Friday, August 14, 2009
Helping Animals One Search At A Time Contest,www.engineworks.com/helping-animals/) Blog about Howling Acres Wolf Sanctuary
Wolves as Archetypes in my Novels
Inspired by Howling Acres Wolf Sanctuary
A Non-Profit Wolf Rescue and Educational Center
My blog is about why the non-profit organization Howling Acres Wolf Sanctuary up in Oregon should win. It was started by Charlie and Sherri LaBats in 1991. They rescue abandoned and abused wolves, providing them with care and shelter. They have also set up a fantastic educational program with tours and talks. As a former biology teacher I was impressed. A few years ago my son and I had the opportunity to spend some days volunteering and it is an experience we will never forget. Like all non-profits they are in need of funding and supplies. Let me tell you a bit about why funding for wolf causes is more than just a love for animals but one of spirit.
I had always been drawn to wolves so my connection with these beautiful animals was immediate. As an author of fantasy and paranormal novels that center on wolves as main characters, or spirit guides. Why? I love all things wolf but my stay at Howling Acres Wolf Sanctuary inspired me to write an epic lycan series, The Wolf Maiden Chronicles. Book 1, Werewolf Sanctuary released May 2009 followed by Beast Warrior (August 2009), which takes place during the Viking era. My totem guide is the raven but my heart guide is the wolf. I’m not alone. Numerous authors are following the call of the wild.
Why is the wolf a common archetype in many myths and stories, even today? Nothing sends a chill down your spine more that hearing a wolf’s howl in the night. While at a wolf sanctuary, I spent the night in a trailer on the grounds and was privileged to hear night after night of thirty wolves in their nightly serenade. No sound is more awesome.
Yet in the past the wolf had a more sinister reputation. During the development of agriculture and domestication of livestock people settled down and pushed out old hunting deities. Wolves were vilified as part of pagan beliefs and turned the wolf into Satan’s ally. Fear of the wolf once ruled Europe. Wolves were hunted and exterminated. Legends of werewolves were rampant. Little Red Riding Hood and the story of Bisclaveret brought fear to the hearts of many. Many accused of being werewolves were tortured and or burned at the stake.
Today there is more of a movement to save the wolf and what was once considered a savage killer is now becoming a spirit guide for folks who need a strong archetype and for environmentalist who see the wolf as a “spokes creature” for nature. So why is the admiration and fear of the wolf so universal? My own explanation is that the wolf’s biogeography, high intelligence; and social interaction helped them enter into the mythos and literature.
The wolf is ubiquitous, found throughout most of the world from the icy Tundra in the Northern Hemisphere to the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula. Even in countries where the wolf is not found such as Australia, there are canines that serve as a wolf proxy such as the dingo. Here in our modern homes and cities our pet dogs are constant reminders of our “wolfen” companion. We after all, created the dog from the ancestral wolf, as our most loyal companion.
Wolves display common social and intelligent behavior similar to our own. They both play and have a strict social status, just as some of our cultures have. They communicate with their kind, much the same way we do, both vocally and in non-verbal ways. We have kings and presidents, they have the alpha pair. Humans low in status such as slaves and peasants certainly were low on the pecking order or in a wolf pack the omega. Wolves also mate for life, which endears them to people who long to have a long and loving relationship with a mate. What impressed me the most about the wolf sanctuary was the relationship between two wolves, Beasly and Barksalot. Beasily a white wolf had been rescued from a cruel man who gouged his eyes out, leaving the wolf blind and helpless. He was brought to the sanctuary and became friends with another rescued wolf, Barksalot, who literally became his “guide dog”. Beasly grabbed on to Barksalot’s tail and would be lead around. Barksalot would also bark to communicate with Beasly. Barking is unusual for wolves. Beasly was unusual in that he was the only blind alpha known. He passed away last year and soon after his two other companions joined him. These similarities to human behaviors let us see the good and bad in us in them.
We long to emulate their hunting prowess. Wolves use team strategy and their powerful carnassials to bring down a much larger prey. Imagine a hero that can do damage without a weapon.
