Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Know Your Archetype: The Wolf

For some time now, this series on 'archetypes' has been rumbling around my brain. Anything, dear readers, you would like to contribute or mention, please do so. Most of this is based on sheer, uneducated opinion. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, indeed.

Archetype: A symbol, usually an image, which recurs often enough in literature to be recognizable as an element of one's literary experience as a whole. Carl Jung used the term "archetype" to refer to the generalized patterns of images that form the world of human representations in recurrent motifs, passing through the history of all culture. Since archetypes are rooted in the collective unconscious, they may be conceived through the psychic activity of any individual, be it in the form of dreams, art works, the ancient monuments of religious activity, or the contemporary images of commercial advertising. Such archetypes as the "innocent babe," the "unheeded prophet," the "philosopher's stone," and many others which also have their source in the primitive darkness of the unconscious, are repeated in numerous works of cultural creation.

The Wolf

For those of you who were drawn to create a Worgen, you may be disappointed to know that is only one aspect of the archetypal wolf. The worgen/werewolf has its own rich lore, chock full of conflicted, deep emotions between our higher-reaching goals toward spiritual goodness and our baser feelings closer to nature. 

But the Wolf, no, not a lot of internal conflict there.

Consider the Tex Avery cartoon, Wolves are all libido and "haaa-ruuuuug'gaaa!"

When you're around a wolf, you may feel both drawn ("I can change this bad boy") and repelled or afraid ("Nothing in this basket, no sir, Mr. What-Big-Eyes-You-Have").

The Wolf represents the id, the dark side of our natures, the beast within, but contrasting to a werewolf/worgen, there is little available redemption to the true Wolf. In nature, it is well-known that wolves are loyal pack animals, mate for life, but we humans have anthropomorphically destroyed this positive image with our own fears. We do that a lot, we humans. But, knowing the pack mentality can also guard one against some human foibles. Consider the alpha/guildmaster. If he or she is leading a guild as a team, aka Alpha 1 and Alpha 2, sometimes the rest of the pack may be confused about who to submit to and show their metaphorical bellies. Good leadership is just that: fair, transparent, and strong. Everyone needs to know they'll get their share of the downed elk in good time. 

But this isn't about the pack: it is about the lone wolf, the wolf in sheep's clothing, the huff-puff-blow-your-house-down-and-eat-your-grandmas-wolf. This wolf looks at Little Red like she's a breakfast buffet.

Beware of the wolves, little girls. There are a few out there. If you show them what's in your goody basket blindly, without knowledge, in all likelihood you will get eaten up.

As mentioned, I had this series in mind for some time, and probably would have started with the Queen, but chose to begin with Wolf, especially after Bubbles posted this:

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