Friday, May 18, 2012

The Ancient Werewolf: Wolves and Wolves who Walk on Two Legs

In the dark of the night, the moon casts a light that seems to freeze the camp. A man adds wood to the fire as he watches the herd of horses, cattle, and sheep. Every whinny or bleat makes his head shoot up as cold sweat makes him shiver. He has reason to fear, because as he well knows, werewolves and wolves are watching. They are hungry. They wait, as they have for thousands of years. They wait for the slightest lapse in attention. His dog puts its great head between its paws and sighs. The man thinks about it. His myths tell him that long, long ago, before the creation, the good spirit, Ahura Mazda dwelled in the land of light. The evil, stinking spirit Angra Mainyu dwelled in darkness. One day he spied Ahura Mazda’s light. He wanted it. He wanted it not to enjoy, but to destroy. Ahura Mazda, being wise, asked his evil enemy, the devil Angra Mainyu, to come and rule in the light, with him.

Of course, the devil refused, saying that he would take all, and lay waste to it, for he only desires what is unprofitable.

Wanting to limit the destruction by the Evil One, Ahura Mazda began to create the world. He created time so that his battle with Angra Mainyu would be limited. Now, Ahura Mazda had the power to create matter, but the Evil Spirit did not. Ahura Mazda decided to share the matter with him, for had he not, the creations of the Evil Spirit would have been non-corporeal. They could attack without humans seeing them.

As the good God Ahura Mazda began to create beings, the unimaginative Evil Spirit created the evil counterpart to each of his creations. When Ahura Mazda created the dog, who is to help humankind, the wicked Angra Mainyu created the wolf and the werewolf. As the good dog watches over his flocks day and night, so do the wolves watch, but like the Evil Spirit, they seek only to lay waste to anything they see.

The man shivered again, and then went stiff when the long, eerie howl rent the air.

I have written on ancient Indo-European myth, and here we see how the ancient Iranians conceived of evil entities. They actually believed in werewolves, awful demons who crept outside their camps, ever watchful for the opportunity to tear a human or animal to shreds.

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