The Legend of the Two Wolves
Cherokee tale Adapted and Narrated by C. Mikkal Smith.
This is an old Cherokee story used for initiating youth and healers. It is not well known outside of Cherokee folklore, but its message is profound and universal. It is called the Legend of Two Wolves.
I will tell this story from the point of view of the contemporary world — adapting it to our time and place, as any living myth should be,
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The story begins with an old man, an Elder, and his Grandson who have been walking in the woods.
Nightfall is approaching and a sliver of moonlight and the evening star are already shining above.
The old man and boy come back into the village, where a fire is burning outside.The old man approaches ahead of the boy and carefully places a couple of logs on the fire.He puts a little tobacco on the fire. He calls out,
“Grandson come here, there is something I want to I want to tell you.”
He walks up and sits down, waiting in the silence.
The old man speaks.
“Grandson, …there is a terrible war going on inside myself, … the time has come to tell you about it because this is a battle that goes on not only inside me, but inside you, and every human in the world.”
“What kind of war is this?” Grandfather?
“There are two wolves fighting for control. A Blue Wolf and a Red Wolf…. One of the wolves, the Blue Wolf, is full of fear. It is needy and greedy and it is always wanting something, but it doesn’t know what. Its mind is filled with Judgment and competition. In time the Blue Wolf has grown big. He becomes angry and filled with envy, wanting what others have. It does not walk lightly on the Earth.”
“The Red Wolf is quite different. It is beautiful and walks gently on the Earth It is filled with reverence and love for life. It lives in the moment and takes delight in the simple pleasures of being alive. It is generous, kind and respectful of all life, its own, and the life of others, the green grasses, the insect peoples, and all the animals.
The grandson sat quietly gazing into the fire, contemplating the story that grandfather told him for awhile in silence. The grandfather add another log and offers some more tobacco and sweet grass.
Then the grandson looks at his grandfather and asks
“But who will win this war, Grandfather?”
The grandfather shifted his position and leaned forward saying softly and directly:
“It depends upon which one You feed!”
A long silence follows as they both gaze into the fire.
Then grandfather speaks:
“So now I have a question: If you have these two wolves within you, Who are You?”
The boy paused for a moment and said
“Perhaps I am both grandfather, sometimes I am one more than the other.”
The grandfather replies sharply,
“No! This is not the answer.” Take some more time with my question.”
The grandfather walked away from the fire for awhile, leaving the grandson alone. When he comes back he offers another log and offers more tobacco. After a period of silence he asks:
“Have you found the answer to my question?”
The boy replied,
“Yes, . . . I am the feeder of wolves.”
The grandfather sat in silence, satisfied the grandson now had understood.
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Cherokee tale Adapted and Narrated by C. Mikkal Smith Phd Director of Crows Nest Wilderness Retreat and Conference Center, Dowagiac, Michigan, Director of Crows Nest Centers for Shamanic Studies International in France and Belgium, currently teaching in Paris and Payzac; Captetown, South Africa, and Iquitos, Peru. ( Crows Nest Center for Shamanic Studies )
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The tale of Two Wolves is a powerful psychological and spiritual medicine to initiate the listener into life-wisdom.
The form of this ‘medicine story’ is a sacred “fire talk”, a heart-to-heart talk around a sacred fire with the aim of transmitting heart-centered and earth-honoring wisdom for living as a whole person.
For Native Americans, “Grandfathers” (or Grandmothers) is a title of respect for the spiritual powers, and for ritual elders and healers. The terms “Grandson” may have originally been a corresponding symbol for the youth or shamanic apprentice.
The focal point of the story is the awakening of the individual to personal responsibility for their life, the outcome of their choices. It presupposes a spiritual being inside, an “I Am” that is free, creative, and can feed its attention and thoughts in ways that result in life enhancement and growth towards fulfillment (Red Wolf), or in ways that thwart and cause the growth of suffering for self and others (Blue Wolf). In the Native American medicine ways to be a fully human means that you are living in a heart-centered and earth-honoring way, and that you are honoring You. To honor you is to honor your own desires, feelings, and vision of things, and to protect all that against the opinions and judgments of others, and especially, protect it against the Blue Wolf energies in your own mind. To be alive and healthy in this way means that you have reduced the size of the Blue Wolf in your life to the point where there are no major obstacles to your being you, living the life you really want and are meant to live. This is folk psychology at its best.
