There is an old woman who lives in a hidden place that everyone knows but few have ever seen. As in the fairy tales of Eastern Europe, she seems to wait for lost or wandering people and seekers to come to her place.
She is circumspect, often hairy, always fat, and especially wishes to evade most company. She is both a crower and a cackler, generally having more animal sounds than human ones.
The sole work of La Loba is the collecting of bones. She is known to collect and preserve especially that which is in danger of being lost to the world. Her cave is filled with the bones of all manner of desert creatures: the deer, the rattlesnake, the crow. But her specialty is said to be wolves.
She creeps and crawls and sifts through the montanas, mountains, andarroyos, dry river beds, looking for wolf bones, and when she has assembled an entire skeleton, when the last bone is in place and the beautiful white sculpture of the creature is laid out before her, she sits by the fire and thinks about what song she will sing.
And when she is sure, she stands over the criatura, raises her arms over it, and sings out. That is when the rib bones and leg bones of the wolf begin to flesh out and the creature becomes furred. La Loba sings some more, and more of the creature comes into being; its tail curls upward, shaggy and strong. And La Loba sings more and the wolf creature begins to breathe.
And still La Loba sings so deeply that the floor of the desert shakes, and as she sings, the wolf opens its eyes, leaps up, and runs away down the canyon.
Somewhere in its running, whether by the speed of its running, or by splashing its way into a river, or by way of a ray of sunlight or moonlight hitting it right in the side, the wolf is suddenly transformed into a laughing woman who runs free toward the horizon.
So it is said that if you wander the desert, and it is near sundown, and you are perhaps a little bit lost, and certainly tired, that you are lucky, for La Loba may take a liking to you and show you something – something of the Soul.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With The Wolves. Pp.26-28.
I do not remember when started the time I wandered as a bundle of bones lost somewhere in the desert. I remember that was long ago, perhaps in late childhood, perhaps in early adolescence. The remembrances are lost with time, and just the memories remains. But I remember when La Loba found me in a dark night, as I wait the sound check of a rock band from the international music scene. La Loba breathed into my ear is your responsibility to recover their parts, their bones, the indestructible force of life. I looked into the eyes of La Loba, and cried like a long time I did not. I did not know where I had left it, did not know the way. So La Loba began to sing a whispered low song.
Ísis, Astarte, Diana, Hécate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna
La Loba, the one that has many names. One who knows, it is the source of the feminine. The intuition, clairvoyance, who which listens carefully and has the true heart. She is the creator of the cycles, is the life force (Estes, 1994).
And La Loba sang louder than the ground shakes digging up a bone. And then La Loba whispered all that is lost can be found, all that is dead can be resurrected. So my first task was to learn to understand within me that I should let to live and what I should let to die. And in the process I should walk through the inner and outer worlds collecting my bones. And when my skeleton was complete, La Loba would sing about it and bring back the creature, my soul indestructible. Many nights passed until I find all my bones. Many expeditions to the underworld. Many masters, friends and relatives helped me along the way. But most of the road I travel alone, for La Loba said that this was an individual journey. Then one day I meet La Loba with all my bones in a bag. La Loba then smiled, and said it was a long journey, no is? And she began to sing and immediately began to cover the flesh from the bones. You know how it feels like your soul? La Loba said. I said yes, I’ve been with them. They recognized me and I recognized them. We are one. And La Loba sang until the meat is all covered with a reddish coat, except in the neck, back, legs that were black while the tip of the tail and ears and neck were white below. And La Loba said, so is your soul, there are places bright red as the sun’s rays, there are places black as night is dark and light areas like the moon. A female maned wolf. Now La Loba said you have to learn to live as a wolf inside you, its wild nature.
The maned wolves and women have many features in common: both species are threatened with extinction, have great strength and resistance, persisting despite adversity. They are intuitive, independent, agile and elegant. They have a keen perception, playfulness and a capacity for devotion. Adapt to the ever changing environment. They are fierce and brave in defending their territory and its pups (Estes, 1994).
I find La Loba whenever I hear a song that makes my mind stop the past and present time. When I play drum. When I walk in the woods and find a pit viper, a pampas deer or peccary. She comes to me when I read a book. Sometimes just a word, a phrase or an image to remind me who I am and my true home. Lately, I feel she is more often by my side when watching movies with British actor Richard Armitage.
I admire Richard Armitage because he is a good storyteller. The best stories are the real stories, and he has the talent to make their characters and their histories real. There is a creative world around him, not just because he is an actor, but because it inspires the exercise of creativity. It delights me. And in this enchanted state I find myself with La Loba, and I can access the symbolic life, which according to Carl G. Jung (1968), places the individual in touch with the needs of his spirit, that is, the meaning of his life, with the deeper layers of the psyche.The tales I write, its symbolism, act as a mechanism of liberation and transformation of psychic energy. And so my soul wolf begins to gain a woman’s legs.
References and Subtitles
Estes, C.P. 1994. Women who run with the wolves: myths and stories of the wild woman archetype. Editora Rocco, Rio de Janeiro.
Jung, C. G. et al. (1968). Man and his symbols. Dell Publishing, Random House, Inc.
Figure 1. Ishtar Inanna Mesopotamian Goddess Statue. Available in http://archaicgifts.com/item/AT/Ishtar__Inanna_Mesopotamian_Goddess_Statue/ATD-086SM.htm
Figure 2. Lion and maned wolf skeletons. Credit UCL Grant Museum of Zoology / Matt Clayton. Available in
Figure 3. Author Unknown
Figure 4. Maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus). Photo Mark Jones. Available at
Figure 5. Richard Armitage. Photo Project Magazine . Available in