Wolf Symbolism & Meaning
Wolf Symbolism and meaning is steeped in mystery and power. From ancient times, people have both feared and been fascinated by the majestic Wolf.
Are you misunderstood? Do you need help learning how to make a stand, and yet, at the same time, avoid a fight? Could your strength and stamina use an energetic boost? Wolf, as a Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal, can help! Wolf helps you harness your innermost wild nature so you can protect your emotional and physical well-being. Delve deeply in Wolf symbolism and meaning to find out how this Animal Spirit Guide can support, assist, and inspire you.
Wolf spirit can help!
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Wolf Table of Contents
- Wolf Symbolism & Meaning
- Spirit Animal
- Totem Animal
- Power Animal
- Native American Symbolism
- Wolf Celtic Symbolism
- Wolf Christianity Symbolism
- Wolf Dreams
- Wolf in Astrology & Zodiac Signs
- Far Eastern Wolf Symbolism
- Wolf African Symbolism
- Wolf Tattoo Meaning
- Wolf Spiritual Symbolism
- Back to all Mammals
- Back to all Spirit Animal Meanings
Wolf Symbolism & Meaning
If ever there was a complex animal spirit guide, Wolf is it. Their lore and legend are full of tales of terror. Elusive, almost ghostly, predators that hunt in bloodthirsty packs – this is the savage reputation of Wolves.
But Wolves are the consummate comics of the wilderness. Their commitment to and love of family is humbling, their communication skills elegant, and their extreme intelligence awe-inspiring.
And these traits are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Wolf symbolism and meaning are rich and multidimensional.
When Wolf appears in your life, it may be time to take a close look at a person or situation who may be a “Wolf in sheep’s clothing.” Trust is something people must earn, do not give it freely. Pay close attention to what your instincts tell you.
While this Wolf symbolism seems negative, consider that He is an omen of something you’re not seeing. People have observed Wolves in nature, finding them to have a highly developed “third eye” or “sixth sense.” Because you’re seeking out Wolf symbolism and meaning, perhaps it’s time to work on cracking open your intuitive senses.
Wolf is also very smart, loves autonomy, and has a strong social character. When you walk with Wolf, you’ll discover your intuitive nature blossoming alongside a healthy sense of self-confidence. Remember, your soul still remembers what it feels like to be wild and free – to trust your feelings and choices! Look at the ordinary world in an extraordinary way!
Wolf sometimes appears when we face challenges for which we feel less than prepared. Wolf reminds you that you have all the tools in your spiritual treasure chest to handle this effectively. Take a step back and see with fresh eyes.
For Seekers who feel afraid or threatened, Wolf reminds us of how those feelings put our entire psyche off balance. Yes, fear plays an important role in personal safety unless it becomes all-consuming or is baseless. Don’t let the darkness consume your Spirit.
Sometimes Wolf calls on us to become the Lone Wolf, who breaks away from that pack to discover the Sacred Self. During times of aloneness, you rediscover your dreams and passions. You also start uncovering the true self and voice that howls at the moon with abandon!
The phrase “Lone Wolf” is a bit of an urban legend. In fact, Wolves are social animals who live and thrive best in well-structured societies (packs). However, in most packs, there is an “Omega” Wolf. This Wolf is at the bottom of the pack but plays an integral part in Wolf families in that they are the tricksters, the comic relief. The Omega Wolf does spend more time alone than the rest of the wolves in the pack but is still greatly loved and heart-breakingly mourned when gone.
Wolf Spirit Animal
As a Spirit Animal, Wolf comes to support and teach us about matters of personal power, balance, self-control, and our animal instincts.
Wolves are misunderstood by many to be aggressive, vicious animals who attack with no provocation. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, Wolves go out of their way to avoid fights. However, when they want to be heard, when they want to stave off or deter an attacker, they will stand their ground.
Wolves are incredible examples of standing in the seat of your own power. They let predators know that they can fight to the death and are prepared to do so but they rarely initiate combat.
Humans are Animals, and sometimes we overlook the gifts from nature that are already within us. Life has an order and rhythm. When you run with a pack, there is a sense of community, and when you’re alone – liberation.
If you are not sure where your circle lies, Wolf’s howl helps you find others of a like mind. He also gives you the ability to mark your territory clearly should anyone threaten that sacred space. Don’t be afraid to make your position known.
Wolf Totem Animal
If you were born with a Wolf Totem, you have an innate connection with Nature and a craving for freedom.
