Interpreting what animals mean in our dreams is a very personal process, but some animals can create such strong impressions they may seem to overwhelm our logic. This can be a good time to step back and try to understand the animal as a symbol before we go the next step of applying our own personal layer of interpretation.
One animal that is often a such of such confusion and power is the wolf. Feared, worshiped, maligned, misunderstood and revered, the wolf is a potent symbol through-out much of Europe and North America, and now thanks to cultural diversity, through much of the world. Wolves star in folklore and fairy-tales from many generations ago, and still capture our imagination through popular films and television today.
A wolf in a dream may be scary, threatening and vicious, she may be noble, protecting and wise, or maybe something else entirely – mysterious, elusive, wild. To understand the meaning of a Wolf in dreams, we can start by understanding the wild nature of these animals, and the very attitudes that society has to them can reveal much about our own wild selves.
Wolves in dreams can represent all that is wild and “uncivilised” about ourselves. This can be a scary thing to confront. What is wild is what our polite and safe day-to-day behaviour does not want to let out – what is wild can damage, hurt and upset. But what is wild can also free, excite and release. Wild can be untamed and bad mannered, but wild can also be pure and uncorrupted. Sometimes a wolf in a dream will be guiding us to find our true, authentic nature that we are afraid to reveal as we try to conform, but sometimes a wolf dream will be a warning that we are behaving too wildly, that we may be threatening something else that is important to us.
The behaviour of wolves in their native environments can give us clues as to why we might be dreaming about them. Do you long to feel part of a group, or seek the support and kindred spirit of a pack? Do you feel a need to protect something that is important to you, and need the fierceness of a wolf mother? Do you need to approach a situation carefully, using the stealth of a wolf to get close without being discovered? Do you feel a need to express your true self more freely, let go of inhibitions and howl at the moon?
Looking at the role wolves play in fiction, folklore and films may also give us insight as to what the wolf means in our own personal dream. The mythical She-Wolf who nurtured Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, as well as Mowgli from the Jungle Book, can help us understand how wolves in our dream can be a sign of us seeking or offering nurturing, care and protection to a part our selves or someone else. The Big Bad Wolf in “Little Red Riding Hood” may be sign of our own wild nature, or it may symbolise a person who is threatening or bullying to us, or even how we might be acting that way ourselves. The wolf in a dream may also be associated with a predatory nature in a sexual sense, so those who have suffered abuse, or who fear some sort of sexual overtones they are not comfortable with may dream of wolves in this way.
Wolves can appear in our dreams when we fear or are experiencing loss, especially of a material or financial nature, stemming from the old saying that “to keep the wolf from the door” indicates security and not going hungry. Wolves may also appear in dreams when our subconscious has picked up something is not quite right, and is trying to warn our conscious mind that we should be careful of what or who we trust, that there may be a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
But no animal itself is inherently bad, and these values that we assign to them are the result of years of cultural associations. Remember when we dream of animals, they also represent a part of our selves, and we cannot understand what our dream means simply by looking up a symbolic reference. We always need to go the next step and ask ourselves, “what does the wolf mean to me?”
You may also be interested in this post on a Wolf Who Wants to be Tame in a dream.
PS. I have mentioned this book previously, but it is also relevant in this post for those who may have missed it – a very empowering and insightful look at how to live wildly and freely: