Women Who Run With the Wolves is a pretty big deal in fairy tale and feminist literature. It’s been praised by people like Maya Angelou and Alice Walker, cited by hundreds of people, and sold over a million copies. It really helped to define the feminine perspective of fairytales. Originally published in ‘96. I’m pretty sure A&E have read this book. The purpose of the book is the following:
“Folklore, fairy tales and dream symbols are called on to help restore women’s neglected intuitive and instinctive abilities in this earthy first book by a Jungian analyst. According to Estés, wolves and women share a psychic bond in their fierceness, grace and devotion to mate and community. This comparison defines the archetype of the Wild Woman, a female in touch with her primitive side and able to rely on gut feelings to make choices.” - Publisher’s Weekly
Essentially, Dr. Estés (a clinical psychologist and ethnologist) visited various cultures and did research and collected many fairy tales and myths in their original forms, and all of this research led her to believe that women, like wolves, naturally have great instincts, fierceness and compassion, and that many of the fairy tales and folklore in their original forms confirm this description of women, but through the years, due to patriarchy and Christianity or whatever, the stories were changed and the true nature of women was either erased or looked down upon. Society has taught us to be “nice” and “quiet”, and our innately intuitive and strong natures have been called nosy, promiscuous, bitchy etc. so we have learned to suppress them. But she found by uncovering these fairy tales and myths in their original forms that they show how these stories teach women how to get in touch with their wild side that society has long since taught us to hide.
From the introduction of the book:
“My life and work as a Jungian psychoanalyst, poet, and cantadora, keeper of the old stories, have taught me that women’s flagging vitality can be restored by extensive “psychic-archeological” digs into the ruins of the female underworld. By these methods we are able to recover the ways of the natural instinctive psyche, and through its personification in the Wild Woman archetype, we are able to discern the ways and means of woman’s deepest nature.”
“The title of this book, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, came from my study of wildlife biology, wolves in particular. The studies of the wolves Canis lupus and Canis rufus are like the history of women, regarding both their spiritedness and their travails. Healthy wolves and healthy women share certain psychic characteristics: keen sensing, playful spirit, and a heightened capacity for devotion. Wolves and women are relational by nature, inquiring, possessed of great endurance and strength. They are deeply intuitive, intensely concerned with their young, their mates, and their pack. They are experienced in adapting to constantly changing circumstances’ they are fiercely stalwart and very brave. Yet both have been hounded, harassed, and falsely imputed to be devouring and devious, overly aggressive, of less value than those who are their detractors.”
“Fairy tales, myths and stories provide understandings which sharpen our sight so that we can pick out and pick up the path left by the wildest nature. The instruction found in story reassures us that the path has not run out, but still leads women deeper, and more deeply still, into their own knowing. The tracks we all are following are those of the wild and innate instinctual Self.”
“Once they have regained her…their relationships gain meaning and depth and health; their cycles of sexuality, creativity, work and play are re-established…They know instinctively when things must die and when things must live; they know how to walk away, they know how to stay.”
“The wild nature has a vast integrity to it. It means to establish territory, to find one’s pack, to be in one’s body with certainty and pride regardless of the body’s gifts and limitations, to speak and act in one’s behalf, to be aware, alert, to draw on the innate feminine powers of intuition and sensing, to come into one’s cycles, to find what one belongs to, to rise with dignity, to retain as much consciousness as possible.”
OUAT is the story of Emma getting in touch with her innate wolf nature aka her intuition, ferocity, sexuality, creativity and natural rhythm.
Among “true wolves”, two species are recognized: Canis lupus (often
known simply as “gray wolves”), which includes 38 subspecies, such as
the gray, timber, arctic, tundra, lobos, and buffalo wolves. The other
recognized species is the red wolf (Canis rufus), which are smaller and
have longer legs and shorter fur than their relatives. Many scientists
debate whether Canis rufus is a separate species!