Aisling is the author of "Dog Funeral Evangelism." Her articles on dream interpretation and Jungian psychology have over 2.1 million views.
Wolves might not have starring roles in many dreams, but because they are such powerful, evocative symbols with a firm foothold in cross-cultural mythologies, it's best to pay attention when one trots into your dream.
In dreams, wolves can symbolize:
- Unexpected help
- Hidden danger
Because mythology is crucial to understanding a dream's symbolism, we'll also have a look at mythological folklore. And because amplifying a symbol is a marvelous way to get to the heart of its meaning, we'll also look at waking life wolf traits and habits. Lastly, we'll cover wolf packs and even werewolves!
Dreams of Howling at the Moon
It is rumored that wolves howl at the moon, but like all the best rumors, that idea exists in fantasy, not in fact. When wolves howl, they're communicating and their howling communicates three basic ideas.
- If an animal strays into their territory, when they howl they're saying, "All of this is mine!"
- If they're traveling away from the pack or hunting, a howl says, "Hey, guys! I'm over here and I've found some nice venison on this side of the forest!"
- Or, and I personally love this one the most, if they're just hanging out, they may just be chatting it up telling their pack mates, "I love you guys!"
Howling in the waking world is all about social communication—it isn't mindless barking at inanimate objects. The same is true in the dream world.
What Does a Dream About a Howling Wolf Mean?
- If you're dreaming of howling wolves, ask yourself if you feel like your territory, either at work, home, or play, is somehow being invaded by someone. Ask yourself if you're feeling isolated or alone and need to get back together with your pack. Or consider if you are actually longing to tell those around you just how much you love them.
- Do not ever be afraid to set boundaries, even with loved ones—that includes family members.
- Do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it. We're social beings. We love feeling wanted and needed. The people who love you will love knowing you trust them enough to ask for their aid.
- Lastly, never ever fail to tell those you care about just how much they mean to you. Sometimes, the best way to do just that isn't with words, but with action.
Are Wolves In Dreams Evil... or Good?
In the Middle Ages, wolves were often associated with the dregs of society, or outcasts, or even Satan himself. But a number of saints were helped by wolves. Some saints even helped the wolves themselves either physically or spiritually.
In dreams, wolves can stand in for help coming from unexpected sources. Here are a few stories of the help wolves provided to saints or that saints provided to wolves:
Saint Brieuc, one of the founders of Brittany, converted Conan of Cornwall after the chieftain witnessed a pack of wolves who initially threatened him on his chariot ultimately bow down before him.
St. Maedoc of Ferns
Irish saint famed for sharing his food with a starving wolf.
St. Francis of Assisi
Roman Catholic saint who, according to the manuscript, Fioretti di San Francesco, tamed the wolf terrorizing the city of Gubbio.
A 6th-century Irish saint said to have been suckled by a she-wolf.
The manuscript, "The Life of St. Anthony," recounts that once, when St. Anthony set out to visit St. Paul the Hermit he met up with various animals on his trip, the animals, some of whom were demons in disguise, pointed St. Anthony in the wrong direction until he found himself utterly lost in the desert. It was a she-wolf, of all creatures, who guided St. Anthony safely to St. Paul whereupon all three fed upon bread brought to them by a raven.
Wolves in Mythology
Wolves are stars in many of the cultures where human inhabitants encountered them. Sometimes, the mythological wolf is a good wolf; sometimes the wolf is the Big Bad. Below is a cross cultural sampling of wolves in mythology.
Famous Mythological Wolves
Fenrisulfr, Sköll, Hati
Trio of malicious wolves who assist in bringing about the apocalypse.
Geri and Freki
Odin's faithful, loyal, and devoted pet wolves.
Name given to the Capitoline she-wolf who nursed Romulus and Remus.
Romulus and Remus
Twins whose uncle ordered killed, they were instead left on the Tiber's riverbank and raised by the Capitoline Wolf. They eventually went on to found Rome.
Wolf god said to accompany the pharoah when he hunted.
