Lycanthropy – Shape-shifters – Werewolves

Source: http://rhokanih.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/singularity.16072308.jpgToday’s spiritual paradigm is evolving into something other than standard religious dogma. People are attempting various ways to contact higher realms and reaching for enlightenment. That is evident from the profusion of metaphysical sites on the Internet.

As a Spiritual Warrior and Seeker of the Way myself, I tend to write about different aspects of this new paradigm. I wrote an earlier article Animal: Spirit, Power and Totem which touched on aspects of spiritual seeking. Another article, Wolf Spirit, described the wolf spirit within. This one is going to touch on a different aspect of the wolf within.

Lycanthropy is a name given to a condition in which a person believes they transform into a wolf and back again. It comes from Greek terms lykoi for wolf and anthropos for man. A literal translation for lykoi-anthropos is ‘wolf man’. This belief has been diagnosed as a psychiatric disorder where the afflicted person believes they are a wolf. It is thought that the ‘disorder’ can be linked to the once widely held belief that lycanthropy is a supernatural state of being where men, usually a shaman, actually take on the physical characteristics of an animal. Psychiatry tells us that this ‘delusion’ is most likely to occur among those members of the community who believe in the transmigration of souls and reincarnation.

Source: http://i223.photobucket.com/albums/dd167/finiexblack/wolf.jpgAncient stories tell of men who turn into creatures who prey on humans and animals alike. Early Greek history provides examples of werewolf myths which may be linked with Olympian religious traditions. For example, one area rich in wolf mystique was Arcadia where a cult of the Wolf-Zeus existed. This belief existed among the Romans as well. Their version was of a versipellis or turnskin and was a person who, through the use of magic, could turn into a wolf.

Rumours, legends and stories about werewolves became widespread throughout Europe during the dark and middle ages. Unscrupulous robber barons and thieves may have taken advantage of simple agricultural communities by donning wolf skins and giving the appearance of shape shifting into wolves. Clinical psychiatry links the lycanthropic ‘disorder’ to beliefs which include animal guardian spirits, vampires, totemism, witches, and werewolves. ‘Vampires’ are yet another example (extreme though it may be) of lycanthropy.

Through to modern day, the idea that a person can become a wolf has persisted as a theme. One which has provided fiction writers and Hollywood with material for popular entertainment. The legend of the werewolf (wer is the Old English term for man, again, literally man-wolf), has been successfully integrated into modern media entertainment.

Source: http://www.stepheniemeyer.com/twilight.htmlSource: http://www.stepheniemeyer.com/twilight.html
A recent example of how this theme has been worked into modern entertainment genres is the ‘Twilight’ series written by Stephanie Meyer. This series of books has become extremely popular, which in turn lead Hollywood to turn the books into feature films.

Twilight DVD


Along with lycanthropy, a person who believes that they can shift from person to animal and back has been referred to as a Theriomorph or shape-shifter.

More Details on Shape-shifting

The phenomenon of shape-shifting is not just confined to written or electronic entertainment media. The legends, folklore and fairy tales from many countries reveal a continuing belief in shape-shifters. Throughout northern Asia and Europe a person was thought to take on the appearance of the most feared predator in the region, i.e. the wolf or bear. In China, Japan and India it was the tiger, while in Africa it was the hyena or leopard.

Spiritually speaking, a person who undergoes lycanthropic or theriomorphic transformation is able to see characteristics of certain animals or spirit guides within their own personality. However, in the case of a spiritual seeker of the way, these shape-shifters assume their animal form in the spirit realm. These spiritual warriors identify with the animal spirit within and incorporate the attributes of their spirit animal into their daily interactions with others. The animal spirit guides provide lessons for the seeker to follow to encourage their spiritual development towards enlightenment. By blending with their animal spirit guide on the spirit plane during a meditation session one can truly say they have become a shape-shifter.

