Your Inner Wild Woman – the Key to Your Authentic Self and Soul

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By midlife, a woman may become conscious of some of the ways her culture has over-domesticated her, causing her to become more aware of her own wild and instinctual animal nature. This wild woman archetype within a woman’s psyche is an expression of her innate, soulful essence. Many women within patriarchy become socialized in a way that leads them to be overly civilized and domesticated from the very moment they’re born. This domestication affects the way a woman expresses her sexuality and forms new relationships.

Archetypes: A Female Connection

The wild woman is the soul in all women.

An archetype is a difficult concept to define, but in short, it is an energetic force that is preexistent and predetermined. As an analogy, an acorn inheres to an oak, just as the wild woman archetype is innate to all women. The imprint of archetypal energy is relatively stable and predictable; it is the first or original pattern (arkhe), model, or type (typos). Archetypes are, a priori, instinct types, which provide the occasion and pattern for our activities as instinctual human beings.

The wild woman archetype is the first pattern of a woman before any culturalization or exposure to society takes place. Although she has been around forever, the wild woman was named and brought out of the shadows by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés in her best-selling book, Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, published in 1992. Something so mysterious and vast should not be delimited by definition, but we can think of this archetype as the innate instinctual Self and personification of the natural instinctive psyche. The wild woman is the soul in all women, as well as the soul embodied in an individual human woman.

The Wild Woman in Everyday Life

Relationships can serve as the alchemical vessels of a woman’s psychological transformation as struggles cause us to examine our values, beliefs, and ideals to determine what is authentically ours and what we have absorbed through our own culture. The struggles experienced in relationships — and within our own sexuality — may be the catalysts that bring a woman into deeper engagement with the psyche and into the realm of the wild woman archetype. This is explored as a psychological developmental process that occurs at midlife, as described in Carl Jung’s notion of individuation (the psychological journey towards wholeness).

Through this transformation process and reconnection with our unique personal values, we connect with our instinctual, embodied wisdom that is core to the wild woman archetype.  

When a woman becomes conscious of the wild woman archetype, she then becomes free to explore life and relationships — on her own terms.

How to Tap into Your Innate Wild Woman

Once we discover our inner wild woman, doors seem to appear and open where we had previously seen none.

We can see the wild woman archetype awakening in us through our instinctual body wisdom and knowledge. That sense of a gut reaction — or “women’s intuition” — stems from her. She will communicate to us through dreams, imagination, fantasy, and symbolic language. She may present herself as an animal, such as a bear, in our own dreams. We often yearn to build a relationship with her over time as she appears intimidating in the beginning. Eventually, when the relationship is strong, we realize that it is not so much that she is awakening in us as much as she is awakening us to her.

By the time we are conscious of her and have developed trust in her, we realize that she is the one who is dreaming us forward and impelling our creative life into being, thus co-creating our life with us. We realize that our conscious personality is actually in service to her and within our own psyche. Ideas begin to flow and spring forth in abundance. Our task then becomes to choose the ideas we want to implement with her. When we are acting from this place, energy flows and unfolds in ways that seem almost magical at times. Once we discover our inner wild woman, doors seem to appear and open where we had previously seen none. With this newfound perspective, we are able to elevate our potential to a whole new level — one that enables us to fulfill our needs and goals while tapping into our authentic Self and soul.

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Stacey Shelby, Ph.D., is an author, speaker, and depth psychotherapist. Her 2018 book: Tracking the Wild Woman Archetype: A Guide to Becoming a Whole In-divisible Woman is available on