Giant, solitary, man-eating wolf who preys on anyone hunting alone in the dark.
Dreams of Wolves Reveal Hidden Danger
A classic, recurring Looney Tunes duo are Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog. Ralph and Sam are co-workers. Ralph's job is to carry off the sheep, Sam's is to guard them.
In one episode, the Ralph puts on a zip-up sheep costume to trick Sam and steal his sheep. Sam is neither fooled nor amused as he unzips Ralph's disguise. After unmasking, or rather, unzipping him, all that saves Ralph from Sam's wrath is the sound of the time clock whistle signaling the work day's end.
Unfortunately, we're not always as sharp as Sam Sheepdog. We allow anyone sporting a seemingly kind smile into our lives, failing to check for fangs past the lips.
Sometimes our intuition warns us that something is amiss. We'll feel just a bit uneasy around a person for no discernible reason. Or we'll find ourselves trying to avoid someone and feel guilty for it because the person just seems so nice. We discount intuition because it seems ridiculous.
Intuition feels ridiculous because it accesses information the brain overrides. Dreams will sometimes try to reinforce intuitive information previously ignored.
If you're dreaming of a bad wolf, look around and see where the wolf is. Is it at home? At work? At school? On a road, you travel or a place you frequent? Carefully examine your life and ask yourself if there are any pricks of intuition you've felt and ignored—be Sam Sheepdog and don't be fooled by a wolf wearing wool.
Wolves in Literature
Whether hero or villains, wolves are among writer's favorite characters to add to their tales. Here's just a small sampling of literary wolves.
Famous Fictitious Wolves
George R.R. Martin
A Song of Fire and Ice Series
Ghost, Jon Snow's direwolf
A Jungle Book
Akela and Raksha, wolves who adopt Mowgli, the human child
The Neverending Story
Gmork, wolf servant of the Nothing.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Maugrim, Narnian wolf and the White Witch's Secret Police Captain
The Wolves of the Beyond
Faolan, outcast wolf left to die but who ultimately "jumps for the sun."
Wolves as Symbols of Love
Rarely does one hear the phrase "raised by wolves" used in a positive context. Normally, when someone accused someone else of being raised by wolves the accusation is that one lacks anything remotely resembling human civility or manners.
But once again, folk tales and sayings have it all wrong.
Wolves are, in fact, exceptional parents.
And it's not just the stay at home mom wolves who are great with the kids. No. Father wolf is as attentive and protective of his children as Mother wolf is. In fact, the reason wolves are in packs is because packs are primarily families—Papa Wolf, Mama Wolf, and Baby Wolves. It is for this reason that wolves are, for the most part monogamous—they do not mate with their offspring. While a wolf will find a new mate upon the death of the current one, wolves do not, in general sleep around.
If wolves are in your dream, they might be showing up as symbols of love—either love that you are seeking to find or for the love you currently have in your life.
Wolf Packs and Loyalty
Because wolf packs are made up of wolf families, you might assume they are ferociously loyal to one another. If that is your assumption, congratulations, you are correct!
One of the reasons wolves are so territorial is because they are not simply protecting land, they are protecting resources and their own families. Wolves will kill other animals, including other wolves, if they perceive the animal a threat to their pack.
A pack of wolves in a dream can indicate a loyal team of friends or family who will defend you to the death, if necessary. If you have such people in your life, count yourself lucky and don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Your pack will be there to help in whatever way they can.
A Dream of a Lone Wolf
Wolves are primarily pack animals. However, because there is typically only one breeding pair of wolves in a pack, the offspring, particularly the females, will voluntarily leave the pack to go find their own mates.
Unless a wolf is old or infirm or driven from its own pack for some other reason, wolves do not typically stay solitary. Because they have no other pack members to rely on, lone wolves must fend for themselves. This makes a lone wolf stronger and far more dangerous than the average pack member.
If you are dreaming of a lone wolf, ask yourself if it's possible the wolf represents you. If so, are you just temporarily on your own or have you isolated yourself to a dangerous space? Either way, you might want to consider seeking out some companionship.
