Sunday, April 27, 2008

My Inspiration: La Loba

I haven't always been as strong or self confident as I am today. There have been definite defining moments in my life that have impacted me and left a footprint on my soul. For example, this one time I was walking in the hills behind my house with a friend of mine and I was hit by this wave of calmness. I like to refer to it as a spiritual experience. It wasn't like I heard a burning bush talk to me or anything, but it was a moment where I knew no matter what that everything would be okay. It was one of those unprovoked moments that I will never forget and because I totally tripped my friend out too who I was hiking with. Another spiritual moment in my life was working the 5th step of AA. That was a very long moment and it took so much energy and emotional strain but once I told my ENTIRE life story to another person, it really was a weight off my shoulders and I realized my life really wasn't that bad. There were little moments in my life that I will never forget and for some reason the story of La Loba, the wild women who lives in the desert, has been one of those stories that will always be with me because it continues to give me strength whenever I think about it.I was reading this book by Clarissa Estes called Women Who Run With the Wolfs. It's a pretty ironic story how I got the book because my ex-boyfriend, a total control freak, got it for me at the thrift store and it ended up being a wonderful book on women empowerment. In the book, Estes collects and retells old stories and myths that are filled with wisdom. This is her story of La Loba, the Bone Woman.

It has been said that there is an old woman who lives in a hidden place and waits for wondering people and seekers to come to her place. She is always fat, often hairy, and wishes to evade most people. She is a cracker and crower, making more animal sounds then human sounds.

La Loba's sole purpose is to collect bones, mostly the collection and preserving of bones that are in danger of being lost to the world. Her cave is full of all types of desert creatures: the deer, the rattlesnake, and the crow but her specialty is the the collection of wolf bones. She crawls and sifts through the mountains and dry river beds looking for wolf bones. Once she finds a complete skeleton, she lays it out in her cave and sits by the fire thinking of the perfect song to sing.

When the old woman is sure, she stands over the bones and raises her arms an d sings. She sings as the bones begin to grow flesh and the creature becomes furred. She sings as the tail curls upward, she sings as the wolf creature begins to breath, and she sings as the desert floor shakes and the wolf opens it's eyes, leaps up and runs out of the cave and down the desert canyon.

At some point in the wolfs running, whether it be because of splashing its way across a river or by rays of sunshine or moonlight hitting the wolf in its side, the wolf suddenly transformed into a laughing woman running towards the horizon.It has been said that if you are lost and wandering across the desert and it's near sundown, then you are luck, for La Loba may take a liking to you and show you something long forgotten, something of the soul.

This story goes deep in my soul and reminds me of the strength I have within. The bones in this story represent the indestructible aspect of the wild self that is within me. The self that is not corrupted by society or self judgement or an unconscious mind. Unlike my flesh, my bones are a part of me that are strong, sturdy and won't disintegrate. They are the part of me that keeps me stable and self confident. La Loba is the woman who reminds me to come back to myself and keeps me strong. A picture is painted in my head right now of the cover of the book Islands of the Blue Dolphins. A girl sits there with the wind through her hair and dazes off in the distance, I remember her having a wild spirit until she was corrupted by settlers. I don't want to forget this inspiring image of wild women and being corrupted by norms and rules but rather return to the women I was meant to be.

I love the metaphor of the woman in relation to wolfs. It makes me feel free spirited and instinctual. It makes me feel like I don't have to live a life filled with boundaries and rules but a life where I can fulfill my dreams and connect to my inner instinctual spirit that says you are strong. The story of the the wild women in this since is not some crazy, rebellious, party girl but she is someone who has not lost connection with her life, her death, or her rebirth. In Estes words this is what she means:

"A healthy woman is much like a wolf: robust, a strong life force, life giving, territorially aware, inventive, loyal, and loving. Yet separation from her wildish nature causes a woman's personality to become meager, thin, ghostly, spectral. We are not meant to be puny with frail hair and with an inability to leap up, an inability to give chase, to give birth, or create a life. When women's lives are in stasis, it is always time for the wildish woman to emerge; it is time to establish territory, to find one's pack, to be in one's body with certainty and pride regardless of the body's gifts and limitations, to speak and act in one's behalf, to be aware, alert, to draw on the innate feminine powers of intuition and sensing, to come into one's cycles, to find what one belongs to, to rise with dignity, to retain as much consciousness as we can."

When ever I think of wild women or La Loba I no longer am afraid to stick up for what I believe in. It is the spiritual remnants in this story when every time I think of it I am reminded to stay strong and believe in myself.


Michael said...

this is a good blog. I hope to see you maintain that wonderful spirit that is you.

Songkeeper said...

Thank you for such a deep and powerful story, your own and the story of La Loba. We need you and others like you to lead us through the desert.