Wolf Totem meaning is steeped in lore related to protection and devotion to family. You are filled with the intense instincts of Wolf Spirit Animal who constantly keeps you vigilant in the face of potential danger. As a Spirit Animal, Wolf reminds you of your primal nature and inner power.
Those born with Wolf Medicine in their soul simply understand how to help balance the world and aid in the creation of a more fertile and abundant ecosystem for all. Wolf Totem meaning has to do with Divine Feminine energy and connection to the Moon. You may be aligned with cycles and transformation. Wolf Totem meaning has to do with keeping your instincts in the foreground and not allowing others to gloss over or dismiss your instincts and intuition.
Wolf Spirit Animal’s meaning can connect you to the importance of family and tight knit group affiliations. You may be reminded of your instincts to protect the young or old because of the presence of Wolf Spirit Animal, meaning you may find a place of nurturing or protecting others close to you.
To get a better understanding of how Wolves truly change the world, watch this awesome Wolf video by Sustainable Human.
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Those who walk with Wolf sometimes don’t trust themselves as much as they should. When you find yourself falling into that emotional pattern, rely on your keen mind and logic to renew balance.
The key caution for Wolf people is your predatory nature. Now, here’s the thing about a Wolf’s “predatory” nature – they mostly focus on taking down the weak, sick, and elderly.
Rarely will a Wolf prey on a strong, mature adult. Surely Nature has a reason for this, but in terms of symbolism for humans, the lesson here is to make sure that you do not choose to prey on those who are not able to stand against you. Instead, focus on finding positive ways to put that predatory energy to work in your life!
Wolf Spirit Animal meaning also relates to knowing when to fight and when to walk away. Preserving your energy and protecting yourself from others with nefarious intentions is also an important aspect of Spirit Animals, Wolf included.
Wolf Power Animal
A word of caution – before you summon up Wolf medicine to be your Power Ally, be very certain you can handle it. For eons, humans and wolves have been bound together emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Because of this bond, when you call on Wolf as a Power Animal He/She or They will appear.
Seek out Wolf medicine for assistance with creating emotional bonds. You want to trust the people in your pack, and once those connections are made, you’ll defend your circle with ferocity, often using wits and words over physicality.
Wolf is a suitable helpmate when there is a rival vying for your territory; in these situations, Wolf helps you move swiftly and confidently. Your home is your sacred space, as well it should be. Wolf meaning then also pertains to family, hearth and home and what you need to do to protect what you love.
Native American Wolf Symbolic Meanings
Among Native Americans, Wolf had dual symbolic values of both great good and terrible evil. Hunting tribes were those that often revered Wolf as a great warrior. Wolf medicine is that of devotion, victory, inventiveness, safety, and fertility.
Some Native American stories connect Wolf Spirit to humankind as an ancient ancestor or Creator God. Pueblo tribes include Wolf as the guardian of the east, while among the Zunis carrying a wolf image is a way of manifesting well-being and protection.
The Cherokee have a group called the Wolf Clan or Aniwaya, as one of their seven Clans. This is no surprise since the Cherokee have a matrilineal society. While Wolf is symbolic of family and connection, nurturing and protection of the pack and children, we can see that Wolf is more complex than the role this creature is often cast into as an apex predator, without consideration to the Wolf’s gentle, loving and protective nature.
The Aniwaya or Wolf Clan has historically been the largest of the seven Cherokee Clans. From this Clan, the Cherokee would look to provide the War Chiefs when needed, thus this Clan is associated with the important responsibility of protecting the people when necessary.
Lore surrounding Wolf as shapeshifter is not exclusive to Native people, but in the Cheyenne tribe, there is a fascinating story of the power of Wolf’s relative in the Animal Kingdom- the Dog. Known for their fighting spirit, the Cheyenne people tell of the Dog Soldiers, a society founded by a man who announced that he would start his own subgroup. None of his peers seemed to take him seriously and went about their business. Still, he meditated and prayed, asking for guidance to form his group. No one made a move to join him. Yet it is said that as he prayed and howled at the Moon, all of the dogs in the camp heeded his call and rushed to join him.
Thus, the Dog Soldiers were born. It is said that the Dogs transformed into humans. Later members of the Dog Soldiers were given special status as guardians of the tribe. It is said they were particularly suspicious of colonialists and did not believe it wise to trust white settlers. They attempted to protect the traditions and freedom of the Cheyenne people and resisted being forced unto reservations.
The lore and history of the Dog Soldiers reflects the power of Dog’s primal Ancestor, Wolf. Though they can be loving, nurturing and emotionally intelligent, Wolf is also protective and will trust their instinct before they trust others. Thus a devotion to the pack (family, tribe, clan and so forth) is prevalent in Wolf energy.
