'All men who feel any power of joy in battle
know what it is like when the wolf rises in the heart'

Theodore Roosevelt

The two main power animals associated with Wodhanaz are the raptor (eagle/hawk/falcon - see Symbols of Wodhanaz) and the wolf. One of the characteristics of the worship of Wodhanaz was the ability of the devotee to mentally and spiritually transform himself into a wolf.
Artist: Mike Grell

"Tell me, what is your name?
"I am called Nameless Wildness."
Where does your insight lead to?
"Into untrammelled freedom."'

Suso, a 14th century Catholic mystic, describing a conversation with his god while meditating.
The modern-day figure of the werewolf has its roots in the old Wodhanaz-inspired martial cultures of Europe. As the distinguished historian Mircea Eliade points out in his essay 'Dacians and wolves', the early European warriors - using carefully orchestrated rituals involving wolf-pelts and hallucinogenic mushrooms - were able to undergo a total psychological transformation into wolves.

Unlike the image of the werewolf foisted on us by Hollywood and modern fiction, these warriors did not physically change into wolves, but rather were able to became possessed by the archetypal nature of the wolf. In so doing, they were able to shed their human identities and enter the battlefield in a state of animal bloodlust and fury. Needless to say, the sight of an utterly fearless band of howling predator-humans was enough to put terror into the hearts of their most formidable enemies. After the battle was over, the warriors gradually slipped out of their werewolf trances and returned to normal consciousness.

Today we think of military advantage almost purely in terms of superior technology. In those days, however, there was little advance in the sort of weaponry used from one century to the next, and the domain in which advantage was sought was in how to bring out the pure ferocious fighting spirit of the warrior.

To this end, myths, rituals and sacraments were created and developed by the tribal shamans in order to induce a state of `furor mystica' in the fighting men. The more ferocious and bloodthirsty the warrior succeeded in becoming, the greater the chance of victory in battle. Consequently it was the degree to which a warrior was able to be possessed by the wolf-archetype that he was able to better his fighting ability.

'Strength and honour'. It was not only German warriors that held the wolf in high esteem. A she-wolf was central to the mythology of ancient Rome and warriors who had shown particular bravery on the battlefield were allowed to wear a wolf-skin - as seen here adorning Maximus in the recent film `Gladiator'.

According to the Icelandic historian, Snorri Sturluson, writing 800 years ago in the Ynglinga Saga: '...his (Wodhanaz) men went without mailcoats and were frantic as dogs or wolves; they bit their shields and were strong as bears or boars; they slew men, but neither fire nor iron could hurt them. This is known as "running beserk".'

The following is an edited and shortened version of Eliade's essay on the ability of the early Europeans to effectively transform themselves into fighting wolves:

'Ritual imitation of the wolf is a specific characteristic of military initiations and hence of the `mannerbunde', the secret brotherhoods of warriors. The essential part of the military initiation consisted in ritually transforming the young warrior into some species of predatory wild animal. It was not solely a matter of courage, physical strength, or endurance, but of a magico-religious experience that radically changed the young warrior's mode of being.

'He had to transmute his humanity by an excess of aggressive and terrifying fury that made him like a raging carnivore. Among the ancient Germans the predator-warriors were called berskerkir, literally 'warriors in the body-covering (serkr) of a bear'. They were also known as ulfhedhnar, 'wolf-skin' men. From all of this, two facts emerge: (1) a young man became a redoubtable warrior by magically assimilating the behaviour of a carnivore, especially a wolf; (2) he ritually donned the wolf-skin, either to share in the mode of being a carnivore or to indicated that he had become a 'wolf'.

