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  • SPIRIT ANIMALS: IS THE WOLF YOUR ANIMAL GUIDE?

    May 05, 2024 11 min read

    The mysterious wolf

     

    In this post, we explore the origins and history of spirit animal guides, and what it means if the Wolf is your guide.

    WHAT ARE ANIMAL GUIDES?

    Many indigenous cultures worldwide believe in spirit animals, also known as spirit guides, totem animals, and power animals. It is believed that these animal guides reflect certain qualities of a person's personality and that they are able to relay certain messages to an individual to help guide them on their spiritual journey. 

    These animal guides show up at various times in a person's life and reveal themselves in person, through dreams, or daily images. It is also important to note that you may encounter several different animal guides throughout your life. And keep in mind that oftentimes we do not choose our spirit animal guide, but rather, they choose us. 

    It is important that the concept of animal guides is met with the utmost respect for the culture and traditions from which they originate. 

    THE MEANING AND SYMBOLISM OF THE WOLF ANIMAL SPIRIT

    Is the wolf making itself known to you? Do you ever just want to run off into the wilderness and forge your own path? Do you ever just feel like howling at the moon? If so, perhaps the wolf is guiding you to trust your intuition and encouraging you to get in touch with clear and heart-centered communication. Wolves rely on their instincts for survival and are highly intuitive animals. Having one reveal itself to you may be a reminder from the universe to listen to your inner self. Wolves can encourage us to get still, sit in the silence, and listen to what the deepest parts of ourselves are trying to say. When we learn to trust our inner voice, we often find that the answer was inside of us all along, teaching us to have faith in ourselves. That by surrendering to our inner knowledge, we can navigate through any of life’s challenges and uncharted territories. All we need to do is have the courage to believe in ourselves and we too can have a deeper understanding of life's mysteries.


    Wolves are clever, extremely intelligent, and are excellent problem solvers. They live in packs and roam freely in the wild. They form strong bonds and are extremely loyal and protective, teaching us about the value of community. Despite popular belief, they are not aggressive animals and will only display hostile behavior if they or any member of their pack are threatened. As a spirit guide, they can teach us to stand up for what is right and provide support when we or those that we love are feeling vulnerable. The wolf shows us to stand strong, confident, and to step into fearlessness even when faced with uncertainty. 


     

    WOLF AS A GUIDE FOR PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION

    A wolf’s howl can be heard as far away as 10 miles! And just like humans, wolves have their own distinct voice so that other wolves can recognize them. And being lucky enough to hear one of those howls is a reminder that deep down, we are all primitive in nature. And that if we were to strip away the comforts of the modern world that we have come to rely so heavily on, we are all really just wild, primal, and untamed beings at heart.


    Do you feel misunderstood? So does the wolf. Stories of wolves being aggressive and vicious animals couldn’t be further from the truth. Wolves actually go out of their way to avoid conflict and only attack when feeling provoked. However when they want to stave off an attacker, they will stand their ground and fiercely protect. The wolf reminds us to set clear boundaries. 

    The wolf serves as a mighty teacher when it comes to helping us learn the lessons of autonomy, self- control, and balance. When faced with a wolf they hold a mirror up to us, urging us not to allow others to steal our energy or to drain us of our own personal power. They teach us to choose our battles carefully and to never initiate combat. Stay back and don’t attack. Only protect your territory when a predator has threatened. Be aware of your actions and the implications of the choices that you make and understand that even years from now, they will have an effect on you. So choose wisely. They are a constant reminder that we have full sovereignty over ourselves. The wolf’s messages are clear: trust in everything your senses tell you. 

    SHOP WOLF INSPIRED PRODUCTS

    THE WOLF TOTEM

    In various indigenous cultures, the wolf is seen as a power animal or totem, embodying such qualities as leadership, intelligence, intuition, social connection, freedom, protection, and spiritual insight. And wolf is considered medicine due to being associated with courage, strength, loyalty, and the ability to thrive in a variety of environments. Wolves are extremely adaptable and as a power animal, they inspire resilience and the strength to face and overcome challenges.


    Wolves live in packs and have a set hierarchical structure. They are monogamous and mate for life. The pack is run by an alpha pair, a male and female that do all the mating. The rest of the pack is made up of the offspring, including new pups, yearlings and subadults. Wolves have strong emotional connections to their pack mates and show signs of grief and mourning when a member of their pack dies. Older and wounded pack members are never abandoned and they care for each other as individuals and form solid friendships, nurturing those in the pack that are sick and wounded. Every member of each wolf family knows their place and they will sacrifice their lives for each other. 