Priniciples for Feeding the Red Wolf:
1. Commit to honoring yourself without question.
2. Don’t give your power away. Honor your inner teachers and protect what they give you.
3. Trust your own inner sense of heart knowing (heart-NGS, felt-sense, intuition, sprit guides), Initially you may need an outer human teacher to guide you to find and consistently follow your inner teachers (what Fire Talks do).
4. Don’t accept the opinions or wishes of others for you without running it by your heart first.
5. Avoid praise and blame. Know your on value and protect.
6. Don’t let fear stop you. Follow your heart/NGS in spite of fear.
7. Drop victim thinking.
8. Muster the courage to look within and see what you find. Be honest and see warts and all, Blue Wolf habits, so you can go to work reducing these. But also see your unique wood-grained individuality.
9. Take control of your life be removing the Blue wolf energies, and reclaiming lost parts of yourself (soul recovering). Get all of you on line.
10. Get in your flow by living faithfully from your heart and honoring your unique individuality. You will know you are in your flow by the synchronicities, feedback, and NGS.
11. Be pragmatic and use those beliefs and strategies and choices that get results you want and that feel right in your heart, in your bones! Judge the value of your beliefs and choices by the results you get, and not based on the beliefs and opinions of others, or on what external authorities told you.
Are you living from your heart? Is your heart open and generous? How much sunshine is there in your heart? There can’t be much sunshine if you are not living your true life, if you are not strong enough to hold your ground, express your voice in the community, open yourself to the point of view of other people and other creatures. Anything that gets in the way of the life giving sunshine (Blue Wolf-energies) needs some good medicine to remove it and to help you cultivate the life-energies and joy you really want and need.
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Footnote on the Sacred Nature of Wolves;
Both Celestial Elf and Mikkal would like to make clear that the Wolves in this tale are purely symbolic of human energies and that along with the Cherokee and many other people, we have the greatest respect for Wolves.
The Wolf is a powerful motif in the foundational mythologies and cosmologies of peoples throughout Eurasia and North America (corresponding to the historical extent of the habitat of the gray wolf). The obvious attribute of the wolf is its nature of a predator, and correspondingly in western mythologies it has generally been associated with danger and destruction.
However as a more Earth centered spirituality – awareness of the lives and energies of other creatures, develops in the modern world, both conservation efforts and positive symbolism of the wolf are gaining ground.
Positive meanings of the Wolf as a power animal symbolic of freedom emphasize a deep connection with your intuition and instincts. On the negative side, the wolf could represent perception of a threat or a lack of trust in someone or your own feelings or actions. This spirit animal also reflects sharp intelligence in dealing with important matters.
If you have the wolf as a spirit animal, it could be an expression of your sharp intelligence and strong instincts perceiving and understanding the world around you.
Whether the wolf appears in physical form or in a dream or meditation, it may reveal that you’re using your instincts and intuition to grasp a situation well. The fact that your wolf animal spirit guide shows up could also be a call to use this capacity to deal with a recent challenge you’ve experienced in your life.
When a wolf manifests its presence as a guide in your life, it could be a call to live your life more freely, to bring the intensity of passion in your everyday endeavors, it could be an invitation to look at what supports your authentic self and the true expression of yourself. ( http://bit.ly/1jQFJas )
Wolves became extinct in Scotland and Ireland in the 1700s and sometime before that in England, persecuted by Man. Today, their European strongholds include Russia, eastern Europe and Scandinavia.
Reintroducing the Wolf to Scotland was first proposed in the late 1960s, but the idea only started to gain wider publicity and support following the reintroductions of the red wolf to the south-eastern United States in 1989, and the grey wolf to Yellowstone National Park in 1995. More information here( http://bit.ly/1jQGmAN ).
Tu Kuy ~