For a long time -- since 2004 -- ideas had been burbling around in my head about women, creativity, and building a new identity in later life, in a society that doesn't value post-menopausal females. Reading Estes in February 2007 was part of my probing; I didn't know that it would start me off in a new direction, nor that, come autumn, I would barely have scratched the surface of my hero's journey.
Estes deconstructs old fairytales and folk stories for the wisdom they contain about how social forces dismember women's psyche, creativity, and central soul identity. The points that most impressed me in this book are:
- The wild female nature is creative and connected to spirit. Estes schema is that soul is a universal force that incarnates physically to know itself. Spirit inhabits the body and is the messenger between ego and soul. But ego is limited, afraid, and selfish. It sees the light of soul and entraps spirit, wanting to be close to it.
- Entrapment includes trying to be the good girl/woman, behaving to please others, giving up art for money and things, a marriage and children.
- Eventually, one must connect to the wildness within to be whole.