    When a wolf reaches the breeding age of two, they have a decision to make. Should they stay or should they go? This is not an easy one to make. When they decide to venture off and leave their natal pack, they are in search of a mate and looking to form their own pack, but this doesn’t always prove successful. There is a huge risk that goes along with this decision. Food is scarce and is much easier to hunt within the pack than by oneself.  Every so often, a wolf that has left its pack will join an existing pack, but is usually only reserved when one of the breeding wolves dies and another mate is needed. Leaving one’s pack is pretty much like venturing off from your family and town that you grew up in and deciding to start your own life. Being the lone wolf can be scary, but it is also necessary for the survival and growth of the wolf population.


    The pack wolf teaches us the importance of community and how to work well with others, showing us the importance of effective communication and social bonds. The lone wolf teaches us about independence and the bravery it takes to go out on your own. We can call on the wolf to help us summon the strength deep inside of us to guide us into making the decision that is right for our own lives and our individual spiritual paths. The wolf teaches us how important it is to take ownership of our own lives instead of waiting around for something “better” to happen. We are responsible for creating our own life and taking the necessary aligned action in the direction we want to head in.

    WOLVES IN FOLKLORE

    Since ancient times, the wolf has been used in stories to create fear. When Europeans started venturing out from densely populated cities and moving to the open wilderness of the country to farm, they naturally encountered wolves. And wolves would threaten farmer's livestocks. But wolves were only doing what wolves do. Unfortunately the wolf became something to be feared and stories were passed down from generation to generation, further instilling fear into people’s minds. 


    Even in the Bible, In Matthew 7:15, Jesus warns us against false prophets in sheep’s clothing. And today, we still hear people heed warning to others about wolves in sheep’s clothing, inferring that one can appear good from the outside but be evil on the inside. 

    And when Europeans came over and settled in the New World, they brought their fear of wolves with them and inevitably threatened their extinction by hunting and killing them.


    Today we still hear the popular children's stories about the “Big Bad Wolf” and their image still lives on in the fairytales and books we read. We warn each other of “The Wolf at the Door” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Wolves have become synonymous with fear and deceit.


    Little Red Riding Hood is a classic example of a fairytale where a wolf is portrayed as a deceitful character to be feared. A young girl is sent to her sick grandmother’s house to bring her food. She comes across a wolf in the forest who asks her where she is going. She naively tells the wolf, and the wolf races ahead to the grandmother’s house, devouring the grandmother and taking her place in bed. When little red riding hood arrives, she comments on how strange her “grandmother” looks, which leads to the famous exchange “all the better to see, hear, and eat you with.” The wolf is then cut open by a huntsman who rescues the girl and saves the grandmother from the wolf’s stomach. 

    It has been told in many cultures and has many adaptations, but it always has the wolf as the central character depicted as a cautionary figure, with the moral of the story teaching our children not to speak to strangers and the potential of dangerous predatory behavior.


    The Celts believed that the wolf was a powerful symbol of the moon, and they associated it with transformation, intuition, and the hunt. They also believed that wolves had the ability to communicate with the spirits of the dead, and that they were therefore able to act as intermediaries between the living and the dead.


    In Japanese Folklore, wolves are respected as protectors of travelers and as spirits that can ward off misfortune. The ōkami ("wolf") wolf deities, are venerated as guardians who protect against fire and theft.


    In ancient Greek folklore, the story of the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” is used to warn people of the dangers of lying and making exaggerated threats. A boy repeatedly tricks his village into thinking that a wolf is attacking the sheep, he was caught in the lie so many times, that when a wolf actually does appear, no one believes him and the sheep are ravaged.


    And we all know the story of the “Three Little Pigs” and the “big bad wolf” that says, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.” Which inevitably ends in the wolf huffing and puffing and blowing the house down.


    And then there’s popular TV shows and movies like “Teen Wolf” and “Twilight” where people have the ability to turn into werewolves on a full moon, which is considered the super power for all shapeshifters. These characters are often struggling with their dual nature,  dealing with human emotions and the uncontrollable force of their wolf alter egos.

