As little kids, we were frightened by “a big bad wolf” in fairytales like “Little red ridding hood” or “Three little pigs.” An image of a scary, evil, wild creature has been engraved in our memory so deeply that it’s hard to see different aspects this enduring animal can represent.
Indeed, there are many interesting interpretations of the wolf tattoo meanings we should know off, so the next time we see someone wearing one, we wouldn’t be prejudiced against him.
When speaking about the wolf tattoo, one must have in mind the wide range of meanings it can have.
In spite of it often being represented as a “lone wolf,” this animal is, on the contrary, a social being. Wolves live and hunt in packs, and they mate only once in a lifetime.
Hence, a wolf tattoo meaning is often connected with family, loyalty, friendliness.
Still, as in nature “a lone wolf” is a younger male who left the herd to find its own territory and mate, sometimes a wolf tattoo can have a meaning of a young man trying to find his own place in life, or a person who has stood against the usual rules. Such is Herman Hesse’s “Steppenwolf;” a portrait of a man wondering around the world trying to find his place.
Taking care of a pack, finding food and shelter from other predators requires special skills. Twyman Towery made a long survey of the wolves’ way of life and concluded that they are the best organized animals in the world, proficient in following skills: teamwork, communication, perseverance, strategy, patience, curiosity, attitude, unity through uniqueness, loyalty, play, death and survival, failure and change.
A special wolf tattoo meaning is reserved for women. The famous story of the she-wolf that brought up the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, is not the only one that shows the connection between a wolf and a woman.
As a representative of a wild inner nature, a she-wolf implies that every woman has a wild, instinctive, creative inner being inside her that is suppressed by society codes. A wolf tattoo meaning, when seen on a female body, reflects a wish to get out of the imposed chains and at the same time shows her struggle to get in touch with her instinctive nature and become free, fearless and accepted as such.
A story of La Lobe – the wolf woman, speaks of a woman collecting bones of wolves and singing life into them. Metaphorically speaking, the story reveals that the woman needs to find her soul (voice).
The symbolism of the wolf in different cultures
Native Americans tribes’ totems are often devoted to wolves. For Native Americans, the wolf has both positive and negative meanings; it is a sign of loyalty, protection, guidance, respect, communication. Some tribes believe the wolf to be the first creature that experienced death (a story of a Wolf star), while some others believe that a contact with the wolves brings nervous illness or death. It is often in connection with the Moon; which brings us to the:
Moon meanings are in connection with the female principle (in opposition to the Sun – male principle), fertility, magic, everything dark, hidden and changeable (the Moon’s growth cycles).
The image of the wolf howling at the full Moon represents a hidden nature (an inner voice) of a person, that is trying to come to the surface, at the same time representing a “lone wolf” who communicates with the Moon, his only friend and fellow companion.
A wolf keeps a special place in Turkish mythology; it is worshipped as Turkish people descendant.
In the legend of Asena, which explains the creation of the Turks, a Turkish baby was the only one who had survived the attack of enemies. It was nursed and raised by a she-wolf, who later on, gave birth to a half-wolf, half –human cubes, from which the Turkish people were born. It is also believed that the grey wolf showed Turkish people the way out of the legendary homeland Ergenekon.
If it is true that Turkish and Mongolian people used to be the same, then it is no wonder that Mongolians also believe that they have descended from mating of a wolf and a doe. Even now, the wolf is seen as a lucky omen in Mongolia, especially for men.
A symbol of evil, the wolf represented the Satan in opposition to the lamb that is symbol of Jesus. Thus the Bible represented the centuries-old struggle between wolves and humans, as well as the metaphorical fight between the bad and evil, in both external and inner world. An image of a wolf and a lamb lying down together symbolizes the reconciliation of the two natures of the human being as well as representing the peace and coming of Messianic rule.
As you can see, there is more than one simple wolf tattoo meaning. If you intend to get a wolf tattoo, let us know if this text helped you find the wolf tattoo meaning that suits you best.
I am a devoted hedonist who enjoys nice things – food, wine, fine arts, spending time with friends and family. Teaching mandarin Chinese is my life vocation, but my dream is to open a small restaurant and a patisserie. My life's motto: "Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”