Werewolves in Dreams
Wolves might occasionally show up in dreams as werewolves. Like all dream symbols, even werewolves have both positive and negative associations.
Werewolves can appear in dreams as stand-ins for the parts of us that react rather than respond to. Reaction is a knee jerk impulse, an act we engage in without thought. Whenever we react, we are not in control over ourselves. Werewolves, with their uncontrolled reaction to the full moon can be apt symbols for the parts of us that are out of our control because they're being controlled by others.
However, a werewolf is also known as a shapeshifter. As a positive symbol, a werewolf can symbolize a response, rather than a reaction to, one's environment. A response is not a mindless reflexive jerk of the knee. A response is measured and thought out. Responses to situations can allow us to transcend them. If your werewolf appears somewhat in control of itself, it might symbolize your ability to transcend a situation and shift into a version of yourself with authentic power.
What Say You?
- BBC - Earth - Wolves make great foster parents
Wolves willingly foster cubs, a discovery that may help save rare wild wolf packs
- Calls of the Wild—Why Do Animals (Including Your Dog) Howl?
Some canines, monkeys, and yes, even mice communicate and defend their territories by howling, experts say.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2019 Aisling Ireland
Diwata on September 18, 2020:
I've had recurring dreams of the same wolf that was a black with some white around it mouth and in every dream the wolf would go to a den and lay next to a different looking wolf. And after what felt like 20 seconds the wolf would get up and walk over to a tree and i would see a bird laying in a nest which the bird looked like a crow and it would squak(ish) and i would watch as the wolf ran to a human which i still don't know is and it would bark as it's tail would wag like it was saying "hello again. How was your day?" and the human bent down wich now i'm starting to believe the human ws me because her voice sounded like mine and she said "hi to yo to. It was going swell." and i would wake up. I was wondering if yo knew what this meant?
Michelle on August 19, 2020:
I've had two separate dreams the first one I'm still in the same house or at the same house I'm outside in the backyard I guess trying to feed a bunch of m u t t puppies that clearly have not been fed in a while then all of a sudden while I'm trying to feed them and show them where the food is they all over their heads and start growling to my left I don't dare look up I start walking back towards the house and down eyes to the ground get to the house lock the door behind me and look out the window and there's always three two I can see one I know is there but I can never see two of them are killing puppies dog puppies but not eating them the third is in the shadows I can feel her staring at me growling but not showing teeth the first two runoff after killing a few puppy they turn and stare at me in the window when they were in all I can feel her just staring at me watching me in the shadow I never see her
Julia Wilson on July 19, 2020:
I dreamt nightly about being approached by a pack of wolves and my approaching them and the my eventual running with them through all sorts of varying landscapes all throughout my childhood. They provided a steady source of comfort and fount of love when I had neither. In short, they were my only family. Cheers!
Mark. on May 19, 2020:
I have had many dreams of wolves. Normally not in a good way. My biggest fear are wolves at night. In the day when I can truly see them they don’t bother me. Just at night. I live in the country and see and hear wolves often. My most recent dream was of a black wolf. Just one stalking me. Black wolf with red eyes.. in my dream I was in a forest with big trees and snow. The wolf was following me and I didn’t like it. I tried to kill it by shooting a gun at it but the more I shot at it, it got closer and when I shot at it, it did nothing to the wolf. I stopped shooting and ran. When I stopped it was face to face with me and I woke up. It did not try to attack me. It did nothing bad. Just stalked me and followed me till it was face to face with me. This one has scared me the most and bothers me the most. Can anyone help me understand this dream? Please?
