I Want To Be An “Initiated Woman.”

As women we use all our senses to wring the truth from things, to extract nourishment from ideas, to see what there is to see, know what there is to know, to be the keepers of the creative fire, and to have intimate knowing about the Life/Death/Life cycles of all nature– this is an initiated woman.

“Women Who Run With The Wolves” p. 75, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Oh my.

Read that quote above again.

Use all our senses to wring truth. I’ve been denigrated by men for doing this, by family and friends. And it’s what I love to do. I listened sometimes to these naysayers and shan’t anymore, or will do my best. Look at those verbs: wring, extract, see, knowing. It’s a progression isn’t it? Damn that blesses me. I’ve taken back that word blessing. I couldn’t say it for a long while because it made me think of church, of hypocrisy, a bullshit patriarchal power system that I lived under for almost 20 years. But as I’m allowing myself to become that hippy that was always there, that my students saw, I need that word. Blessing.

In this chapter is the story of Vasalisa who finds her power through nine tasks or stages. She listens to the doll her mother has given her, which represents her intuition. Stage two has truth for me. It is about moving past compliance, past being nice all the time, past doing what others want over what I know is right for myself. This is the stage I find myself in so much and am working through. I complied with Zen Man for so many things for no reason other than getting along. Bullshit. I recently set some boundaries with a family member. I had not set boundaries to keep the peace but it wasn’t right. Look at this wisdom, “That is, to be ourselves causes us to be exiled by many others, and yet to comply with what others want causes us to be exiled from ourselves. It is a tormenting tension and it must be borne, but the choice is clear” (Estes, p. 85).

We must choose to be ourselves.

Damn that is hard.

“We have been taught to set aside acute insight to get along. However the reward for being nice in oppressive circumstances is to be mistreated more” (Estes p. 86). Isn’t that the truth? When I was married one of my sisters-in-law was a bitch. She always asked for what she needed. The other sister-in-law and I were nice and tried to get along, although she asked for more than I did even. I never asked for anything, didn’t expect special treatment and was proud of my ability to get along. Now there are things to be said for getting along, especially when an extended family is trying to plan things. All should be listened to and then a decision made that is best for most. That didn’t happen. It went her way because it was said, I don’t know if this is true, that she and her family would not attend holidays if it were not on the day she wanted. So it was always the day she wanted. This was a theme. I watched at a soccer game once as she stomped about trying to decide where she wanted to sit while the rest of us followed the queen. I hated it. I’ve always strived not to be that. But I’ve gone the other way. I’ve stifled so much of what I thought to get along, to be a good host, a good Christian, a good mom, a good girl.

Fuck the good girl.

Yes I want to be the kind girl, the one who gives, but I also deserve to be heard. In the fourth stage Vasalisa meets Baba Yaga, the Wild Hag. Her house is alive and has chicken legs! Estes writes, “This is the main fundament of the psyche of Wild Woman, a joyous wild life force…”

Again I say fuck the good girl. Let’s have more of that “joyous wild life force.” Oh she’s there. And I let her out sometimes. But I coop her up when I don’t feel comfortable with other women, when I’m around my adult children who are embarrassed by her, when my parents are unaccepting… I send her packing. And I feel the strain of it. As I wrote back in November, I push my nails into my leg to keep a pleasant face at Thanksgiving. I did this in my marriage too.

The fifth task is one I’m in right now folks. My recalibration. We are to “cleanse our thinking and renew our values” on a regular basis (Estes, p. 98). Do you know anyone who does this? Or talks about it? I feel like I’m constantly checking this and talking about it and so many aren’t there. They are just trudging trudging. I want to shake them but I just walk away and find another wild woman who listens. We are also meant to “build creative fire and cook up ideas” yassssss queen. I think this is one of my more annoying qualities but look I AM MEANT TO DO THIS. I constantly have ideas on this or that, why is that like that, hmmm look how this could be better, what if we did this? I can see how it’s annoying but fuck it I have fun with it. I have felt I’m too much too much with so many people.

In task nine Estes discusses this choosing of those around you, that you spend time and energy on. The Wild Woman needs to choose lovers who can see our hearts. When we have ideas and share them some people mock, but “right friends” will ask to understand. Estes says to look for those who support the criatura in ourselves, the moist, magical growing parts of us. God yes! That is so true. She writes of how destructive people can be to our own ideas.

Oh shiza. The next part is about asking ourselves what we want rather than choosing from what’ s in front of us. Asking what we long for, what we crave and yearn for instead of looking at what is in front of us. Once we know what we want it probably isn’t right there for the grabbing but needs a quest. A quest for pete’s sake, as in the Year of Discovery bitches? Yes that is a quest. I’m on a quest. I should not get distracted should I?

“A lover cannot be chosen from a smorgasbord. A lover has to be chosen from soul-craving. To choose just because something mouth-watering stands before you will never satisfy the hunger of the soul-Self” (Estes, p. 111).

Feck. I’m exactly doing that with The Masseuse. He looks good. And yummy. Not what my soul craves, well the first two dates were. Ha. Two. Still. There was so much there. It was 13 hours in my defense. I keep saying that like I have to defend my choices. I’m not talking to you you know. I’m arguing with myself aren’t I? I still have to see him one more time. It does help solidify things for me.

Photo by Brenda Timmermans on Pexels.com

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