She Wolves of Midwinter, Slavic & Balkan Animism in the traditions of a Shaman (part 2/2)

By Phoenix of Elder Mountain ( To go to Part 1 ) – Animism and my Shaman dreaming ritual continued from part one: Zack is in High School and does drugs weekly, and because of that, he was weak in the dream and had lost power and if he continues this behavior in his waking life, by 30 he will have no more connection to his animism soul for the rest of his life. Jina is his best friend and that is why she showed up in his dream.

Zack of course has a “undeveloped” shamanic wolf soul that is still pure, but now with someones demon shadow interfering, that shadow wants to possess that part of Zack soul (his wolf) and once that happens, there is no longer any soul wolf that belongs to Zack this lifetime or future lifetimes.  He would become a werewolf by his own behavior and his continued choices of being with drug, pot and vape users.

If and when that happens if he doesn’t get sober, then he gains power of his shadow wolf (werewolf) and its demonic power and being so young, he won’t know the difference between good and evil, because the werewolf will entrap and control him in the dream realms that effects him and his relationships in this waking world. This is when a shaman like myself comes to put the werewolf “down in the underworld” in the dreamtime. 

 Zack has no power to fight any shadow off or any werewolf off, regardless of what you hear out in the world, no one can fight “real” demons until they have earned their second level soul animal or bird and can shape shift into it without any human soul interfering. That is what fights real demons. Basically, Zack is about to loose his birth rite wolf, if he doesn’t stop doing drugs and I don’t find out who the werewolf is. In almost all cases, its someone in the family because wolf rules the archetypal structure of family.


My work as a dream walker (because that is the only place you will be able to slay any folklore or mythological creature, demon etc) of Zack and his father George which was the next development… I completed this work recently (a few weeks after Zack coming to the near loss of his wolf soul) and I could do all the work in my dreams now that my 40 years of initiations as a death shaman (black shaman in Siberian terms) was completed. Zack’s father George, had a shadow past life demon who I called Juke, which I was following in the dreams over three nights to get more information.

Juke was gaining more and more power over George and George was encouraging his son Zack to do drugs, and stay out all night and party and it was getting worse and Zack was getting weaker and starting to lose part of his soul because of Juke. He was also skipping school this past year and making it impossible for Jina to have him in her space.

The werewolf of George, was still in a prison (not free to roam here or Zack’s dream space) because Juke the human demon of George had not possessed Zack yet, but was getting very close and just across the threshold ready to come over and the transformation of loss was going to occur. Shadows cannot roam here, they are bound to the underworld but addictions lets them out of the underworld and then they roam in the persons dream space, close to this side of the veil.

Kids and teens are not trained, parents don’t believe and then it all becomes lost or the child is put on medication or even worse, the teen or young adult starts self medicating with pot, alcohol or shamanic drugs which then creates chaos eventually.

I went into the dreaming again on the forth night, and slayed the demon Juke (Zack’s fathers human demon from his past life) and sent it back to the underworld. Both father and son were freed and their behaviors will improve immediately. The father pushed away some of the dark people he had put in his son’s life – and the son began a friendship of respect with Jina within two weeks.

As of today, everything shifted once Juke was sent back to the underworld and locked down never to return this lifetime, and the father’s werewolf was then out of everyone in the families dreams and close friends, and was pushed even further into the realm of the past.  Werewolf of the father’s soul, had no power as long as the father’s human demon Juke was gone.

“In life for those of the Wolf Clan
we feed the good wolf or we feed
the bad wolf’s (demon human)
who then frees the werewolf
to kill the wolf soul.”

Those who are wolf clan people like the Romanians or Serbians take it very seriously but the demonic scourge of all military on earth and their wars have pretty much destroyed  this indigenous aspect of all of us from the constant wars. The werewolf is one of the darkest and most powerful karmic animism souls to deal with as a shaman.

She Wolves - Elder Mountain Dreaming Article

“In ancient Arcadia, it certainly seems to be have been an important center of Wolf worship. The story of king Lykaon leads us to Zeus Lykaios (another Arcadian “wolf god” who was Apollo Lykaios). Zeus Lykaios is the “Wolf Zeus”. In his honor, a religious festival called the Lykaia was celebrated on Mount Lykaion, the “wolf mountain.”

A historical example of where the wolf soul of a human being is destroyed and lost, and the werewolf becomes part of the man, and he returns much stronger and ten times more powerful in the ways of evil and demonic energy.

There were no werewolves in goddess and (early) pagan cultures, there was only the wolf mother in Rome, so there were no historical references to werewolves in the early Roman or Greek writings, only poetic historical accounts of the shifts of culture from shamanism and animism into paganism and religious kingdoms approximately around 800 bce until the 1st century ce.