In almost every tribe, Wolf is a prominent figure. Wolf lore relates to hunting, protection, loyalty, strength and success. Wolves are considered to be close relatives of humans, especially in Northwestern Tribes. Wolves are seen as Medicine Beings, so they are given a special status and recognition as powerful and important beings in Native lore and culture.
The Quileute and Kwakiutl believe that Wolf transformed into the first humans, a reiteration of the worldwide belief in Wolf as shapeshifter and the connection between Wolf and Human. The connection between Wolf and creation myths are also prevalent in Native lore.
To the Shoshone people, Wolf is a Creator Deity. Wolf Clans were also prevalent, and not only among the Cherokee. The Lenape and Shawnee honor the Wolf through an important, ceremonial Wolf Dance.
While the belief in a person’s ability to draw on the power and energy of an Animal ally is not exclusive to Wolf, many Native tribes include Wolf among the most important of the Animals with whom they commune and connect in ceremony and ritual. Wearing a Wolf’s pelt is one way that Native groups forge an alliance and connection with Wolf Medicine.
Poet Jim Barnes pays homage to Wolf in his poem Four Things Choctaw. The Innuit people hunted and trapped Wolf and it is said that the leader of the Kiowa people was known of as a Lone Wolf.
Wolf Christianity Symbolism
Wolf serves as an important parable in Christianity symbolism. Though Wolf’s role in Christian lore and symbolism tends to be less flattering; rather than paying homage to the protective, nurturing and family-oriented nature of Wolf, Christian lore and symbolism tends to focus on Wolf as the diametric opposition of another important symbol in this religion: the Lamb.
Lamb is considered a symbol for Christ because of this animal’s gentle nature and connection to purity and innocence. We can also see the influence of cultural or social interests superseding the actual religious doctrine and favoring Lamb as a symbol for Christ as Lambs are docile, subservient and live in herds that need to be influenced and protected by the Shepherd. Thus, Christ is seen as a symbol both of the Lamb and also of the protector of the Herd.
When taking this perspective, we can then see how one of Lambs natural adversary- the predator who is cunning, creative and crafty, and who can penetrate into any secure location in an attempt to feed off of the innocent and unsuspecting Sheep, we can see how the Wolf becomes a natural fit for the role of “predator.”
In Christian lore, you can extend this dynamic a step farther. If Christ is the Lamb or the followers of Christ are the herd of Sheep, then any being who tries to infiltrate the protective boundaries (the gates or fences erected to keep the herd safe) would have some ties to evil.
Does this make Wolf evil? Not necessarily. But we can see how they fit the archetype of the predator, lurking in the shadows, waiting to attack the innocent and unsuspecting. Also a perfect allegory for Satan or evil influences that “prey” on those who are followers of Christ.
Thus, Wolf as a symbol, became an easy adversary, representing the dangers of those who are the antithesis of Christ’s teachings. This designation is described in the Bible, in Luke with the line “Go your ways, before I send you forth as Lambs among Wolves.” In Genesis, Wolf is used as a symbol of greed and avarice, the use of intelligence and cunning for selfish purposes.
Yet not all stories are so negative in regards to Wolf meaning and symbolism. There is also a story of St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio. In this story, the people of Gubbio were afraid of a Wolf who was lurking in their town, no doubt just trying to survive like they were. The people were afraid and therefore saw the Wolf as their adversary rather than as another being just trying to get by.
St. Francis, known for his compassion and connection to animals, successfully negotiated with the Wolf, showing that love conquers fear. He ensured the safety of the village without resorting to violence or attacking the Wolf.
This parable is an important one even now, as it speaks to Wolf symbolizing what we may perceive as an enemy but which is really not. Wolf may remind you to not judge what another does to survive and to not let fear bring out the darker nature within you. Like St. Francis, we can learn to be diplomatic even in the face of fear.
St. Francis is known for having walked in both worlds, the world of the affluent and the world of poverty and humility. You can further derive from this parable that Wolf can show you that instincts of satisfying hunger and trying to survive unite both the affluent and the poor. The saying “Wolf at the door” which is often used to describe the way that poverty and misfortune can seem to “haunt” those whose suffering is the result of greed. Wolf can then remind us that it is important to consider how you share resources so as not to create the extremes of wealth and hoarding and extreme poverty and starvation.
