Wild Woman

Tomboy to Wild Woman

I have been called “tomboy” until I was twenty. I have always been proud of this, of being a sort of androgynous being. I was amused when people asked me if I was female or male. As a child I soon understood that in the Italian patriarchal culture of the ’70s boys had more freedom than girls. Being a tomboy allowed me to climb trees, play soccer, ride a cross bicycle and do the things girls didn’t usually do. I was not transgender or lesbian. We didn’t even know the term back then; “gay” was an exotic word and “lesbian” something our young minds couldn’t even conceive. I have never been bullied for being a tomboy. I had male and female friends and was happy that way.

During my first university year I discovered the word “patriarchy” and realized that, indeed, the world was ruled by men. Politically and religiously. But also magically. I was an avid reader and in my early teens I got interested in esoteric and magical subjects. But the books I could manage to find in Italy (the Internet didn’t exist, yet) were all written by men… for men. That was the moment I understood that calling myself a “tomboy” didn’t describe me as a free person. Actually, it defined me as a product of patriarchy. A young woman who acts like a man to fit in a man-made society. So I switched to the term “mare“. I was always running, climbing trees, smoking. Mares – and the untamed horses I knew from western movies – were the wildest animals I could think of. Fierce, wild and free. And females!

In my twenties and thirties, traveling abroad, the diffusion of PCs and the Internet opened my eyes onto a marvelous world of knowledge. During my trips to Los Angeles I bought dozens of books on spirituality, magic, shamanism, esoterica; most of them written by women! By women… for women! I had my first shamanic journey in 1993 and got my spirit name, Arianrhod, a few months later. I took classes on crystals, chakras and shamanic practices and continued my esoteric studies. But I was still trying to fit in a male oriented society.

It was around 1997 or ’98 that I found the book that had me rethink my tomboy/mare definition. Reading ” Women who Run with the Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estés introduced me to the figure of Wild Woman. It took me a decade to realize that I hadn’t been a “tomboy” but a “wild girl”, looking for a way to escape patriarchal, misogynistic, cultural and religious dogmas. I was (am) a “wild woman” and a “free spirit” (in my own introvert and solitary way). A woman who doesn’t need to be told what to do or think; who can yell, dance and cry without having to hide her emotions; who chooses to read a book or paint instead of doing the housework; who howls at the full moon and talks to the spirits.

Approaching middle age, the Wild Woman – in her Crone aspect – is urging me more and more inward and towards the Earth. I feel a longing for trees, streams, mountains, mossy ground. I can hear her call coming from deep inside. And often, during my dream journeys, the Wild Girl who lives in my heart meets me on the Threshold, and we run wild and happy into the woods.

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2 thoughts on “Tomboy to Wild Woman

  1. This is beautiful. It’s amazing how many things we share. I was a tomboy in a communist country in the 60’s. I grew up in a family of 3 women, independent ones so patriarchy was not putting much pressure in my life. From my personal perspective and my personal experience, there were much less pressures in that society, religion was kept strictly in private spheres and social rules were egalitarian. If there was a tendency of male discrimination, that was coming from things that have not died out yet and were preserved in sub-conscience of people. I am a free and independent person, holding an inner duality of male-female in balance. I have read “Women that Run with Wolves” after an emotional friendship I made with a very special woman. This was her favorite book and I have purchased it and read it to see the world through her eyes. Clarissa Pinkola d’Estes was born in my area and we share the Hungarian ancestry and many of the stories/folk and fairy tales she learned in her childhood. I consider story-telling one of the best gifts humanity has. Keep running, wild woman and tell your stories. I’m running on the same hills….Let’s fill the wind with whispers of tales of a new world.

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