History is based on written accounts and the soul history was not, it was based on ancient art and oral traditions and peasants. But shaman’s stories of the animism souls were not shared, and fells under the mysteries and rites of the shaman woman herself (grandmother). Even I, outside the context of my apprentices do not share that much compared to what I experience everyday.

“Regarding these sacrifices during the Lykaia, we are also having the incredible story of an Olympic boxing champion that Pausanias tells us: “Damarchus, an Arcadian of Parrhasia, (…) who changed his shape into that of a wolf at the sacrifice to Zeus Lykaios, and how nine years after he became a man again”. He allegedly was turned into a wolf after he ate the flesh of a boy that was sacrificed to Zeus Lykaios by the Arcadians; Pausanias, writing in the Roman period, tell us that he “cannot believe what the romancers say about him [i.e. Damarchus]”.

Pliny’s Natural History “Agriopas (…) informs us that Demænetus, the Parrhasian, during a sacrifice of human victims, which the Arcadians were offering up to the Lycæan Jupiter, tasted the entrails of a boy who had been slaughtered; upon which he was turned into a wolf, but, ten years afterwards, was restored to his original shape and his calling of an athlete, and returned victorious in the pugilistic contests at the Olympic games.”

“Arcadia: The story of wolf transformation spread more widely and seems to have become quite popular during the Roman period. We learn about the entertaining story of Niceros who, during Trimalchios’ fantastic dinner party, told this story about his friend, a soldier, who transformed into a wolf in a graveyard: “He stripped himself and put all his clothes by the roadside. My heart was in my mouth, but I stood like a dead man. He made a ring of water round his clothes and suddenly turned into a wolf.

Please do not think I am joking; I would not lie about this for any fortune in the world. But as I was saying, after he had turned into a wolf, he began to howl, and ran off into the woods. At first I hardly knew where I was, then I went up to take his clothes; but they had all turned into stone…”; and later he became a human again, returning to Nicoros’ house (Petronius, Satyricon, 61f, c. CE 60).”

Grimm’s Fairy tales did a great disservice to all animism teachings, both the wolf and the grandmother, by making grandmother the scapegoat and evil of the shadow sides of pagan (warriors not peasants) and religious men and aligned both wolf and grandmother together as a menage and destroyer of the innocence. Of course it was grandfather who did that with war and battle and complete and total control of issues in family and community… we forgive him now that his time (era) has completed.

by Mika Rissanen 

Phoenix’s Note: “Sacred Temples who turned from female priestess lead to male priests were done so because of two cults that merged and then gained full control by the the 1st century bce: 1. The Dionysus Cult who originally lured maidens to get them out of the circle of maiden, mother and grandmother, under grandmother rulership, breaking and destroying finally, the great Mystery Circle of Woman. Once that was completed, the Political Cults of Apollo then legally forbid women to have any leadership in their own temples and circles and the first male Priests were brought in. These are when the wolves began to turn dark into werewolves, demonic astral bodies of the white indigenous people.”

The impressive ridge of Mt. Soracte, the only mountain in the lower Tiber valley, is situated 45 kilometres north of Rome, its highest peak being 691 metres above sea level (about 500 metres higher than its surroundings). It was known as the site of the cult practised by priests called Hirpi Sorani. The region around about was inhabited by the Faliscans, a tribe who spoke a language related to Latin.

Politically and culturally the Faliscans were closely connected with the Etruscans until the 5th century BCE, when the expanding city-state of Rome occupied their territory. In this paper I discuss the cult of the Hirpi Sorani, comparing it with other wolf cults of central Italy, analysing the common elements of these cults, and suggesting that the cults have a common origin. The earliest literary source which mentions the cult of the Hirpi Sorani is Virgil’s Aeneid. Strabo gives a more detailed description in his Geographia (written between 7 BCE and 23 CE). Other valuable sources are Pliny the Elder (about 70 CE), Silius Italicus (late 1st century), Solinus (3rd or 4th century, strongly leaning on Pliny) and Servius (5th century). 6 The oldest epigraphical sources date back to the 1st century BCE.

The cult was practised once a year, but no author mentions the exact date of the ritual. Pliny and Solinus write that it was practised by certain families which were exempt from military service because of their religious responsibilities. According to Solinus, this exemption was an honour. However, this opinion is not accepted by G. Piccaluga, who regards the exemption as a precaution, because the Romans found priesthoods with a direct connection to the divinities too suspicious and strange. 

