WALKING WITH WOLF: Animals as Symbols

WALKING WITH WOLF: Animals as Symbols: Dream Info Session No. 55 

Wolf is another extremely ambiguous symbol, but probably the most common use of wolf is as a symbol for the free-untamed-natural-wild-spirit — White Fang, Call of the Wild style.

    Wolf is a symbol of strength, loyalty to family and the family unit, guardianship, protection, and the ability to survive "in the wild." Wolves also represent fierceness and the Earth, and are often found in myths and legends as companions of deities, as are raven, owl, and snake.

    Wolf sees well in the dark, and for this reason is associated symbolically with Light — the inner Light that is a light within the dark.

    But in some cultures wolf is a symbol of aggression and war and sometimes represents an evil that by patience, skill, cooperation, and cunning can overcome and inevitably devour its prey. So dreaming of a wolf can symbolize fear, especially fear associated with personal survival. As you can tell already, it all connects to how you personally feel about wolves, and what your dream wolf is up to.

    The ancient Celts believed that it was a wolf that swallowed the sun every night, and to the Aztecs the howling wolf was the God of the Dance. To the alchemists, the wolf and the dog together represented the dual nature of the nous (a living energy field of intelligence), the philosophical mercury — the Higher Mind or Spiritual Soul.

    The wolf was sacred to Apollo, Ares/Mars, and Silvanus, and of course it was a she-wolf that nourished Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.To the Scandinavian and Teutonic cultures, wolf was the bringer of victory and ridden by Odin. But Fenris, the Cosmic Wolf, was a bringer of evil.

    Wolves often have a playful relationship with ravens, another one sacred to Apollo and associated with prophecy. And in some Native American cultures, wolf often represented the Pathfinder, the innovator who brought new ideas to be taught to the people.

    And to the early Christians, the wolf symbolized evil, cruelty, gluttony, avarice, heresy, and ultimately the devil. But the emblem of St. Francis of Assisi was a wolf — which legend says he personally tamed. Talk about symbolism!

    Wolves are ritualistic animals and live by clearly defined structures. They have a strong sense of family and generally mate for life. There is always an alpha female and an alpha male, but each wolf has its own special place and function in the pack. Wolves are extremely tolerant of their young, and if a mother and father are unable to care for a pup, another pack member will adopt it. There are even wolf babysitters.

    They have a complex system of vocal communication, and it appears they sometimes even howl just for the sheer joy of it. And wolves are extremely intelligent — they'll take long inconvenient detours to avoid danger and trouble. Is your dream wolf telling you to do the same?

    It's believed that wolf's sense of smell is over 100 times that of a human, and this ability is often used to symbolically represent a keen sense of discrimination, especially spiritual discrimination.

    Wolves have great stamina for hunting and have been clocked running at 24 miles per hour. And, yes, wolves are predators, but their prey is mostly the old, sick, and very young.

    Wolves form quick and strong attachments, so your dream animal could be telling you to either do the same, or to be careful about doing so, depending on the dream.

    And wolf makes for wonderful puns— is the wolf howling at the door? Is there a wolf in your life masquerading as a little old grandma? Are you wolfing something down without taking time to digest it? Is it time to pay attention to your family relationships and loyalties?

    What color is your dream wolf? In good health, or scruffy? How is it different from other wolves? What is its lawful prey? Is it threatening, or just watching? When it looks at you, what does it want to communicate? What can it teach you?

[Excerpted in part from Letters From Home: A Guide to Symbols - Awake or Dreaming, available at your local bookstore, www.amazon.com, www.stonepeoplepublishing.com.]

    See you next week, when we'll be rockin' out....

©Patricia Troyer 2011
All Rights Reserved
For Permission to Quote or Reprint: ptroyer@lettersfromhome.com


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