The Romance Reviews

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Wolf Appreciation Continues

 Sharing some fun wolfish factoids.

    Wolf Factoids:
1.      Wolves are superdogs. Smell: Desired scent can be picked up 1.75 miles away.Hearing: Can hear    six miles away in a forest and ten miles away in an open field. 80khz (we hear at 20khz)
2.      Wolves have 5 toes on the front feet and 4 toes on the back feet.
3.      Wolves feet are webbed and in that webbing are scent glands that mark their steps so they can find the trail again
4.      Dominance is not always based on size but rather personality
5.      Wolves are pregnant about 60-63 days
6.      Wolf pups are born deaf and blind.  Litter sizes range from 4-7 pups and are born in April through June.  Pups emerge from their den at about one month of age.  The survival rate for pups is only 50%.
7.      When pack members return from a hunt they are nipped on the snout by the pups causing the hunters to regurgitate undigested meat for them
8.      Wolves usually have a low hunting success rate.
9.      Lone wolves have no social territory and rarely scent-mark or howl.
10.  Although wolves are feared throughout much of the world, documented cases of wolf attacks on humans is extremely rare and most likely due to rabies.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Romancing the Werewolf Month: Lupercalia: Valentine's Day Roman's Origins

The Origins of the Lupercalia
The Lupercalia was started to honor a forgotten fertility god, but the during the Augustan period, the god Lupercus had been invented to explain the festival, according to the Dictionary of Roman Religion. Adkins and Adkins, authors of the book, state that Faunus might have been the god the Lupercalia.

The Lupercalia Festival Itself
The festival was held on February 15th, the day after the modern Valentine's Day Celebration. The month of February occurred later in the Roman calendar. Celebrants would gather at the Lupercal cave on the Palatine Hill in Rome, where Romulus and Remus were suckled by their adoptive wolf mother, according to Roman legend.

 The Latin for she-wolf was slang for prostitute. The legends say that Romulus and Remus were nursed by a she-wolf in the Lupercal. Servius, a 4th century pagan commentator on Vergil, says that it was in the Lupercal that Mars ravished and impregnated the twins' mother. (Servius ad. Aen. 1.273)

Luperci Priests made sacrifices of goats and dogs as part of the festival, and two young people were smeared by the blood of the sacrifice and then wiped away by wool dipped in milk. As part of the Lupercalia celebration, young men would go through the streets whipping people with goat skins to encourage fertility.

 The occasion was happy and festive. As they ran about the city, the young men lightly struck women along the way with strips of the goat hide. It is from these implements of purification, or februa, that the month of February gets its name. This act supposedly provided purification from curses, bad luck, and infertility. Not to mention some kinky fun.

During Lupercalia the names of available maidens were placed in a box and drawn out by the young men. Each man accepted the girl whose name he drew as his love - for the duration of the festival, or sometimes longer.

In the making of my Wolf Maiden Saga, I incorporated Lupercalia as part of my lycan society's mating rituals. The name of my lycan governing body is aptly named the Lupercal. Curious? Check out Book 1, Lycan Gladiator.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

February is Wolf/Werewolf Appreciation Month on my Blog

 First off. Good news. I was  invited by the Romance Writers of America to do a European Wolf Lore workshop for the July, 2014 Convention.

This is great news because I love sharing my passion and knowledge about both wolves and the hominid variety known as werewolves or lycans.

Naturally I will share my experience volunteering at a wolf sanctuary and literally running with wolves. You can't have werewolves without wolves. Werewolves are fictional creatures but it's so much fun to incorporate
wolfish behavior to our supernatural heroes, or as in the horror genre, monsters.

   Why is the wolf so ubiquitous in myth, literature, and film?

1.       Prehistoric Relationship of Man and Wolf—Powerful respect and reverence prevailed at the birth of the relationship of humans and wolves.

2.       We admired their hunting skills and social pack behavior, signs of intelligence.

3.       They are our teacher and companion in the wilderness. Today our dog is our ‘wolfish’ companion.

 Don't let my standard poodle fool you, he is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

4.       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.

5.        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. 

6.       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/Lupa.

7.       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. 

8.       Although still feared and hated (still hunted), 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. 

 Feel free to comment about your favorite wolf myth. Just give a howl if you have any questions.