Werewolf Symbolism & Meaning
The Werewolf gets its name from the Old English term “Werwulf” which translates into Man-Wolf. Another term sometimes used to describe this mythical creature is “Lycanthrope” which has its origins in Greece. The Werewolf is described as a shapeshifting beast who can transform from human to ferocious Wolf when the Moon is full.
Typically, the Werewolf is also described as a form of Wolf-like man rather than being portrayed as an average looking Wolf who transforms back into human form, however different variations of the story allow for some variety of accounts on how “complete” the transition between human and Wolf is.
Werewolf Table of Contents
- Werewolf Symbolism & Meaning
- Spirit Animal
- Totem Animal
- Power Animal
- Werewolf Dreams
- Back to all Fantasy & Mythical Creatures and Animals
Werewolf Symbolism & Meaning
One thing is consistent, the tales of Werewolf describe a complete change in consciousness, so that in “Wolf” form, the person is completely out of control of their “human” senses and gives in to bloodlust and instinct. Usually, the stories of Werewolves involve confusion, guilt and regret when the “Wolf” turns back to their human form.
Among the earliest accounts of Werewolf phenomenon are those reported by Petronius and Gervais of Tilbury. According to lore, Werewolves are created as a result of a bite received from another Werewolf or a Wolf and thus the creation story of this beast suggests the symbolic power of cycles.
Such importance of cycles is also reinforced by another facet of Werewolf lore, that being the transformation from human to Werewolf on the Full Moon. Werewolf myths were found throughout Europe prior to the Middle Ages yet it was also believed that later Christian norms and values provided an even more dramatic filter through which the Werewolf was cast as the potential dark side or sinful nature that lies dormant within humans, whereas prior to this it is likely the tales were more heavily influenced by the average person’s fear of living in villages susceptible to ravaging by Wolves.
Earlier pre-Christian accounts of Werewolf stories also have to do with the belief in communing with various animals and were less about one who was “cursed” to turn into a Werewolf and more about the ability to work with the power of Wolf as a personal totem.
Werewolf symbolism is associated with the idea of being cursed or afflicted with an ailment or condition that recurs on a cyclical basis and some have speculated as to whether accounts of Werewolf phenomenon were really circumstances in which ailments of the body or mind gave way to extreme changes in mood or appearance.
Exploring the Werewolf myth from a psychological standpoint, we can see the symbolism as related to fear of being overtaken by repressed or subconscious emotions. This is even more striking when you consider the link between the Moon and the subconscious mind.
The Moon is the planet associated with emotions, the subconscious and intuition. The Moon has the power to signal our instinctive and primal urges and this is also part of the symbolism of Werewolf. The Werewolf is our primal, wild inner self and also our connection to instinct and raw power, which can also mean raw emotional energy and destructive instincts.
Just as the story of the Werewolf involves a release of raw emotion that often follows with a cyclical return to rationality and subsequent period of guilt or remorse, so does the symbolism of Werewolf contain lessons about how important it is to express emotion but also to do so with care and moderation. If there is nothing balancing the expression of wild inner rage or desire, then we can end up in regrettable situations.
According to lore, the only way to destroy a Werewolf is with a silver bullet. Silver is also correlated to the Moon in esoteric and occult lore, thus the Moon not only brings the beast out of the man but also can subdue the primal urges.
Werewolf archetype in Tarot can be associated with the Moon card as this card connotes cycles and phases and of course for the obvious connection between Werewolf and the Moon. The Moon card is also about subconscious desires and fears. The Temperance card can also correspond to Werewolf as Temperance and moderation are the antidote to the extremes and emotional tides embodied by Werewolf.
In astrology, Werewolf corresponds to the Moon and the sign of Cancer as this is the sign ruled by the movements of the Moon. When Werewolf is triggered by the Moon’s cycle, the symbolism is akin to deep emotions being triggered by the influence of the Moon on our intuition and subconscious mind.
The Werewolf is associated with the color grey and silver, both for the appearance of Wolf-like fur and also for the silver bullet that is used to defeat the Werewolf.
Werewolf Spirit Animal
When Werewolf Spirit Animal is working with you, you may feel as if your resolve is being tested. If deeply suppressed emotions are suddenly surging to the surface, if you are feeling pulled in new directions by instincts and intuition that you don’t fully understand or if you feel like you are on the verge of losing control of your calm, intellectual side, Werewolf Spirit Animal may be working with you.
When Werewolf Spirit Animal is guiding you, remember the goal is always integration. There is no need to sacrifice the proverbial “Wolf” in order to save the human side of your nature. Werewolf Spirit Animal’s primal howl may be calling you back to your roots in order to help you heal emotions and prepare for a cycle in which you need to express your power in new ways.
Werewolf Spirit Animal may play on your emotions but the lesson is usually one of learning moderation by first going to extremes. This is an important time to learn to find the balance between your instinctive, intuitive nature and also your logical, civilized side.
Werewolf Totem Animal
Those born with Werewolf Totem Animal can be intuitive, protective, powerful and instinctive. The moods of those with Werewolf Totem may seem extreme and intimidating. But one of the biggest lessons and eventual sources of wisdom, for those with this Totem, is to learn to manage their subconscious urges and desires.
Werewolf Totem Animal may make you sensitive to the influence of the phases of the Moon on your personality. You may try to suppress your unique gifts but time and time again will be reminded that you’ve got to be true to yourself, even if others don’t understand you.
Werewolf Totem Animal can help you connect with the natural world. You may also prefer the company of animals or time alone in nature more than time spent as the life of the party.
Werewolf Power Animal
If you call on Werewolf Power Animal, be sure you are ready to handle the impulses that arise from your subconscious. To call on Werewolf is to tap into your own Shadow side. This can initiate powerful healing and integration. Just remember, this process involves work.
Connecting with Werewolf Power Animal can require you to face your deepest fears and be honest about your raw and primal emotions. The parts of yourself that you prefer to hide from public scrutiny may come barreling out into the open when you invite Werewolf to work with you.
Summoning the Wolf within can also help facilitate intuitive awakenings. When you work with Werewolf, you are owning your instinctive power and desires. This can require you to remain grounded.
When Werewolf arrives in your dreams, it can be an indication that you are feeling out of control. Your subconscious mind may be expressing that you’re trying too hard to stifle some deeper emotions or that you fear what will happen if you lose control of your emotional side.
Werewolf dreams may also signal the beginning of a new growth cycle or a cycle of personal transformation. You may feel as if you are dredging up messy and unflattering emotions before you get the chance to establish a new foundation. Werewolf may be encouraging you to face, accept and integrate the creative and emotional sides of your nature.
Werewolf Symbolic Meanings Key
- Emotional Control
- Occult Studies