Wolf Celtic Symbolism
The symbolic value of Wolf mixes liberally with Hound and Dog in Celtic tradition as an emblem of bravery, faithfulness, and integrity. Overall the Celtic stories speak of Wolf as a guide who walked closely with the God of the forest, Cernunnos.
Wolf is synonymous with brave Warriors in Celtic lore and the symbol of a Wolf’s head is often used to convey courage and strength in battle. Wolf meaning and symbolism is also associated with one who works outside of the law in order to do what is right, conveying an outlaw archetype as well.
Medieval lore such as the story of King Siggeir, tells of shape shifting Wolves and the connection between Wolf and family and protection. In this tale, Wolf is used as an image for the King’s mother or it is believed she transformed into a Wolf. His sons, Sigmund and Sifjolti, hid under Wolfskins and howled, using the voice of the Wolf to disguise themselves from their father who sought to kill them.
Thus in this story, Wolf is synonymous with transformation, protection and also deceit.
Wolf appearing in a dream tells of a time on the horizon where confidence and composure is essential. You may find yourself yearning for some alone time so that you can return to a difficult situation with greater perspective. Taking that time is the means to your success if you trust your gut.
Do you feel you’re being thrown to the Wolves by friends or colleagues? If so, Wolf may appear in your dreams to represent the feeling of being the focus of some kind of scheme or dishonest strategy. Wolf may also show up as a symbol of someone acting like a “Wolf in Sheep’s clothing.” Thus, even through these less flattering portrayals, Wolf is still working to signal to you that all may not be as it seems.
Wolf can also be synonymous with protection and care of your family or children. Are you excessively worried about family or a child who is about to embark on a new venture? If so, a Wolf can appear in your dreams to represent your sharp, nurturing instincts and desire to protect those you love.
Wolf may also appear if you need to rely on the power of your pack. Are you alienating yourself from those who could help you? Or are you giving your trust and faith to those who want to try to help you?
When Wolf shows up in a dream, they may also signal to you that you can trust your psychic wisdom and that psychic self-defense as well as protection in the mundane realm may be warranted now.
How are you perceiving a situation? Are you seeing your adversaries as enemies in a battle that feels like life and death? Wolf may appear in a dream to remind you that your interests may not be in alignment but this is not a reason to vilify those who are different from you.
Learn more about Wolf Spirit by reading Dreams About Wolves on WhatIsMySpiritAnimal.com!
Wolf in Astrology & Zodiac Signs
If you were born between January 21st and February 19th, you were born under the Native American zodiac sign of Wolf. As a person born under the sign of the Wolf, you have a penchant for future-telling and a strong sense of family and tribe. Your pack remains close and loyal, and many respect you for your keen insights.
Far Eastern Wolf Symbolism
What does a Wolf symbolize in the far East?
Wolves, for the most part, had a negative connotation, particularly in Southern China; here, seeing a Wolf presaged danger and death.
Northern China regarded them more favorably for their strength, courage, and cooperation, which is why Wolf images appeared on weaponry. In this region, myths tell of Wolves flying heavenward bearing the spirits of the dead to an ancestor God.
The Ainu people, an ethnic indigenous group once inhabiting Hokkaido Japan and Russia, considered the Wolf sacred as well as Bear. This group survived largely by hunting and as animists, they acknowledged the sacred spirit in all aspects of nature. Their connection to the spirit of Wolf was seen as they would both hunt to eat and survive off of Wolf’s body but also considered the hunt a form of sacred sacrifice.
Carved Wolf statuary can be found in the Usu area of Japan as well. The Wolf is also found to be an important ally. It is said that Wolf is a protector of the Kami spirits and would also protect the crops and ensure survival. Wolf is found at the Shinto shrine in Mitsumine. You can also find a statue of Wolf, this one called O-inu Sama, translated as “Honorable Dog.”
When you encounter Wolf, you may consider what you need in order to survive. How can this spiritual ally help you preserve and protect what is instrumental to you or your family’s survival?
Wolf is also sacred to Buddhist and Hindu people as well. It is believed that Wolf is a vehicle for the Divine. It is said that the Lord Krishna created hundreds of Wolves from his hair as a means of protection and to scare off adversaries.
In Hindu lore, Wolf has some more sinister meanings as well, as Wolf is associated with Vrika, an ill omen.
For more on Wolves, take a few minutes and watch The Hidden Life of Wolves – a Nat Geo film by Jim & Jamie Dutcher.
Wolf African Symbolism
What does a Wolf symbolize in African lore?
