Reflections on my Wolf Self
Watching Princess Mononoke for the first time in years has pushed me to do some introspection. I used to be pretty big into the Otherkin and therian communities; not so much anymore. I’m a member of an LJ group here or there, but I mostly lurk. I’ve been burned by the therian community in the past, hence my reluctance to say “here I am” unless it is something I feel fairly solid on. I used to have deep misgivings about identifying in part of my spirit as a wolf. When I was first pushed to walk on the Northern Tradition path as a shaman, it is something that I grappled with, especially when Odin made it known to me He is my spiritual Father.
I felt…foolish, at first, perhaps silly. I questioned everything I had experienced; surely it was just “hey, this is me, look how special I am”. But I’ve never acted that way; I never went out of my way to howl and thrash about, draw attention to myself, none of it. In point of fact, I tended to hide this part of myself until people got close to me. It wasn’t a shame, per se, but I didn’t want to open myself up in a time of vulnerability to people who would not understand me, or hurt me with their words. Now, I care quite little about that. Regardless, I went through a period of intense, deep introspection and looked at my life, and who I would have been had I not embraced my spiritual realities, albeit with a bit of a fight. Whenever spiritual upheaval has come my way, it has taken me a good deal of time to accept it.
When I look at my spirit, what I see is a man and a wolf, two in one. There was a point in time where I would have said we were ‘shards’, where I crammed all the little things like anger, ferocity, defense of myself, the urge to kill, everything, into my wolf side because I didn’t want to deal with it. Over a long period of self-recovery, spiritual healing, and coming together in MySelf, I am what I am now. Perhaps Odin has something to do with my wolf or man side, or both. I’ve not explored that yet.
When did I first start realizing? A young age, though I never had words for it. Always feeling a sense of kinship, of Us with wolves when I saw them in zoos, something like that but faded in documentaries. Growing up I had the wrong words for it; I delved into the writings of Montague Summers, which did not help my frame of mind one bit. When I hit college I found the therian and Otherkin communities. At first, I was excited, growing to know others who were like me. Several, if not most of the communities I have been a part of in the therian and Otherkin communities, have either gone sour and folded, crumpled due to lack of involvement, or in a rare case, thrived and I was too burned to do more than lurk.
Most of the acceptance I have regarding my wolf self I owe to my Gods; They have helped me work with it, and over time, integrate it. Odin did so in a guided meditation when He first made Himself known to me, and demanded I work with my wolf side. I did, working with Lupa and Lycrous (a Wolf God who made Himself known to me, who turned out to be Lycaeus, though I still call Him by the name He gave me) who still work with me on occasion. These two Gods have been integral into me accepting, then integrating my wolf self into my life, from being able to relate to it, to giving it the proper time to ‘let loose’. They helped me find the time to speak with it, to help heal it, to love it, and in so doing, love myself. I think that, perhaps, is the biggest gift They could have given me, and that anyone can give to themselves to work through something like this. Healthy spirituality isn’t something you rush through to get through, it’s something you work through with patience for the process and yourself. When I would be too hard on myself for ‘not getting into it enough’ or ‘not doing enough’, They would remind me, in Their ways (usually Lycrous was the more heavy-handed) that I am in the process of integration, and that whipping myself because ‘I wasn’t there yet’ or ‘I’m just crazy’ was counterproductive.
I’ve had to heal myself for many reasons, not the least of which is when I am not integrating these parts of myself, I find discord. This discord shows itself in many ways, from irritation I can’t place, to a feeling of being trapped when I’m in stressful situations. If I stay inside too long, I get snappish, and growly. The best remedy I’ve found to this is to give myself more time outdoors, exploring, and just being without have a host of things I must do on top of it. I need to give my wolf side the time it needs to be. I’m not about to say ever time I’m growly, that means the wolf needs to go for a walk. Hardly. However, when I pay attention to my inner needs and wants, my outer world is easier to work within, and live in.
From here, Odin, and on a limited basis, Fenris, have worked to integrate my wolf self into more of my spirituality and magic. In integrating my wolf side into my shamanic work, I am finding myself much more spiritually empowered, and my spiritual life takes on all of me, and is better for it. I try to find ways to incorporate it into my work, whether through astrally shapeshifting, rooting out spiritual issues as a wolf, or inviting my wolf self to guide me when I walk through woods. My wolf side provides a deep, primal and insightful aspect to my life I would not otherwise have, and deepens my understanding of this and other worlds. The work that Odin has done with my wolf side is mostly making me involve it more in my magic and work with/for Him. He challenges me to integrate it however I can, into situations I find myself. Fenris, meanwhile, has taught me to relate to my wolf self in a more balanced way, to not just look at it as the hungerer and destroyer, but the being that has a place in Nature itself. He has pushed me to exorcise, in a way, my wolf side of the immense amount of crap (not unlike taking the iron bullet out of a Wolf God in Princess Mononoke) and throw it away.
In throwing away that black ball, in integrating my whole Self, I have found peace, and a much more deep way of experiencing the world around and within me. Ves Heil and praise be to the Gods that have brought me on this path. Though at times I’ve fought kicking and screaming, I thank Them for the sense of peace I have with myself, the sense of wonder and spiritual experiences I have had along the way. In realigning my inner self, I find my outer self has followed suit.