Friday, March 7, 2014

Wild Soul

Untie the Strong Woman: Blessed Mother's Immaculate
Love for the Wild Soul

by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Posted by: DailyOM

Call her Our Lady, La Nuestra Señora, Holy Mother--or one of her thousands of other names," says Dr. Estés. "She wears hundreds of costumes, dozens of skin tones, is patroness of deserts, mountains, stars and oceans. Thus she comes to us in billions of images, but at her center, she is the Great Immaculate Heart." With Untie the Strong Woman, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés invites us to reconnect with "the fierce and loving Blessed Mother who is friendly, but never tame--she who flies to our aid when the road is long and our hearts are broken, ever ready to rekindle the inner fire of our creative souls." In her first book in more than a decade, Dr. Estés illuminates Our Lady through blessings, images, and narrative, including:

-- Stories of connecting with the Blessed Mother, including "Meeting the Lady in Red," and "Untie the Strong Woman"

-- Blessed Mother's many images from around the world, including "Litany of The Mother Road: A Chant of Her Incandescent Names;" "A Man Named Mary;" and "The Marys of Mother Africa"

-- The wild side of her love, including "Massacre of the Dreamers: The Maiz Mother;" "Holy Card of Swords Through the Heart;" and "Guadalupe is a Girl Gang Leader in Heaven"



I have met her many grateful witnesses: the lonely and all who have been abandoned. She reminds all that she leaves no one stranded — not the despairing, not the devastated. I find she reminds again and again that Creator and despair cannot exist in the same place at the same time.

She has reunited people and creatures w ho have lost one another. She visits those imprisoned, whether in a rhetoric or whether in paper, golden, or iron cages. She carries souls a cross the cold deserts of cultural pollutions and harming constraints.

She infuses strength into the many who are threatened with physical and spiritual deaths; she is intercessor in their hardships — in the deceptions, thefts, and the death cults of our times. She is a bringer of the “aerial viewpoint,” seeing the greater soul-picture in ever y thing around us — in our parents, our families, our children, our cultures, our own spirits, as well as in “what lies beneath in treasure, as well as in as-yet-undeveloped and misunderstood terrain.”

She is drawn to those who have experienced travail, challenge, especially including those trials that she herself faced: she, when carrying her Child, was not believed, was not accepted, was not found worthy by her culture, yet she sheltered the Truth and he Light. She fled as an immigrant to a foreign country, and without proper papers, in order to keep her Child safe.

She knows the rows. She has hoed them.

This is why she is cal le d La Nuestra Señora, Our Lady, because she is a mother instinctively and soulfully—and no one, no nation, no politic, no religious skepticism of her time or any era could turn her away from her profundity as protectress.

There by, she is ours, and we are hers. We belong to her. She belongs to us. No qualifiers, no proof is required.

She has been called Advisor, Helper, Intervener, Mediatrix. Yet, to reduce Our Lady to a mere coping mechanism and by saying she has no rational function, grit, or imagination, as some have ventured, is to say that Yahweh Jehovah must have just been a weekend hobbyist who took seven days off to make some “stuff.”

That’s not it at all. La Madre Grande is a force of Nature intrinsically inlaid with the profound creativity—of bringing, teaching, showing, sheltering, all the attributes of mothering in this world and beyond.

La Madre, Nuestra Señora, Our Mother, continues regardless of those who say she did or did not appear to whomsoever; did or did not enter a household; did or did not lay hands on; did or did not heal; did or did not speak love to everything and everyone.

As vast intercessor, she is essential to Tikkun Olam, the Hebraic words meaning “repair of the soul of the world.” She is essential to the concept Of Ometeotl, the Nahuatl/Aztec word meaning “the one who enters the world from highest heaven to sweep clear the two-way path between the great earthly and heavenly hearts once again.”

In these ways she has granted many of us, myself included, relationship so many times. I fully admit: Her fingerprints are all over me. Perhaps they are all over you, too. I hope so. Her palm prints are on my shoulders from trying to steer me in various proper and difficult directions—such as the path of a long and hard-won education for which I, as a welfare mother, had little means.

