β Ω

I know intrinsically that I identify with the wolf as my spiritual vector. The wolf has for as long as I had affection for animals been a homogenous part of my own existence, substantiating many traits, desires, and growths that have proved themselves as relevent to my life path on this planet. Only quite later have I found out of which particular place my spirit as wolf takes though. I used to identify heavily with an lone-wolf, or even in extreme cases as Alpha. The latter being an unfortunate side-effect of my immaturity, and drive to confront others, and control, and with a rather violent disposition. This was part of an extreme ego as well, and I drifted far from being an Alpha, and oft time felt the new attachment to a lone wolf, this also unveiled itself in ways that I would try to escape
or be hermit-like in my nature to avoid contact with others altogether. It was rooted simply in a nihilistic contempt for teaching and social strata. I have been reading a copious amount of writings and experiences of others pertaining to animal totemism, and also my personal biological and psychological studies
of wolves, their prey and ecology, and truly feel that I belong as most times an Omega, balanced with Beta.

The Omega wolf still retains the perfect wolf nature, but tends to be non-confrontational and more pensive in it’s attitude. It survives with the pack, and is often an observer that will let others act before it and then learn from personal experience. The Omega is still revered by other wolves for it’s protective nature. The Beta, being the second hand to the Alpha and will choose to enter new territory or fight and defend, but usually only when provoked or intruded upon. It is very mutual with other wolves, like it’s mate, and supports the pack dynamics by reinforcement. I find my will to power, and adversarial mindset to align quite fittingly to a Beta position. My loyalty, as the Beta is usually affiliated with an Alpha or another Beta as an equal, and choosing to dedicate themselves to anything that serves their fitness, strength, and niche as I hold very true to my own practices. If I experience the Beta role, I can be as prey hungry as possible, and will fight to defend my terrirtory. The repressed peimitive feelings once provoked will find the agitator left with their weaknesses. The Omega also acts as one from which love and tranquility is restored to the pack. With hostility, or indifferences, this wolf will ease the tension and show affection or longing for the others in the pack. When I make an offering, symbolically or physically, to those who have had an impact on my life, it is to show respect, light submissiveness, love, and nobility in the same ways reflected from the inter-dynamic connections of each wolf’s status.

I also want to identify of my general inability to cope with mere human beings. It is suffering in one aspect, and something deeply psychological that can not be altered. It is hard to cope in this portion of eternity,
when mankind creates his supremacy over animals, and postulates the importance of luxury and convenience. Evolution to me, is always in co-existence with nature, and as a mass, humans have lost this touch. They are few who hold sacred the ‘wildeor’, the self-willed integration of flesh and mind for nature itself. Being physically a human, but identify with some other species at any given time is part of me, and my reverence and longing for not forgotten animal traits and primal needs is extremely intimate. My connection to modern values, success and beliefs are almost devoid of meaning.

Massak: Warrior Born Of Winter

I finally received my package for Massak, the Arctic wolf I adopted from the UKWCT. When I discovered the UK Wolf Conservation Trust I instantly knew I wanted to support their efforts, having always wanted to protect wolves in some way, but neverwith the outlet to do this. I felt it was an important life event to shed any effort possible to educate and save these fine creatures, as they are as much a part of myself as the earth. The package came with an elegant photograph of his wolven mane, and an certificate of adoption, as well as a vial of wolf fur, which I am planning to make into a special earthy pendant, and a zine called Wolf Print, which tells of their projectsdone by the UKWCT, like those is Russia, Nepal, Ethiopia, Greece & Croatia, info on the packs who live at their London park, and wolf biology around the globe. Also was enclosed a ticket to see the wolf personally on an open day and take photos with it. The wolves at their site are also taking on countryside walks in the Britsh nature. This also allows to them to grow used to their land, bathe themselves in streams, and run in the fields. and explore their wild instincts. I had made a post previously with a couple photos of him, and m/y mate also recently adopted one of his siblings called Sikko, but here is some words on Massak:

Massak is now entering his 2nd year, born in a snow storm in 2011 with his siblings, Sikko and Pukak. They were hypothermic and would not have survived if it had not been for the quick intervention and expertise of the team from Parc Safari. The trio were showing very little signs of life when found. They were hand reared and once recovered, they needed to be found a home so it was agreed the three young wolves would make the trip to the UK from Canada once they were 10 weeks old and come the only Arctic wolves ever in Britain. Massak is getting used to the sights and smells of the English countryside. He is able to hunt birds and small mammals while allows him to carry out natural behaviours. In the wild, the Arctic wolf has no natural predators and little competition for food. For the next year Massak should keep his coatof white, grey and tan. Massak is slowly starting to understand the enrichment activities he is offered, with stuffed hessian sacks slowly becoming a favorite. He enjoys playing, but only on his own terms. Massak is an independent and intelligent wolf who knows his own mind. If he’s in the mood to join then he will, if not he will lie quietly in his chosen spot, relaxin in his enclosure usually under the shelter of the trees or resting under one of the platforms. Massak is part of the next generation of ambassador wolves, and is involved in behavioural research.

My lupine nature spoke to me in a certain frequency when I was decided which wolf to support. Massak’s own nature of being an independent and relatively reclusive wolf mirrors the traits that I also nourish, (to mention in his photo he also looks like a tibetan monk). He is one of the ambassador wolves, used for teaching, and he enjoys the increasing focus. As with my art and my writings, I feel intrinsically linked to this ambassador nature, and the need to impart knowledge as does Massak.

Here are some pieces of wolven biology that I wish to share as well that and some that were written with the package, some of which I never knew before…
The common coloration of the Grey wolf is actually not grey at all but a mixture of black, brown and white hairs. The wolf is the immediate ancestor to all breeds of domestic dog, they share 98% of the same genes and through 10,000 years or so have become what we know canis to be now as a domestic pet. By smells produced through secretion’s in the wolf’s skin, and urine, wolves can tell the gender, breeding condition, social status, age, condition and diet of each other. Each scent gland plays a different role in the body. Body language is almost predominantly dominant or submissive in the packs. In active submission the subordinate wolf will excitedly lick, hold, and smell the mouth of the dominant wolf (something quite kinky about this).
Besides howling, yelping, and growling wolves also display a variety of auditory communication that represent different emotion or traits; barking, squealing, humming, whimpering, moaning and snarling, most of these are for distress, pain or hunger. Their howls also can be diverse and different frequencies or patterns of howls can decide if they are predatory, protective, solitary, recognizing location, and pack calls. Wolves adapt their coat color to the terrain they live in, as is seen with Ethipian red wolves who live in desicate sandy areas, brownish grey wolves residing in dense forestation, and white arctic wolves in the high north. They also seem to entertain a sort of energy transfer, with tactile communication, play, fighting and grooming. I recently learned that about 10,000 years ago, when human beings started to discover their predator status, it coincided with the wolf domestication. The primitive traits of hunter/gathering from their wolven counterparts helped man to learn basic survival skills, as he mimicked their behavior. They were kept captive for wild hunts, and used for their heightened senses to locate other prey.

I long to meet with Massak at his site, and invoke his spirit when his attentions are needed in my life.

