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The Wolf: A Teacher in Native American Lore

Updated on November 17, 2014

The Wolf

The wolf is sometimes seen alone in the wilderness but it is never really alone. It is a part of a pack and if you see it alone, it is only because it is doing it's job. It may be hunting to provide food for the pack or it may be on patrol, watching for predators. The wolf is not a solitary creature. It understands that it is stronger in numbers and the wolf is fiercely loyal to its pack.

The wolf has much to teach as about relationship and respect for our differences. The story you are about to read might be told in any Native American circle as the wolf is often used in stories to teach.

A Winter Meeting on the Trail

The introductions hardly seemed necessary; they were just two souls who came together in a moment in time. One had been hunting and the other, securing the perimeter for the night. They seemed to recognize one another even though they had never met before. It was an unlikely meeting between these two from different territories. But instantly and without effort, they found comfort and familiarity being in each others presence.

And so it was, on that cold and snowy day, that they found each other on the pathway to somewhere and became friends for a lifetime. After the introductions, they sat together for a while, saying little but saying it all. Something within them was reaching out, wanting to know more. When they began to talk, nothing could stop them. They were catching up it seemed, as two old friends who had been separated for a very long time. Oh what funny questions hey asked. And they laughed with each other. There were no boundaries; nothing that couldn't be asked among friends. They surprised themselves with the ease between them. There was no prying, no judging. It was the small things that really mattered. They just needed a little time until they felt they could trust each other. Instinctively they knew they could. What they would learn in this short time together would only serve to deepen the friendship that was their destiny.

Then the other

  • Does the sun make you sleepy?
  • What scares you?
  • Where would you like to travel to?
  • Who taught you to sing that song?
  • Do you have shelter?
  • Are you a loner or do you need friends?
  • Does the moon make you crazy?
  • What do you dream about?
  • Has life been kind to you or have you struggled?
  • What makes you smile?

First one,

  • What makes your eyes so sad?
  • Have you been loved?
  • What are your dreams?
  • Does the wind make you laugh?
  • Have you lain in a field of flowers?
  • Do you sleep well at night?
  • Where is your family?
  • Do you love the rain?
  • Have you played chase with a butterfly?
  • Are you hungry?
  • What matters to you?

The Revelations

Time seemed to stand still but the day turned to evening and they were in harmony with all around them. This was joy and they were grateful.

Each had discovered that they had many things in common yet they were different. They had come from different places, lived different lives, enjoyed different traditions but it did not change what they knew. They would be friends for a lifetime and when differences arose, they would work them out, because - it was their destiny.

They had traveled many roads and experienced many things but their paths had intersected in this place, now, and they knew - it was part of the plan. It was no coincidence, not this meeting. And although they did not understand it all, for this moment, in this space, at this time - they were happy and at peace.

They are the teachers. What can we learn from them?

The Wolf in Native American Culture

In many Indigenous cultures, the wolf represents the teacher. The wolf lives in a pack where there is a pecking order. Each wolf in the pack has a job to do and is respected for what they contribute to the pack. They share in the raising of the pups. They hunt together for the good of the pack. None is less than another. The wolf is monogamous, taking one partner for life. They are the forerunners of new ideas who clear the path for others and they teach all along the way.

© 2012 Linda Crist


Submit a Comment

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Thanks for the comment rasta1. I think outside the box so I guess I write that way too. lol I appreciate your visit.

  • rasta1 profile image

    Marvin Parke 5 years ago from Jamaica

    Nice out of the box writing.

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Tammy! You are right, in many ways they are better than humans. They are the teachers and they are all over my house in various forms of art. They remind me daily of our tendency to forget that just as they are pack animals, humans are designed for community. Just one of the lessons they provide for me. Thank you for sharing your love of them with me; for visiting, and for the generous compliment.

  • tammyswallow profile image

    Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

    This is outstanding. I love wolves and the history and literature that comes with them. I love how you humanize them, but in so many ways they are better than human. Love it!

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    rcumple - yes, it is amazing. In the American Indian circles I travel among I have been taught that children come into this life with all the wisdom of their elders and spend their lifetime unlearning the important things. I am inclined to believe it. You could have made your joke. I would most likely have enjoyed it. :-) I really appreciate your spending time with my efforts to communicate. I think we should design a bumper sticker that reads "hubbers do it best".

  • rcrumple profile image

    Rich 5 years ago from Kentucky

    I'm tempted to make a joke about the Twilight movies and the werewolves they portray, but perhaps another time. I enjoyed this, not only for the wolves, but for the lessons all can learn by communicating. Isn't it amazing how younger kids can always find something to talk about regardless of the clothes, color, or economic status of of the other children, but adults can't. So much for growing up and developing our minds. Great Job!

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Oh moonlake, you are so lucky to live where you can here them. Do they stir something deep inyour soul like they do mine? Thanks for sharing. I could almost "feel" it in your words. Thanks for the vote up!

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 5 years ago from America

    One night last week I was out on my deck in the dark. Listening to the wolves in the field. I could hear them growl. They were just across the road from our house.

    Voted uP!

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Mhatter99 - I'm glad you enjoyed this piece. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi carol7777 ! Thanks so much for the lovely comment and vote up.

  • Mhatter99 profile image

    Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

    Wow!... Very nice/imaginative how you put this together. It makes for a very enjoyable read. Thank you

  • carol7777 profile image

    carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

    Love the photos and the sentiment. Thank you for this inspirational hub. Voted UP.

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

    Ironically, Bill is one of my first HP friends. We've grown beyond that. He's amazing and is a tremendous source of support for me. He's the best!!!!!!

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Shauna, you are not off base. There are a couple of people I have met here on HP that I have found an easy friendship with. You have honored me with your friendship. We have so much in common and our lives seem to have run in parallels to each other. Bill Holland is another. It was the two of you who inspired these thougths today. Unlikely people meeting in an unlikely place and finding pleasure in the simple things - together. Life is so good!

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Awwww, thanks Bill. I have a kinship with wolves that I think comes out when I write about them. It gets back to passion doesn't it? I so hate writing for money, even though I need some desperately until I can find work again. I am sending thoughts to the universe that I can meet my needs and write only about things that matter. I appreciate your sentiment so very much. And by the way - you have my vote. I will even volunteer to work as a campaign staffer. I think you're awesome.

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

    Linda, this might sound strange, but throughout your prose and especially once I viewed the video, I correlated this to our friendship and the connection we have. Am I way off base? I don't think so. The Spirit is alive within us! Hmmmmmm.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

    You are becoming an excellent writer and it is a delight to witness. You somehow combined poetic verse with a lesson about wolves, and in so doing taught us something about ourselves, our shortcomings, and our limitless potential. This is beautiful work, Linda!


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