The doors to the world of the Wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door – Clarissa Pinkola Estés.
There is a Wild Self inside each one of us. It’s the part of us that is deeply connected to our essence. It’s the part that lives in a deep knowing of who and how to be in the world – carefree of the ideals and demands that society or culture places on us. The Wild Self never disappears. It may, at times, be hidden or obstructed by those parts of us that are fuelled by shoulds, coulds or have-tos. The parts that control. The parts that make us hide our light for fear of shining too brightly. The parts that limit our potential.
When we connect with the Wild Self, life begins to feel like perpetual play. Time stands still. Hours can pass in an instant. Connecting with the Wild Self feels like an immense homecoming. A sense of deep belonging. A return. It is a reconnection to the source of ourselves. It just feels beautiful, and expansive, and true.
There have been many times that I have connected with my Wild Self – my Wild Woman – in my life. Almost all of those times have been in nature or while interacting with animals. The vivid colours of green. The unbridled sky. The truth that comes in the whisper of the wind. The unspoken language of energy between the animals and me. In fact, as more time passes for me living at Londolozi, I find The Wild Woman in me spending more and more time in the forefront. Jess Shillaw, one of the Wild Women I look up to in my life, said that it’s because the land of Londolozi will not let her hide. She cannot hide here.
The Wild Self has no name, for it is so vast.
While we celebrate the incredible women of Londolozi this month, the women we are lucky enough to call friends in our community, I wanted to also acknowledge the sacred feminine as a whole. For she lives inside each of us – man or woman. She is the yin that stands firm next to the yang in everyone. She is the caretaker, the softness, and the protective lioness inside every soul. Without the sacred feminine, we would be out of balance and unable to navigate life sure footedly.
And so, while I acknowledge the sacred feminine in men and women, today I want to honour the Wild Women in particular. The ones I know. The one inside of me. And the ones who have yet to be discovered in you.
The word ‘wild’ here is not used in its modern pejorative sense, meaning out of control, but in its original sense, which means to live a natural life, one in which the criatura, creature, has innate integrity and healthy boundaries. These words, wild and woman, cause women to remember who they are and what they are about. They create a metaphor to describe the force which funds all females. They personify a force that women cannot live without. To be a wild woman means 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 possible – Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
We are surrounded by Wild Women at Londolozi. They can be found driving Land Rovers over impossibly rough terrain in search of the sacred mother leopard and her cub. They can be found on the decks of each camp taking care of you and showing you what it means to be joyful and full of life. They sing, clear and true, under starlit skies in the Boma. They have perfected the rhythm of the drum, echoing the rhythms of nature. They can be found in the Londolozi Village, sitting in circles, discussing what it means to be the beating heart of a community of people. They can be found in the background, contributing to the flywheels of heartware, hardware, sustainability, heritage, health, creativity, care, and acts of deep service to our guests. The comprehension of this Wild Woman nature is not a religion but a practice. It is a psychology in its truest sense: psukh¯e/psych, soul; ology or logos, a knowing of the soul. Without her, they take too much or too little or nothing at all. Without her, they are silent when they are in fact on fire. She is their regulator, she is their soulful heart, the same as the human heart that regulates the physical body.
Journeying into one of the ancient leadwood forests with your guide, you can get still and connect to the landscape and the animals at Londolozi. You may find The Wild Woman inside of you here. I have watched many do this…nature is always around us – speaking to us. If you stop and listen to it and fully connect to it, then you will meet your Wild Woman, your Wild Self. She calls to you through purpose. She communicates with you in visions and dreams. She can be really tough. She can be selfless. She can be so strong and yet so kind and gentle. She is a sense of calmness and belonging to nature. My Wild Woman friend and Londolozi Ranger, Jess, tells her story of how she met the Wild Woman inside of her here, through her journey of belonging to nature.
Once you meet the Wild Woman inside of you, you cannot unmeet her. You must let her speak. You must let her feel. You must let her express her talents and her gifts. And if you find that she has retreated, embark on a pilgrimage – perhaps to Londolozi, but definitely into nature – to reconnect with her. She will come back in the presence of the great beauty of wild landscapes. She will show herself in the presence of wild animals. She will sharpen her intuition in the presence of ancient trees. Her light will shine in you when the glow of sunset marks the end of the day. The Wild Woman – and the Wild Self – is inside each of us. Let this be the call to her, a signal perhaps, to invite her out under the sacredness of the moon and stars and the magnitude of nature herself.