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The book Women who Run with the Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes has been such an inspiration to me. In my creative professional life as well as my personal life. Well, I guess that is the same thing since my creative life is culled directly from my private life. Read about the book here. The short explanation from the back of the book is :

“Within every woman there lives a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. She is the Wild Woman, who represents the instinctual nature of women….Dr Estes unfolds rich intercultural myths, fairy tales and stories, many from her own family, in order to help women reconnect with the fierce, healthy, visionary attributes of this instinctual nature. ”

She tells stories. Stories that teach universal human truths. One of the ones that has influenced me greatly is one of the first ones she deals with in the book, the story of Bluebeard. You can read it in it’s entirety on another post here.

So in the story, “the key represents permission to know the deepest, darkest secrets of the psyche, in this case the something that mindlessly degrades and destroys a woman’s potential. ” …”Bluebeard forbids the young woman to use the one key that would bring her to consciousness.”

All of the characters in the story are different archetypes in our own psyches.

Each of the pieces of the story have a lesson for us, but I was mostly interested in showing the lesson of the key.

The lesson in the story is to use the key to look at all the parts of ourselves. All of them. This is necessary to develop our consciousness.  If we can stand the seeing of these things, this enables us to “return to our deep nature, there to be sustained in all thoughts feelings and actions.”

I plan on doing three paintings in order to illustrate this idea. In the first the figure is contemplating the key, the second, the figure is starting to use the key to her own good and the third the figure makes eye contact with the viewer to challenge them to use the key themselves. Open your doors. All of them.