The wolf represents the perceptive self. Judging by its root, the word self comes from the northlands, like the wolf. It carries the meaning of being separate, apart. It is the perceptive self that sees the body/spirit dichotomy. We have a map; we have a model that carries some of the power of our vision. This map is the living energy pathways of thought forms, feeling impulses and sensations wherever they are in the present moment, active or dormant. We navigate the terrain of this map both as body and as spirit. We have some interactive picture of the worldspace of our self, but we understand in time that most of our intentionality is really flowing into the map. When the center of gravity is in the perceptive self, we come up against our character.
Although a pack animal, the wolf does stand on its own. It has an uncanny intelligence. A wolf is expressive in its body language and in its voice. This is particularly relevant for the perceptive self. The lone wolf is likely to be young and in search of new territory or an older or an injured former member of a pack. In their environment they are at the apex of the food web, in that their only hunter is the human. As a spirit guide, the wolf has many powerful gifts. Such gifts can evolve and they can devolve. The perceptive self is much more in contact with this duality.
The mark of the perceptive self is that we see and choose with our character. We understand our character in an intimate, subjective way. We see and feel and sense – often in fits and starts — the impact not only of some important aspects of the world functioning around us and in us, but also of the flow of the moment and the experience of “me”. We are aware of small details of how we function, of how others function, of how it functions. We are also aware, in some degree, of our impact on life around us. This is what makes the perceptive self such a good hunter. There are loops, recurrences. Acumen accrues in relation to holding together the influx of new impressions with some sensitive field holding-together-too. This is how we come to understand character, by picturing together the tracings of consciousness upon the field of our present moment.
In this picturing, we can also bring judgment to bear upon our character, choosing to approve of this or that aspect of it only. Perhaps this is what killing the sheep is indicating. From within the perceptive self, we do not understand what the whole of our character means. Our character carries a pattern of history beyond the pattern of our individual existence. Approving only of this and that aspect of our character can slant perceptions away from the deep work of integration that is needed to understand the dichotomy of self. This is a place of essential non-identification with results. Killing the sheep is our attachment with results.
In hunting and killing the sheep, we understand that the choices we make have a cost. One keenly feels that in gaining, something is lost. We see that the power of our seeing is not enough, at least as it is now, to change what we do not approve of in our character. We imagine that our power of seeing can be much more clear, much more reflective of something spiritual. But there we are with our bloody maw around the sheep’s neck. If the level of indebtedness in killing a sheep is high in the life scale, then what is it that I owe in killing one? If the sheep is serving a need, then what need am I serving? This conundrum is the source of much unconscious suffering in the perceptive self.
The wolf / perceptive self is the character Stefan Wolf. He has driven his motorcyle from Iqualuit to Terra del Feugo. He has lived for several years in a Buddhist monastery. He runs hot, and he runs cold. He is seeking to reconcile the body with the spirit.
Next, I intend to write about the traveler.