La Loba | Soulful Life
"The gift of an image is that it provides a place to watch your soul." ~ James Hillman

“You wish psychoanalytic advice?

Go gather bones. “

Clarissa Pinkola Estes


La Loba

There is an old woman who lives in a hidden place that everyone knows but few have ever seen. As in the fairy tales of Eastern Europe, she seems to wait for lost or wandering people and seekers to come to her place.

They say she lives among the rotten granite slopes in Tarahumara Indian territory. They say she is buried outside Phoenix near a well. She is said to have been seen traveling south to Monte Alban in a burnt-out car with the back window shot out. She is said to stand by the highway near El Paso, or ride shotgun with truckers to Morelia, Mexico, or that she has been sighted walking to market above Oaxaca with strangely formed boughs of firewood on her back. She is called by many names: La Huesera, Bone Woman; La Trapera, The Gatherer; and La Loba, Wolf Woman.

The sole work of La Loba is the collecting of bones. She is known to collect and preserve especially that which is in danger of being lost to the world. Her cave is filled with the bones of all manner of desert creatures: the deer, the rattlesnake, the crow. But her speciality is said to be wolves.

She creeps and crawls and sifts through the montanas, mountains, and arroyos, dry river beds, looking for wolf bones, and when she has assembled an entire skeleton, when the last bone is in place and the beautiful white sculpture of the creature is laid out before her, she sits by the fire and thinks about what song she will sing.

And when she is sure, she stands over the criatura, raises her arms over it, and sings out. That is when the rib bones and leg bones of the wolf begin to flesh out and the creature becomes furred. La Loba sings some more, and more of the creature comes into being; its tail curls upward, shaggy and strong.

And La Loba sings more and the wolf creature begins to breathe.

And still La Loba sings so deeply that the floor of the desert shakes, and as she sings, the wolf opens its eyes, leaps up, and runs away down the canyon.

Somewhere in its running, whether by the speed of its running, or by splashing its way into a river, or by way of a ray of sunlight or moonlight hitting it right in the side, the wolf is suddenly transformed into a laughing woman who runs free toward the horizon.

So it is said that if you wander the desert, and it is near sundown, and you are perhaps a little bit lost, and certainly tired, that you are lucky, for La Loba may take a liking to you and show you something – something of the Soul.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With The Wolves. Pp.26-28.


Not only  La Loba, we too travel into the desert of our soul, to the places abandoned long ago, not visited maybe for aeons. We come back now to gather the old, torn pieces of ourselves, to put them together again. To find our song of renewal that we could sing over them. 

The story of the Wolf Woman is a great metaphor for the work that we do during the SoulCollage® process – by collecting pictures (those that have a strong charge or energy for us) and by then intuitively combining them, we are putting together again pieces of ourselves.  We are bringing to the surface our conscious, known, but also not so known and not so conscious patterns, we are uncovering the riches, gifts and messages of our many different parts…we are looking into the mirror of our soul… 


A little bit of inspiration from the wonderful Clarissa Pinkola Estes for our inner Wild Woman:

“La Loba sings over the bones she has gathered.

To sing means to use the soul-voice.

It means to say on the breath the truth of one’s power

and one’s need, to breathe soul over the thing

that is ailing or in need of restoration.”


“We may have forgotten her names,

we may not answer when she calls ours,

but in our bones we know her,

we yearn toward her;

we know she belongs to us and we to her.”


“I’ll tell you right now,

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

that 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.”


“Where does she live?

At the bottom of the well, in the headwaters,

in the ether before time.

She lives in the tear and in the ocean.

She lives in the cambia of trees, which pings as it grows.

She is from the future and from the beginning of time.

She lives in the past and is summoned by us.

She is in the present and keeps a chair at our table,

stands behind us in line,

and drives ahead of us on the road.

She is in the future and walks backward in time to find us now.”

 Stories are medicine.

“Go out in the woods, go out.

If you don’t go out in the woods

nothing will ever happen

and your life will never begin.”

So, whether you are an introvert or extrovert,

a woman-loving woman, a man-loving woman,

or a God-loving woman, or all of the above:

Whether you are possessed of a simple heart

or the ambitions of an Amazon,

whether you are trying to make it to the top

or just make it through tomorrow,

whether you be spicy or somber,

regal or roughshod

—the Wild Woman belongs to you.

She belongs to all women.


Listen then with soul-hearing now,

for that is the mission of story.

Bone by bone, hair by hair,

Wild Woman comes back.

Through night dreams,

through events half understood and half remembered,

Wild Woman comes back.

She comes back through story.


Go right now,

and as soon,

and as often as you can.

Keep going.”

“For us the issue is simple.

Without us, Wild Woman dies.

Without Wild Woman, we die.

Para Vida, for true life, both must live.”