The first question is this: “What do you want?” Almost everyone
asks some version of this, just as a matter of course. But there is yet
one more essential question, and that is: “What does your deeper self
desire?” (Estes, p. 128)
An initiate of divining practice must navigate her way through a
cultural gauntlet that threatens to veer her off course all along the
way. Leading the initiation and standing guard at each of these gates
is the questioner. “What does your deeper self desire?”
The answer unmasks the gauntlet. Once we become aware of our deepest
desire, choosing not to grant ourselves that wish, brings to
consciousness all the ways in which we negate, deny, and withhold the
bounty and nourishment our soul so craves.
“To follow such a lifeless value system causes loss of
soul-linkage in the extreme. Regardless of collective affiliations or
influences, our challenge on behalf of teh wild soul an dour creative
spirit is to NOT merge with any collective, but to distinguish ourselves
from those who surround us, building bridges back to them as we
choose. We decide which bridges will become strong and well-travelled,
and which will remain sketchy and empty. And the collectives we favour
with relationship will be those that offer the most support for our soul
and creative life.”
Women Who Run with Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D. 1992