Why So Many Wolf Therians?
I originally wrote this essay June 6, 2007 regarding why I believe there are so many wolf therians in the online therian/Otherkin communities. Thoughts/comments/critiques are appreciated! And many thanks to sparky who was the beta!
Why So Many Wolf Therians?
So why are there so many wolf therians out there?
One possible reason is that it’s related to popularity. Wolves are the ultimate “wild” animal to a lot of people, the animal that symbolizes the wilderness and the animal that made a tremendous comeback since the early 1900’s. Much like tigers, wolves are like the poster animal for protecting endangered species.
The wolf is a symbol of strength, loyalty and perseverance. They’re also seen as a teacher, family oriented and protective. Humans by their very nature are also pack animals and many individuals respect qualities such as strength and loyalty. Humans also share the pack mentality in regards to its hierarchy as well as relying on each other to survive.
Wolves are also the animal from which the werewolf legend stems. It’s true that all across the world there are shapeshifting stories of other beasts (the Norse berserkers, the Japanese kitsune, the African bouda, the Celtic selkie, the South American boto, etc.), but the wolf seems to be the most common across cultures. The only reason that I can think of that might explain why there are more werewolf legends than any other type of animal is simply due to distribution. The wolf is one of the few animals that has subspecies on almost all the continents. The other main types of therians that are the most common are big cats, bears and other canines like foxes. All these animals have a worldwide distribution as well. While animals like the platypus are restricted to just one continent. (And why aren't there any platypus therians? That would be interesting!)
Most people, especially younger people who are just discovering things like this about themselves, are drawn to wolves when they first Awaken because werewolves are the most common hybrid creatures in our culture. I doubt there is anyone who hasn’t at least heard of the famous wolfman movies or seen a werewolf movie or read werewolf stories. Wolves are the creature most often associated with shapeshifting and are therefore most often associated with having a dual nature since werewolves have two physical forms. It is easy to see the connection between wolves and humans so someone who is new to the concept of Therianthropy might be drawn to wolves before any other animal simply because they’ve been exposed to wolves more than other animals.
I have, however, noticed that several people have found that after their initial Awakening experience that they are in fact another animal other than wolf. Perhaps people use wolf as the default theriotype simply because they don't want to label themselves as 'I don't know'.
Another important thing to consider is whether or not someone found out about their therian side and then discovered the online communities or if they found the online communities first and then discovered they were a therian. If it’s a case of the former, then I’d say that person is more likely to be genuine. Especially if they have meditated and spent a lot of time soul-searching to discover the truth about themselves and come up with their specific species as the answer. However if it’s a case of the latter, where someone found the online therian communities first and then discovered their therian side, it sometimes seems a little shady to me. Obviously it is still possible and can happen, however I think that since the idea was planted in the mind upon finding the community that the brain then manufactures reasons as to why a person could be a therian. And then the brain manufactures reasons as to why wolf fits since it’s the most popular theriotype with the most information readily available.
Discovering this aspect about yourself takes time and determination and if you discover that you’re a therianthrope and not a wolf, that’s okay. There are lots of wonderful animals out there and the concept of therianthropy is not about who has the coolest species.
To sum up, I think it comes down to how you discover something like this about yourself. It’s true that there are a lot of wolf therians around the community but whether this is due to popularity or because of some other reason no one can be sure. I believe it's most likely a combination of several factors with no one correct answer.
Banner by me. If you want one too, see here
"You're the best kind of crazy." -Murphy, The Dresden Files