We live during a time of awakening consciousness, a time in which we are exploring ways to bring the Sacred Feminine to a more central focus in our lives, in order to stop the wars, bring compassion to all, and nurture our Earth Mother who gives us everything we need.
In a time of great change such as we live in today, it is critical, perhaps even a life-or-death matter, to explore the idea of women connecting with their deepest inner knowing and powerful creative energy to find their passion and transform the world.
Women in Indigenous Cultures
In many Indigenous cultures around the world, from the Australian Aboriginal peoples to the Indigenous peoples of North and South America, women are considered sacred because they maintain a close connection to nature, birth, life, and death; to medicinal plants; and to spiritual knowledge.
In these ancient cultures, the Sacred Feminine is encouraged to shine forth alongside the Sacred Masculine. Both the feminine and the masculine aspects of humanity bring important wisdom and abilities to the community as a whole. The two types of energies combine within each individual to create a life-affirming balance.
Too often in modern society, the masculine qualities are valued over the feminine, creating an imbalance driven by insecurities and deep fear. When we open up to the Sacred Feminine in our lives, we restore that balance, we find confidence and integrity, and we develop the courage to move past our fears.
In The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions, Paula Gunn Allen writes:
“Traditional tribal lifestyles are more often gynocratic than not, and they are never patriarchal … In tribal gynocratic systems a multitude of personality and character types can function positively within the social order because the systems are focused on social responsibility rather than privilege. They feature even distribution of goods among all members of the society on the grounds that First Mother enjoined cooperation and sharing on all her children. The welfare of the young is paramount, the complementary nature of all life forms is stressed, and the centrality of powerful women to social well-being is unquestioned.”
It is only natural then, that at this important time of re-evaluating humans’ impact on the planet over the past 500 years or so, that we should return to a consideration of allowing women to step forward with their nurturing, strong-willed, and wild natures ready to make great social change. It also makes sense that we would look to the Sacred Feminine found in so many Indigenous cultures, whose wisdom can help us discover new ways to respect the Earth and to honor its abundance.
A Wild Nature Buried Within
When a woman, or any person for that matter, is in touch with their deepest inner knowing, when they can hear their "soul-voice," they feel a deep connection with the universe. They are able to follow their intuition without doubting and second-guessing themselves.
Too often in modern culture, our intuition is drowned out by to-do lists and schedules, money problems, and worries about what other people will think about us. The list of distractions goes on and on. The Wild Woman is able to let go of all of these small concerns in order to nourish what is most important for her soul: the pull of her heart toward what she really loves and what she is meant to do in the world.
Every person, in order to be whole and complete, needs to offer their truest self to the world. We all have something very special and unique to share. We need every single person on the Earth to feel free to share their gift, in order to accomplish the huge task of creating the just, sustainable world that we want to see.
We must each start within. We can begin by discovering and releasing what is wild within each of us, allowing it to open and blossom in our lives. Once we find the voice inside—the same voice that guided our Indigenous ancestors to medicinal wisdom and spiritual knowledge, then we are in touch with the Sacred Feminine, the connection to birth, life, and death that guides each of us. When we allow this voice to become stronger, when we truly listen to it and acknowledge it, we will understand what our gift is and how to share it in the world.
In her book Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D. writes of the feminine nature:
“It’s not by accident that the pristine wilderness of our planet disappears as the understanding of our own inner wild nature fades. It is not so difficult to comprehend why old forests and old women are viewed as not very important resources. It is not such a mystery.”
What Happens When Women Open Their Deepest Wild Nature?
Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D. has a doctorate in ethno-clinical psychology, meaning she is an expert on the study of groups or tribes. She works with women who wish to access their true natural self which may have been lost for any number of reasons. She consults their dreams and their memories, and explores with them certain tales, legends, and myths which pervade all cultures and reveal deep truths about the feminine soul.
Estes says, “When women reassert their relationship with the wildish nature, they are gifted with a permanent and internal watcher, a knower, a visionary, an oracle, an inspiratrice, an intuitive, a maker, a creator, an inventor, and a listener who guide, suggest, and urge vibrant life in the inner and outer worlds. When women are close to this nature, the fact of that relationship glows through them. This wild teacher, wild mother, wild mentor supports their inner and outer lives, no matter what. So the word wild here is not used in its modern perjorative sense, meaning out of control, but in its original sense, which means to live a natural life."
"With [our true nature] as ally, as leader, model, teacher, we see, not through two eyes, but through the eyes of intuition which is many-eyed. When we assert intuition, we are therefore like the starry night: we gaze at the world through a thousand eyes."
"The wild woman carries the bundles for healing; she carries everything a woman needs to be and to know … As in all art, she resides in the guts, not in the head … She whispers from night dreams, she leaves behind on the terrain of a woman’s soul a coarse hair and muddy footprints … She is the voice which says, ‘This way, this way.” … She is from the future and from the beginning of time.”
Who Is the Wild Woman Today?
The Wild Woman is one who is not afraid to reject society’s rules in order to make great change which she knows is important and necessary. Her intuition is clear and strong, and she uses it to guide her actions and strengthen her resolve. She is fiercely protective of her own children and grandchildren, her partner, her community, all sentient beings, and Mother Earth.
“No matter by which culture a woman is influenced, she understands the words wild and woman, intuitively. When women hear those words, an old, old memory is stirred and brought back to life … When we pick up her trail, it is typical of women to ride hard to catch up, to clear off the desk, clear off the relationship, clear out one’s mind, turn to a new page, insist on a break, break the rules, stop the world, for we are not going on without her any longer.”
In other words, Wild Women have rediscovered a connection with their heart and their deepest instincts, which may have been lost for years or decades. They will passionately reinvent their own lives and their world when they discover their wildish nature.
Many of the world’s great social change leaders, progressive thinkers, and tireless activists are Wild Women. Think of Julia Butterfly Hill, Rosa Parks, Margaret Fuller, and Waangari Maathai. These woman stepped outside of the normal boundaries of the society of their time, defying all odds and proceeding with what they believed in no matter what obstacles they faced.
As social movements rise during this time of expanding human consciousness, who will be the next Wild Women who will change history? Many of the newest generation of Wild Women are already beginning to ignite the world with new perspectives and an unyielding drive toward transformation. Are you one of them?