Mi Guadalupe was the real ways during those “decades of nights” it took to earn degrees, and even more, to earn a place to live in a world that so shuns those not like the over-class. She whispered, “I crossed a long desert with little means, and so can you.”

She is no little thing. I have the literal experience of the strength of her great arms holding me up when I thought I would die: her arms held me tight as I struggled to hold up my fainting adult daughter in the shower, me fully clothed standing in the rain of the shower, my poor daughter naked and soaking wet as she miscarried her beloved and long-awaited child. I do not know how I, or we, could have stood alone without Our Mother.

There have been better times and far, far worse times—and in those, many a time not knowing where to go for solace, finding no place to rest in the storm of loss and grief, I have lain against Mi Madre’s breasts sucking for strength to go on. And, in some way, often in some strange, at first unrecognizable way, strength has been granted.

During a recent struggle with a misdiagnosis of terminal illness for which I was given but four months left to live, she took off her vesica piscus of rayos and bade me pass through her fiery corona, burning away my terror and grief time and again.

She has warmed me with love, and warned me in prescient ways. She has allowed me to put my hands inside her hands to help others, responded forcefully and positively to healing petitions for family members, friends, and strangers.

She has answered petitions for recoveries and abatement of threats, harms, wounds, fears, exiles, luchas, struggles of many kinds. She has answered in her way, not my way.

And still I am terribly deficient—and in all my failures, I ever find her dusty hem beside me, her voice saying, “Rise.”

There are times I wonder if maybe my discontent with the soullessness of some parts of the world is because I was just born in a semi-permanent bad mood...but being near her, even though it’s not easy most times, all I ever want to do is struggle to love, and then try to love some more.

I try to remember, as my drollest grandmother used to say, “Just think of how much worse we all would have turned out without her.”

Perhaps most powerful of all, I pray to Our Lady daily with thousands of other old women throughout the world. I do not have all the answers, but I carry the essential conviction that Our Lady cannot resist listening to a gaggle of such comic, imperfect, devout, and lively old souls like us—like you and me, regardless of our number of years on earth.

Too, Our Mother, La Señora, Our Lady is carried forth in prayer, petition, and praise by men and women and children of every age, and daily for she is on the side of life and she is for the world—all of it, not just some of it, not just those who have been “certified.”

We call such members, Las Marías. If you have a feel for her; if you desire a deeper guidance of more than the mundane kind; if you fear something precious will be lost or something dear will not come to fruition; if you have a hope of healing for others who suffer; if you wish to know her radiant Child of Love; if you need a sign, guidance, a word of kindness, a drink of water on the long dry road, please come join us in this invisible but palpable worldwide sodality.

She is not called “Ivory Tower” and “Tower of Light” for nothing. Rise up, come forward, there is a Lady waiting, a Lady who knows you by name, and who knows the way through and the ways forward by heart.

People often ask me how I pray to her. I’ve a thousand prayers I’ve been given by the desert and the dirt, by blood wrongly spilled, by counting the cavities in Death’s back teeth, but there is one prayer I return to with Our Lady time and again, for it is the only prayer thus far given to me personally by her.

It is oddly sweet, isn’t it, that one who writes so much and walks long with Our Lady asking her over these seven decades of my life to please grant me words enough to help and heal others—yet when I asked for myself, thinking maybe there might come a paragraph at least, perhaps even a page—instead came this.

And it is this prayer then, the one that follows, and I so deeply invite you to join me in our praying it together, even though the personal prayer Our Lady granted me is only one word long:


This means, Please show me. Please teach me.

I know Our Lady hears this prayer no matter from where in the universe is it released, for there is one thing Creator cannot do—one thing that Our Mother, the Great Woman, cannot do—that is, they cannot not love us.

Whatever we need to see, be shown, be inspirited by—the summons is the same:


Please show me. Please teach me.




In ancient times, this word, Aymen, meant, “Let it be so. May it come to pass.”And thus may it be for us all.

From the book: -em-Untie the Strong Woman: Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Love for the Wild Soul-/em- by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD. Copyright © 2011 Untie the Strong Woman by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD. To be published in November 2011 by Sounds True.
Published by Sounds True

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