    But my personal favorite story is the one from an old Cherokee legend. A tribal elder is speaking to his grandson about two metaphorical wolves within himself. A black one and a white one. The black wolf represents darkness and evil thoughts and the white wolf represents all of the goodness, love and peace inside of him. The elder tells his grandson that the two wolves are in constant battle within him. The grandson asks “which one will win” and the elder responds by saying, “whichever one I feed.” 

    WOLVES IN OUR DREAMS

    The most important thing to remember when approaching dream interpretation is to notice how the dream made you feel. Dreams mean different things to different people. Reflect on your own emotions. What feelings came up for you during the dream or when you are recalling the dream during your waking state. Our emotions never fail us. They are the internal guide to understanding ourselves and what we need. And people have all different feelings about wolves. The important thing is to interpret your dream about wolves based on your association with them.

    For many, wolves can represent threat. Due to their predatory nature, dreaming of a wolf can be a representation that something in your personal life feels overwhelming or threatened. Perhaps there’s a person or a situation that you are experiencing that is bringing you a lot of fear or anxiety? Wolf dreams can reveal deep places in your subconscious where you may be questioning someone’s loyalty or intentions. 

    And for others, wolves represent protection. They can serve as a guide in our dreams, asking us to look at where we may need some direction and protection. Wolves can offer guidance while navigating through difficult emotions. They can offer us insight on choices we need to make in life and how we can perhaps lean in and trust our instincts and intuition more.


    Wolves are extremely social creatures and dreaming of them may be pointing to our own relationships. Where can we trust others more? Where can we form stronger bonds? Where can we stand to be a little bit more independent?


    Again, ask yourself how the wolf was behaving in your dream and how it made you feel. Taking cues from your emotions can help you interpret how using the wolf in your dreams can help in your waking life. 

    Express Your Inner Wolf

    WOLF SYMBOLISM

     

    • Autonomy
    • Loyalty
    • Intelligence
    • Survival
    • Community
    • Confidence

     

    • Trustworthy
    • Instinct
    • Protection
    • Strength
    • Willpower

    ANIMAL FACTS FEATURING THE WOLF

    Latin Name: Canis lupus

    Size: Length- Wolves are generally about 4.5 to 6.5 feet long from nose to the tip of the tail. The tail itself accounts for approximately one-fourth of their total length. Height- At the shoulder, they stand about 26 to 32 inches high.

    Weight: Weight can vary widely depending on age, sex, and subspecies, but adult wolves usually weigh between 70 to 145 pounds. Males are typically heavier and larger than females.

    Ave Life Span:  The average lifespan of a wolf in the wild typically ranges from 6 to 8 years, although they can live longer under certain conditions, like absence of natural predators, consistent food supply, and medical attention. 

    Special Ability: Wolves howl to communicate across large distances, up to 10 miles, depending on the terrain. Each wolf has their own distinct howl, just like the human voice. This allows members of a pack to locate each other when they are separated by considerable distances.

    Estimated Population:  The estimated global population of wolves is currently between 200,000 and 250,000, predominantly consisting of gray wolves. 

    Endangered Status: There are two distinct wolf species, the red and the gray wolf. And there is debate on how many sub species there are. Many wolf species are either endangered or have endangered populations due to a variety of human-related factors. And on April 30, 2024, the house voted to take gray wolves off the endangered species list in 48 states.

    (SCALE: Least Concern→ Near Threatened→ Vulnerable→ Endangered→ Critically Endangered→ Extinct in the Wild→ Extinct)

    ADDITIONAL FACTS

    • Wolf packs are very nurturing. Pups are cared for by the entire pack, which teaches them how to hunt, communicate, and socialize within the pack structure.
    • Australia has no native wolf populations. The closest equivalents would be native wild dogs like the dingo, which is a different species.
    • Wolves have an incredible sense of smell and use it to find a mate. The information a wolf can get from a single sniff of another wolf’s urine or scat (poop) is truly astonishing. They are able to pick up the gender, diet, social rank, and breeding condition of another wolf by smell alone. They can also determine how recently the scent was left, which helps them track each other across the landscape. (So for those of you on the dating scene, try sniffing out the bathroom smells of your date to determine if they will indeed make a good partner!) 

    If you would like to read more of our blogs on other Animal Guides, check out the Deer, Owl, Eagle, Butterfly, Snake, and Rabbit.


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