The wolf is universally regarded as creatures of prophesy and omens, and have connections between the worlds of the living and the dead. The wolf is affiliated worldwide with magic, medicine, healing and transformation. In Native American culture the wolf is an important archetype. They had great respect for the wolf and often offered prayers before a hunt to the wolf spirit. Wolf spirit was also powerful medicine for shamans who traveled to the world of the dead. In the New World, there never was an attempt to eradicate the wolf from their land by the indigenous people. In Europe just as in the New World, myths and stories about wolves are universal. Early Europeans Respected the Wolf as Protector and Teacher. From the Steppes of Asia Minor to the British Isles the Wolf was mighty totemic protector. Hecate, an Ancient Greek deity was worshipped as a goddess with three wolf heads. Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus who were fed by the she-wolf, Alcala.
Ancient Celts respected the wolf as a totem and often as a spirit guide. In Ireland, King Cormac was nursed by a she-wolf. In the Viking world to be a member of the Wolf Clan, Ulfhednar was the greatest honour. Viking warriors believed that if they died a heroic death they would be turned into magnificent wolves. Vikings also believed wolves chasing and devouring the sun and moon caused eclipses. Two wolves accompanied Odin, ruler of the Norse Gods. He created the wolves Freki (Hungry One) and Geri (Greedy One) as loyal companions.
Today the wolf is once again a positive force in literature and as an important part of the predator/prey relationship that keeps nature in balance. And those hot one mate werewolf lovers make us long for the coming full moon.
In conclusion to my blog, I ask you to consider Howling Acres Wolf Sanctuary in Southern Oregon. It is a place that helps wolves and allows people from all walks of life to come in and experience their beauty, spirit and learn about natural history. A place that inspires poets, artists, and most importantly young people.
Eva Gordon’s Author Website.
Howling Acres Wolf Sanctuary Website.
Posted by Bestiary Parlor: The Musings of a Zoologist Turned Author at 8:36 AM
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Interview Introduction: Today I have the special pleasure of briefly interviewing my hero and heroine from my just released novel in the Wolf Maiden Chronicles, Beast Warrior: Viking Werewolf, an epic paranormal romance, what I call a ‘werewolfhistorical’. As you know ‘were’ means man so I include the term werewolf or lycan. Beast Warrior: Viking Werewolf takes place takes place in the Frankish Kingdom during the Viking Era of 840 AD. A time when only the strong survive. I have always been fascinated by Norse mythology, which is rich in wolf lore, so this book was a labor of love.
I will briefly be interviewing the main characters separately since they have not met. I will begin with Emelisse our heroine and then Sigurd our hero. If you wish to learn more please read the blurb below the interview or better yet check out the novel.
Day Interview with Emelisse
Eva: It is early and the day is bright and sunny. The door to the Werewolf Café opened and in walked a spry beautiful young woman with raven black hair and dark eyes. She is wearing a fine silk tunic and red cloak, reminding me of Red Riding Hood. “Emelisse, welcome to the Werewolf Café.”
Emelisse: “Pleasure is mine.” She nods and sits with the air of confidence of a princess of the realm.
Eva: “Tell me of your family and home.” The server brought us warmed cider and oatcakes.
Emelisse: “I am the only daughter of Duke Chanteloup the Gray. He is the lycan pack alpha of most of the Gascony region and the Pyrenees Mountains. Our castle is on top of a grand mountain. His territory houses the Lupercal so he is deemed most important.”
Eva: “Wow, I heard the Lupercal is led by twelve alpha females who rule all of your secret lycan society.”
Emelisse: “Yes, though the different alpha pack leaders may disagree with their laws they obey the Lupercal nonetheless.”
Eva: “You are a wolf maiden, tell us what that means?”
Emelisse: “A wolf maiden is a human woman born with the mark of the 5- toed lycan paw print. She is bound to be the mate of an alpha lycan. The mark heats up and turns red once her chosen one is found. Only a wolf maiden can give the alpha children since the female alpha lycans are sterile. Our beta males and females can mate with one another.” Her eyes turned sad. “I have no choice but to marry an alpha. T’is Feronia’s and my father’s will.”
Eva: “Feronia is your wolf goddess?”
