A Literary Road map to Rediscovering your Feminine Power
This Summer I coincidentally and fortuitously found myself entangled in an insightful trinity of books that all provided direction for tapping into the innate source of feminine power and intuition. This eclectic list of three included a transformative modern-day memoir, an intellectual exploration of the wild woman archetype in myth, and an absurdly comedic fantasy novel. I am sharing them as a group in this post because, in a complex overlay of simultaneous book reading, they served to pry my heart and soul open in a myriad of directions this Summer. Whether you read all or just one, expect to transition into autumn on a wild wave of all that is tough, smart, and untamed in the feminine soul.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle: Wow! A memoir outlining one woman’s transition from a caged existence of societal expectations to personal freedom. In previous books Doyle shares her early metamorphosis from a woman struggling with bulimia and alcoholism to a feminine warrior who finds a powerful place of redemption and meaning in motherhood and marriage. These topics are also touched on in Untamed, however the spotlight of this narrative is Glennon’s realization that she had fallen in love with a woman. A complete restructuring of both her family and inner landscape are required to once again be whole and true to herself. It would be a mistake to categorize this book as simply a memoir. This book is a manifesto that calls on all women to carefully look inward and outward for the socialized perspectives and beliefs that serve to keep women imprisoned, and “in their place”. The reader is awakened to the unspoken set of rules that limit the full expression women in our society. The result of which is a loss of authenticity for both men and women. Fair warning, you may find yourself staying up all night to finish this. It is that good!
Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D: This book is a classic from the early 90’s. A deeply perceptive look into the feminine archetypes found in myth and stories worldwide. The author shares enduring myths and stories from a variety of cultures. Each is followed by an analysis of the hidden symbolic teachings of women’s mysteries that remain intact despite centuries of efforts by patriarchal forces to remove pre-Christian, Goddess, and feminine spirituality content. This book had been waiting for me on my book shelf for a couple of years before I pulled it out to read on vacation this year. A week later, mid-vacation, Glennon Doyle’s book Untamed was recommended to me. I promptly downloaded it and began reading both books simultaneously. I soon realized that I was moving back and forth between an intellectual analysis of ancient teachings articulating how to uncover the fierce nature of the feminine soul, and a modern day example of a woman going through this very same trial by fire to become whole. This book is a book for all, but especially for story tellers, dreamers, intellectuals, and soul seekers. It is the kind of book you keep on your book shelf for future references long after your first read.
Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett: The coming of age story of Eskarina, a young witch…or possibly a wizard. She was the eighth son of the eighth son…except she was actually girl. A complication which eventually creates a considerable upsetting of the apple cart of societal norms. The powerful (and hilariously practical) Granny Weatherwax agrees to mentor Eskarina but soon realizes that Esk’s power is of a dual nature, and Granny would (reluctantly) need to seek outside assistance. Thus begins a journey of biting and hilarious satire that upends every gender stereotype as the reader chuckles along for the ride.
Equal Rites is my fave book among many Terry Pratchett Discworld faves. Granny Weatherwax’s earthy wisdom resonates in my bones, and somehow I still giggle at the insightful absurdities EVERY SINGLE time. I had just finished a re-read before beginning the first two books on this list earlier this month. Realistically though, Equal Rites would have been included in any feminist favourite booklist of mine whether I had just read it or not. (Off topic but just in case you love this book, I reviewed another Terry Pratchett book, Thief of Time, a while back when I was preparing to take my family to live in the Dali Lama’s village in the Himalayas. Hilarity rather than history but really served to wet my boys interest in monks and prayer wheels).
As I write this book review Cardi B is defending her new WAP video that is igniting a fever of objections disproportionate to any leveled at the misogynistic and sexually explicit lyrics and images of male rap performers. Kamala Harris has been chosen to be Joe Biden’s running mate however her strengths are sidelined by a flurry of the same timeless terms of denigration used to belittle female strengths throughout history. She is “Nasty”, “Unpleasant”, and apparently dares to not smile and stroke the ego of every male who disagrees with her. The news is full of reports that women are losing their jobs at a much higher rate than men in COVID times. This is partially due to their higher representation in the lower paid service industry professions hit hardest by the pandemic, and also because the family workload has never been equally shared despite most women working outside the home. A disparity simply highlighted by the pandemic.
Every woman knows that the list of inequity could go on for pages. These are simply the headlines today that are screaming loudly and desperately that there is still work to do, that the world needs the raw, untamed, fierce, powerful, healing, and loving energy of the wild woman, as much as (if not more than) it ever has. To that end, pick up one (or all) of these three unapologetic celebrations of the divine feminine and tap into the undomesticated intuition of your wild woman soul today.