Old Wolves & New Wolves

Before I started writing this blog, I had met with my spirit animal for the first time early in spring. Although it was domestic, the three arctic wolves I encountered mirrored my inner self. It was at the Toronto Zoo where they were held, as ambassador wolves, to teach others about their unique behavior. They were interesting located in an area of the zoo with other northern fauna like polar bears. Their enclosure was open (no roof or cage), surrounded by a small moat, on a grassy hill with a couple small trees and boulders planting the faux landscape. It was certainly not enough space for a wild wolf to flourish, but at least these ones seemed restive and healthy. The first wolf I lay my eyes on in my life was this day. It was on it’s side sleeping in the shade. I maintained a fixed stare at it’s elegant beauty. For reasons which I have seen in wolf documentaries, I thought this would be a female wolf, as their were two slightly smaller of the same species lying closely beside each other just beyond her. I walked around their home, and was pleased that not many other people were interfering with them or trying to arouse them up to get their photos. It felt they were all mine for just a few moments. I was able to see all 3 arctic wolves at once, and with the polar bear habitat in behind, I even had a sighting of one who had climbed to the highest peak of it’s hill gazing at the sky. These wolves were pure white like the taiga forest snow, with meditative faces. Being at the zoo was bittersweet for me, because unless these animals were found injured in the wild, or were human imprinted from birth, it means they were probably captured. I like to think we have come to use some ways of ethical treatment of animals for ‘educational’ means, but often my doubts are snuffed out by the things I read.

Since acquiring my book on Rewilding by Dave Foreman, I have been curious about ways in which I myself can collaborate to the conservation of apex predators in North America(not specifically, but for brevity I am talking about them here). Those being wolves, elk, musk ox, deer, moose, and black/grizzly bear. I have the most tendencies towards in my personal life, being a symbol of true primitive wild. There is a vast conservation area here, Algonquin Park, that is an inner sanctum for most of these predators. They are all wild, although the public can walk the forest, there are also means to protect their natural domains. I had known of another guild in the UK called United Kingdom Wolf Conservation Trust (http://ukwct.org.uk/index.php?page=projects). I am particularly fond of their protection efforts in Nepal, and Russia for native wolfpacks. My Norwegian woman friend Nema, operates a page for teaching about wolves, and shares many beautiful photos of them here: (www.facebook.com/savethewolffromalltheworld) She also has adopted 4 wolves over the past couple years of her own. I decided that I would give some worthy support, and help protect wolves around the world. I ‘adopted’ one of the Arctic wolves called ‘Massak’. (http://ukwct.org.uk/index.php?page=massak) It was born with two other siblings in a snow storm, and could not live in the wild, but they were found and transported to Britain from Canada. It is male, and now one of the few wolves of the English countryside.

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Lupine pack communication: with wolf sister Lupa the Greenwolf!

For those who don’t know, Lupa is a shaman living in Portland. She is a prolific artist, (I have always wanted to be interviewed as an artist myself), and a practitioner in pagan culture. Regularly part of events, and shaman dances, you might see her at Howl Con if you live in the area.

When you submerge yourself into the skin spirit rituals with a given animal, do you feel the inherit traits in each one, or is it just a means for communication solely with the animal totem? Do mammalia, or predatory have more challenging and intimidating energies, than perhaps reptilia and fish, who might be more passive?

It’s both; when I wear my wolfskin, I connect with both the spirit of the skin, and the totem Gray Wolf as well. Part of why I do this skindancing is to offer the spirits of the skins a way to have a body again, to move and dance. In return, I get a chance to feel a bit of what it’s like to be that animal.

It really depends on the individual skin spirit (or other animal spirit), as well as the totem of the species. People think of predatory mammals as being big and aggressive, which they can be, and dragonflies as being graceful and relatively harmless. Yet in their own world dragonflies are ruthless killers driven primarily by the needs to eat, to mate, and to not be eaten, while lions and wolves have complex social systems in which they can be tender and loving to each other. We have to be careful not to let our biases as humans intrude.

If you can dig far into your brain and remember, can you write the different animal parts you have worked with?

Oh, geez. Soooo many over the last decade and a half. Hides, bones, claws, teeth, feathers, hair and more. My art has brought me into contact with so many of them that there’s no way to catalog them all. Probably the most unusual has been dried horseshoe crabs; they’re such ancient beings and they see the world in such a different way than we land-dwelling upstarts. Keep in mind we’re talking a family of animal that has the existence of living trilobites in its ancestral memory.
Do you do much bone hunting or carrion collecting in nature? How is this while always having a cyclus of dead critters to work with, living in an apartment and trying to clean them? Do you prefer to bury them and the decay happen naturally?

