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Symbolism of the Wolf

The wolf is, like the raven, an animal associated with the Norse god Odin and the Greek god Apollo. Odin would take his wolfs for the Wild Hunt and this is when we can hear the wind “howl”. This is one of the reasons why the wolf symbolizes, among other things, the menacing death. In Norse mythology the wolf also was the monstrous wolf Fenris (or Fenrir) that was the embodiment of total destruction. In the end of times, called “Ragnarok”, Fenris would devour the Sun and Moon and then the final battle between good and evil would take place. The other name of Fenris is ‘Isengrimm’, which means ‘iron grim’. Grim is rage, inexorability, death and darkness. In Harry Potter the wolf is also called “the grim”.

When children are raised by wolves, that means that their parents have a dark animalistic unconscious. The child can’t be himself and will become a “lone wolf”. They are isolated and can’t make human contact, just like werwolfs (‘wer’ is old english for ‘men’).

The wolf is also the animal of the Devil and gods of war like Mars. According to Greek mythology, Romulus and Remus were sons of Mars, and they were raised by a wolf. That gives the wolf also a strong female connotation. The animal of Hekate, Greek goddess of the Underworld, is a wolf and we also see the mother-wolf motive in Jungle Book and Red Riding Hood in which the grandmother is actually the wolf. It is the dark side of the Great Mother Goddess. It is the animus, the great hunger and greed. It is never satisfied and always resentful.

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