Veda on May 18, 2020:
I had a dream of a white wolf with yellow eyes running through the woods alone and my sister had the dream the same night i did but with a black wolf with amber eyes running through the woods. She said she saw a wolf beside her but she could not identify it. Can you help up?
lexy on April 21, 2020:
every night when i go to bed i have a dream about me being a wight wolf and running in a pack but i always hear a gunshot go off then i am on the ground and my pack runs off and i lay there and then i wake up. and my birth mark starts stinging like crazy someone plz respond i NEED TO KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS (oh and the stinging is getting worse)
Mami on January 11, 2020:
A few years back, i dreamt i was running through the Forrest with a pack, first upright, then aa the dream progressed on all fours, once in that position i began to see every detail of my surroundings, as the pace picked up i felt exhilarated, detail to colour changed as well, and i could physically feel the change i felt i belonged.
After what felt like ages we came to a stop.
I then had an out-of-body experience where i could see myself in human form, lying amoung them, running my hands through those that were close to me.
I felt safe/accepted.
airi on December 31, 2019:
i had a dream where i was a lone wolf at first then made my own pack where i was alpha. what does that mean?
Jean on December 29, 2019:
Please help me out to understand this dream.
I was on this beautiful place with friends saw some of my friends ignore me.Then for some reason I told them to be quiet, and told em I heard howl of wolves but I didn't really then all of a sudden pack of wolves were goin to attacked us then it rains flooded everywhere. We went to a tall building to stop them from chasing us. Most of the time they almost got me, but escaped or push them down. While going upstairs there was this room.where all of my friends were we were knocking hoping they will let us in but instead keep the door shut and ignored us. Then out of no.where my mom was there with us above I was carrying her. Then she decided to go.back few moments later I heard he was bitten by a wolf on her leg. Then I woke up. Please help me.undestand.
Catherine on December 27, 2019:
I had a dream of a pack of wolfs last night one adult wolf grey was coming towards me snarling baring his teeth it was in my back garden the dream i wonder if its bad luck but he did turn away wen i didt move
Arelendu on December 07, 2019:
I have had dreams and real life experiences with a black wolf with glowing white eyes. I see her everywhere I go and often in my dreams. For instance there was one dream where I was in a dark room as the wolf I commonly see myself in dreams as and has excepted as my wolf form or being. The black wolf walked up to me. We nuzzled each other and then she backed up and howled. Once she stopped she looked back at me for a minute, turned her back to me and began to walk away. I ran after her but only seemed to be getting further away before finally waking up at 5:00 in the morning I couldn’t get back to sleep after that. I also see her running along side me, not like right next to me but more like out behind the houses like she’s hiding from something but not from me because she has before when I was alone walked up to me to where we were standing maybe two feet apart. I don’t know what this means can someone please help me understand?
Imran on October 22, 2019:
In my dream, a white wolf comes down from a hill and darts towards me. I use this baseball bat in my hand to swing towards it, hit it hard, and it goes and lands far and that finishes it. I feel this emotion of relief and ease. Afterwards, random faces I cannot recall are in awe of what I did, how I did it, show them how I swung and did it.
I have not encountered this before and woke up from a nightmare in next sequence in my dream where my son was hit by a charging chasing animal that had a walrus kind of head when he started imitating running when I told him in dream not to act like that as animals tend to be aggressive and can chase one down if threatened or imitated. He was pushed to the ground, came close to be run by a car, seemed hurt, and thats when I woke up in despair.
mywolfinside on October 22, 2019:
Last night I had a dream of being a lone wolf and running with another loner male named Mud. He was sweet, loyal, protective and gentle. After a while, he was bitten by a venomous snake, was carried away but was not dead.
Thomas on September 17, 2019:
I recently had a dream about a white wolf. I was talking to someone saying that i cannot pass unless i was chosen by a white wolf. I then showed them that i was chosen by putting three items down not sure what they were. If i was not chosen i got the feeling that i would have been attacked but i wasn't. This is the second time i have had this dream the 1st many years back.
