Dreams Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other staff.


I often have dreams about wolves. Sometimes they are scary, but usually I see them on the edge of a forest, or just around the corner of a street. When I was a young woman, I had lots of these dreams, then they disappeared for awhile, and now they are back. Do you have any idea what this could mean?


Wolves have fascinated and intrigued us since, I would guess, our first encounter. While the meaning of your wolves in your dream are a deep mystery that only you can know, I can mention a few stories and beliefs about wolves that are part of our collective culture. These images may be used to explore the meanings of your dream.

The Romans and Egyptians saw the wolf as a creature representing valor, and made the wolf a guardian of many sacred temples. Joseph Campbell points out that these guardians serve a universal function around the world of protecting the unprepared from entering the sacred temenos or space. In this sense, the sacred space is that area reserved for what Rudolph Otto calls the "Numinous" or the powerfully Holy, and it is terrible for those who are not ready, but a great transformational place for those who have been prepared. In modern civilization we don't make people enter these transformational places unless there is a good reason.

Alcoholics & drug addicts, for example, enter via therapy to gain the power to change their habits. The therapists, like the Guardian at the Gate, are often seen as monsters who ask us horrible questions we don't want to talk about. However, after undertaking the journey, we see the wolves (and the therapists) as allies and supporters of our newly gained awareness.

There is a book out that is fairly popular called The Women Who Run With Wolves. It is an example of a new movement in feminism that ties in with ecology and earth based neo-paganism. I mention this here not only because of the delightful wolf and goddess symbolism that make up the book, but also the idea of recovery of the feminine animal. Too often it is the man that is seen as having all the beast characteristics and energies. In the Goddess movement, there is an attempt to recover the natural and animal in the feminine.

If this were my dream, and I had these dreams when I was a young woman, I would be tempted to investigate the natural and animal characteristics I had when I was younger that I might draw upon now. Especially those parts of myself that at the time I thought were a little beastly and ugly, but that now I might have or make a place for them in my life.

Good luck with the dream and thanks for sharing that with us!


Richard Wilkerson is general editor for The Internet Dream E-zine, Electric Dreams, and director of DreamGate, the Internet Communications and Dream Education Center. He writes the Cyberphile column for the Association for the Study of Dreams Newsletter.


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