Kanzeon Bodhisattva


Clarissa's Commentary On The Story Of Bluebeard:

[…] That is why the women lie as skeletons and cadavers in Bluebeard’s cellar. They learnt of the trap, but too late. Consciousness is the way out of the box, the way out of the torture. It is the path away from the dark man. And women are entitled to fight tooth and nail to have it and keep it.

In the Bluebeard story we see how a woman who falls under the spell of the predator rouses herself and escapes him, wiser for the next time. The story is about the transformation of four shadowy introjects which are in particular contention for women: have no vision, have no insight, have no voice, have no action.

In order to banish the predator, we must do the opposite. We must unlock or pry things open to see what is inside. We must use our insight and our ability to stand what we see. We must speak our truth in a clear voice. And
we must be able to use our wits to do what needs be about what we see.

When a woman is strong in her instinctual nature, she intuitively recognizes the innate predator by scent, sight, and hearing . . . anticipates its presence, hears it approaching, and takes steps to turn it away.

In the instinct-injured woman, the predator is upon her before she registers its presence, for her listening, her knowing, and her apprehension are impaired - mainly by introjects which exhort her to be nice, to behave, and especially to be blind to being misused.

Psychically, it is difficult at first glance to tell the difference between the uninitiated, who are as yet young and therefore naive, and women who are injured in instinct.

Neither knows much about the dark predator, and both are therefore still credulous. But fortunately for us, when the predatory element of a woman’s psyche is on the move, it leaves behind unmistakable tracks in her dreams. These tracks eventually lead to its discovery, capture, and containment.

The cure for both the naive woman and the instinct-injured woman is the same: Practice listening to your intuition, your inner voice; ask questions; be curious; see what you see; hear what you hear; and then act upon what you know to be true.

These intuitive powers were given to your soul at birth. They have been covered over, Perhaps by years and years of ashes and excrement. This is not the end of the world, for these always wash off. With some chipping and scraping and practice, your perceptive powers can be brought back to their pristine state again.

By retrieving these powers from the shadows of our psyches, we shall not be simple victims of internal or external circumstances.

No matter how culture, personality, psyche, or other might demand women be dressed and behaved, no matter how they may all wish to keep all females in a gaggle with ten dozing dueñas, chaperones, nearby, no matter what pressures attempt to compress a woman’s soulful life, they cannot change the fact that a woman is what she is and that this is dictated by the wild unconscious, and that it is good.

It is crucial for us to remember that when we have dark man dreams there is always an opposing power poised and waiting to help us. When we initiate wildish energy in order to balance the predator, guess who immediately shows up?

Wild Woman comes diving over whatever fences, walls, or obstructions the predator has erected. She is not an icon, to be hung on the wall like a retablo, religious painting.

She is a living being who comes to us anywhere, under any conditions. She and the predator have known each other a long, long time. She tracks him through dreams, through stories, through tales, and through women's entire lives. Wherever he is, she is, for she is the one who balances his predations.

Wild Woman teaches women when not to act “nice” about protecting their soulful lives. The wildish nature knows that being “sweet” in these instances only makes the predator smile.

When the soulful life is being threatened, it is not only acceptable to draw the line and mean it, it is required. When a woman does this, her life cannot be interfered with for long, for she knows immediately what is wrong and can push the predator back where it belongs. She is no longer naive.

She is no longer a mark or a target.

And this is the medicine that causes the key, finally, to cease its bleeding.


Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.
Woman Who Run With The Wolves:
Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
New York: Ballantine Books, 1992
P. 71-73

Read Bluebeard’s story on this site.



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