Wolves are found on many continents. In Africa, there are two main types of Wolves, one being the Ethiopian Wolf and the other, the Grey Wolf. More recent classification of a Golden Wolf has been made though this appears to be a hybrid of various animals including Ethiopian and Grey Wolf.
Though Wolf is not as significant in African culture and lore as other animals, there are accounts of Ethiopian Wolf- also known as Simien Jackal, being symbolically connected to both Jackal and Coyote symbolism. That is to say, this animal is associated with trickster energy and because of their nature as predators, is also imbued with the power and skills associated with hunter.
Some stories exist of Wolf being symbolic of the hunt and representing assertiveness and tenacity.
Egyptians viewed Sirius, the Dog Star, as connected to the sacred Wolf. A Wolf deity known as Upuaut is also revered.
Wolf Tattoo Meaning
Wolf meanings can vary as you now know. So when you see someone with a Wolf Tattoo, what could it mean? You may have encountered a person who understands the important of Divine Feminine energy or who is fiercely protective of their home and family.
You may also see tattoos portraying Wolves as symbolic of protection, instinct, intuition and intelligence. A Wolf tattoo can remind you to know when and how to wield your power. Being assertive is another potential meaning of a Wolf tattoo. This tattoo can represent one’s affiliation with a group or pack known for being protective and powerful as well.
Your own inner wild nature can be represented in a Wolf tattoo as you are reminded of the power of your instincts and drive to pursue what you need in order to survive and thrive.
Wolf Spiritual Meaning
What does a Wolf symbolize spiritually?
Wolf was significant in Roman lore as the story goes that Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus, who were twin brothers responsible for the founding of the city of Rome. It is said that the two were abandoned at birth and raised by Wolves. Romulus later kills Remus, demonstrating the ferocity that Wolf is often associated with. Throughout the Roman Empire, Wolf is a symbol of Roman culture and of the Empire itself.
As such, Wolf embodies the intelligence and focus but also the predation Rome displayed in their eagerness to conquer neighboring lands, even to their eventual demise.
Among the meanings of Wolf in Norse lore, Fenrir was a powerful Wolf brought to Asgard by Odin. Fenrir is said to be one of the children of the trickster God, Loki. Odin had intended to dominate and tame Fenrir but found this task to be more difficult than he originally expected. It is said that Fenrir could not be restrained until finally enchanted ropes did the trick. This suggests the free spirit of Wolf and the meaning of Wolf being unbridled instinct that can’t easily be suppressed.
The Huichol people, who live in Mexico, like other indigenous groups, believe Wolf is the Ancestor from whom their Ancestors descended and also believe in the ability to shapeshift between human and Wolf form. Wolf is known as Kumukemai and is an integral figure in their lore and culture.
Wolf spiritual meaning can also be seen in the variety of similar stories about this animal. Werewolf stories are found in many cultures and still fascinate people today. Pop culture celebrates these creatures in modern books and movies. Why are we fascinated by the idea of people turning into Wolves and vice versa? Perhaps it is because we feel permitted to express our primal, urgent, wild emotions when we see Wolf within ourselves. Perhaps we see Wolf as a safe vehicle to cathartically express our emotions.
Wolf is also associated with freedom and rediscovering Divine Feminine power. Clarissa Pinkola-Estes popular book Women Who Run with the Wolves helped generations of women reclaim their own feminine power through archetype, especially that of the Wolf. The connection is not only to the Wolf mother protecting her cubs, but also the connection to the Moon and thus to Feminine energy and cycles of transformation.
Even though Wolf is often associated with the Shadow side of predation and aggressive energy, Wolf Spirit Animal is actually quite feminine. In Tarot, the Moon card is often associated with Wolf as well. The Rider-Waite-Smith deck shows an image of a Wolf and a domesticated dog, standing separated by a river, both gazing up at a Full Moon.
The meaning suggests that within us all is the “civilized” and tame version of ourselves juxtaposed with the wild and instinctive aspect of ourselves represented by the Wolf. When we have to be keen and perceptive, protective and ferocious, loving and devoted, loyal and nurturing, we are drawing on the Lupine side of ourselves.
Our cultural fascination with werewolves and the Wolfman monster also suggests our conflicted relationship with our own emotion and instinct. We both want to be free to express ourselves but we may also fear being “taken over” and consumed by the Wolf-like part of our nature.
Wolf spiritual meaning suggests that we may have to walk a fine line between honoring our instincts and keeping them in check. You may be called to examine whether you are suppressing your instinctual nature so far because you fear the depths of your emotional and subconscious nature, yet great power and wisdom may await you if you explore these depths.
Wolf Symbolic Meanings Key