We are approaching a more sinister subject, the werewolf, a being that apparently changes from human into a wolf on the full moon. Everyone has heard about it or seen more or less plausible interpretations in movies. Where does this belief stem from? Why a wolf of all animals? And why in the full moon light?
The word »werewolf« contains, without difficulty to recognise, the »wolf« and the word »were« that translates into »man, human« and can be found in many languages, et al. Old Enlish, Germanic, Old High German and more. So we are talking about a man wolf or a wolfman, someone who can or must take the shape of a wolf. This belief has been widespread in the old days and this had nothing to do with the cliché we are getting to see in horror movies today.
If looking at the wolf, this fascinating animal does not have an easy time in the encounter with man and the resulting value judgements. On one hand, wolves were admired for their power and mystical charisma, were part of rituals and perspectives (e.g. in ancient times with the Germanic people, Celts and druids …), on the other hand, they were feared and hated and associated with misery. Bearing this in mind, one needs to know that people in the Middle Ages were not very knowledgable about the wolf as an animal, but it was the invisible danger during nightly darkness. It was the threat of the own existence, especially if it concerned the domestic animals, for example sheeps. One had to fight against it.
This perception that is reigned by fear and the symbol of animal power, began to connect in people’s mind with their own belligerent forces, the desire for power and victory over darkness. Naturally, myths were created that wanted to recognise the human inside the wolf and vice versa, myths that thought this transformation could be possible. Today as well, many people feel this rising force within them and are able to identify with the image of the wolf. It seems to suggest itself that all this can also be linked to sexuality.
There are two puzzling aspects and raising questions:
First, many portrayals convey a human turning into a werewolf after being bitten by a werewolf, therefore similar to vampires. However, the question remains to what extent can a being survive the attack of a werewolf and is thereby literally not torn into pieces (please excuse the graphic phrasing). A werewolf that is then changed back into a human is somewhat hard to imagine in this way. Secondly, there is the full moon. It is said that wolves are howling at the Moon, which is actually not true, as they are howling anyway, regardless of the moon phase. So, why should the full moon transform the human into a werewolf, when equally this could happen at the new moon. Actually, this would be much more suitable: it is darker, a new beginning … is it simply because the full moon just looks better in the setting? Because one expects it like this?
We will not be able to figure this out here but neither do we want to make a final verdict. Maybe werewolves don’t actually have fur, are not recognisable on the outside, as soon as their inner force transforms and overpowers the person. It is possible. Then we have entered the realm of imagination, which can be enormous.