When looked at as a totem or a symbol, most people focus on the lone wolf.  They see the wolf’s intelligence, ability to work independently, its swift movement and ability to adapt to ever changing situations including ecosystems and food sources.  And they should because these are some of the gifts of wolf and they should be admired and used as a means for exploring those aspects of ourselves.  However, I find that limiting wolf to those aspects leaves out the majority of the lessons that wolf has to teach.  Because it’s not just that wolf is intelligent and capable, adaptable and independent, but that it chooses to be interdependent.

Most wolves live in packs which are small tribes or communities which work together not only for survival but so they can thrive and the future generations after them.  While each pack has a hierarchy, these are not static changing as the individuals change, as the situation changes, as the world around them changes.  Yet each individual, regardless of rank, works for the best life of the whole.  This includes not over hunting any particular area.  It includes not overpopulating.  Most adult wolves have the ability to produce offspring, but only the alpha male and alpha female do so.  Then the entire pack raise the cubs.  This creates tight bonds, furthers the community, and creates inter-relation with other packs as some of the children will move off to other groups or form their own.

Wolf as an animal guide or totem speaks not just to an independent spirit, but the sweet spot that is interdependence.  In Cherokee the wolf is a representative of the South which is epitomized by Love and Joy and Family and a sense of Home.  Wolf shows that we are not bound by the roles we have been born into, we are not determined by our parentage, but create our families through our choices each and every day and have the ability to be ourselves while still being connected.  Even when it seems loneliest, we are not alone.  This is a wolf pack in my area proving this out.  The wolf you can see is young…and has a flea issue…but he is most definitely not alone.