Identification of the families of the Hirpi Sorani is not uncontroversial. Pliny and Solinus refer to certain families that live in the Faliscan region, but they do not explicitly say that they were Faliscans. Instead, this definition is made by Strabo, Porphyrio and Vibius Sequester. Servius, on the other hand, writes that Mt. Soracte was located in the territory of the Hirpini, who also practised the ritual.

His view is probably mistaken and he may have been misled by the similarity of the names, as will be shown below. Even though the priesthood consisted of members of only certain families, the whole community joined in the ritual. Strabo describes a multitude of people gathering to attend the ritual. The descriptions of the ritual given by Pliny the Elder, Solinus and Strabo are very similar. First, a pile of wood had to be burned down to glowing embers.

Virgil is the only author who describes the wood more explicitly as pine, which however can be due to poetic or metric reasons. Then the priests walked barefoot across the embers without feeling any pain. Silius Italicus writes that the priests performed their walk three times, carrying offerings to the god. Servius too speaks in the plural about the walks. While all the other sources write about “taking steps” or “walking”, Solinus describes the priests’ motion as “leaping” (exultant). The word exultare often includes a connotation of rejoicing. The atmosphere of the ritual seems in fact to have been joyful rather than frightening. Silius Italicus describes Apollo being happy about the blazing piles of wood and the offerings.

All these authors point out that the priests were able to perform the ritual without burning their feet. The explanation given by Varro, transmitted by Servius, is that the priests used medicated ointment to moisturize their soles, while Silius Italicus refers to some kind of trance that protected the priests. Virgil too says that the priests piously put their trust in the god while walking across the embers.

On the basis of their name, the Hirpi Sorani were “The Wolves of Soranus”, hirpus being the Faliscan (or Sabellic, as G. Bakkum suggests) equivalent for Latin lupus and Soranus the name of the god worshipped in the area.  It is less plausible to see Soranus as an adjective derived either from the Etruscan family name Sora or the homonymous Volscan town. Both Pliny and Solinus speak about priest families in the plural, which seems to rule out a connection with one particular family.

Nor does the Volscan town of Sora, situated 100 kilometres eastwards, seem to have anything to do with the cult. There doubtless is a connection between the names of Soracte and Soranus. However, the derivation of Soranus directly from the name of the mountain (*Sorăct-nus), as suggested by W. Deecke, is linguistically unacceptable.  Two inscriptions have been found in the region of Mt. Soracte which contain the name of the god, one at the northern foot of the mountain, near the city of Falerii (now Cività Castellana), the other on the peak. In both cases the dedication is made to Apollo Soranus.

In the literary texts the god is usually called Apollo without any epithet. On the other hand, Servius identifies Soranus with Dis, the Roman god of the Underworld and death; this is the only literary reference to a god called Soranus in Italy. In addition to the dedications mentioned above, the only epigraphical source on Soranus has been found in Alburnus Maior in Dacia.

Ultimately, the name of the god (and thus the name of the mountain) is probably to be connected with Śuri, the Etruscan god of purification and prophecies (which will be discussed in detail below), as suggested by G. Colonna.  Servius is the best source regarding the origin of the cult and the reason why the priests were considered wolves.

He says: “Mount Soracte is located in the territory of the Hirpini next to Via Flaminia. It was on this mountain that a sacrifice to Dis Pater was once performed – because it is devoted to chthonic deities – as wolves suddenly appeared and plundered the entrails from the fire. The shepherds chased the wolves for a long time, until they arrived at a cave emanating pestilential gases that killed people standing nearby.

The reason for the emergence of this plague was that they had chased the wolves. They received a message that they could calm it down by imitating wolves; that means, living
by plundering. They did so, and since then these people have been called Hirpi

The legend might indicate that the wolf was considered to be a sacred animal and its harassment some kind of taboo in the archaic religion of the Faliscans. The wolf could have been regarded as a messenger from the divinities, as it was among the Romans. In Rome the wolf was mostly associated with Mars, whereas in Greece wolves carried annunciations of Apollo.

As to the priests living like wolves, E. Marbach suggests that “living by plundering” (id est rapto viverent) is an explanation added by Servius, not an element of the original cult. The priests were most probably considered to be wolves in their souls, or symbolically, because there is no evidence of any masks or articles of clothing that would have made them look like wolves. Virgil uses the wolf connotation in the Aeneid when he describes Arruns (who was mentioned as being from Soracte) fleeing out of sight to pathless mountains like a wolf after killing a shepherd or an ox.