Not any more. Now that I’m primarily an urban dweller, I don’t have easy access to places where animal bones might be found. Also, roadkill collection is illegal here in Oregon. And because I am in an apartment that I share with another person, I don’t have the room to deal with something quite so messy—all we have is one tiny porch that’s mostly covered in garden and barbecue grill. I’d rather make the art than tan hides anyway; I leave the messy bits to others these days.

I once found an eagle in the north, with no head. Another time with my ex, we found an opossum and a dead cat, both of them had fetuses inside, and the opossum fetuses were still living, crawiling out of the pouch while the mother lay rotting in some grass. What has been the strangest animal death you have discovered?

Really, none of the ones I’ve seen have been unusual. Everything’s been attributable to natural causes. There were the many tiny crabs washed up after a storm on the Oregon coast, and countless animals hit by trains in my hometown, and the huge pile of deer bones left by hunters at the end of a quiet rural cul de sac in rural Oregon

I suppose the only notable death I ever came across was the doe that was hit on the road in front of a house I lived in in Pittsburgh. The doe had been hit by a car, and it shattered her jaw and leg. She stumbled around until a cop showed up and shot her, and they just rolled her into the ditch in front of the house. It was summer, and over the next week I watched the progress as the maggots reduced her to mostly bones. Once she was clean enough I pulled her up into the garden and let her decay the rest of the way before harvesting the bones.

What does kink represent and hold for you? Do you think it is the most intimate way to tie into sexual spirituality, and bringing the body to new levels of consciousness?

I think it’s one of many ways in which a person can be sexual. I don’t think it’s any more special or intimate than vanilla, but I do feel there are certain levels of intensity that it can hold that are unique to it. Kink can be a ritual even without the conscious intent thereof, and much of more formalized BDSM, especially D/s or M/s, can be very ritualized.

The importance of any sacred sexuality is how it transforms you. Do you become a better person for it? Do you feel better and healthier afterward? Then you did it right.

In more recent years I have distanced myself from a lot of sacred sexuality because I see so little attention paid to a lot of the inequalities in sexuality in the US. People treat women as “sacred Goddesses” to be worshiped, but do nothing to fight discrimination against and oppression of women as a group. Heterosexual sex is held up as a standard of “balanced energies” while homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia still exist even within paganism and sacred sexuality. Rape and sexual assault happen in these communities, as well as the kink community, and often they’re ignored.

And, honestly, I have become more private and personal about my sex life. I asked my ex-husband Taylor to take “Kink Magic” out of print more because it was a symbol of our marriage, and it was a form of closure, not because I regretted it. But these days I keep my cards closer to the chest, at least as far as details go. I don’t go to public kink events any more and I have zero interest in public scening. 

As one who also identifies with my spirit animal to be that of a wolf, I am curious what you think of the various wolf conservation areas? Do you think this poses problems and domesticates wolves when they have human care, and are then released?

From what I have seen, the people who raise wolf pups to be released into the wild are very careful not to acclimate the pups to human companionship. I see this as a very good thing; wild animals need to be truly wild, not quasi-domesticated.
Are you fond of the concept of human Re:wilding? If you do, how do you integrate yourself into it? Do you practice any kind of self-sustainability, growing food, owning land, reducing possessions, etc?

I feel that the more skills we have, the better, no matter the sort. As Robert Heinlen said, “Specialization is for insects”. I am in a tiny apartment, and I don’t really have a proper garden so I have to rely on grocery stores and farmers’ markets for my food, but my intent is once I have some more stability across the board and can buy a house, I want it to be a place where I can turn the yarn into garden, raise rabbits, etc.

I do try to not consume more than I have to. Outside of books and clothing, most of my possessions are art supplies and therefore temporarily “mine”. I don’t collect tchotckes and the like, and I’d rather people gave me food as gifts than toys and such.

