When I was a little boy, the one animal that I always wanted was a wolf. I was intrigued by the way they looked, the way they acted. I remember the stories that my grandmother would tell me about wolves. The most memorable and the one that I still see surfacing all over is “Two Wolves.”
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one I feed.”
Wolves have always played a big part in Native American Legend. They are also a strong component as well as ally in certain areas of the Craft. As you know, on many a trip to the woods here, I have been accompanied by the spirit of wolf. It is wolf who has taught me about survival and family and resourcefulness. It is wolf who has walked me through tragedy and death and helped me to keep my nose to the wind. It is wolf who has taught me that change is constantly around us and that we must adapt to those changes.
I remember going to the Cherokee reservation in North Carolina as a teen. On the way, we passed by many tourist-y type locations. On one of the doors to a local business, I saw an advertisement for wolf-dog puppies. I was ecstatic! I was finally going to be able to have a wolf (even if it was only part wolf) and live the dream of raising a companion who would help me walk life’s road. As I hurriedly scribbled the number onto a receipt I had crammed in my pocket, my grandmother came up behind me. “Where do you plan to keep this wolf?” “In my room.” “Where will it be able to run and hunt?” “In the back pasture and the woods behind.” “What happens when his true nature shows?” “Huh?” “What happens when wolf shows forth and dog is forgotten? You cannot change the nature of something…no matter what you try to mix it with.”
As my grandmother asked me these questions, I could see a familiarity glistening in her eyes. Even though she chose to leave her people behind for my grandfather, there were many times I watched as the Cherokee took over. I remembered what she was like as she led me into the woods and down by creekbeds. I remember the glint in her eyes as she taught me to track rabbits and squirrels. The glow as she told stories of her childhood. It looked as if she was flying when she would start dancing in the kitchen…..complete abandon as she shuffled and turned. She knew personally what it felt like to be taken out of your element and what it was like to conform. I think this is what made her the easiest to tell when I realized that I was gay. All she did was continue what she was doing with a huge smile. “One can’t control the nature of the heart.”
It is because of my grandmother that I continued to nurture my love of the wolf. I revered and honored them with my own energy and magick. I gave offerings to them. I was allowed the honor of meeting a wolf-dog once in my life. I may meet others yet, but this dog had a profound effect on me. He was an older soul, around 11. He belonged to a man who had lived ‘way past any usefulness,’ as he put it. I was in bible college at the time in Tennessee and had to make the six hour drive home. Mountain driving was a necessary evil and not a drive that I completely enjoyed. I tended to make any stops I could and made that long drive even longer. I stopped at an old stand of sorts. Mountain apples and apple cider were always something I craved. There weren’t many apples there, but the old man offered what he had and a big cup of cider. I looked to see an old dog walk slowly toward me. From a distance, all I could tell was that he was a good size….couldn’t really decipher the breed. When he sat in front of me, there was no mistaking that there was wolf in those eyes. My heart quickened from the excitement. “Wolf Dog?” “Yep. Name’s Injun.” “Really?” “Yep. He’s a good ‘un. He was a bit hard to handle coming up, but now that there’s some years on him, he’s settled down.” My grandma had always taught me not to look an animal in the eyes unless I was invited to do so, so I kept my head low. Injun came up and nudged my chin with his head, so I took it as an invitation to look at him. It was as if a part of us connected. I could feel that there was nothing tame in this animal…he had just adapted to the life that was given to him. I felt our spirits communing with one another and magick and wisdom being transferred back and forth. As I sat there on the porch steps talking to the old man, Injun laid down beside me and put a foot on my leg. “Never seen him take to anybody like that. Guess the injuns would call that medicine, huh?” “Yeah, I guess that’s what they would call it.” I thanked the old fella for the apples and cider and walked toward the car. Injun was right beside me. I thanked him for what he had shared with me and again our eyes met. I knew at that moment that I had been allowed to share in wolf energy. That is something that I will always cherish and will always be as fresh in my mind today as it was the day it happened. I got into my truck and drove on toward home….knowing that because of wolf energy my life would be changed forever.
This week, I was surfing the net and for some reason decided to google “Wolf.” Now with one word like that, you know that millions of things are going to come up. I was surprised by the first entry on the screen of my computer. Wolf Haven International. I read about their facility and was thrilled by all that I read. Even more exciting was the fact that they offered the opportunity to ‘adopt a wolf.’ I looked through the gallery of wolves in their sanctuary and wondered how I was going to afford to adopt all of the wolves shown. As I scrolled down, however, one wolf caught my eye. It was Shadow. Shadow is a 3 year old male wolf with a dark grey-black coat and amber eyes. He had lived in three different homes before going to Wolf Haven. He has endured much for such a young wolf, but now is living a life as close to normal as he can. I decided that Shadow was the wolf I needed to adopt.
As I made my decision, I was automatically connected to the energy of Injun. My memory raced quickly back to the day I met wolf energy face to face. I look forward to keeping up with the life and antics of Shadow and am thankful that there is a way that I can contribute and give back so that wolf energy may continue to thrive. I am thankful that I am able to give to such a wonderful organization that help those that should have lived life untamed may be able to move back in that direction.