Tag Archive for: wolf conservation

St. Francis of Assisi and the Wolf

statue of st francis of assisi petting a bug

Image by JulianaSaldanha from Pixabay

When I began my research into St. Francis of Assisi for an interfaith seminary essay, I knew little of him beyond his designation as patron saint of ecology and the animals. I was curious how he became associated with animals and found a story about a wolf that intrigued me, especially in the context of wolf conservation challenges in the United States.

According to the tale, at the time St. Francis was living in the town of Gubbio in Italy, a wolf began attacking the livestock for food. After a while, there were also human encounters with the wolf and some humans were killed and eaten. Hunters failed to kill the wolf and people were afraid to be outside the city’s gates, especially alone. Gubbio’s human citizens were basically besieged.

Then Francis announced he would go out and meet the wolf. With a small group of followers, he left the city and went to the wolf’s lair. The wolf rushed at Francis, but on Francis’ command laid down.

Recognizing that the wolf was acting out of hunger, he promised that the people of Gubbio would feed him if he would stop attacking them and their livestock. The wolf placed a paw in Francis’ hand in agreement, then tamely followed Francis into the city. The people believed this was a miracle and followed Francis’ instructions to feed the wolf. During the two years before the wolf passed away, he went from door to door every day and was well fed. A church was built in St. Francis’ honor on the site where the wolf was buried. The wolf’s skeleton was found in 1872 during renovations and was reinterred in a place of honor inside the church.

I read the tale of Gubbio while I was feeling frustrated by the wolf hunts that were legalized just last year in the American West, for the purported purpose of protecting livestock. I wondered if a modern-day St. Francis could convince ranchers to feed the wolves instead, before decades of wolf reintroduction and recovery are undone and they disappear forever.

Ritual of Protection for Yellowstone’s Wolves

While grey wolves no longer roam the wild in New York (they were eradicated in the late 1800s), I have had opportunities to sit with, witness, and learn about captive wolves. These experiences have deepened both my connection with my wolf helping spirit and my desire to help North America’s wild wolves.

collared yellowstone wolf seated in the snow where wolves have protection

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

This month has brought distressing news, as reports of wolves being poisoned and shot come in. One of the most upsetting was reading that twenty of the wolves from Yellowstone National Park, where they were reintroduced 25 years ago and became a conservation success story, were killed by hunters in the months since protections were lifted, just outside of the park’s borders. The news from Yellowstone inspired this ritual.

I acknowledge that rituals alone are not enough to save North America’s wolves. Rituals like this, however, ground me and reaffirm my intentions, creating an empowered center from which to make phone calls and write letters to relevant elected and appointed officials. I am sharing my wolf protection ritual in hope that you, too, may feel ready to pick up the phone afterwards.

I have a working altar which is always ready to go for short workings like this. I only added a printout of a map of Yellowstone Park, to help me journey there. If you do not have a standing altar, you might gather a few things that you associate with protection and that bring in wolf energy.

I like to work in safe and sacred place. You can cast a circle any way that you like – I use the Reiki symbols to clear and protect the space – and call in the directions, your helping spirits, and any deities you work with.

Next, sit in front of your altar, close your eyes, and put yourself in the center of Yellowstone. If you have experience journeying you can do that, otherwise just imagine yourself sitting there in middle of the park. See or sense the presence of the wolf packs. The wolves know you are there for their benefit. You are safe.

Now bring your attention to the base of your spine and drop a cord down into the Earth. Draw energy from the Earth up into the base of your spine and into your heart. Next, notice the crown of your head. From your crown, extend a cord up to the Moon. Draw Moon energy down through your crown and into your heart.

Empowered by the Earth and the Moon, feel a bubble expanding from your heart. Send loving and protective energy into the bubble, surrounding the wolves in safety. Grow the bubble in all directions until it encompasses all of Yellowstone National Park and the wolves that have roamed beyond the human-made borders. Continue to supply protective Earth and Moon energy until the bubble feels strong and solid, impenetrable by anyone who would harm the wolves. Feel the power of the bubble of protection you have created and know that it will hold when you leave this place.

Now add a prayer, such as:

Mother Earth, I come to you humbly, with gratitude for all you have given me, and ask that you hold this protective bubble around your children, the wolves.
Keep the wolves safe from humans who kill for sport or greed.
Provide them with clean water, abundant food, and warm dens.
Empower me with a heart full of compassion for all your beings.
Grant me the strength to stand against those who would harm the wolves, the courage to speak out, and the presence to change minds, until the wolves are free to thrive.
May it be so.

Release the directions and open your circle.

Podcast Ep 103: Gentle Yoga to Soothe Agitation

As I record the second episode of 2022, I am working with grief and frustration I feel after reading news of grey wolves who have been killed in recent weeks. Wolf is one of my animal helping spirits so I feel very close to Wolf Spirit manifested. The gentle yoga practice in this episode helps you center and release agitation and other emotions that come up when you receive upsetting news.

Registration is open for Shamanic Reiki Level One virtual training on February 5th and 6th, 2022. Visit my Shamanic Reiki training page for more information and online registration.

If you like this podcast and would like me to keep recording new episodes, please visit my Patreon page and become a patron for as little as one dollar a month. When you do, you will have access to patron-only guided shamanic journeys to meet animal helping spirits and read posts about the animals’ symbolism and archetypal energy as well as the natural history and conservation challenges those animal face in their living incarnation. As you work with different animals, you connect more deeply with the natural world and may be inspired to advocate for one of the wild beings you resonate with.

If you would like to chat about this episode and connect with others who share your love for the wild beings, join the Shamanic Flow Circle group on Facebook. Visit myshamaniclife.com and get the free Guide to Getting Real when you sign up for the email newsletter, which is full of moon magic and upcoming virtual events.

Much love and gratitude to Blair Sutherland for the beautiful intro and background music. Blair is also an outstanding webmaster and makes sure I can share these episodes with you. Thank you, Blair!

While the yoga and other practices presented are intended to be accessible to most, please be open to practicing in an appropriate and safe way for you. It is recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program and that at any time during a practice you feel nausea, dizziness, or pain you stop and seek medical advice. I accept no liability whatsoever for any damages arising from the use of my podcasts and, while I make all reasonable efforts to share accurate instruction, the podcast may contain unintended errors. Before all else, listen to your body and trust your inner knowing.