In some cultures, wolves are the predators of the night, hunting and watching for our worst nightmares. In others, they are noble warriors, great pack leaders and protectors of the innocent. With such a variety of reputations, it seems that the wolf is, in reality, the most misunderstood being of ancient folklore.
Wolves have a special place in our hearts, especially because they are the ancestors of man’s best friend, the dog.
The wolf has a great place in the tradition Germanic pagan. In this ancient culture, wolves were seen as fierce fearless warriors and natural predators – mainly because of the immense fear of the human race for these beasts. This is why many Anglo-Saxon kings and warriors, to channel the strength of their inner wolf, often used the word “wolf” (“wolf”, which comes from the Proto-Germanic word “wulfaz”) as a suffix or prefix. of their own name. Thus, names like “Wolfgang”, “Wulfsbane” or “Wulfmeer” are still common names in certain parts of Europe and, in particular, in Germany.
In medieval times, wolves were seen as instruments of the devil. Like many important figures of pagan religions, the wolf was a victim of the expansion of Christianity in Europe and therefore demonized. This added to our instinctive fear for these animals and helped to give the wolf a bad reputation in human society. In much of Europe and the Old World, the stories of big bad wolf have become an integral part of our identity because myths and legends have been transmitted in the form of children’s stories. Even today, many cartoons and children’s series play with this concept. Nine times out of ten, the wolf characters are bad charlatans and rascals.
The stories of big bad wolf can also have other cultural origins. In Babylon, the goddess Ishtar would have changed his last lover – who was a shepherd – into a wolf, forcing him to hunt the only animals he had sworn to protect. If we believe some Christian beliefs, wolves are said to have been sent by God to punish the weak and test the faith of believers.
But the wolf has not always had such a bad reputation. In Roman mythology, the heart of the ancient civilized world, Rome, would not have existed without the efforts of a young wolf who would have fed the future fathers of the city, Romulus and Remus. In much of Scotland and the British Isles, the wolf was seen as a guardian and protector. These animals were intrinsically linked to fairies and to elves : legends speak of green wolf from the fairy world keeping a protective eye on the fairies who were in their care by ensuring that they always had food available.
In ancient Egypt, the wolf had an honorable position of protector and guardian. The god of the dead, Anubis, was often represented with a wolf or jackal head and was responsible for protecting the souls of the dead in the afterlife. Anubis ensured that the dead ancestors traveled safely to the Kingdom of the Dead. In Mexico, this belief is also found in ancient traditions. Mesoamerican cultures Sometimes buried a wolf with the victim of a human sacrifice to make sure that this one travels without obstacle towards the beyond.
The incredible wolf hunting talents made him earn the respect of elite soldiers from around the world. It is not uncommon for military and paramilitary groups to identify with the fearless mighty wolf, who flushes out and destroys his enemies with speed and precision. From Serbs to British, all have a deep admiration for the image of the great wolf predator. This is why the image of the wolf is a common figure of theheraldry.
No other culture has honored and respected the wolf for its exemplary character like the native peoples of North America. In many tribes in North America, including Mexico, the wolf is considered not only as a totem of power and strength, but also as a pillar of wisdom and a spiritual guide. From the frozen shores of Alaska to the stifling heat of the deserts of Mexico, the native peoples regarded the wolf as much more than a wild animal. For the Pawnee people of the Great Plains, the wolf was the first creature to understand and experience death; this is why it was considered a totem of the beyond. Pawnee legends say that the wolf star, Sirius (which is also known as the star dog but, considering the fact that the wolf is the ancestor of dogs, the association is understandable), was placed in heaven to remind humans that it was they who had brought death to this world and to represent the wolf in its nocturnal journeys to and from the afterlife (the Wolf Route).
Wolves are exemplary parents, which is why it is not surprising that they are considered symbols of the family in North American native cultures. Couples of wolves are formed for life and wolves are gifted parents. In the wolf world, the whole pack educates and takes care of the Cubs. The pack does not separate, whatever happens. This is why wolves are also considered to be loyal companions and friends.
The wolf is also a symbol of luck and fertility. The Mongolian people consider themselves a descendant of the wolf and perceive it as a sacred animal. The wolf is there symbol of luck and prosperity. It is further considered that a medicinal preparation made with the intestines of a wolf would have powerful curative powers. In Japan, there are talismans and amulets decorated with the image of a wolf to protect those who wear them from fire and disease, but also to bring a child to infertile couples.
