Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés


In I Put The Culture on the Couch, The Good Souls on June 18, 2010 at 12:45 AM

In remembrance of the collective unconscious


If you would look into the last room of the starry night,
there are powers there with names:
Tannenbow, Valdar, Yaga, and others.
They are your ancestors,
they sneeze with all the  waiting for you.

They want to give you sword-making,
show you hidden ore amongst earth’s gasses.
They, like you, are a dust of glitter and light.
The names,  the names. . .
call them by name,
for they have gone shadowy
from lack of your remembering,
from lack of your love.

Your Deep Earth Drum still lives,
though more  more faint now.
Down there they have a theater waiting,
one that is lit by storms;
it takes only a name to start it.

Some firesides,  the good princes show up;
the blind one who steals earrings
during the night shows up;
the wise one who sings souls into Nod;
the long-chin who concocts sweets,
and herbs for healing,
who lays huts of boughs for grieving,
and extracts her cost.

The one who bleeds gold,
breathes there.
The one who releases the bright,
burning fire arrow, lives there.
They are all there.
Your ancestors live!

Quick! the names,
the names. . .
call them by name. . .
before they lose all water
and die.



To  Descendants of  Great European Tribes

The melting pot. Many of our poor grandparents and great grandparents, stepped into the crucible for the sake of protection for their offspring, their livelihoods, their families.

To meld one thing to another is one thing. But to melt things together, is another matter altogther.

I think salad is good.  A salad combined with greens or  with piñon or  feta, avocado, all else, is good—as long as it is not put into a blender, all  mushed together there… so each tasty thing loses its identity.

I do not want to live in an Osterized culture.

A clean mixed salad in which everything retains its shape, its ruddiness, its veridians, its cobalts, its marrones, its sweet amarillos, each with its individual flavor, its personal nuances… this is my idea of a succulent, wild, thriving tribe.

This doesnt require bangles and beads, but it does require the heart drum. To be connected to one’s ancestral roots so rich in songs and dances and ways does not mean being an anachronism, unless one wishes; it means to carry the spice and the fragrance and on the pages of one’s history to have writing and images that leap alive, not a dead blank pages wiped out by wars and tears, fears and lack of cherish.

This cuentito, To The Descendents of the Great European Tribes, was written long ago during a time I became aware many souls , carried an intense and sincere longing coming straight from their souls….  a longing to belong to las ancianas, the old ones.

Yet because of so much destroyed writings, artworks, recording of the heights of each conquered culture across the world, many  modern people were convinced by others that there was ‘no there’ left for them to come home to.

This is one of the greatest pathological lies in existence given to them by ‘the melting pot’ people. The “there” of one’s ancestry is still alive. It has largely been carried off to the many museums worldwide and to university collections and just takes a name, a name to start the heart drum back up… the giant heart drum that opens the doors of the ‘keepers’ who were once the slaughterers and the ‘stealers.’ Let it be as it was and forgive but do not forget what occured long ago, for blood and bone-shed is not the point now. The point now is the strength of the souls:  the names, the names, call them by name.

I encourage people especially to gather stories  springing out of their family taproots,  stories that come from their own authentically lived lives. When people do not gather the stories, this is how unique stories disappear from the  face of the earth; no war nor conquest or slaughter even needed.

One’s personal, familial, generational, legendary stories are lost by not being drawn together and told aloud. Thus a weird kind of cultural phenomenon occurs;  same ten pre-approved generic storylines are lugged about, and  told over and over again in film, on tv, in books, in schools, until everyone is bored out of their skulls.

Behind story, there is more than just history, there is the  imagination of your forebears. There is also archetype in your forebears’ stories… an ancient, ageless, personal,  universal memory that often acts as a riddle to be solved by the soul in order to live more deeply and with flourishing.

We can see, those of us who pursue such, that archeological, anthropological, museum, botanical, oral histories, zoological histories written by adventurers, conquerers, the conquered, eye-witnesses and second order or third order observers, and history and anthropology detectives… that those histories, once one peels away in the oldest ones the racist and sexist and other contaminations…  imbedded there is true treasure. Treasure from your own far-back people.

For artists and those who create, see, help and heal, one’s ancestry is an inexhaustible and incomparable research library. It is not a mere curiosity; it is a resonant life force.

Regardless of  circumstances of one’s birth, or years lived severed from such, it is still there for you. You may have left it behind, or had it taken from you, but it is like the ever thriving valley of the kings and queens, not that far under the surface, in a preserving climate, it is still waiting for you. It is all still there. The names… the names, quick, the names…


“To the Descendants of the Great European Tribes”, © 1980, 2010, All rights reserved. Dr. C.P. Estés, poem and essay from La Pasionaria: COllected Poems of Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés:  A Manifesto on The Creative Fire.” This particular work may be used non-commercially as long as it is kept entirely intact, not added to nor taken from, and this complete notice including usage, author and copyright notice is clearly printed upon it. Other permissions ngandelman@aol.com

Image topmost: artwork by CP Estés: “Lost Angel Waiting To Be Found: Drumskin As Yet Unframed, Waiting For Familiar Hands.” ©2010. All rights reserved.

  1. How much and how deeply I have wished for this in my own family, dr. e., so you have given a big push in the right direction to collect the fragments I have scattered about and draw them together and to pass them along — to whom I do not know, but … I just heard about ‘The Saragossa Manuscript’ which, oddly enough, points in this same direction in its own way. Love, thanks, laughter!

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