Although the wolf can depict a feeling that ‘things’ are out to get us, the wolf in our dream often depicts just our fear. Fear is one of our instinctive reactions to situations, so is shown by an animal. We may find ourselves a prisoner of such feelings, as Anna in the example below. The wolf, as is suggested by such fairy stories as Red Riding Hood, also represents the female fear of powerful male sexuality; repressed sexuality or anger; emotions and drives that frighten you. See Animals
Also whenever we dream its images are not like real life. Because a dream is nothing like outer life where things could hurt you, but is an image like on a cinema screen that even if a gun is pointed at you and fired it can do no damage – except if you run in fear. So all the things that scare you are simply your own fears projected onto the screen of your sleeping mind.
But the wolf also appears in our dreams as a master of life in the wild. It is a group animal and has tremendous loyalty and protectiveness to its family and group. As such it can depict your intuitive understanding of life on earth, the seasons of life and death, and the deep wisdom of group relations. In some dreams the wolf is a protective companion on your life journey – what in the past has been called a spirit guide or totem animal. This sort of wisdom tells us that aggressive urges are natural to us, but sometimes they can turn back on ourselves and injure our wellbeing. You might then even dream of killing the wolf or animal in you. But love can resurrect that vital animal life and consciousness within you and the world. The following dream and commentary illustrates this.
Example: I dreamt two great wolf like dogs were on a headland. They had to be killed for some reason. I shot them. They seemed to take a long time to die and I felt compassion for them. Now horses seemed to be lying with them. The death struggles became the horses – mares – struggles to give birth. I saw the vagina parted to show a head. Birth would follow. Nathan.
Nathan explored his dream and had the following intuitive response to it as if someone was explaining it to him:
“When you were trying to murder the lower animal forces in yourself they would not die, they only thresh about, trying to survive. Try bringing life to them. The bringing of love is represented by your desire not to have them suffer. Great love turns the destructiveness of the lower forces into creativeness. The gun was the destructiveness of the fears and angers in you turned against yourself. The love redeemed this power, directing it in a new way. Love enables new life to emerge. The new life promises strength where there was only fear. When you love yourself, you lift parts of your being into new life.”
EXAMPLE: “I was in a caravan in the middle of a field and in this field was a large black wolf. Every time I tried to run from the caravan to the edge of the field, the wolf chased me back, so I was a prisoner in the caravan. It all sounds so simple now, but at the time I was truly terrified.” Anna S.
This next example from Oliver, a boy of six, illustrates how such fears can be met with a little courage. It is a dream which recurred several times, so his description is of a series of dreams.
EXAMPLE: “I am in my bed in my own room and I hear what I know to be a wolf wearing the sort of clogs worn in Lancashire. When the wolf gets to a certain point, there is a bang, and I wake terrified. My Mother’s reassurances do not help. Each night he gets a bit nearer before my panicky awakening. The night came when I know he will reach me. Sure enough he arrives, and the bedroom door – in my dream – is flung wide open with a tremendous bang. There is no one there. I never dreamt it again.”
When something gets nearer to us in a dream, it means that it is moving nearer to consciousness. So Oliver’s wolf – or at least, what it represents, namely his response to his childhood fears – is becoming ever more conscious. This means he is facing his fear and thereby dealing with it. If he had run away or fought to keep the door closed, then it would have gone on haunting him.
The wolf can also be a protective and life-giving symbol as in the following dream. In the dream Cathy is demonstrating a loving and unified relationship with her natural or instinctive feelings.
Example: I dreamt about a white wolf. I know you won’t believe this but I actually feel like I touched its fur in my dreams. I was protecting it and it was protecting me, and it was so real I woke up looking on the floor next to my bed to see if it was there. Cathy
IDIOMS: Wolf at the door; wolf in sheep’s clothing; cry wolf; throw to the wolves; a wolf – meaning a man who lusts after women and pursues them like a predator.
Useful questions are:
Am I still dealing with anxiety with my dream wolf – if so how can I change this?
Do I relate to the wolf as an ally or an enemy?
Is my dream wolf showing a negative relationship with my fears and aggression?
Are you accepting the wolf as a protector and giver of wisdom?