The wolf is first of all a natural wild animal. It is associated with diverse mythologies as it was mankind’s earliest companion. The wolf has many positive manifestations, such as the ancestor of some human groups, a companion to Apollo, a fellow hunter to the Inuit people, a Guardian of the fields in Japan, while its negative aspect is witnessed in Nordic Mythology as Odin’s companions Geri and Freki.
At times the wolf was reduced to a sign of the devil and then destroyed ‘in God’s name’ within some parts of our Western Judeo-Christian heritage. In sharp contrast, the Native American view of The Wolf saw it as being on a par with The People. Little Red Riding Hood’s devouring wolf has often dominated fairytales, whilst other fairy stories, with the wolf as helpful animal, were often overlooked.
Our current ecological and biodiversity crisis resonates with the fate of this extraordinary creature that could be the fate of any ‘other’ who is different, in ways such as ethnicity, religion, gender, and typology. For Jung, animals and nature are vital aspects of analytical psychology. The wolf symbol speaks to us of the shadow side of religion. Jung, in his talks to Swiss clergy, wonders if the one most in need of care is the neglected brother wolf within, echoing the words of St. Francis of Assisi who also called the wolf his brother.
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Speaker: Geraldine Healy
Geraldine Healy was born in Ireland and has lived in three other countries. She trained as a Jungian analyst with the Guild of Analytical Psychologists in London. Her degree is in Social Anthropology and Childhood and Society. She has experience of solitary monasticism in Europe and has a special interest in the interface between spirituality and depth psychology.