Because you are reading this, you probably admire wolves. You may, like increasing numbers of people, feel strongly about protecting this wild creature. You might support the groups who educate and lobby to save the wolf from extinction.
On a deeper level you may identify with the spiritual energies associated with the wolf: the animal who lives peacefully in community and the solitary creature who howls at the moon. Somehow, Wolf speaks to you, and we can all learn much from this animal.
Both Native American and Celtic traditions teach that Wolf stands for self-discovery. The classic symbol of this is the wolf howling at the moon. In many cultures, the moon represents intuition, receptivity, and inner knowing. It characterizes the aspects of ourselves we must search for in order to truly know ourselves.
This journey of understanding must be taken alone. The opinions of others can never tell you who you are. They can only tell what they see, a viewpoint always filtered through their own perceptions. Self-discovery requires listening to the voice within, a quiet voice that in moments of illumination may howl as loudly as a wolf.
Wolves are well known for their habit of mating for life. The male and female wolves are intensely loyal to each other and devoted to their pups. This loyalty and devotion extends to other members of the pack. Generally, all adult wolves participate in the training and teaching of the young.
We as humans can learn from this communal structure. Civilization has become identified with isolation and loneliness. The nuclear family provides a small and limited social structure to support children. The solution may not be to live in a pack, but we can all benefit by expanding our definition of family to include those to whom we aren’t biologically related.
Wolf teaches us that we don’t need to make an exclusive separation between solitary and social journeys. We can recognize that when we engage in an inner journey of self-discovery, we can emerge to share the truths we’ve learned with others.
Why People Fear Wolves
The fear of wolves has a lot to do with how we humans think of ourselves. Most of us live far from the wilderness. All around us is the evidence of our “civilized” nature: skyscrapers of steel, automotive transportations. Some congratulate themselves that they have tamed nature or at least held its wild and mysterious aspects at bay.
Any kind of spectacular natural disaster can quickly prove the falseness of this belief. More important, no amount of “taming” can eradicate the biological truth that, whether we talk, compute, or invent, we are animals, too. The wolf mirrors this paradox, reminding us of our wild side.
Those who feel drawn to the energy of the wolf seek to heal this rupture within themselves. This path of healing also involves understanding many of the ways in which Wolf as a totem and power animal can teach us.
And in honoring our wild, untamed side, we may redefine what it means to be civilized.