On a small Etruscan neck-amphora dating from about 500 BCE (Figs. 1,2) there are similar elements to those in the birth legend of Hirpi Sorani narrated by Servius. On the amphora there are two priests performing a sacrifice on an altar. On one side there are canines running back and forth on inclined shelves of another altar. The scene is interpreted as representing a plundering of sacrificial flesh.

However, as the time span between the amphora and Servius is almost a millennium, there must be some doubt about any connection of the painting with the story. The exact location of the cult site on Mt. Soracte is unknown. There are good reasons to believe that the ritual was performed on the highest peak (S. Silvestro) of the mountain. One of the dedications to Apollo Soranus was found right there during maintenance work on the church of S. Silvestro in 1980.

In Christian legends the mountain is associated with St. Sylvester, who hid in the caves of Mt. Soracte during the persecutions of the early 4th century. The emperor Constantine, after his conversion to Christianity, ordered a church dedicated to Sylvester to be built on the top of the mountain. This place could be one of many examples in which a Christian church is a continuation of ancient religious practices.

For Christians, caves did not have the same sort of chthonic associations as they did for other Romans, who regarded them as passages to the Underworld. The appearance of caves in both the pagan and the Christian legend may be pure coincidence. Mt. Soracte is a limestone ridge where there are dozens of caves. However, no indication of caves (or ponds) exhaling mephitic, lethal gases, as described by Pliny, Vitruvius and Servius, can be found. There is, however, a spring with water rich in iron, called Acqua Forte, about five kilometres north of Mt. Soracte. This is often considered to be the origin of the stories about Soracte’s lethal gases.

Silius Italicus is the only one who mentions that the Hirpi Sorani carried offerings, possibly because a sacrifice was so self-evident in ancient rituals that any mention of it would have been unnecessary. The sacrifice seems not to have been the most important part of the ritual on Mt. Soracte. Instead, the climax of the cult was the walk across the glowing embers. Fire was widely recognized as a purifying element in the ancient world.

However, the fire in the ritual of the Hirpi Sorani cannot be considered as the primal
force of purification, only its visible symbol. The deeper significance of the walk can be found in the nature of the god that was worshipped: Soranus, god of the Underworld and death. The name of the priesthood and the epigraphical dedications indicate that the ritual was originally devoted to Soranus. However, as Colonna points out, the identification of Soranus with Greek Apollo was made by the Faliscans as early
as the 5th century BCE.

According to A. Mastrocinque, the Faliscan cult was probably seen as parallel to the cult of Apollo in Delphi in the early 4th century, during the siege of Veii, already. There certainly are many parallels between Mt. Soracte and Delphi (references to mephitic caves,48 myths about guiding wolves and the connection of Apollo with wolves) and it is undeniable that Apollo was held in great respect by the Faliscans. However, Greek influences should not be overestimated at the expense of Italic roots, especially as some of the parallels mentioned above (wolves, caves) can be found in other cults of central Italy, too.

We should therefore rather compare the role of Soranus with Etruscan Śuri. Colonna’s identification of Śuri with Soranus seems plausible.51 Even though no illustrations of Śuri exist, epigraphical evidence gives a good idea of the nature of the god. Śuri was an Underworld god who had both purifying and oracular powers. Through Roman and Hellenic influences Śuri was assimilated with Apollo in the 4th century BCE and was called Aplu.

Besides the Apollonic nature, Śuri had its original chthonic side, which became emphasized in the Faliscan counterpart Soranus. This chthonic aspect of Soranus–Śuri explains Servius’ reference to Dis as the god worshipped in the ritual of Mt. Soracte. As Servius mentions in the birth legend of the Hirpi Sorani, the cult was a purification ritual. The purification was symbolized by the glowing embers – and the priests’ miraculous walk across them, unscathed – and it was provided by the forces of the Underworld.

The Hirpi Sorani priests, symbolically representing wolves, walked through the fire to the world of death and back, thus performing a purifying ritual for the whole community. The Hirpi Sorani and the inhabitants of the region of Mt. Soracte were mistaken for the Hirpini by Servius, as mentioned above. The Hirpini, whose name is also derived from the word hirpus were a Samnite tribe, living in the Apennine mountains, more than 200 kilometres south-east of Mt. Soracte. Strabo and Festus tells us how the people were led to their dwelling-place by a guiding wolf.

A. Alföldi supposes that the Faliscans and the Samnite Hirpini shared a common origin but were separated at an early stage. In addition, the Faliscans and the Hirpini share stories about pestilential caves with chthonic associations. Virgil tells us about a cave called Ampsanctus, the main religious cult site of the Hirpini, which led to the Underworld and exhaled pestilential gases. However, the connection between the Hirpi Sorani and the fairly distant Hirpini is very uncertain. The cult of Mt. Soracte should rather be compared with certain cults practised in the adjacent region around Rome and
in Southern Etruria.

