192 pages paperback
235 x 190 x 13mm
Available in the following languages
(click on cover for enlarged image)
First published as a companion volume to Vampires, this book provides an accessible overview of the werewolf in history, myth, and popular culture.
Its contents embrace the twin aspects of the werewolf — human and animal — which mirror an inner tension present in everybody. It is this intimately personal struggle we all face as we confront the beast within, that makes the myth of the werewolf a 'true' myth. It is as powerful and relevant to us today as ever.
In most stories the combination of wolf and man is physical, involving a dramatic and painful metamorphosis of the body from one form to the other. It is easy to see how this transformation could be a metaphor, a description of how anger can erupt and take over our behaviour. But some people regard the werewolf as a spirit composed of pure energy that can be projected from our minds to visit those we hate — or love.
Fiction writers usually portray werewolves engaged in a fight for survival, a struggle that amplifies their innate savagery. But recent stories not only make full use of this scope for bloodshed, but also find ample opportunity for love interest. Themes such as redemption and self-sacrifice are boldly explored as the werewolf attempts to master his affliction.
While most traditional werewolves are masculine, reflecting the raw aggression and physical power of the alpha male, there is a growing trend to explore the life of the female werewolf. Many of these stories are particularly aimed at and enjoyed by teenagers facing eruptive hormonal issues and associated conflict with authority figures.
But is it possible that werewolves are actually a rare species? Cryptozoology, the scientific quest for discovering secretive animals, is on the trail of the wolfman. Other purely factual topics included are Werewolf Syndrome (hypertrichosis) and Lycanthropic Disorder, and the many children apparently raised by wolves.
Shapeshifters such as Skinwalkers are discussed along with Shamanic regard for the wolf as a totem animal. In Native American tradition for example, the totem wolf is frequently a teacher, embodying qualities and strengths such as loyalty and perseverance, and is invoked to assure success.
Perhaps the most positive value of having the werewolf as a totem is that despite its destructive image, it can actually help us learn to integrate our primitive, animal instincts within an evolving, healthy personality.
Text & design © Ken & Joules Taylor 2010-2013