The Origins Of Werewolves

We have always heard about werewolves, many tales from different places, most of them from European folklore and medieval stories… but do we actually know where it all began?
 
What i will write about, isn’t to feed any fantasy into the hearts of those who read, rather i will tell about the origins of these creatures, the mystery behind it and in terms of history, how people came to fear, respect and honor it.
 
Beyond the borders of the villages and the boundaries of our familiar world, there lies vast wild andsolitary landscapes, when night comes, those places become a scenery of dark and gloomy shadows. In the deep forests the famished wolves roam and hunt, howling at the cold winter nights in the moonless sky, their eyes glitter in the dark as if they burned with a foul fire.
The human being has always feared the unknown, and in ancient times, these landscapes beyond their villages, was a terrible place of both mystery and death, few were those who dared to venture in those places, so this became the scenery of many fantastic tales and the wolves were the symbol of terror and power, these animals were the wildest beings on land always searching for the kill, so it is perfectly natural that these natural facts led to so many folktales about werewolves and other mythical creatures. However, the tales of the werewolves and lycanthropy goes beyond the ancient Indo-European cultures, for exemple, the Indo-Iranian clans of the Haumavarka, which means, the wolves of Haoma who worshiped the wolves and acted like like them, Haoma is one of the names for the muchrooms calledamanita muscaria, which is said to have a lot of psychotropic substances and it was used by the shamans since times long forgotten before any historical record, in a time when the human being still nomad and lived in caves. These muchrooms can lead people to enter in trance, and a shaman can travel into other places far beyond the limitations of the body, and can travel in the form of an animal. In many cultures, the best travel form was the wolf, fast and accustomed to run in several wild landscapes, so many clans and tribes worshiped the wolf, it was a sacred being. These teachings have gone throughvarious generations, from place to place all over the world, such as the northern European lands, where people worshiped many gods, one of those was Odin who had two wolves called Geri and Freki, and of course one of the children of the god Loki, was Fenrir the bringer of destruction.
In the northern lands, the tales of wolves went further than the mythological tales, there was the existance of the elite warriors called Úlfhéðnar ( Ulfhednar ) people who went to war, dressed with the skins of wolves, and were also warriors with immense strength, who sometimes fought naked, without showing uncomfortable with the cold weather, they went to battle in some kind of a trance and did not have the need for weapons, they could kill with their bare hands or bite just as a wolf. In fact, that is what they were, people with the shapes of wolves, who thought that they were wolves themselves and act like them, this was because before battle, they consumed drugs, to be more precise, they consumed amanita muscaria, these people weren’t in themselves, they were in trance, psychologically they could feel the difference, it is just like if someone asks you to lift a table, and you dont have the strength or the strength fails you and it is hard, but when you are angry who gain strength and you can lift and throw the table with no problem, people sometimes go beyond the limitations they know they have, when they arepsychologically affected, when people are pushed into certain situations, the need of survival comes to the surface and the wild and savage feelings hidden in us, appear, almost feral, such as we were in ancient times and we born as such.
Such as the Ulfhednar there were also the warriors called Berserkers or Berserks, who fought nearly uncontrollable, with trance-like fury who also consumed these kind of drugs that led into a different psychological effect.
Also in the Northern lands, the outlaws, murderers, defilers of temples and thieves, were given the name of Vargr which means wolf. Such people weren’t killed by their actions nor arrested, they had a worse fate ( at least for these times ), they were expelled from the community or the tribe and were left in thewild landscapes, as an animal who now needed to survive alone or in a group of people in equal circumstances, just as the wolves do. Everyone could kill them, hunt them on sight, with no penalty norpunishment, because the Vargr were animals now.

There were also tribes of shaman warriors, which could take the form of wolves in their trance journeys, and they acted like wolves, these shamanic mysteries were preserved as hereditary traditions among some families. These shamans at their initiation as a wolf warrior, would go into the swamps, and left their clothes behind, symbolically this is the abandonment of the human form and its identity as a member of a community, living now out of the civilized world and learning from the wilds. These people were called wolfmen or werewolves.

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