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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


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