In central Italy the best known religious ritual associated with wolves was the
Roman festival of the Lupercalia, celebrated annually on February 15 until 494
CE, when Pope Gelasius I succeeded in suppressing it. The cult of the Hirpi Sorani
and the Lupercalia have often been discussed together, mostly concentrating on the latter. There are several points of resemblance between these two rituals, the most obvious one being that regarding priesthoods. The name of the priest lupercus is derived from lupus “wolf”, either with a suffix or through a rhotacism from lupo-sequos, “wolf follower” (compare the birth myth of the Hirpi Sorani cited above).

Whichever the etymology is, it seems obvious that the Luperci were considered to be wolves,64 like the priests of the Faliscan cult. Like the Hirpi Sorani, the priests of the Lupercalia also belonged to certain families. They were divided into two collegia, the Fabiani and the Quinctiliani, named after the old Patrician families of Fabii and Quintilii.65 In 46 BCE Julius Caesar initiated a third collegium, the Iulii, which however was discontinued after his death in 43 BCE.

In the Lupercalia, the Lupercal cave acted as a passage to the Underworld. The Luperci came out of the cave at the beginning of their run and returned there at the end of it. Symbolically, the Luperci arrived from the Underworld and went back to their ancestors when the purification ritual was finished. It is worth noticing that a cave also appears in the birth legend of the Hirpi Sorani. In addition, on some Etruscan urns there is a wolf-like demon (werewolf) emerging from a well, which might also signify a passage to the world of the dead.

Caves play an essential role in chthonic cults. While augurs and priests were able to be in touch with celestial gods through observation of auspices and sacrifices, a passage to the Underworld was needed in order to communicate with infernal powers. The priest could pass to the world of the dead either through a cave or a well – or, symbolically, through fire, as the Hirpi Sorani did. A minor similarity in the birth myths of the Lupercalia and the Hirpi Sorani is the plundering of sacrificial flesh. At Mt. Soracte this was done by wolves.

In Rome, Remus  and his companions of the Fabius family had once eaten hissing
entrails after a chase before Romulus and the Quintiliani arrived. Ovid relates the
tale when describing the origins of the run of the Luperci. Ancient suggestions of the Lupercalia being a continuation of the Arcadian cult of Zeus Lykaios have been rejected nowadays. The Lupercalia has been perceived by modern scholars as a ritual of pastoral culture,  initiation, fertility or purification.

These different interpretations need not be mutually exclusive, because during the centuries the Lupercalia had changed and developed different connotations. Among the literary sources there is little evidence to support the interpretation of the Lupercalia as a pastoral ritual.75 There is some support for the initiation ritual, based mostly on comparative research of parallels found among other peoples and at different times, but many aspects of the Lupercalia are in fact contradictory to this interpretation.

In the first place, the Luperci were not teenagers but iuvenes, young men aged between 20 and 40. For example, Mark Antony was a Lupercus in 44 BCE at the age of 39 years old. Secondly, repeated participation in the ritual speaks against the interpretation as initiation. Thirdly, the Lupercalia was held in the middle of the Parentalia, the festival celebrated in February in honour of the ancestors, notin March in connection with the Liberalia, when the coming of age of young men was celebrated.

During the Empire, the Lupercalia was widely recognized by the Romans as a fertility ritual. According to Livy, the fertility aspect was not dominant – if it existed at all – in the first phase of the cult but was an emphasis introduced by the senate in 276 BCE.  The Lupercalia seems always to have had a joyful nature, which was emphasized in the early Empire. The ritual developed more significantly into a light-hearted and amusing carnival, during which people, women especially, wanted to be covered with a goatskin strip by the Luperci in order to secure their fertility.

However it must be noted that the Luperci bystanders of both sexes, not only women, which casts doubt on the theory that this was explicitly a fertility ritual. The theory that the Lupercalia was originally a purification ritual gets strong support from Varro and Ovid In Roman mythology the world of the dead was associated not only with destructive but also with protective and purifying powers. Faunus, the god to whom the celebration was most commonly dedicated, had chthonic connotations, which agrees with the connection between the Lupercalia and the Parentalia. In the Lupercalia, the wolf-priests representing ancestors brought purification to the community from the Underworld.

In the last decades a connection between the Hirpi Sorani and the Etruscan pantheon,
especially with the aforementioned Śuri, has also been suggested. The connection of wolves and the dead is obvious in the Etruscan pantheon. The Etruscan god of the Underworld, Aita, has often been depicted wearing a hood like a wolf’s head, as can be seen in many paintings and sculptures and on coins The anthropomorphic Aita (or Eita) was a god of Greek origin (Hades) who in the 4th century BCE replaced the indigenous Etruscan Underworld god Calu.

