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The Wolf - Power animal and ancient human companion

Aktualisiert: 22. Juni 2023


Since Austrians have lately been repeatedly terrified by reports of stray wolves, I would like to dedicate a blog article to the wolf. As an animal (and dog) trainer, I am naturally fascinated by these highly intelligent animals that once worked closely with us humans. It is not my intention to romanticise wolves. They are neither cute nor cuddly pets. They are sophisticated, highly intelligent creatures and most certainly not tame. And yet, for thousands of years, we managed to live side by side with them and even regarded them as partners. I believe that as humans we tend to forget that the most dangerous predator on this planet is not the wolf or the bear - it is the human being.

So, here is my two-cents-worth on wolves...


Structure, discipline, communication skills

In many ways, wolves are similar to other highly intelligent mammals - such as dolphins, whales and apes. They share a distinctive family structure, possess a high level of social intelligence, a good dose of discipline and a complex communication system. Wolves actually go to great lengths to avoid a fight amongst family and non-family members. Harmony and discipline come first in a pack.


The family - mum rules

A pack of wolves means, basically, a family - mum, dad and the children (puppies and teenage wolves). As with most other gregarious animals, wolves' family structure is matriarchal. This means: the wolf who makes the important decisions about pack-life – for example, in which direction to move, when to take a break, hunt, eat, rest or move on - is the pack's mother. Incidentally, this was discovered and determined only recently. It transpired from observations of free roaming wolves in Alaska. As soon as the male youngsters are old enough, they leave the pack to find a mate and start their own family. These young wolves often cover great distances in a very short time, because wolves travel by trotting or running. They hardly ever walk.


Man's Best Friend

Wolves were once humans' closest allies. We bonded so closely that we shared our food and even our homes with these animals. We trained them and started breeding them. Yes - man's best friend used to be a wolf. Wolves were once our partners. This partnership did not come about by accident, but was likely due to our similarities in social behavior that allowed us to value and respect the other.


What indigenous traditions teach about wolves

In the North American and Celtic traditions, the wolf is still a highly respected animal. Wolf represents family, security and protection. As a spiritual guide or power animal, wolf gives insight into the deepest depths of the self, sharpens our intuition, strengthens trust in ourselves and the universe. Wolf teaches us to find our own strength and power by facing our deepest fears. If you consciously connect with wolf energy, you will find a profound inner security, an inner peace that does not leave you even in challenging times.


A Cherokee story

The Cherokee tell their children the following story:


A Cherokee elder speaks to his grandson:

“Every human being has two wolves inside them that are constantly fighting each other. One of them is dark. It is full of anger, jealousy, worry, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, resentment, remorse, lies, inferiority, hubris, and ego. The other is light – filled with joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, kindness, empathy, truth, generosity, compassion and trust.”

"If they keep fighting each other, which wolf will win in the end?" The grandson asks.

"The one you feed", replies the elder.

While already a profound ending, the story doesn't end here, but goes on.

The Elder explains:

"If you feed them both in the right way - you win.“

„How?“ The grandson asks.

„If you feed only the light wolf, the dark wolf will starve. He will be full of rage towards the light wolf and will demand your attention. He will wait for an opportunity to pounce on you and devour you. However, if you consciously acknowledge the dark wolf and accept that it exists alongside the light wolf, both wolves will be satisfied. The dark wolf has many qualities that the light wolf lacks - like fearlessness, strong-will and cunning strategic thinking. These are the things that the light wolf lacks. But the light Wolf has compassion, caring, strength, and the ability to always know what is best for everyone involved.” "If you feed only one of the wolves, the other will starve and both will become uncontrollable. If you can acknowledge and accept both, they will eventually serve you. They will then do nothing that is not part of something bigger. something good. Something for life. Feed them right and they won't constantly fight for your attention. When there is no battle raging inside you, you will hear the voice of a deeper wisdom which will guide you to choose what is right for you in each moment.“

„Finding peace, my son, is every Cherokee's mission. A woman or man torn apart by an inner struggle owns nothing in life. Nothing. It is how you are able to deal with polarizing forces that determines how you live your life. Feed one and starve the other - or learn to lead and teach them to serve you."





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