I have been developing more outdoor skills; I didn’t go camping until my early twenties because I never had the opportunity. My family didn’t like outdoor stuff other than backyard barbecues, and I didn’t really have friends until I was an adult. So I’ve been trying hard to build up missing skills, and I recently went solo backpacking for the first time earlier this month. And I’m doing more to educate myself about the flora and fauna of the area; I’d still starve out in the wild at this point, but maybe a little more slowly.
Have you had thoughts about making displays of taxidermy into art scenes to unveil something atypical with their spirits? Like having a wolf mount feeding on real entrails with dead trees, detritus on the ground, and raven mounts with rare stones for eyes in the trees? Sort of like a still life after death.

I have some plans for things to do with reclaimed taxidermy, but I’m keeping that under wraps for the moment.

Do you do much tenting in the nature to be further in touch with your wild personality, and animal atavisms?

Not as much as I’d like, but every time I’m out there, whether hiking or camping, alone or with others, it’s a connection to the inner wild self, my own Wolf, as well as to everything around me. My shamanic practice has become more more bioregional and localized once I moved to Oregon, and so I don’t just work with the animals, but also plants, fungi, waterways, geological totems, etc.

There are practices now to create life using ‘biobricks’ that can stimulate primitive life using a computer. As well as gene transplanting through different animals, such as taking spider silk and putting it inside a goat to collect the silk from its milk, or using camouflage squid cells in farmed plants. What are you thoughts on modern science and experimental

I think it’s going in some truly fascinating directions. However, I also think that like so much of our technology we’re too self-centered. We look only to our own needs, and not how our technology affects other humans and other beings as well. I am not entirely against genetic engineering, especially in the medical field, but we don’t think nearly enough about ethical and other implications and realities of our explorations. In the words of Stan Lee, “With great power there must also come great responsibility”. Spider-man is far from the only example of that.

Tell me about some of the festivals you have been apart of, pagan, occult, music or otherwise, and what you did there.

Holy cripes. There have been so many! I’ve been to festivals across the country from Florida to New York to Washington. (Oddly enough I haven’t been to any in the southwest!) Primarily pagan in flavor, with occasional others. I cut my teeth at Brushwood Folklore Center in New York state; in addition to a roster of yearly festivals, they have drumming and dancing every weekend when the weather permits. So I got a lot of good experience there; it’s where I first did public wolf-dancing, and met a lot of awesome people. I also wish I’d spent more time at Four Quarters Farm in Pennsylvania; the few times I went there I was really impressed with the energy as well as the rituals there.

I’ve gone to lots of events here in the Northwest, at though certainly not all of them. One of my very favorites is Sunfest, held every summer solstice out on the Oregon Coast. I’m going to be leading the rituals there next year (2013) with a shamanic/totemic theme—more info soon! Anyway, it’s a nicely laid-back, family-friendly festival, and it’s become one of my favorite things of the year.

And then there’s FaerieWorlds, which isn’t so much a pagan festival as a bunch of people dressing up in fantasy costumery and having a great time with excellent music. I don’t usually get to leave my booth much because I’m usually too busy working and selling art and costumes to people, but because everybody comes to visit, they bring the festival to me.

If there is a time that creating dead animal art, and having such a prolific artistic routine becomes too much, is there anything you want to accomplish or try before your own life spirit dies off?

I want to own my own home; I’m tired of having to audition every time I move to prove to some rental company that I deserve to have a place to live. Less mundanely, I want to do something with the Master’s in counseling psych I was awarded last year after three years of graduate school. Assuming I don’t get hit by a bus or develop cancer, I should be able to do both of these before all’s said and done.

Any last howls, from a fellow lupine creature to another?

