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The Storyteller : Books: Clarissa Pinkola Estes is a Jungian analyst and, now, a best-selling author. But mainly, she spins folk tales to free the wild souls trapped inside 20th-Century women.

August 27, 1992|BETH ANN KRIER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"So I said, 'I will do everything possible to pull myself away.' I could see there was a way of life that pulls you down in that social program, but I was grateful for the welfare and for other social programs that were available then. These programs, which are almost all gone today, made it possible for single mothers to pull themselves up."

After her divorce, Estes earned a B.A. in psychology from Loretto Heights College in Denver. She then opted for a Ph.D. program at Union Institute in Cincinnati, an alternative liberal arts institution.

Since Estes finished her Ph.D. in 1981, she has worked as a psychoanalyst in private practice and has also served as the executive director of the C. G. Jung Center in Denver, where she lives.

In addition, she's Colorado's official cantadora or "keeper of the old stories in the Hispanic tradition."

" Cante means to be able to move sorrow and joy within the psyche through song, words and poetry," she explains. "I am invited to come and cante , do my medicine, at schools, at a museum, or I am invited by the governor."

Estes' next major writing project will be Part II of the trilogy that started with "Women Who Run With the Wolves." The original manuscript was 2,000 pages long, but after her agent read it, Estes was advised to turn it into a three-part work.

Part II, "When This Tree Has Stood for Many Winters: Myths and Stories of the Dangerous Old Woman and the Power of Age," is expected to be published late next year. Part III is not yet titled or scheduled.

Estes suspects that people are buying Part I because they are hungry for poetry rather than for how-to manuals: "Any time I find medicine that's helpful, I share it with everyone I know."

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