An example of a spirit guide is the wolf. The Grey Wolf or Timber wolf is a teacher that brings lessons of cooperation and community to the spiritual warrior. One shape-shifter describes the transformation as follows:

Source: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_NHJT11ixdNU/Simx1_3XnHI/AAAAAAAABHU/UTwuEegkkKw/s400/SpiritWolf.jpgI exist mentally and in spirit as both wolf and human (I am one person, one character, one being). When I shift, mentally, the outside world usually notices. The change produces a change in my demeanour that is recognizable. Even without shifting, there are facets in my mind that are pure wolf, and make me different to the people around me.

The transition, change or shift is very difficult to describe to someone who has not experienced the alteration within themselves. The spiritual transformation has been described as integrating the human and animal personalities and achieving cooperation between the two that affects your actions, words, the way you carry yourself and your life generally. Other shape-shifting seekers of the way make a clear distinction between the spiritual forms of their human and animal guides in order to maintain their balance within the physical world and blend in with ‘normal humanity’. Transitioning between the human spirit and the animal may be achieved by will alone or if the animal within senses that you need its guidance and protection.

The Sceptics View of Lycanthropy

It is the delusional belief by a person that they can turn into an animal, predominantly a werewolf. Witchcraft or magic was thought to be the main cause of shape-shifting in Europe during the Middle Ages although modern theorists believe rye bread eaten by poor classes may have been contaminated with the fungus ergot. This potentially caused hallucinations and delusions about becoming a werewolf. Stories of humans turning into animals seem to be widespread and occur in all cultures indicating a shared fear of the wildest local beast or desire for animal powers such as great strength or the ability to fly.

The Sceptics View of Werewolves

Source: http://thewordwielder.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/1165441340_werewolf.jpg?w=217A werewolf is a human who can change to wolf and back again according to folklore. The beast is thought to eat human flesh or blood to survive. There are no documented cases of humans turning into a wolf and back again, however cases of humans who believed they were werewolves have been recorded. This form of delusion is known as lycanthropy.

Speculation leans towards a genetic disorder known as hypertrichosis, excessive body hair, and lead towards individuals being thought to resemble wolves. This may have given the legend of the werewolf a boost. There are other disorders that may also have a similar effect such as adrenal virilism, basophilic adenoma of the pituitary, masculinizing ovarian tumors, or Stein-Leventhal syndrome.

Lycanthropy – Shapeshifters

Sceptics rebut the possibility of shape-shifting occurring in human beings. Spiritualists state that humans become an amalgam of human and animal spirit on the spirit plane. This view does not debunk the sceptics view as the spiritual seekers have not claimed a physical transformation as is often portrayed in books and movies like Twilight.

The myths, legends and folklore of many cultures support the spiritual beliefs in animal spirit guides, while shamanistic rites and rituals support the transfiguration of the soul during the spiritual warrior’s journey of discovery and enlightenment.

One website describes the spiritual seekers connection to the animal spirit as follows:

Wolf blessingThe act of honouring an animal is not an act of worship. It is the acknowledgment of their power and their being as brothers and sisters of the entire universe. It is a sign of our gratitude for their help. The energy of the animals, birds and other creatures that assist us should be honoured. For too long, we have subjugated these creatures who are our equals in the system of the Universe. Native Americans often leave tobacco scattered on the ground as a gift. You could also burn incense in honour of the animal. When honouring animal wisdom and energy, always leave a gift of some sort. Remember to say “Thank you.” For all the help they give us they deserve our gratitude.

Wolf Spirit is a teacher of humankind, a pathfinder. Wolves can teach us many things including how to know and understand ourselves and others.

Source: http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Arcade/4626/lycanthr.html
Source: http://www.skepdic.com/lycanthr.html
Source: http://www.skepdic.com/werewolf.html
Source: http://www.wicca.com/celtic/wyldkat/anmlintro.htm

Comments

  1. People writing that the word ‘werewolf’ offends them, are clearly not of our kind.
    It’s a name that has been with us for thousands of years, so to be offended so easily by a term that we have lived by since our begging, leads me to believe once again that there will always be liars and pretense on subjects and beliefs such as this.