Emelisse: Her eyes brightened. “Yes, I’m her oracle. She often selects wolf maidens such as me to commune with. Feronia guides life mates to find one another.” She sipped her warm cider and sighed. “Still I wish to leave the pack and live with humans. “
Eva: “So you do not wish to marry a lycan. Why?”
Emelisse: “I have been the only human in my pack and I’m tired of being treated like I will break at any minute. You see I was born a runt with a weak heart and my overprotective father has tried to keep me from doing anything fun.” She smiled. “But since he was always gone as a knight for the king I learned to ride, hunt, fish, falconry and archery without his knowledge. “
Eva: “And your heart gave you no problems?”
Emelisse: “Lupa the alpha leader of the Lupercal prepares potions for me and has taught me how to breathe when I feel an attack coming. I know I may not have long to live so I enjoy my life as much as I can. Truth be told, most runts are killed at birth. My father did not allow my death. The seer found out later that I am destined to choose a mate that will unite all the packs.”
Eva: “That’s quite an honor.”
Emelisse: She shrugged. “Seems like my father wishes me to marry Radulf III the Cruel, the most powerful lycan in all the Frank Kingdom.”
Eva: “But you don’t love him.”
Emelisse: Vehemently shook her head. “Never. “ She lowered her voice. “I’m in love with a human woodsman, Galien. We meet discreetly. It is my wish to marry him.”
Eva: “But how will your father react?”
Emelisse: “Oh he will be angry, which is why I must runaway.”
Eva: “Are you not worried that they will follow your scent?”
Emelisse: She slowly shook her head. “I assure you, I must work on a plan that will not get Galien murdered. I would rather die than end up with Radulf.”
Eva: “Will your goddess Feronia allow this.”
Emelisse: Teary eyed she looked at her cup. “I will beg for her forgiveness.” The server brought her meat pie and she pushed it away.
Eva: “Not hungry?”
Emelisse: “Of late my stomach has been sensitive, perhaps a miasma.”
Eva: She looked pale. “Do you have any plans for the rest of the day?”
Emelisse: “I will fly my merlin.” She smiled. “Nothing brings me greater joy than riding and flying my bird.” She wiped her lips. “Thank you for sitting with me in such an interesting tavern.”
Eva: “Thank you. Take care.” She left and I peeked out the window as she mounted her mare and galloped up the hill.
Night Interview with Sigurd.
Eva: I gasped as in walked in a large framed muscular Norse werewolf with flaming red hair and aquamarine eyes. He wore Viking armor and on his belt was a sword that had to be half my height if not more. He was one of the most ruggedly handsome werewolves I have ever met. As if Thor was nearby a bolt of lightning lit up the night followed by a thundering boom. “Sigurd, thank you for meeting me this evening.” I gestured for him to sit. He took off his helmet and raked his long red hair back.
Sigurd: He smiled displaying snow white teeth and a hint of fangs. “Are you Hungerd in disguise?”
Eva: “No I am simply a woman from another realm who wishes to ask you a few questions. Who is Hungerd?”
Sigurd: He eyed me suspiciously before answering. “She is a crone wolf witch who has great powers in seior or magic. Often she shifts into others. Sometimes into birds or often she appears as a lovely woman.” Our server brought a bottle of Mead and poured us a glass. He sniffed in pleasure. “What is that wonderful aroma?” He looked around.
Eva: Was it Emelisse’s scent he picked up. “Tell me of your kind, Sigurd Son of Gunnolf the Red.”
Sigurd: “I am an Ulfhednar, a wolfskin. Odin’s brother, Loki created our kind just as he did our natural wild wolf brethren. We shift into giant bear size wolves with markings that separate us from the forest wolves. I am leader of my pack and rule those who are forced to become wolves during the full moon.”
Eva: “Lycans call the leader the alpha of the pack. Alphas can shift at anytime, while the lower ranked lycans or betas must shift during the full moon.”
Sigurd: He gave me a quizzical look and smiled. “Ah, the southern wolfskins.”
Eva: I nodded. “Without the alpha’s leadership the betas may run amok.”
