Wednesday, 26 May 2010
The Wolf as Goddess. In my previous Wintry entries, I have dealt with a couple of subjects about the Wolf Goddess. There are many but with so few references, or few known with a doubtful notion. So I have decided to make a single entry about as many of the wolf goddesses that I can think of.
Anyone is free to send me or post comments with their own ideas or reminders in case I missed someone out. With that please anticipate editions.
The most famous Wolf Goddess in Europe is Lupa. Other names that she has been knowned by is Luperca and Acca Larentia. She is a Roman goddess of fertility and the earth, who took on the shape of a wolf. She is the foster mother of the mystical twin boys, Romulus and Remus. The boys are sons of the god Mars and vestal virgin/priestess Rhea Silvia or Llia. Lupa was the wife of Lupercus, a Roman god of fertility who was celebrated as a festivity "Lupercalia" on February 13th to the15th. Lupercalia has ancient Greek roots in the Lykaia festival, named after the Lykaian hills or "Wolf Mountain" the largest peak in Arcadia: Source. Now the modern version of Lupercalia is Valentine's Day, celebrated on the 14th February, with Roman origins also.
The Valkyries (or Valkyrja) are said to have ridden wolves instead of horses. Regarded as swan maidens and battle maidens, the Valkyries are divine women or goddesses have been linked to wolves. One Valkyrie named "Gondul" was considered a shapeshifter who became a wolf so her other name meant "she-were-wolf". The Valkyries or "choosers of the slain" entered a battlefield and led the souls of dead warriors into the afterlife. Some warriors were sent to Valhalla and others were taken to Einherjar. Valkyries are linked wih ravens as well as warfare and death. They were regarded as sinister far back in the past although the modern idea of a Valkyrie is a shining warrior woman figure.
Closely resembling the Norse Valkyrja is "The Morrigan" of Celtic myths. This goddess is said to have been called the "Great Queen" or "Phantom Queen". Also she is perhaps a triple goddess and her three identities are Badb, Macha and Nemain. Transforms into a wolf and also a raven.She's a war goddess of death.
I also mentioned that Hecate and Artemis are wolf goddesses that I discussed in previous entries.
The Sumer goddess Inanna was a goddess of love and war had a wolf at her side.
Returning to Norse myths, the giantess Skadi was associated with wolves and winter. Angrboda or Angerboda, is the mother of Fenris the giant wolf.
If you dig deeper you'll find that many goddesses, giantesses, mythical women and female spirits have some brief connection to wolves. What I found is that, unless I research even more intensely, a catalogue of association of wolves with gods and goddesses differs. When it comes to folklore about human societies and people, wolves are only seen as quite dangerous animals who should be feared.
The divine aspect of the wolf can be found in far more ancient myths and among different cultures. The divine wolf is mostly found to be with gods and men but hardly for goddesses and women.
Today in modern culture there is folklore being created, but I should say resurfaced from the deep wells of the subconsious human psyche. Therianthrope is a spiritual sensation, movement, development and embrace of the divine within us towards the divine animals. Plenty of novels and games have sparked off the divine wolf aspect of females and women. More women than ever are becoming fascinated by werewolves, wolves and mystical canids. The she-wolf goddess comes in all aspects and guises. She may even resemble a beautiful woman.
Check out these sites:
A Guide to Ancient Ireland
The Obscure Goddess Dictionary
Above is a beautiful painting by artist Julie Bell