    Will we ever find true others when people hide behind what they wish they were?

    • Welcome to TimberwolfHQ Kirsty

      I understand that a person with the ability to shape-shift, particularly those who can become wolves, are not easily moved to offence when the word ‘werewolf’ is used. Whether or rather when you find others of the same persuasion, you will know it within yourself. Keep looking Kirsty, there are many in the community who will assist you on your search.

      Timberwolf

  2. I have changed mentally. Any advice? I need help fitting in with being changed.

  3. Forgive me for this but some of this information is incorrect, not all shape-shifters are werewolves. There are many legends of shape-shifters that don’t necessarily focus on wolves, it just so happens that wolves to this day are the more widely famous form thanks to media. The Mesoamerican Nagual or Nahual were indeed not all wolves. To the Mesoamericans, they believe that everyone had a spirit animal within, that animal being depending on their personality, and only some had the power to unlock that shape-shifting ability.
    According to The Mantaka American Indian Council, who also believe that there are animal guides that come to some people, you cannot force an animal to come to you neither can you choose your animal. You can’t become a wolf just because you admire them. There is also a chance that you don’t get visited by a Spirit Guide at all. Not everyone has the ability to shape-shift, it’s a false statement to turn just because you think it cool. Sure there are people who believe that they were born into the wrong skin, ones who feel more of an animal spirit inside them than a human.
    I am not claiming that I am a nonbeliever, for I believe in Spirit Animals and Lycanthropy as much as many people. I am also not trying to insult any who believe themselves to be shifters only that I do know how easy it is to impersonate one, even easier to do it over the internet. We as humans crave the supernatural, we lust for things that aren’t normal and at times we let our imagination run wild a little too long that we begin to go blind.

    • Very valid point! Thanks for sharing.

    • Namaste Ana

      Thank you for stopping by Timberwolf HQ and sharing your knowledge with my readers and I. I would like you to know that I write about the information I find making sure that all my readers are aware that there may be facts missing. I encourage the sharing of knowledge and the correcting of any errors that may find their way into my articles. Your input is appreciated as it makes the collective information all the more beneficial and accurate.

      Please stop by again and share your knowledge with my readers and I.

      Timberwolf

      • I see, Siosi and Anna. I have met a few non-wolf shifters, but very rare in my bloodline, so I do not think of it. Although the Liquiliette’s can pick up the power to go to wolf AND other animals, I still don’t think of it. Thank you for reminding me, much appreciated. I’ll have to put it on my blog! Thanks!

  4. Hannah R. says:

    Hi Timberwolf,
    Um… I don’t know how I came across this website but I liked how there’s not just boring normal people out there. I love wolves and I always think about them. I sometimes wish I was one or can shift to one…but of course, can’t. Can Alaskan’s shift? Like, as in Native Alaskan’s? Blunt question but just wondering. There’s no signs or anything but I’m just really curious

    • Oh, yes, Hannah. You can shift into one of us. As did I, I have no idea how I came across this website. :) You can shape-shift if you believe in the magic that rests in your blood. You need to stir it up, or, awaken it. This may be hard, but I have a few simple tips to help you begin to awaken your magic. One is by going out in a full moon and crouching at the closest peak to the moon and howling. This will notify that magic it is time to “wake up” and be used. Then you must concentrate, pull that magical blood into your heart and sharpen it like a pencil in a well working pencil sharpener. Then run as fast as you can, jump as high into the air as the snow will allow you. Let this point splinter like an explosion, make sure there are mini explosions in all your limbs! This may not work on the first try. If it does not, try again after you catch your breath.

  5. Timberwolf,
    I have not been able to get in touch with my Wolf Spirit. Do you have any pointers on all of this? I’m having a very difficult time right now and it seems really hard to concentrate. HELP!!!