Sigurd: Gulped his entire glass and poured more. “My sister Brynhild and a few den brothers are all that is left of a once prosperous pack.”
Eva: “Tell me what happened?”
Sigurd: He gritted his teeth and his eyes narrowed in rage. Thunder boomed in the distance. “My parents and older brother were massacred by bearskins, men who shift into bears.” He pounded his massive fist on the table causing the cups to spill and the local werewolf clientele to stop what they were doing to look. He took in a long breath. “Bork the Mad and his son Mord the Blood Claw must die by my hand. If in the end I cross the Rainbow Bridge to Valhalla so be it.” Fangs flashed. "Bork wears my father's red wolf pelt!"
Eva: I drank my glass and wiped my lips of mead. “Is it true these bearskins must sleep during the winter?”
Sigurd: He nodded. “Hungerd the crone has searched for their lair but they too have a witch named Bolla who has used seior to hide their winter den.” He shrugged. “No matter, I wish to meet them in the battlefield so I can gaze at their eyes as they die watching their entrails litter the ground for the ravens to eat.”
Eva: “Ooh, yuck.” He was one serious werewolf out for blood and vengeance. “What does your sister think?”
Sigurd: He snorted. “Brynhild wants me to find an ulf hexen and raise a family but I will not until I find and kill Bork and his son.”
Eva: “Ulf hexen is your word for wolf maiden, a human mate.”
Sigurd: “Brynhild thinks she found one but I must tell her my decision to join a Viking drakkor.
Eva: “You wish to join raiders?”
Sigurd: “It is the only way I can find my sworn enemies. Mord and his sons are berserker bearskins who sail and raid for the Jarls. By joining a drakkor I hope to find them and tear them asunder.”
Eva: “But what about the ulf hexen?”
Sigurd: “If I am not in Valhalla then on my return I will seek out my mate.” He looked up as a distant howl was heard in the distance. “My sister calls.”
Eva: “Thank you for speaking to me. “
Sigurd stood and bowed. He donned his helmet and left as a storm pelted the ground. I knew he was in for a great epic adventure and hoped that like Emelisse he too would survive the Dark Ages, a time of great peril.
Posted by Bestiary Parlor: The Musings of a Zoologist Turned Author at 12:15 PM
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Please read my blurb and ask my main characters questions. They will answer them between the full moon and the new moon. If you want to know who the other characters are do ask and I will introduce them.
Beast Warrior is a historical paranormal romance that takes place during the Viking Era of the Dark Ages. A time when only the strong survive. It is the second book in the Wolf Maiden Chronicles, which depicts alpha lycans and their human wolf maiden mates.
Sigurd, an alpha Norse wolfskin, son of Gunnolf the Red seeks revenge against shape shifting bearskins, Bork the Mad and his son, Mord the Blood Claw for the death of his parents and his older brother Guda. Orphaned, he has been raised by his older sister Brynhild, who convinces him to take a wolf maiden in order to increase their small pack. Despite the warning by Hungerd the wolf witch, he takes a farmer's new bride with tragic consequences. Alone he joins a long ship until the day he can avenge his pack's demise.
Emelisse, a Frank wolf maiden, has been raised and educated in the classics, science, literature and languages by female lycans of the Lupercal. Born a runt with a weak heart her father has been overprotective. She refuses to be treated like a delicate vase and rebels by seeking out riding and falconry. Now at age eighteen Emelisse frets that her father wants her to accept Radulf III the Cruel, an alpha lycan of a pack of powerful warriors. She tries to run away with her human lover.
Viking werewolf, Sigurd rescues Emelisse, from the claws of the berserker bear men. He claims her as his ulf hexen or wolf maiden, but she wants to leave lycan society and live with humans. To complicate matters she has been called by her goddess Feronia to save the lycans from a dreaded disease. Their union is wrought with great peril in a world where werewolves must battle against their own kind as well as their fierce enemy, the berserker bear men. Will Emelisse accept Sigurd a foreign lycan as her alpha mate? Sigurd vows to protect her from their enemies but how can he save her before she dies from her ailing heart?
Posted by Bestiary Parlor: The Musings of a Zoologist Turned Author at 8:21 AM