The wolf-headed appearance of Aita might derive from the zoomorphic Calu, who appeared in the form of a canine – probably, because of its mane, to be interpreted as a wolf.

Satori Wolves of Italy 1
Some interrelation between Etruscan and Roman religious practices can be expected. It has in fact been suggested by some scholars that the phonetically un-Latin p in the word lupus is due to Etruscan influence (Etr. lupu, “death”). Among Etruscan artifacts, seven urns dating from the 3rd or 2nd century BCE are decorated with reliefs representing a chained wolf emerging from a well. In addition to the wolf, most of the urn scenes also depict Vanth, a winged female demon from the Underworld carrying a torch, and a man with a patera, a plate for liquid offerings, as well as some armed men.

The chthonic nature of the scene is obvious. In Etruscan art, Vanth is commonly depicted as a psychopomp, a guide to the Underworld. The chthonic nature is confirmed by the well, which symbolizes a passage to the Underworld, and the wolf, an animal connected with death. Furthermore, the man with a patera indicates that the scene includes a sacrifice. It is uncertain, however, whether the reliefs represent a mythological scene or a ritual. G. Körte’s hypothesis connects the scene with a story told by Pliny the Elder about a monster called Olta or Volta, against whom a thunderbolt was invoked by sacred rites.

The name of the monster is associated with the Etruscan word veltha, meaning both “earth” and a demon with chthonic powers. Even though Körte himself was not fully convinced of the connection, his theory has been widely quoted. In my opinion, the connection between Pliny’s story and the urns described above is very unlikely. Pliny mentions a monster, monstrum, not a wolf, and a thunderbolt, which does not appear on any of the urns.

It has also been suggested that the urn reliefs represent scenes from Greek mythology, the wolf-shaped Etruscan god Calu, or the Roman king Numa chaining the god Faunus, a scene connected with a story told by Ovid. Among the Greeks, no parallels for the wolf figure can be found, which suggests an Italic origin for the scene. As for the Roman literary sources, Pliny and Ovid, should we even try to find an interpretation for the 3rd and 2nd century BCE urn scenes from stories that were written down centuries later? The stories about Olta or Numa could rather be seen as literary reminiscences of rituals or myths represented in the ash urns.

On the urns from Volterra and Chiusi  the figure emerging from the well is depicted realistically as a wolf. On the urns of Perugian provenance the figure is rather a man disguised as a wolf. P. Defosse explains this distinction with the different dating of the urns: those from Perugia, being later, could have had an anthropomorphic wolf influenced by the Hellenization of Etruscan mythology.

However, we do not know the exact dating of any of these reliefs. The lid of an 8th century BCE Villanovan bronze vase presents an interesting parallel to the urns with wolf figures. The ritual scene represented on the lid has some similarities with later urns (a chained beast, armed men and possibly a well under the beast), even though the chained monster is an imaginary beast rather than a wolf.

In addition to the urn reliefs, other examples of a therianthropic wolf figure or a man wearing a wolf skin can be found among Etruscan artifacts. On a 6th century BCE amphora and a 6th-century BCE plate a wolf-headed and fur-covered figure is depicted whose body is human-shaped. In both of the paintings the figure is in motion, either dancing or running. It could be interpreted either as a wolf demon (werewolf) or a man disguised as a wolf (which is isn’t because neither archeologist nor University Scholar have any real connects to the shaman’s life of animalism).

However, as the wolf figure is the only common element in these paintings and the ash urns, we cannot be sure whether they belong to the same cultural tradition. On the basis of the archeological evidence discussed above, we can conclude that the Etruscans shared a cultural phenomenon characterized by wolves that emerged from the Underworld. It is not sure whether the reliefs depict a ritual, as suggested by J. Elliott,104 or a mythological scene.

When the Hirpi Sorani went across the glowing embers and ashes, they symbolically passed to the world of the dead. As the wolf was considered a sacred animal devoted to the powers of death, the priests representing wolves (as well as ancestors) had access to the Underworld while performing the ritual.

I believe that the cult of the Hirpi Sorani had common origins with the Roman Lupercalia. In these cults the observance of the ritual was different, but the basic idea was identical: the wolf-priests purified their people by means of chthonic powers. The interpretation of the Etruscan artifacts discussed above is far more ambiguous, but it is clear to me that the pictorial motif of a wolf figure (a god or a demon werewolf) emerging from a well (seen as a passage to the world of the dead) is not an isolated phenomenon but should be examined in the same context as the wolf cults of the Faliscans and the Romans.