    • Jennifer,
      I am able to get “in touch” with my inner wolf. The way you do this is by letting your wolf build up in you. You will feel this. You must take that and turn it into a pencil form. Then, while holding the wolf in the point, you must run and jump. You let your inner wolf in a point form explode. You must center small explosions in each of your limbs, and organs.When you wish to phase back, just run and pull all of your inner wolf to your heart and stand up. I suggest wearing a streachy cord on one of your limbs to tie your clothes to. You need to do this because after phasing, you phase back to human and your clothes don’t come back. When you phase with clothes on, they get ripped to shreads. 1 more thing to clean up! (past experiance) I really hope this helps and my pack will see you sometime soon!

      • Hi Savannah

        Thank you for sharing your insights into transfiguration. I especially like the tip on keeping your clothes handy as it would indeed be embarrassing to return to normal human form without appropriate clothing, especially in the colder climates. ;)

        Please continue to come back to Timberwolf HQ and share your knowledge with my readers.

        Timberwolf

        • You’re welcome, Timberwolf. I am glad I was of assistance to you. If you would like to read about the histories of how the Counties were formed millions of years ago, just check out my website, http://www.CecilsCoven.weebly.com. The histories are actually very interesting. Also email me @ fairyrain2@zoominternet.net any questions you have on being a wolf, becoming a wolf or tips about phasing. I am an alpha female in my pack, I guess. On the hunting parties I am. Cecil is actually the real alpha, but he is to old to lead the pack anywhere but to battle and to the nearest food cabinet! So I am usually the leader, since the alpha male (my old boy friend) went to the “Dark Side” that has been my job. =) By the way, I’m a HUGE red wolf and proud of it! ;)

    • Welcome to Timberwolf HQ Jennifer

      What a crazy time of year these last couple of months have been. I am truly sorry that it may seem your question has fallen through the cracks of my site. That is not the case. I have been otherwise occupied and have taken today to respond to many other comments and questions.

      If you wish to contact your guide and get better acquainted, you could undertake the meditation in the following article: Discovering Your Animal Totem

      Once you have successfully undertaken this meditation, you should have had an interesting experience in meeting and being introduced to your animal guide. Please come back to Timberwolf HQ and share your experience with my readers and I.

      In love and light

      Timberwolf

  6. im really glad im not the only one who has gotten in touch with this spirit that keeps us alive, i thought i was the last one. my spirit guide is the wolf wich helped me connect with my inner wolf. he has kept me alive and sharp. Timberwolf, i admire you greatly.

    • Namaste Zach

      Thank you for your visit to my site and the comment you have left. It is always wonderful to meet with another wolf spirit. Keep following your guide and come back again as I would be interested in hearing more about your journey.

      Timberwolf

    • Hi Zach

      Thank you for visiting my site and leaving a comment. I am only following the calling of my inner wolf to share knowledge and experiences with my readers. Your comment is humbling as I do not seek to do other than what I feel urged to do.

      Pleae come back again soon and share more of yourself with us.

      Timberwolf

  7. Would like more info…having sort of a spiritual crisis in a way…Lycanthropy can you send more info about it..thank you

    • Hi Brandy.

      My blog is a kind of a hodgepodge of different things and I hope you enjoy it. As such I write about a lot of different topics. I do intend to write more about wolves and Lycanthropy once I have completed my research. Please come back and let me know how you are faring.

      Timberwolf

  8. Wow after reading this article it has relieved me to know that there are other people like me. When i first transformed i was pretty confused about it all then the Wolf Spirit came to me several times and it was hard to know what he was saying. After a while when i became synchronized with my transformations and my mind was right i can understand him just fine now. I guess i am one of the people that can transform on the spiritual plan and able to merge with my Wolf Spirit at times. Im still learning as I go though. Since i speak with the Wolf Spirit more and more i am learning more about myself and how to use his knowledge and power that he lends me. I dont know if you have had your Wolf Spirit give you their name but mine said his name was Chunga. I know it sounds weird but he is always there when i need him and answers all of my questions. Again thanks for the article and keep up the good work.

