The Book that Changes Everything

Cover of "Women Who Run with the Wolves"

Cover of Women Who Run with the Wolves

I love books. My living room looks like a library, with floor to ceiling bookshelves on the available walls. I love reading fine words and funny words. Technical and emotional, spiritual and practical. But after all these pages flipped, there are some books that stay with you. They leave an imprint on your mind, like newsprint ink on your hand. There are some books that cause you to change during the course of reading them.

The book that sparked my transformation from scientist to spiritualist was “Women who Run with the Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. Up to that point, I rejected all things spiritual because I was disillusioned by the dogma and hypocrisy I saw in organized religions. I turned away from anything mystical and clung to the solidity of scientific reason. I found this book after a break-up with my high school sweetheart. I was looking for a book to distract me from the pain and at 537 pages, including end notes and index, I was sold.

But what I found in this book was something more than I thought possible. Estés is a scholar and a storyteller, she unwinds stories to find their core of truth. She analyzes fairy tales through the lens of archetype. The book hooked something in my linear, analytical brain and pulled it in a creative direction. Before reading this book, I only read non-fiction; after I read it, I read novel after novel. She somehow gave me the tools to see into the architecture of a story.  She taught me to see the spirit and meaning of a story and to think about how to apply those lessons in my life.

This book also gave me a glimpse of how women could be both powerful and soft, nurturing and fierce. Growing up in a family with a majority of women, this rang true for me. This book also gave me a ladder to climb out of a very low point; to grab hold of the rung of self-esteem and to keep on climbing. She told me I was worth it.

Throughout the book, Estés encourages you to hear the call of your heart. It is a profound and magical ride. I picked this book up again today, and it still holds the magic it did when I first read it sixteen years ago.

This is the power of books, of words. Books create change. Words are powerful.

What book changed your life?

What book do you need to write?


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. evilnymphstuff
    Oct 07, 2011 @ 05:40:58

    Very beautiful post! I completely know what you mean. Tons of books have changed my perceptions and have left a tattoo in my mind/heart. Especially “The Mists of Avalon” by Marion Zimmer Bradley and “The Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follet. These two are the latest ones that moved me. But in fact many other books have influenced me in a way that I somehow felt part of them… too many to list 🙂


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