Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wolf -- Thoughts, Musings, Legends

When you look into the eyes of a wolf, you see your soul . . .
I found this quote on a wolf sanctuary in Lucerne, CA. It really spoke to me. I have visited Wolf Haven in Tenino, WA since it opened. I have seen the graves of the wolves that I saw on that first visit. I have seen the sanctuary grow, expand, & work on reintroduction. They have a breeding program for Mexican Red Wolves. The last time I was there a friend & I went to a Howl In & camped on the grounds overnight. We were treated to a Native American storyteller from one of the NW Tribes (forgive me but I have forgotten which one). There were arts & crafts for the kids that were wolf-related. One was being able to make a plaster paperweight of a wolf paw print. I did that one. I have that print setting on my dresser in my bedroom. I pick it up often. After all the events & entertainment we started howling. Then the wolves started to howl. It touched me so deep inside my Spirit. It was primal, haunting. The wolves howled off & on all night. It was worth the loss of sleep to hear a howl start up in the far reaches of the compound & be picked up as each wolf joined until the chorus was all around our tent. I was at one with my Totem. We also got an extended tour the next morning to the areas not open to the public. It was amazing.
A couple of years ago I was blessed to be able to hold wolf pups in my arms. The little one snuggled against my chest & I felt our hearts beating as one. She wrapped her front legs around my arm in a hug. I held a wolf in my arms. She was soft, sweet, smelled kinda woody but it was beautiful to feel the warm weight of that magnificent creature in my arms.
I have looked into the eyes of many wolves over the years. Most recently a Montana Grey at GW Animal Park in Wynnewood, OK. He was huge & so gorgeous. I sat just outside his enclosure for a long time. He gazed at me & I gazed at him. We communicated in our Spirits. Those lovely amber eyes truly did see into my soul & allowed me to see there also. As his amber & my blue eyes met, we knew each other. We spoke of centuries old memories. We saw the buffalo on the prairie, we howled, we hunted, we slept, we were one.
The Legend of the Wolf Moon
The animals met and decided they needed leadership. They chose two pairs; one from the water, one from the air, and two from the earth whose breeding together created two wolf pups. The two cubs were again placed on the earth. When they reached the right age, they walked to the opening of their den. When their eyes opened for the first time in their new world that autumn evening, the first thing they saw was the yellow harvest moon. The color of the moon absorbed into their eyes, thus creating the yellow eyes of wolf pups. This color then absorbed into the eyes of all predatory animals.
My Totem has been visiting me alot lately. This is the first time he has ever manifested inside the house. He & his pack (there are 3 wolves in total) have come in my visions. I have seen him outside my house many times. He guards me, warns me, keeps me safe. That he has come inside is a wonder. I think the furbabies see/sense him also. Zane will track through the house sniffing the ground & the air. He is looking for my wolf. Lobo (named for my Totem) also tracks him. Scrappy, who has a very old soul, is the only one who never seems to look for him. But I know Scrappy sees him just as I see him. We both acknowledge his existence in our den, in our pack. I think it is a good omen that he has come inside. I am waiting for his message. He always brings me a message.
Wolves in Native American Culture
Edwin Wollert / Education Coordinator / Wolf Song of Alaska

Did you know?

The Navajo word for wolf, "mai-coh," also means witch, and a person could transform if he or she donned a wolf skin. So the Europeans were not the only ones with werewolf legends. However, the American tribes have an overwhelming tendency to look upon the wolf in a much more favorable light. The Navajo themselves have healing ceremonies which call upon Powers to restore peace and harmony to the ill, and the wolf is one such Power.

"The caribou feeds the wolf, but it is the wolf who keeps the caribou strong."

-Keewatin Eskimo saying

Native American tribes recognized the wolf for its extreme devotion to its family, and many drew parallels between wolf pack members and the members of the tribe. Also, the wolf's superior and cooperative hunting skills made it the envy of many tribes. Finally, the wolf was known to defend its home against outsiders, a task with which each tribe had to contend as well.

Some examples of the wolf appearing throughout Native American religion and mythology include the following. The Eskimos told of an old woman, Qisaruatsiaq, who was abandoned and forced to live by herself, and who eventually turned into a wolf. The Sioux called the wolf "shunk manitu tanka," or "animal that looks like a dog but is a powerful spirit."

Cheyenne medicine men rubbed warrior arrows against wolf fur to bring better success in hunting. The Nootka celebrated spiritual ties to the wolf, in a ceremony whereby they pretended to bring back to life the chief's dead son, by wearing wolf clothing. The Cherokee would not kill a wolf, believing the dead wolf's siblings would enact revenge. They also imitated the wolf's walk to help ward off frostbite to their feet. The Crow dressed in wolf skins to hunt. The Mandan displayed on their moccasins wolf tails, signs of success in battle. Women of the Hidatsa tribe rubbed their bellies with wolf skin to alleviate difficult childbirth. The Cree believed divine wolves visited earth when the northern lights would shine during winter. The Ahtena would prop dead wolves up, sometimes feeding them ceremonial meals. Chippewa myths tell of wolves supplying humans with food and hides. The Delaware tribe thought a change in weather might be announced through a wolf's howl. The Hopis include Wolf as one of the Katchinas, the costumed dancers who represent the powers of the universe.

Indian creation mythology sometimes involves wolves, as in this example from the heritage of the Arikara tribe:

"In the beginning, they say, was water and sky. Here on high you could find Nesaru the sky spirit, and Wolf and Lucky-man. Below lay a watery vastness, empty, it seemed, with only two small ducks swimming about, making eternal, small ripples. Envisioning another kind of earth, with space and variety for myriad creatures, Wolf and Lucky-man asked the ducks to dive down for mud. Using his endless energy, Wolf took half of the mud to build a great prairie for hunting beasts like himself. Lucky-man, his partner in creation, built hills and valleys where the Indians could hunt and live. Last they pushed up the remaining mud into banks of a river, which you can still see, to divide their territories. Earth was ready. Wolf and Lucky-man understood that large creatures must emerge from the reproduction of smaller, humble ones. They enter deep into the earth to find two Spiders who are meant to begin propagating the world. Imagine their disgust when they find the Spiders to be not only ignorant of the business of reproduction, but so dirty and ugly that they aren't interested in each other. Wolf and Lucky-man scrub down their charges and explain the pleasures and responsibilities of fertilization. Clean and enlightened, the Spiders give birth to earth's many creatures - the eight-legged like themselves, the six, the four, and finally the two-legged ones."

- Cottie Burland

Perhaps the tribe with the closest of all associations with the wolf is the Pawnee, in the lands now known as Nebraska and Kansas. The Pawnee felt such a close kinship that their hand-signal for wolf is the same as the hand-signal for Pawnee. They were known as the Wolf People even by neighboring tribes. The cyclical appearance and disappearance of Sirius, the Wolf Star, indicated the wolf coming and going from the spirit world, running down the trail of the Wolf Road, otherwise known as the Milky Way. The Blackfoot tribe also called our galaxy the Wolf Trail, or the Route to Heaven. The Pawnee, like the Hidatsa and Oto tribes, used wolf bundles, pouches of skins from wolves in which to keep and protect treasured implements used for ceremonies and magic.

Perhaps I should call myself Wolf Woman...
Blessed be...