Sometimes I take being Wolf for granted. I’ve been aware of being Wolf since I was about two years old, so it’s pretty much a natural thing for me.
But occasionally something happens that really hits home hard for me. Things that make me remember WHY it is that I decorate my life with lupine imagery, what it is that I’m subconsciously reminding myself of. There’s no single thing that triggers this, and sometimes it’s not always what one would expect would trigger it.
Now, I don’t really know why I’m Wolf. I don’t always hold with reincarnation, but I don’t think it’s just all in my head, either. Maybe it’s totemic; maybe Wolf the Totem, the Animal Master of wolves, gives me sensory “memories” of being a wolf, so I know what it feels/looks/tastes/smells/sounds like. But, nevertheless, I am Wolf.
So tonight Taylor and I were at Barnes and Noble, and I found a copy of a book full of Monty Sloan’s wolf photographs. For those who don’t know, Sloan is one of the premiere photographers of wolves–here’s his site, just to give you an idea.
Looking over the photographs triggered…”memories”, as it were, whether they were literal or not. I miss being Wolf. I want the company of other wolves. Now, granted, real fur-and-fang wolves aren’t going to see me as kin–human scent, human body. But other wolves in human clothing….they know.
The thing is….I can kind of see where some therians are coming from by dividing therians up. I don’t, however, agree with the legitimacy claims. However, somebody who *is* Wolf (or whatever animal), through and through, “tastes” differently, energetically or however, you want to describe it, from someone for whom it is relatively new, at least from my perception. I can get a decent sense of how long someone has been aware of their Wolf from how they “taste”, and also how strongly they identify as that. There’s a difference, when it’s someone who knows the subtle language of body position, and who recognizes the energy signature that, for “real” wolves, is overlaid with the sense of smell we’ll never have.
This doesn’t mean that the newly Awakened can’t “read” strongly as their animal. Some people just seem to have a better understanding of being an animal early on. Others take a while, getting cluttered up with legends and lore and the human interpretation of animals, rather than simply *being* that animal. You can identify as a therian for years, and the concept of *being* that animal is still brand new to you when you encounter it.
Humans don’t always understand wolves, and so myths arise. Wolves don’t howl at the moon–the moon only provides better light to hunt by, which means howling to bring the pack together for a hunt. Wolves don’t romanticize solitude–it’s anathema to us. Wolves don’t just take the sick, or old, or young–wolves will eat whatever they can catch. And, depending on the time of year, wolves may subsist entirely on small game, without the dangers of having one’s head split or ribs crushed by an elk’s hoof, or of being gored by an antler.
It doesn’t have anything to do with whether you look like a wolf, or if you get crazy at the full moon, or if you crave a raw steak. It’s about Pack. It’s about the comfort of others like you, that familiar scent, the brush of fur against fur. It’s knowing your place in the Pack. It’s understanding that your place is as important as any other, that it’s not just about the alphas, whose power comes with the price of their responsibility towards the Pack and keeping it safe. See, the alphas aren’t just alphas because they ripped the shit out of the other wolves. Their decisions determine the health and well-being of the other wolves. A Pack is not a human tyranny, with absolute rule. Alphas are the rulers who know that it is their place to serve those they are in charge of.
And it’s about food, and play, and mating, and pups. The arguments that happen, the occasional fights–those are normal among social animals. Every family has them. It’s no worse than siblings getting testy with each other. Wolves aren’t vicious–we may snap and snarl, but the only violence we participate in is for survival–the hunt, and protection of the territory, and the occasional unfortunate ousting of a wolf who no longer is healthy for the pack, physically or otherwise–either a pup who waited too long to go out on their own, or one who has rabies or another dread disease.
Lone wolves aren’t romantic. If they’re not utterly outcast for being a walking time bomb ready to spread disease, they’re on the lookout for a pack to join, because the Pack is life. You can only go so long on mice and voles and rabbits.
The other thing that some therians, lupine and otherwise, don’t get is–you can’t *create* Pack for yourself. We aren’t wolves fully; most of us don’t have blood relatives who are therians. We can have friends, and partners–but Pack…Pack is something entirely different. Pack is organic, and is made up of wolves, who in this case wear human clothing.
I know if I ever find even one person who I recognize as Pack, who not only resonates as Wolf to me, but also has that unique connection that is Pack–it’s not going to be about who’s Alpha, once we’ve established that neither one is dangerous. It’s going to be about “Oh, gods, it’s been so long since I felt this, it’s been so long since somebody *understood*”. I doubt there will be enough people in my life who fit that criteria for me to experience that more than a couple of times–the chances of even a short-term pack are extremely slim. Pack isn’t just about having a couple of other therians around….it’s about the safety, that security, that knowing exactly where you are in relation to everyone else–and knowing that despite the occasional turmoil, and the other normal bumps in being social, that everything is good, because you have Pack.