Monday, March 15, 2010

Herding Wolverines Together

The first I ever heard of wolverines, was back in '93 from a sheepherder who had recently spotted one up Timber Gulch.

The first time ever I saw any wolverines, was four years ago, upon returning from an evening at the movies with a friend. It was late twilight, and we spotted two of them frolicking together at the large N. Buttercup Road parking lot, where the county sometimes stores gravel. As we stopped and watched them deftly dart around the gray rock pile for several minutes, playing a rambunctious game of tag with each other; it felt as though they were putting on a unique display, designed specifically for us, especially when they paused momentarily, to establish rock-solid eye contact with us.

As I recall, we reveled in their enchanting performance, much more than the lame action movie we had just watched. Mostly though, we felt sorry for the folks in the car behind us, who had hurriedly passed; as they had missed one of the greatest shows on earth.

Two weeks later, the new Sun Valley Guide came out; featuring what became an award-winning article about wolverines from now-editor Greg Foley:

Within that article, we were delighted to see, that the spot where we witnessed Wood River Wolverines frolicking together, was marked on one of Evelyn's maps:

Soon after this; I ran into the man who delivers these magazines, and brought up the subject of wolverines. He was familiar with their wild ways and suggested that it would be wise to never cross one, or even think of ticking one off; because if you ever do, they will sniff you out, even by following the scent on your tire tracks, and repay you with ruthless acts of revenge. This was enough warning for me, having recently read in Mr. Foley’s article a legendary artic story about how a wolverine vanquished a polar bear, by barreling full speed, headfirst into its heart.


More recently, SFGate featured an interesting article about Wolverines called Lone, lovelorn wolverine baffles scientists. This is pertinent to Idaho, because hair and scat samples gathered there, indicate that this lovelorn wolverine hails from Idaho; most likely from the Sawtooths or Cascades.


An article that makes me feel that wolverines are as secretive as those seldom seen meter readers is Steve Stuebner’s enlightening High Country News article from fourteen years ago, titled, The Secret Life of Wolverines:

Quote from the HCN article:

"It never ceases to amaze me when I'm flying in the winter and I see a set of wolverine tracks crossing a 9,000- or 10,000-foot peak," he says. "I mean, what in the world is he doing up there?"


`Sometimes when several articles featuring the same sort of mystical creatures come into my life, I like herding them together by looking up their characteristics and seeing what I can identify with and what scraps of wisdom I might learn from. One of the the best animal totem sites, I've found is here:

Regarding Wolverines, her site says:

The wolverine is known for its great ferocity and extraordinary strength. Indian mythology describes the wolverine as a trickster hero, a link between the material world and the spirit world. In ancient mythology the energy of a trickster is linked to the underworld where the secrets of creation live.

Baby wolverines are born blind and weigh less than one pound. This prompts all their other sensory organs to awaken quickly, their sense of smell, feeling and inner sight are heightened at an early age. Small yet insightful, the new born wolverine acknowledges and responds to all its intuitive senses from the moment of birth. They respond to life and the challenges it holds with clarity, focus and persistence giving them a deeper understanding of personal power. Those with this medicine should ask themselves if their personal power is serving them appropriately. Learning how to utilize personal power in a balanced way is one of the teachings the wolverine holds.

The wolverines crafty cunning nature coupled with their perseverance and focus keeps them aligned with the energies of creation. This alignment serves them in many ways. They know when to act, when to retreat, how to respond to any situation and how to become invisible. All of these abilities inherent in the wolverine are also inherent in those who hold this medicine. Wolverines are masters at shape shifting their reality to benefit them in some way and can teach us how to do the same. Shamanic studies is helpful for those who have this totem.

Wolverines are excellent scavengers although not the best hunters. They are very resourceful and know how to make do with whatever is available. They turn trash into treasure and teach us how to do the same. Alaskan natives consider the wolverine to by a symbol of the wilderness, a survivor of the elements. Its fur is commonly used for parka trim and hoods because of its durability. The guard hairs of the wolverine fur resist frost accumulation helping people survive in extreme cold weather.

Solitary creatures with tremendous physical endurance the wolverine can travel up to 40 miles a day in search of food. Because of their great strength and endurance wolverines have become the center of folklore, although its fierce reputation has been exaggerated. They rarely attack any predator larger than itself and only attack when food is needed. They show us how to go the distance and acquire that which we seek.

When this medicine is fully developed in humans the capability to survive in any situation is common. If underdeveloped challenges regarding survival are common. Because the wolverine is a shape shifter the art of survival doesn't just represent the physical realm. It also indicates the challenges associated with mental clarity, emotional balance and spiritual understanding.

The wolverine is a master teacher and embodies a variety of skills. When it appears in your life it is asking you to take a serious look at your self and your life, change anything that does not serve and utilize your personal power for the good of self and others.

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