Jon-Paul B Lindsey on June 30, 2019:
This is in response to Sarah Bennetts comment below- I suffered recurring dreams about being chased by a wolf, from around 6 years old, until a teenager. Similar to your son. For the first few years, I would run and hide, yet the wolf would inevitably find me. Finally, after many years, feeling entirely exasperated and genuinely terrified, I turned on the wolf and ran 'at' it. It wasn't an act of bravery, more out of desperation. From then on, each time I had this dream I remembered to turn and face it- the nightmare would end instantly, and ultimately I've never dreamt of a wolf since (I'm now 36). I'd always assumed that the wolf represented a subconscious fear of mine, and the act of attacking it, was symbolic of appreciating the fear, acknowledging it for its affect on me and then, finally paralyzing it in doing so. Recently a very good, spiritual/intuitive friend of mine suggested (strongly) that the wolf was myself, and that I was fearful of what I can achieve. She illustrated for me a beautiful drawing of a small boy, kneeling down and stroking the wolf- when she asked me "what do you see", I responded that I saw that I was the boy, calming the wolf, to which she countered, "no, you ARE the wolf"... It was a life changing moment for me. I wish you all the luck with your son, I can't imagine how much worry you have (my dreams were never as graphic as his), but trust soundly that his subconscious is simply trying to help him through something. Sending lots of love.
hamish robert pilbrow on June 18, 2019:
BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!!!!! thankyou : ) for putting this site together online. it helps to x-plaine some of two dreams i have had about wolves and werewolves within the last 8 years. hamish
Sarah Bennett on May 29, 2019:
My son has a dream about a wolf who kills him. The wolf chases him and he’ll be running away but always dies by the wolf (a bit horrid here but the wolf ropes his guts out). He’s only ever managed to run away once. He’s had these dreams since he was around 6 he’s 11 now what do they mean and what can I do as they really affect him.
Rhodoniteruby. on May 26, 2019:
I had this dream in the death of the night while i was out there in a plantation farm with the full moon at its peak i suddenly heard this howling sound up in the sky when i looked up i a sow a wolf crossing over the moon(can't say what colour it was bcos it was too close to the moon which radiates it light on it.)i was so scared that i started running back to the house which was not too far from the farm. I was so scared that the wolf was looking for food and might catch up with me that i ran for my dear life. Can you pls explain what that means? I have never dreamed about a wolf in my tire life.
mary on May 22, 2019:
I had a dream i was at home home and i heard my mom scream but i was with my small child so i said to her stay inside then this big brown wolf came up to my slidind door and kept trying to get in i saw my nabors trying to do something but they were covered in blood then it walks like a human and hads something like a rage fit couse it cant get in then all of a sudden it starts trying to climb though my windo and i was so sceard i managed to pull my self out of the dream
Lilli on April 14, 2019:
I have a dream about a wolf pack and there chasing me but then this big , beautiful white wolf comes out all the wolves bow to me and the other wolf . I don’t know what it means
Vanessa on April 10, 2019:
I dreamt of lots of wolves along a a path and i was about at the 4th or 5th wolf standing there working with or against the wolf can barely remember i dont know if i was scared or not or if the wolf was to harm or guide me. I already knew it was drean because wolves right? So i had to google and i found this article. It could mean all of the above for me.
Aisling Ireland (author) from Bolingbroke, GA on March 24, 2019:
Hi Lorrie, thanks for writing. In the dream, did the wolf seem to be protecting you from something or did it seem to be trying to communicate something to you?
Lorrie Moffatt on March 24, 2019:
First of all I love wolves I always have. I have a question anyone can tell me a little more insight. I recently had a dream where I was running through the woods and I was crying. I in the following and was laying on my back and I don't know where this huge white wolf came up and lay across my stomach make my chest and he had his two front legs stretched out and he was looking at something and fiercely growling. It is anyone out there that can give me some insight on what this meant because it was really intense and I just know that it's telling me something but I'm not quite sure what that is thank you
Aisling Ireland (author) from Bolingbroke, GA on January 28, 2019:
Thanks for your comment, Solace spark. Have you had other dreams of wolves since that one?
Solace spark on January 27, 2019:
I when I was young for seven days straight had dreams where this wolf would walk into my room and talk to me and on the seventh day it said don't forget what I'm about to tell you and after it talked to me it bit my hand and woke up in pain on that hand I no longer remembered what it said