Even though in some Greek cities, such as Delphi, the wolf was an honoured animal associated with the goddess. and its chthonic nature was acknowledged all over the ancient world, nowhere else were these aspects as prominent as in central Italy. It seems plausible that the wolf was a sacred animal for the peoples of this region in the prehistoric era. From this background, possibly dating back to the 6th century BCE cultural koine of the Tiber valley, the different manifestations of the special religious position of the wolf have emerged, the cult of the Hirpi Sorani being one of its manifestations.


In the Polish rural beliefs and legends connected to the wintertime the Holy Mother is often described as a ‘Maiden protecting from wolves‘. She’s also taking care of these animals so that they don’t attack the human settlements. In this context she’s typically depicted with the so-called thunder candle (gromnica), and often called a ‘Divine Mother with Wolves’ (Matka Boska z wilkami) or ‘[The one] of the Thunder Candle with Wolves’(Gromniczna od wilków, Gromniczna z wilkami).

These beliefs are connected to ancient Slavic rites and customs that were syncretized with the Christian celebrations of the Candlemas Day. (celebrated on February 2nd) over the centuries. Origins of many elements of these celebrations in Poland are a mystery, but they show a possible connection to the Slavic goddess Dziewanna / Devana, who was the goddess of youth, hunt, wild nature, and moon, mentioned in numerous West Slavic resources.

On that day many Polish Rodnovers (Slavic Native Faith Believers) celebrate a feast of Dziewanna Gromniczna (Dziewanna of the Thunder Candle). It includes lighting the ‘thunder candles’ in honor of the goddess, and in order to enrapture warmth for the second half of winter. Dziewanna, as the goddess of wilderness, is asked for protection during the cold months (especially from the freezing weather or from attack of wild animals like the wolves), and guidance during winter travels. The Slavic feast of Dziewanna Gromniczna would be analogous for example to the pagan Gaelic feast of Imbolc.

Russian Wolf by rubrum lepus, illustrator

Of Wolves and Dragons: Slavic Traditional Witchcraft of Rodnovery and pre-pagan Shaman Cults. (found onAmmiano Marcellino’s page in Italian)

Russia and several Slavic Countries were one of the last countries in Eastern Europe and Europe to have its pagan faith. The Volkhvy were a class of priestesses and priests that led numerous rural uprisings against the imposition of the Byzantine faith. Their name stems from Russian volk, meaning “wolf”, in fact, wolves themselves were believed to be the reincarnated souls of dead Rodnover priestesses and some priests, which in Animism teaching is only partial truth. You have to be “alive” in order to operate with your animism soul, so the pagans only had a bit of truth of shamanic culture.

In 1068, the volkhvy led an armed rebellion in Kievan-Rus to free Vseslav Briachislavich, the Prince of Polotsk and secret pagan. For the next two decades the volkhvy rallied the peasant class in an anti-feudal revolt against oppressive landowners before being crushed by Prince Iziaslav Iaroslavich with the help of Poland’s Mercenaries. After that, the volkhvy went underground where they remained popular in the countryside.

The volkhvy were so popular in fact, Orthodox clergymen wary of their waning influence launched the witch trails throughout the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries and this is where 90% of all shamanism and animism was lost forever after the 16th century. Over time, the name volkhov evolved into a “derogatory” term for sorcerers. Vedma, or “witch”, was a similar pejorative applied to women. But Vedma literally means “Seer” or Knower”.

Today the volkhvy constitute last the keepers of the old ways. They are considered masters of a much larger tradition in Russia called Koldovstvo and Ukrainian Chaklynstvo. It should be noted that one does not have to possess the the lineage of the volkhvy to practice koldovstvo. Such women and men are called koldun or koldunya, meaning “cold ones”, and are considered folk magicians. The cold ones might also be connected to the sleeping ones of the north, which were pre-pagan nomadic people who slept all winter (dreaming culture) but they were extinct by the 15th century.

A similar systems prevails in the Balkans where conversion happened much earlier in the sixth century, but as a consequence the church was much more permissive of the old ways and allowed people to merge from the old goddess religions into the pagan religions, along with the new religion of Christianity. The craft there is known as Vračanje, from the verb Vraćati meaning ”to return”.

Russian volkhvy are thought to descend from Shamans (which they were) and who had the ability to shape-shift into wolves and bears in the Balkans, especially in Serbia, Macedonia and Bulgaria,who say they are the descendants of Dragons like some of the Chinese. This lore is preserved in an apocryphal text called the Book of Enoch II written in Serbian. Here the fallen angles are called dragons, but more practically are understood to be meteors that fell from the heavens eons ago.

