Years ago, a shaman identified my familiar, or spirit animal, as the wolf. It startled me at the time. There are wolf qualities that appeal to my Aries nature. The wolf is independent, crafty, fierce and capable. But the wolf is also wild, reckless and vicious. I had hoped that my totem animal would turn out to be a horse, a fox or a cow; a blue heron, perhaps, or an owl?
I’ve had lots of time to consider the meaning of my totem animal. I’ve dealt with my primitive fear that a wolf totem meant that I, too, would always be vicious and cruel. I have been, but not always, and less and less as I’ve aged. As I’ve learned to tune into my totem companion, I’ve gradually learned that s/he isn’t with me to scare me out of my wits. The creature lopes beside me, a constant reminder and mentor of earthy darkness, of wild weather and high, free, craggy places where one can hear one’s own thoughts and see forever.
The wolf is a good teacher. And on this Full Moon s/he has a simple teaching. Do what the wolf does: howl to the Moon. Wordlessly, with or without sound, howl what is in your heart. Let loose what is in the depths of your soul. The Moon is listening. Sitting with the Full Wolf Moon (also known as the Old Moon or Moon of the Strong Cold), know that you are not alone.
Under the Full Wolf Moon I become a new creature when I listen to my body. Often in this month it is feeling slow and creaky. Perhaps you’ve noticed that you want and need more sleep, too. The days are still short, the darkness long and cold. It’s a good Moon to hunker down, meditate, and gather your energy. It’s a good time for to look back, and to prepare for the growing to come.
This year the Full Wolf Moon arrives during some very difficult transits for me, and with it come painful reminders and chasms of uncertainty and doubt. Like my wolf totem, I am howling and transforming. With the support of the Moon I know I will soon begin singing a new song. Don’t be afraid to be quiet and listen to the truths your inner wolf is telling you. Then turn your face upward and howl at the beautiful January Full Wolf Moon.
The Full Wolf Moon
Cold, snow, and otherworldly light,
Clouds of breath and endless night.
Spanish moss and smoke are you,
Who follows you is brave and true.