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Wise Words
Our authors and book editors offer these choice written selections for your contemplative reading and inspiration.

Clarissa Pinkola Estés: Untie the Strong Woman

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With needles and thread, soft red felt, and white ink, I carefully appliqued and shaped words, extra leaves, branches, and birds onto a bought quilt to hang over my bed to serve as a doorway to sleep.

I named this doorway Totus Tuus ego sum María, for it is a love letter to the Great Woman, a letter constantly being written and delivered, a letter from the heart that says, “I am yours completely mi Madre. Please pray for me and stay with me Blessed Mother.”

In a world that is often heart-stopping in horror and breath-taking in beauty, but too often scraped down to the bone by those who leak scorn with such soul-sick pride, it is the Blessed Mother, who is so unspeakably gracious with brilliant inspirations that pour into us—if we listen, if we watch for them.

Thus, there is such blessed reason to seek out and remain near this great teaching force known worldwide as Our Lady, La Nuestra Señora, and most especially called with loyalty and love, Our Mother, Our Holy Mother. Our very own.

She is known by many names and many images, and has appeared in different epochs of time, to people across the world, in exactly the shapes and images the soul would most readily understand her, apprehend her, be able to embrace her and be embraced by her.

She wears a thousand names, thousands of skin tones, thousands of costumes to represent her being patroness of deserts, mountains, stars, streams, and oceans. If there are more than six billion people on earth, then thereby she comes to us in literally billions of images. Yet at her center is only one great Immaculate Heart. Since we staggered out of the Mist eons ago, we have had irrevocable claim to Great Mother. Since time out of mind, nowhere is there a feminine force of more compassion and understanding about the oddities and lovability of the wild and wondrous variations to be found in human beings.

Nowhere is there found a greater exemplar, teacher, mentor than she who is called amongst many other true names, Seat of Wisdom.

In Blessed Mother’s view, all are lovable; all souls are accepted, all carry a sweetness of heart, are beautiful to the eyes; worthy of consciousness, of being inspired, being helped, being comforted and protected—even if other mere humans believe foolishly or blindly to the contrary.

If, following in the pathways laid down in the stories of the “old believers,” if after the old God Yahweh Jehovah who seemed to spend inordinate time creating and destroying, thence came to us in huge contrast, the God of Love—then Our Blessed Mother is the ultimate Mother Who Gave Birth to Love.

She is the Mother who ascended whole, the Mother who has lived through wars, conquests, conscriptions. The Mother who has been outlawed, done outrage to, squelched, carpet bombed, hidden, stabbed, stripped, burnt, plasticized, and dismissed.

Yet she survived—in us and for us—no matter who raised a hand against her or attempted to undermine her endless reach. She is writ into every sacred book, every document of the mysteries, every parchment that details her as Wind, Fire, Warrior, Heart of Gold, La que sabe, the One Who Knows, and more.


more from Clarissa Pinkola Estés:


The Dangerous Old Woman
The Dangerous Old Woman
$39.18
more details
Untie the Strong Woman
Untie the Strong Woman
$22.46
more details
Women Who Run With the Wolves
Women Who Run With the Wolves
$18.71
more details

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