Once on earth, these dragon spirits roamed the land who were Women and Men’s souls creating the vještice (witches) and zduhaći (dragon women and men). Chief among these dragons is Dabog, the Serbian “man in black”. He is described as a tall, silver bearded wanderer who wears a black mantle and wide brim hat followed by, incidentally enough, two wolves.

People forget that Russia, like America is about about 300 years old, and all the main damage to the indigenous whites were done during this time. The corruptions and shadows in the second half of the Pagan eras got really dark, Veles too is honored by vještice in much of the Balkans, but under different folk guises and much shadow was in the Veles beginnings.


In Serbia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Poland he does still have some light, and is known as a lesnik, leshy, and from Russian leshovik, a tall, hairy, woodland man with glowing yellow eyes who protects the wildlife of the forest. He is mischievous and known for turning around sign posts, imitating the cries of loved ones, or shape-shifting into various forms to confuse travelers. In Croatia they are called vedi, like Russian vedma, meaning “knowledge keeper”. Thus If one becomes friends a lesnik or ved, he or she may be initiated into the mysteries of magic.

The vedi were thought to bury their dead inside the hollowed trunks of dead trees and peasants would make packs with them in return for protection of crops or dark shadow magical knowledge. Similar to ved is vodjan, meaning “water man”, a green man covered in moss or water vegetation which is lighter. Because vedi and vodjani were known to be covered in fur and connected to the shamanic wolf animisticism of the old ways.

Veles may stem from Proto Indo-European wel meaning “wool” – remnants of the Veles cult are preserved in the mumming rites of the vucari (wolfmen), zvoncari (bell ringers) and kukeri (quivering ones) and the legends of the vučica (she-wolf). All these traditional pagan rites today based on men like Kukeri were actually she-wolf rites in the shamanic cults, but when paganism took over, they were handed over to men and again, grandmother’s spiritual and cult rites were forbidden.

Surnames with variants of the word vuk (wolf) are so prevalent in the former Yugoslavia (even grandmothers names were eradicated by deleting the country), but there is little doubt that the volkhvy, or at the very least a priestesshood like it, once existed in the Balkans. Koldovstvo and vračanje constitute just a snapshot of the surviving body of Slavic native faith, handed down one generation to the next. As such, there are only three circumstances in which one inherits this tradition. For most, it reveals itself at birth. This most often takes place during a series of lucid dreams (3 dreams in a row), where one is visited by ancestors or living enlightened ones, who teach secret rituals or astral powered objects in their dreams.

These usually take place during times of soul sickness when the person is vulnerable and open to the astral realms naturally (not shamanic plants which destroys the souls), or a near-death experience, or when one develops unexplained behavior that leads them into the wilderness for an extended period of time. Here they are taught magic by the old ones like the Forest Mother, The Shaman (Baba Yaga/Jaga) Veles, Dabog, vedi, vodjani, vile (sylphs), rusalki (nymphs), palcice (dwarfs), and the like. The only other way to claim old ways is by seeking out one’s purification in their life, speaking only the truth which then community turns against you, and the immersed disciplines in a spiritual way including vision quests with nature and mother earth.

To be a Slavic woman possess the ability to astral travel and fall easily in and out of trance states if they are clear (no wine, no drugs, no medications, no pot or shamanic plants). Current paganism teaches that women have to adhere to the Slavic principles (Prav, Jav and Nav) and the three forces (Um, Život and Rod) but these are not truth, these are Dionysus rituals passed down to empower the maiden but destroy woman and grandmother. I suggest walking away from such teachings.

Modern Song of the Wolf Mother


Wolves of the World - Elder Mountain Dreaming

Sources and Images: Illustration by Edward Kinsella; Illustration by Boris Zabirokhin, wolf and man Russian Illustrator; Singer Ruslana and a beautiful Polish Wolf;; Photo of wolf via; Romanian basic history from – Folkwear Society is a not-for-profit initiative, founded by social anthropologist Ana Bogdan;; The Romanian Folk Almanac compiled by Ion Ghinoiu Translated by Doina Carlsson from the Comoara Satelor: Calendar Popular, All Rights Reserve, Published by BTFF, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Copyright © 2010, Ion Ghinoiu;; SIM. FL. Marian – the holidays the Romanians, 1898. (David Romano and Mary Voyatzis, suggesting ritual activities on Mount Lykaison since circa 3,000 bce via Pliny’s Natural History 8.34 via;; Italian page:; and

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