Artist: Chris Achilleos

'He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man'

Dr Johnson

'What is important for our investigation is the fact that the young warrior accomplished his transformation into a wolf by the ritual donning of a wolf-skin, an operation preceded or followed by a radical change in behaviour. As long as he was wrapped in the animal's skin, he ceased to be a man, he was the carnivore itself; not only was he a ferocious and invincible warrior, possessed by the furor heroicus - he had cast off all humanity; in short, he no longer felt bound by the laws and customs of men.
'Beliefs in ritual or ecstatic lycanthropy are documented both among the members of North American and African secret societies and among the Germans, the Greeks, the Iranians, and the Indians. It is the existence of these brotherhoods of young warriors, or of magicians, who whether or not they wear wolf-skins, behave like carnivores, that explains the dissemination of beliefs in lycanthropy.
'In wildness is the preservation of the wolf, so seek the wolf in thyself.'


Artist: Chris Achilleos

'Mention is made of their ecstatic orgies, that is, of the intoxicating drink (soma) that helped them to change into wild beasts.'

The wolf-centered 'mannerbund' of which Eliade writes, survives in a very domesticated form in Western society in the cub and wolf packs of the Boy Scout movement which was established by Baden-Powell in 1908. He adopted the swastika as one of the symbols of his international movement, but was forced to drop it in 1935 after it had become synonomous with Nazism.

Interestingly, the swastika was the emblem used by Rudyard Kipling on many of his early books. Kipling was a friend of Baden-Powell and allowed many of his animal characters from the Jungle Book to be adopted by the Boy Scout movement.

Given Jung's theory that the whole Nazi phenomenon was due to the German psyche being possessed by the archetype of Wodhanaz - whose mythology is permeated with the wolf - it is fascinating to look at the pivotal importance of the wolf in the life of Adolf Hitler. The following passage is from 'The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hitler' by R.G.L.Waite:

'Hitler was fascinated with wolves. As a boy he was well pleased with his first name, noting that it came from the old German 'Athalwolf' - a compound of Athal ('noble') and Wolfa ('wolf'). And 'noble wolf' he sought to remain. At the start of his political career he chose 'Herr Wolf' as his pseudonym. His favourite dogs were Alsations - in German 'Wolfshunde'.

'One of Blondi's pups, born towards the end of the war, he called 'Wolf' and would allow no one else to touch or feed it. He named his headquarters in France 'Wolfsschluct' (Wolf's Gulch). In the Ukraine his headquarters were Werwolf (Werewolf), and in East Prussia Wolfsschanze (Wolf's Lair) - as he explained to a servant, 'I am the Wolf and this is my den.' He called the SS 'My pack of wolves'. Later he would recall with exaltation how in the early days of the movement his Storm Troopers pounced upon the opposition 'like wolves'.

In an article in his party newspaper written in 1922, Hitler used an unsual metaphor to describe how the crowds began to react to him: they began to realise, he said, 'that now a wolf has been born, destined to burst in upon the herd of seducers and deceivers of the people.' He had his sister Paula change her name to Frau Wolf. The special agent he chose to supervise purchases for his Linz Library and Museum was a Dr Wolfhardt (literally, 'hard wolf'). He approved of naming the Volkswagen factory 'Wolfsburg'.

When he telephoned Winifred Wagner, he would say 'Conductor Wolf calling!'. The secretary he kept longer than any other (more than 20 years) was Johanna Wolf. She recalled that while Hitler addressed all other secretaries formally as 'Frau' or 'Fraulein', he invariably called her 'Wolfin'
(She-Wolf). Often and absent-mindedly he whistled 'Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?'.

(For many amazing insights into the mind and spirit of Adolf Hitler, 'The Psychopathic God' by R.G.L.Waite is highly recommended. Click here to order this paperback directly from Amazon.com for a special reduced price of $13.30.)

The only really satisfactory explanation for Hitler's extraordinary impact on the 20th century is in terms of daimonic possession. For an illuminating exposition in this regard, see the Secret Society page at the CecilRhodes.net website.

'The human being is a dangerous wild animal. In normal periods his evil instincts remain in the background, held in check by the conventions, habits, laws and criteria of civilisation, but let a regime come which not only liberates these terrible impulses but makes a virtue of them, then from the depths of time the snout of the beast reappears, tears aside the slender disguise imposed by civilisation and howls the death cries of forgotten ages.'

Jacques Delarue - 'The History of the Gestapo'