Monday, May 11, 2009


Belief in the werewolf probably dates back to Paleopagan times ,when the spirits of animals were both revered and feared. Further on in history ,we discover that lycanthropy (werewolfism) finds its root name from Apollo Lycaeus (Wolfish Apollo) ,who was worshiped in the famous lyceum or" Wolf temple" where Socrates taught .Apollo was mated to Artemis, known in some myths as the divine Wolf Bitch . the She -WOLF was another aspect of the goddess trinity, and her legends move through various races and cultures. Significance here is placed on the belief that goddess or god could shape shift into an animal form.The werewolf legend of people turning into wolves (and back again) stems from this tribal belief.
Many myths, from Celtic Ireland through Germany ,insist that if a person wears a wolf pelt , he or she can transform into a spirit beast. In Mercia during the tenth century A.d. ,there was a revival of Pagan learning under two Druidic priests, one of whom was named Werewolf. This name of "spirit -wolf"seems to have been applied to opponents of Christianity in general.About 1000C.E. , the words "werewolf" was taken to mean "outlaw"probably with it's association to the renegade druid priest Criminals were hanged beside wolves, and the Saxon word for the gallows means "wolf tree".
Another story traceable to wolf-clan traditions ,which may have it's source in Germany, is the story of Little Red Riding Hood.The red garment and the offering of food to" grandmother" in the deep woods(the grandmother wore a wolf skin ) are symbolic of devouring and resurrection .It's thought that a woven red hood was the distinguishing mark of a prophetess or priestess. As death and resurrection are a large portion of the early Samhain beliefs, it's no wonder we find werewolves associated with the holiday of Halloween.
Medieval tales of numerous executions in France and Germany shows that it was as dangerous to be a werewolf as it was to be a witch.historical records indicate the torture and murder of several men and woman who were made to confess that they had acquired this shape shifting ability, naturally through a pact with the Christian devil.
It is possible that "serial killers"are not all the modern(skipping Jack the Ripper ,of course)and not some of the earliest mass killers were considered vampires and werewolves, for killing without guilt is attributable to the animal condition, not to human one.We find the case of Peter Stubb, the infamous Werewolf of Cologne, accused of killing numerous woman and children , to be one of the most frightening trails of an individual accused of actually being a werewolf.Two woman , his daughter and his mistress, were sentenced as accomplices, and Peter Stubb met an incredibly horrendous death at the hands of his judges , while the woman suffered the fate of burning at the stake. Although this could be another urban legend gone wild -as with the witch torture, hangings and burning mentioned earlier -this might be a case of a real medieval serial killer. France appears to have the worst case of werewolves mania,where many people were burned during the sixtennth century, including sufferes from porphyria (a genetic disease) ,rabies, victims,ergot poisoning, and of course the true criminal.
Where wolves have resided, many tribes around the world have associated great power and mysticism to the animal and in several cultures, the wolf was not seen as a "bad"
beast. In reality ,we know that wolf is a highly social ,intelligent, an friendly animal.The Celts were known to cross -breed wolves with hounds to produce a powerful dog for battle,and some Scotch traditions use the wolf as their totem (MaLennans an MacTyre.).
Goo Night my friends


Sonia ;) said...

Ohhhhhh how cool...Love these little lessons...

Sonia ;)

Anonymous said...

So interesting Debb! Looks like I have some reading to catch up on!