The wolf in human cultures

the wolf in human cultures

The legend in all the towns

The mention of these creatures is widely recurrent in the myths of diverse cultures. They also won the symbol of the power of nature for European culture. The wolves went from the gods to the first animals to be domesticated by humans in a long process of more than 10,000 years. But that did not stop fascinate us throughout history.

The Wolf, founder of empires

The Wolf will appear in numerous founding myths of cities, dynasties, and clans.

Legend has it that Romulus and Remus were the results of a clandestine link between Mars, god of war, and a vestal. Because of this penumbra in its origin, the twins were thrown into the Tiber to find there a liquid tomb. But the waters took them to the grotto of Lupercal, where a large wolf, welcomed them and suckled them. When then, the two brothers founded Rome, his adoptive mother shone as a symbol of the city and symbolic expression of the courage and destructive claws of the Roman Empire. In the Lupercal, Roman feast of fertility, the maternal mythical wolf was honored. As a result, this wolf was and remains, the symbol of Rome.

The guardian of Asia

In China, a celestial wolf was known, the star Sirius, who is the guardian of the celestial palace, the Great Bear. The polar character is found in the attribution of the wolf to the north. To the celestial blue wolf, creator of the Mongolian and Chinese dynasties.

It is also said that the wolf is among the ancestors of Genghis Khan. It seems that in Mongolia, the myth of the blue wolf is of fundamental importance. The blue wolf Bortä-Tchino, or celestial wolf, symbolizes the urán light, the ray; who is the pair of the white or tawny doe, who represents the earth. In the sacred union of earth and sky, parents of the Khan dynasty, of which Genghis Khan would be descendant.

One aspect of the proximity between the Indo-European peoples compared to the Native Americans of North America is that the wolf symbolizes both protection and destruction. Therefore, there is a duality originally in the cult or vision of this animal. Therefore, the wolf occupies a place in all the religions of Europe, even in the monotheistic, is respected, revered or feared.

The Greek wolf

En la tradición grecorromana, el Lobo es una de las formas de Zeus, a quien se propiciaron sacrificios, para poner término a las sequías y plagas naturales de cualquier especie.

El lobo era también el emblema del dios solar Apolo por su labor de vigilancia. En griego original, los dos términos utilizados para la luz y el lobo eran muy cercanos, como resultado, a veces terminaban confundiéndose: Apolo Licia, según las interpretaciones, designaba tanto al dios de la luz como al dios lobo.

La ciudad griega de Delphos (antiguamente Liconia) había sido fundada por los supervivientes de un diluvio, guiados por los aullidos de los lobos. Pausanias narra la historia en la que un saqueador del santuario de Apolo.  Que fue muerto por un lobo, que no dejó de aullar hasta que las gentes acudieron al lugar y encontraron el tesoro secuestrado, devolviéndolo al templo y erigiendo allí un lobo de bronce junto al altar mayor. En otro episodio, Apolo tuvo un hijo con la hija del rey Minos, Miletos pero éste fue abandonado y recogido por una loba hasta que, posteriormente fue recogido por unos pastores; de este modo fue como el fundador de Mileto, en Asia Menor, pudo sobrevivir.

Guide and master of the combat and the hunting of the Germanic tribes.

the nordic wolf
The Nordic wolf

The Berserker (also ulfhednar) were Viking warriors who fought half-naked, covered in skins of wolf, bear or deer.

Among the peoples of northern Europe, the notion of the wolf as an enraged warrior, besides himself, a relentless and cunning leader, inspired the rise of the berserkers and was a symbol of initiation into warrior societies throughout the world

In Scandinavian mythology, the mouth of the wolf is a symbol of cyclic reintegration, it is the night, the cavern of the underworld.

For the Nordics and Germans, the Valkyries, women warriors, rode mounted on Wolves to cross the sky. In ancient times, seeing a wolf before the start of a battle was also a harbinger of victory, the wolf was the symbolic animal of the hunter and the warrior.

Great Germanic myths

fenrir the wolf
Fenrir the wolf

In Germanic mythology, Fenrir the wolf, the “Destroyer” was responsible for the destruction of the world order, he was the executor of Destiny. Fenrir is the father of the wolves. He is the son of the god Loki and was created to kill the god Odin during the events of the Ragnarök apocalyptic event, but it is also the fate that is then avenged and killed by the son of Odin, the god Vídar. They also say that the terrible Wolf Fenrir devours stars and represents the cosmic death, considering that he is the “bearer of the mouth of the underworld that opens entirely on the horizon of the Earth.”

Skoll and Hati are giants in the form of wolves that chase the (sun) and (the) moon and were the cause of the dreaded eclipses, in which they would have swallowed them, but for the spells forged against them

The Celts and Germans believed that covering themselves with the skin of a wolf’s head gave them special strength and ferocity in combat. In ancient Germany, as in Gaul, warriors ate wolves to acquire their qualities such as strength, speed, and endurance. This ritual allowed to give value to the combatants placing them under the protection of the wolves.

His strength and ardor in combat make the wolf a warlike allegory for many peoples. No animal has such a prominent role in the myths and legends of the northern peoples as the wolf. Symbol of ferocity, courage, and resistance. Beowulf, the legendary Teutonic hero is a great example. Many of the Anglo-Saxon kings and nobles incorporated the word wolf (wolf, wulf, loup, lupo, etc.) to their names proclaiming their courage in the fight

Meaning of the wolf for the Germans:

  • The wolf is a symbol of intelligence, cunning, communication, friendship, loyalty, generosity, compassion.

Egyptian Afterlife Protector

the wolf in egypt
The wolf in Egypt

The wolf, like the dog, plays a role of psychopomp (Being that in mythologies or religions has the role of driving the souls of the dead towards the afterlife, heaven or hell).

The wolf, like other canids, will be associated with death and hell, as well as the descent into initiatory darkness. As hellish divinity already exists in Greco-Roman mythology: she is the wet-nurse of Acheron; from a mantle of wolfskin, Hades is dressed.

The Egyptians had a wolf-god of the dead, called Upuaput, “the one who opens the way”. Which is responsible for guiding the boat of the sun in its night shift. Funerary God and war Upuat symbolized the winter solstice. Upuaput had a city that later the Greeks would call Licópolis. According to Diodorus of Sicily, an army of wolves would have stopped an Ethiopian invasion of the territory, and the name retains the memory of the victory of the wolves over the enemy.

When the wolf god was invoked by the living, he led them through multiple trials until they reached the path of the Blessed. Place where Osiris welcomed them and taught their teachings. Also, according to Diodorus of Sicily, Osiris himself is resurrected in the form of a wolf to help Isis, his wife, and Horus, his son, to defeat his wicked brother Set.

To continue reading part 2 …



* Los celtas y el lobo

* Animales de poder


For those who want to bring the culture of the wolf, I always get …


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The wolf in human cultures
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The wolf in human cultures
The mention of these creatures is widely recurrent in the myths of diverse cultures. They also won the symbol of the power of nature for European culture. The wolves went from gods to the first animals to be domesticated by humans in a long process of more than 10,000 years. But that did not stop fascinate us throughout history.
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