Besides “buy my art and books”? Heh—I kid, mostly. Well, keep in touch—I write stuff at http://therioshamanism.com, as well as http://nature.pagannewswirecollective.com, and all things Lupa can be found at http://www.thegreenwolf.com. I like hearing feedback from people who’ve read my books and so forth, and I like hearing about the adventures of my art that has gone on to other homes. Plus I’m open to questions and thoughts about shamanism, totemism, and the like.

In The Den: A spiritual insight into :Wolfshaman:

Inside my blood and spirit I have always felt since young times that I am more like an animal than a human being. My deepest fascinations for nature and all the animals were never something external to me. Instead, at first they inspired awe and continue to, but also connection and unity. I am going to attempt to the reason why I have chosen the name :wolfshaman: as my art/writing name. If only everyone had the same realizations of their unbreakable unity with animals as well, then humans would be more pleasing to interact with.

Some people, depending on what culture, personal ideology, and spirituality would think it vainglorious, ignorant or absurd to be associative with animals. I have only recently discovered the concept of otherkin, and though this does not change anything personally to me, it is another vector to be used to further understand my self and the alternative nature of humans, as animals. As for my inclination towards mammals, I suppose this stems from a certain attachment to my own form, as it has been studied in anthropology that the human type identify closer with those of the same kingdom, and otherwise will veer towards recognizing more popular or rare animals like condors, eagles, sharks, snakes, owls, etc. The otherkin ideal does hold a close reverence for me, because of its inherit respect, understanding, and mutuality with animals. This for me draws closer to human nature than any other culture, and as we have evolved to possess this spirit, it would be a healthy practice to exercise this in the flesh, as well in the mind and beyond.

I love all animals, not only wolves, but these creatures through their heritage and revered status have attracted me more intimately. Wolves are a great portion of my heart. Their predatory nature is akin to that of my own, because I have constantly thought and experienced life as something like a struggle for supremacy over myself, ever since my own apostasy. The wolf is an impeccable adapter that strives in the harshest conditions, and contains the power to survive over the weaker animals. Their loyalty is hardly matched in any other species of mammal, as they will stay with their mate, sometime until death and fight any intruding individuals. This relates to my own nobility and willingness to defend myself in hostile arrangement, against others, even while down in numbers. Their truly wild symbolism, their call that echoes on dark nights that provokes fear against meek creatures, yet a potent degree of the collective. The wolf-pack that hunts together to overcome. The wolf-pack concept would be one way to describe my own relations to other like minded individuals. We wolves are in constant opposition and trying to ventour ideas, our strategies, and our cunning comes out to shine in the end. The association of the wolves with the dark aspects of nature, the moon, the forest, the eerie howl, death, and fear. I feel these are symbols of what drag me along in my own life, to co-exist with this darkness. Not necessarily these specific places as the means, but being a shadow of what is common. The seeker of that which is ignored or judged. The very beauty of a arctic wolf, striding through a snowstorm, or a gray wolf peaking over a tumultuous mountain precipice is something I see every time I think about wolves. The way they play a role to each other, and have highly social bonds is inspiring to the point of my own love.

The shaman part would of course represent the purpose of shamanistic practice. That is, to go beyond the surface temporal existence and experience something profound that can alter the being on a deeply emotional and personal level. The experiences are then brought back to normal life to enhance what you are, and shape what is to become. So the wolf is the atavistic animal connection of otherkin that I use to portray as a vector to use to achieve something that goes past the mundane world, and into the realm of secrets. The wolf as a peak in the biological triangle that causes a ripple to echo to other smaller fauna, and the shaman going to the pinnacle of existence to teach and impart wisdom. They are one in the same in :Wolfshaman: that is me. At least on personal encounter with the animal breed, I feel in my bones a certain completeness. I have only ever seen 3 wolves, and they were domestic/tame you can say, but they still filled my with absolute attraction, and I know I will see my spirit animal in the wild before too long. It is a passage of my own closeness to them, and the way that animals seem to understand me, that tells me about my spiritual unity to our counterparts in nature, and admiration for the wolf.