Welcome to more on our wolfish friends,
One thing that drives me nuts is when someone tells me they love weres, which real means men. So let’s let’s start with the word history.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
“Word History: The wolf in werewolf is current English; the were is not. Werewulf, "werewolf," occurs only once in Old English, about the year 1000, in the laws of King Canute: "lest the madly ravenous werewolf too savagely tear or devour too much from a godly flock." The wer- or were- in wer(e)wulf means "man"; it is related to Latin vir with the same meaning, the source of virile and virility. Both the Germanic and the Latin words derive from Indo-European *w[IMG]file:///C:/Users/Eva/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image001.gif[/IMG]ro-, "man." Wer- also appears, though much disguised, in the word world. World is first recorded (written wiaralde) in Old English in a charter dated 832; the form worold occurs in Beowulf. The Old English forms come from Germanic *wer-ald-, "were-eld" or "man-age." The transfer of meaning from the age of humans to the place where they live has a parallel in the Latin word saeculum, "age, generation, lifetime," later "world." >>
We have heard of werewolves and lycans but here are some other names from around the globe that show you just how ubiquitous the concept of werewolf is. Some are other type of animal shifters. I personally think this universal connection to animal spirits goes back to our first shamanic nature based religions. I think our consciousness is returning to our need to connect with spirits.
American Indians: limikkin or skin walkers. Argentina: lobisón Brazil: lobisomem. , also boto, a dolphin that transforms into a boy, and a uirapuru, a little brown bird that transforms into a boy. Bulgaria: vrkolak Canada: wendigo or witiko Chili: chonchon, a witch that transforms into a vulture. China: Lang Ren Ethiopia, Morocco and Tanzania: boudas, a werehyena Finland: ihmissusi France: loup-garou, bisclavret Greece: vrykolaka, a word for werewolf which is used for vampires and sorcerers also. Haiti: loup-garou that can change into anything, both plant and animal. Iceland: hamrammr, a shifter who changes into what it has last eaten, and gains power by eating more. India: rakshasa, a shifter who can change into any animal it wants. Indonesia: layak, a spirit that shift into anything Italy: lupo manero or benandanti for people who permanently become wolves and fight witches in the underworld. Japan: kitsune, a werefox, also the tanuki or minjina, a wereraccoon, dog or badger. In general shapeshifters are called henge. Kenya: ilimu Latvia: vilkacis Lithuania: vilkatas Mexico: nahaul, a were wolf, cat, eagle or bull. Normandy, France: lubins or lupins Norway and Sweden: eigi einhamir Philippines: aswang, a vampire / werewolf. Portugal: bruxsa or cucubuth , a vampire / werewolf, the lobh omen and lobis-homems Russia: wawkalak or bodark. Scandinavia: varulv, ulv, ulfen Serbia: vukodlak Slovakia: vulkodlak South America: kanima, a jaguar-shaped spirit Spain: hombre lobo, lupino United States: many, an oddity being the wererat who is said to be common around the Pennsylvania area.
European only list:
werewolves, including Albania (oik) , France (loup-garou), Greece (lycanthropos), Spain, Mexico (hombre lobo), Bulgaria (valkolak), Turkey (kurtadam), Czech Republic/Slovakia (vlkodlak), Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia (vukodlak / вукодлак), Russia (vourdalak , оборотень), Ukraine (vovkulak(a), vurdalak(a), vovkun, перевертень), Croatia (vukodlak), Poland (wilkołak), Romania (vârcolac, priculici), Macedonia (vrkolak), Scotland (werewolf, wulver), England (werewolf), Ireland (faoladh or conriocht), Germany (Werwolf), the Netherlands (weerwolf), Denmark/Sweden/Norway (Varulv), Norway/Iceland (kveld-ulf,varúlfur), Galicia(lobisón), Portugal (lobisomem), Lithuania (vilkolakis and vilkatlakis), Latvia (vilkatis and vilkacis), Andorra (home llop), Hungary (Vérfarkas and Farkasember), Estonia (libahunt), Finland (ihmissusi and vironsusi), and Italy (lupo mannaro). In northern Europe, there are also tales about people changing into animals including bears, and wolves.
Tomorrow I will discuss lycanthropy and the werewolf craze in Europe during the Middle Ages