Pinkola Estes

Whispers and Cravings

“… And then there are the cravings. She may crave to be near water, or be belly down , her face in the earth, smelling that wild smell. She might have to drive into the wind. She may have to plant something, weed something, pull things out of the ground or put them into the ground. She may have to knead and bake, rapt in dough up to her elbows. 

She may have to trek into the hills, leaping from rock to rock train out her voice against the mountain. She may need hours of starry nights where the stars are like face powder spilt on a black marble floor. She may feel she will die if she does not dance naked in a thunderstorm, sit in perfect silence, return home ink-stained, paint-stained, tear-stained, moon-stained.”

- Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run with the Wolves


I had to read this passage several times. How is it that artists and writers from far away, living in different times, can sometimes capture the essence and the complexities that permeate our lives with such grace? 

I read this passage and felt it: this is it! That’s how I feel that I’ve been unable to capture and explain. 

The Cravings. 

The impression that I might die or suffocate if I don’t honour my inner knower right now, if I don’t get outside and lay my face against the dewy grass.  

The inescapable pull to connect with Nature, to be completely enveloped by Her, to come back home. 


If you must know, I’ve been walking barefoot whilst pulling weeds and smelling the flowers. I’ve been dancing in the rain. I’ve been baking cinnamon buns, and getting my hands dirty and sticky. 

I’ve been tuning into the rhythms and cycles.  

Instead of crying for the Earth, I’ve come to cry WITH the Earth. What I discovered is that She isn’t crying at all. She continues to give generously, she allows her natural cycles to flow. She is teaching us unconditional love. Our work here is Her work. Whatever she needs us to do, she whispers. 


Once I made a commitment to acknowledging the Truths, the flood gates opened. Figuratively and literally. The structures of my life that weren’t solid enough gave way and crumbled. I was left with a whole lot of messy nothings, and an expansive treasure trove of gold nuggets, some of which had been invisible until then. 

Yes, the Earth is burning, melting, collapsing, suffocating, flooding. Yes, it’s scary and our grief is real. Yes, we’re angry, but the Earth isn’t. She allows the cycles to cycle back. Kali, the great Goddess of dissolution holds a severed head in her bloody hands whilst fighting (or is it dancing) on a corpse in cremation grounds. Is she angry? We, as humans, tend to think so. But she isn’t. She’s enacting, out of love, the sacred law of destruction that gives way to creation. She refuses to let us wallow in our entropy. She takes the difficult first step towards renewal. 

The real tragedy here resides in those who are attached to their ways and resist change. We can choose to buckle down and fight, or we can choose to hear the Earth’s whisper and act on it. Her whispers manifest as cravings that seem unreasonable, messy, risky even. She doesn’t have a plan, but she knows what she’s doing.