Untie the Strong Woman

Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Untie the Strong Woman
Sounds True, Boulder, CO • 2011

Mama, Madre, Maji, Mutter. Known by so many names all over the planet her heart name is the first utterance of all of humanity. She is known as the Universal Mother. Though she's been lost to many for far too long, Clarissa Pinkola Estes reconnects us with the strong nurturing force of the Holy Mother in Untie the Strong Woman. The Strong Woman, The Universal Mother is "no demure little cabbage…Quite the contrary. Blessed Mother, she who is renowned as the one able to wear the flaming, exploding fire-lakes of the Sun…She has dirty hands from growing things earthy." Estes, a beloved "cantadora" — keeper of the old stories in the Latin tradition and author of the 1990's wildly popular Women Who Run With the Wolves — uses poetry, art, blessings and consummate storytelling to celebrate the Blessed Mother who is Asian, African, Celt, Inuit, and all others, a mother without racial preference who inspires us to develop "the grace to embrace." Abre la puerta, invites Estes; open the door, and be blessed.

Estes tells "How the Great Woman Was Erased" and how she could be found by praying nine days straight if the mind didn't wander. Luckily for Estes her grandmother shared a shortcut. "Need." The Universal Mother goes where she is called, "anywhere you see compassion, you are seeing Holy Mother." She is not elusive, "The Great Woman Appears to Us Daily." She is communicating with you when you receive a sudden knowing, when you quickly change your mind or suddenly find the strength to go on. Sometimes her message is very down-to-earth. "Go here. Speak to so-and-so. Don't go. Listen to this person. Bypass that. Bless this one." Sometimes the knowing is more subtle, but if you call her "she will be there, as best you can comprehend her."

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