In the Chechen culture, the wolf is much more than a wild animal: it is a symbol of national pride. The Chechens revere Mother Wolf and see her as a nurturing force and a guardian who protects their people from worries and conflicts. Being “as free and equal as a wolf” is one of the greatest honors that can be achieved by a person.
Meanings of wolf tattoos
These majestic creatures represent a large number of human features, whose:
- Loyalty and devotion
- Luck and fertility
- Guidance and the role of guardian
- The power and strength of predation
Variations of tattoos
1. Celtic wolf tattoos
Wolves play an important role in the Celtic tradition. They were guards and protectors forest spirits and they ensured that the fairyland was sheltered from outside influences. These majestic animals were seen as symbols of the moon and therefore, by extension, of femininity. Scottish legends parent of green wolf who often brought food to fairies, telling breastfeeding mothers to give milk for them. In this tradition, wolves brought the night. If they did not hunt and eat the sun at dusk, the moon could not rise every night. A Celtic wolf tattoo not only represents a link with the ancient customs of these noble people, but is also a wonderful way to pay tribute to the wolf and its qualities of guidance and protection. These drawings can also evoke power and strength because, after all, only powerful beings are able to devour the sun.
2. Tattoos of wolf skulls
A skull is a symbol of death, human mortality and destruction. Wolves have long been associated with the afterlife. In ancient Egypt, the god of death, Anubis, was often depicted with a wolf or jackal head (depending on the point of view). Wolves are spiritual guides of the afterlife in many ancestral cultures of Europe and North America. A wolf skull tattoo symbolizes your understanding of death and, in a sense, the fact that you rely on the wolf to be your guide. You are not afraid to face your own death, like the wolf.
3. Wolf eye tattoos
The eyes are the mirror of the soul; it is through these powerful organs that we perceive the world around us and understand how things work. The wolf is an expressive and highly communicative animal. He sees beyond the surface of things and uses every sense: eyes, ears, mouth and skin, to interact with the world around him. In the wild, the wolf keeps his eyes on his prey and some people who have experienced it say that the wolf’s gaze seems to penetrate you to the soul. The wolf eyes tattoos symbolize your deep understanding of the world around you and show that you see beyond the appearance of things.
4. Wolf and raven tattoos
The wolf and the crow are important figures in the culture of the native peoples of North America. On the one hand, both are revered for their intelligence and possession of ancient knowledge, but on the other, they are considered to be deceptive creatures, of great survival intelligence and capable of changing shape. The wolf and the raven fight a battle of ingenuity and are engaged in a competition to see who will win using his brain. The crow is the keeper of secrets and the wolf, the purveyor of ancient wisdom. In some stories, one deceives the other, while in other traditional stories, both combine their strengths to defeat the wrongdoers. The wolf and raven tattoos come from the native traditions of North America and show your spiritual connection with the teachings of this culture. This concept also exists in European cultures, especially in ancient Germanic paganism. In these traditions, the wolf, the crow and the eagle are engaged in an endless battle against evil and the dark forces.
5. Moon and wolf tattoos
The moon and wolf tattoos are signs of communication and power. The alpha wolf is usually the only one to howl at the moon, to tell the rest of the pack to come together and to indicate to those outside the pack that they are on their territory. The moon and wolf tattoos represent power, transformation and femininity.
6. Tribal wolf tattoo
In the past, it was not unusual for indigenous peoples to decorate their bodies with marks used to evoke ancient spirits. By doing this, they drew upon them the power of the ancestors and the gods which enabled them to do things of which mortals are generally not capable. Tribal wolf tattoos are common patterns among warriors of the native peoples of North America who identified with the power and fierce fighting spirit of the noble wolf. These drawings not only identify a person as belonging to a particular tribe, but also confer on him the spiritual power and energy of the wolf. Wolf warriors are powerful, primal and fearless in the face of danger.
7. Wolf claw tattoos
A wolf claw tattoo symbolizes your absence of fear in an emotional, spiritual, mental or physical battle. The claws and claw marks generally represent conflict and are a sign of fierce antagonism. Wolf claw tattoos exude power and strength: they symbolize your fighting spirit, your lack of fear and your ability to completely dominate your enemies.