    • Namaste Thomas & Chunga

      Thank you for visiting Timberwolf HQ and providing some details about yourself. I find it fascinating that you have been able to merge with your wolf spirit. My wolf spirit has revealed her name to me. It is Sheba. You can see how she reveals herself to me in an article I wrote: Wolf Spirit and Reader’s Challenge.

      Your comment and obvious appreciation give me great satisfaction. I think you would make a great addition to our growing community at: Seeker of the Way. Please consider joining.

      Timberwolf

  9. Shannon R. says:

    Wow, this was so not what I was looking for. Although those are very strong words though, as said… Keep up the hard work, Im sure some day you’ll make a bright discovery among Shifters and please dont use the term werewolf it does offend a little.

    • Shannon. Thanks for your comment. Sometimes we are drawn to information that we are not seeking simply because it is what we need to find. Call it ‘synchronicity’ if you want. I’m glad the article was powerful enough to prompt you to leave a comment. As to the use of the term ‘werewolf’ (also written werwolf) it is not offensive to Shape-shifters who understand its etymological roots.

      In the original Germanic root languages ‘wer‘ simply meant ‘male‘ which was also used to identify ‘man‘. This gives a literal translation as ‘man-wolf‘. The term ‘man‘ has Proto-Indo European roots in the word ‘men-‘ meaning ‘mind, thinking or intelligence‘ giving were/werwolf another meaning altogether different from the negative connotations you are referring to. It may literally mean ‘intelligent-wolf‘ which fits in very well with Wolf Spirit as a teacher and pathfinder.

    • I must agree with Shannon with the whole “Werewolf” thing. We are not beasts that run around killing every human in sight against our will. I accept it with people who do not know, but I kinda don’t tolerate it with people who do ;)

  10. @Nerissa – just continue focusing on resolving your “issue.” Once you start trusting yourself more, and your intuition, the answer will come. It’s all part of the self-discovery process. As the spider totem has taught me, “Know thyself and thou shalt know the Universe.”
    .-= George S.´s last blog ..How To Begin Mastering Your Self =-.

  11. so having dreams as if in a wolf form is something to not be concerned with…I am just trying to find answers to all of this, the info though did help a little, but I seem more confused now in some aspects.

    • @Nerissa – As George has said in his response to you, you need to trust yourself and Wolf Spirit (who is teacher, brother and pathfinder) will show you the way to resolve your current life issues. I have just posted a response to a question by George on another article, Wolf Spirit. You can find my comment at the bottom of the page. It may give you some more information and resources to help.

      Timberwolf

  12. Brother – thank you so much for your contributions! You articles here really speak to me and help me relate to wolf medicine in a more ‘practical’ and modern way. I’m quite young, so my recent “transformations” have been rather confusing. I’ve been searching for this type of shared knowledge for a while.

    I definitely agree with you on lycanthropy being more about inner transformation, rather than outer. Although I don’t discard that possibility, the transformation should definitely be ‘humbled’ to a more spiritual level – rather than external/physical.

    Thanks again!

    • Timberwolf says:

      Hi George

      Glad the article touched a resonant chord with you. It did for me as I was writing it. Drop by any time to read other articles or re-read this one.

  13. littlemonkey says:

    Congrats Timberwolf!! Your climbing to the top!! All your hard work is finally going to be worthy! You so deserve it . Your hardwork, talented and won’t let anything stop you! Keep it up !! Twilight~ i like it

  14. Missy Wyatte says:

    Mmm, my wolf first appeared with a flourish/flurry? when I was quite ill just a couple of years ago. I think he/she/it may wander about a bit (goes visiting without me – I’ve seen them wander off) but if ever I need protection, they stir, the teeth become ‘bared’, etc. These are the things I have noticed.

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