Artwork is either my own or as stated underneath the picture.
RUNNING WITH MY WOLF
There is a wolf, called Sherraul Greel (Grey Wolf Friend), that keeps me company along my journey through this current lifetime. I didn’t know about him, however, until I was in the depths of a considerable drop in confidence that was manifesting as both physical problems, and a deep seated fear of … I knew not what. Because the pain in my neck (literally) was proving unbearable I sought the help and amazing skills of an intuitive Aromatherapist, who just happens to be a friend (we’ll call her Rosemary for the purposes of this article, though it isn’t her real name).
Rosemary uses a variety of techniques to accompany her massage skills. Firstly, the oils she uses are made by her, not bought from suppliers. When deciding what to use on a client, at any one time, she channels her spirit guides (often angels or fairies) for advice and inspiration. She also uses visualisations, soul healing techniques, and shamanic rituals.
Rosemary had been working on my neck for weeks, and couldn’t understand why it would not relax from its intensely tight, spasming, muscular state. At this particular appointment, she decided to use some shamanic techniques combined with a visualisation on me, as well as the deliciously fragrant aromatherapy massage. I cannot remember what particular oils she used but suspect it included Rose Oil as she believed this to be a panacea essence (one which is very powerful and can heal a wide range of dis-ease). So Rosemary began my treatment, and sometime into it, whilst working on my neck (I was laid on my back, and she was working from behind my head) she began a visualisation meditation with me.
I was required to visualise a door. Behind the door was ‘the something’ that was causing me to be afraid. As the visualisation continued I was asked to open this door, Rosemary assuring me that I was completely safe. So I did. I sort of knew what was behind the door, although I couldn’t have told anyone that prior to this treatment, so was not really surprised to find a huge, amber eyed, grey wolf sitting patiently behind it with his head cocked to one side, grinning – well – wolfishly – at me. He was male, magnificent, and entirely benign. When asked, I told Rosemary what was behind the door and she told me the wolf was not dangerous, and it was safe to let him out. Of course, I knew this, instinctively, but she was making a slight error in her analysis of my visualisation.
So I told her … that she was wrong. I was not afraid, per se, of letting the wolf out as he was friendly – in fact, I realised all at once, that he represented my inner higher being. I experienced a moment of epiphany … I was not afraid to let the wolf out, I was afraid to let ME out; afraid to let my complete potential loose on the world for fear of what might happen next. Woah!
Of course, this was crazy thinking, but it was how I felt. We explored my relationship with the wolf for a while before she brought me back out into the real world. My neck had completely relaxed for the first time in ages, though I would need a few more sessions before it stayed relaxed, during which we explored what I was afraid might happen if I let myself fully be who I was supposed to be.
The photo on my desk/table (see later paragraph)
That was about eight years ago and resulted in me handing in my notice at work, and setting up my own therapy business, topped up with some freelance teaching of social work students. Now I’m retired, but I’m still not letting my self be wholly free. Since then I’ve discovered that my current life purpose is to learn to go with the flow, and enjoy leading others into the light – be a pathfinder, a beacon, in fact; a hard task but I’m getting there, and my beautiful wolf walks beside me, encouraging me, and nurturing my strength when things get bad. Sometimes I forget about him for a while but always … always … when I call on him do I find the strength to take one more step into The Flow.
There is a picture of a wolf on my desk (stroke painting table, stroke dining table) – clearly not my wolf as he is somewhere with my inner landscape, my subconscious, but the nearest I can find to his image. For my recent birthday my daughter and family have sponsored a wolf for me, she lives in a sanctuary somewhere in Shropshire ( www.wwuk.org) and is called Poppy (chosen by my 9 yr old granddaughter). Why, I wonder, am I so attracted to wolves, enough that my spirit guide (my frustrated spirit guide due to my neglect of him … and hence of myself) has manifested as a wolf when I do not particularly like domestic dogs?
I think the answer lies in the shamanic symbolism of wolves. They are the guardians of the environment, and spiritual pathfinders. Both characteristics could be used to describe me at certain times of my life. I taught environmental education as a voluntary youth worker, and have guided the young and adults through my work as a breastfeeding counsellor, as a youth- and play-worker, as a social worker, and as a trainer. My therapy work involved guiding people to reach their aspirations and dreams through life-coaching and colour therapy, and I now help people to find their own pathways towards the light through a meditation group, and other spiritual workshops.
Wolves are also extremely compassionate family creatures, and never neglect the helpless in their packs whether these be their young, their elderly, the injured or dying. As a family woman myself, not to mention my career as a social worker and healer, these are qualities that I both admire, and strive to emulate.
I’ve never really understood how wolves got their terrifying reputation when other canines haven’t, other than through their natural instinct to survive in harsh conditions, I expect. Certainly I do not understand why they are considered evil, or have given rise to Werewolf legend.
During my university days I came across a book which has remained my ‘bible’ – it is called Women who Run with Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Clarissa is an archetypal psychologist with shamanic undertones. She urges women to liberate their inner wild wolf – an image I adore. Her advice to allow my wolvish ears to wriggle beneath my hat, twitch my whiskers, wag the tail hidden beneath my skirt (or jeans in my case) and howl at the moon is advice that enabled me to survive divorce, bereavement, and a whole heap of other lesser or greater traumas. Try howling at the moon – it is so empowering, and fun, though perhaps do it silently if you live, as I do, in a city with neighbours who consider me weird enough already.
Some of my favourite novels have been about wolves … whether fantasy ie Werewolves, or novels based on real wolf lives such as Dorothy Hearst’s two books Spirit of the Wolves, & Secrets of the Wolves (‘realistic’ or set in a real landscape anyway, no-one to date having heard wolves talk to each other in words, I presume); Anne Rice’s The Wolf Gift trilogy (adult fantasy – remember Anne Rice, she wrote Interview with a Vampire); Chanda Hahn’s The Steel Wolf (teen fiction), Victoria Danann’s Moonlight (adult romance and one of 7 books set in an alternate universe – you have to read them in order though, this is book 4) and Maggie Stiefvater’s trilogy (teen romantic fiction but worth reading as it’s such a different take on Werewolves) – Shiver; Linger; and Forever. Yes I know most of society consider fantasy books rubbish – they don’t know what they are missing, and is why I have never really gelled with a Book Club.
Aren’t wolf eyes gorgeously intense and intelligent? (illustration scanned from Anne Rice’s book – see above)
The Christmas card I sent out last year (2013) was a print of a watercolour painting I did of a fantasy landscape, not really existing except in my head, with wolves in the foreground, and I have plans to paint a portrait from the photo I received of my sponsored wolf (that young female wolf named Poppy), and the photo I keep on my desk/painting table/dining table – to make a pair to frame and put on my studio (conservatory)wall.
There are three wolves in my painting – one hidden in the reeds beneath the standing wolf – at this scale you can hardly see her, sorry.
As a retired woman living alone I am finding it difficult to live on my state pension, my private one being virtually worthless thanks to the recession. So I am desperately trying to devise ways to make money without going out to work for an employer. My wolf is here leaning affectionately against me as I paint, and put my paintings up for sale; nuzzling his head against my side as I plan meditation and empowerment workshops, and dare to advertise them to the public; and licking my hand as I finish writing my first novel, drawing nearer to the time when I must dare to try and get it published. My Grey Wolf Friend will be here walking beside me every step of the way, and will help me release my fear of failure and move on into yet another, satisfying stage of my life. Wolves are like that, they care.