Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wednesday's "Wereword" of the Week


"Volkodlak" is a Slavic term that essentially means "werewolf." The term "volkh" is an old word that used to refer to "a benign sorcerer." The Slavs believed that sorcerers could often change shape or shapeshift into other creatures (including wolves, of course) or even inanimate objects. The volkodlak could be a willing werewolf or an unwilling werewolf (see last Friday's post).

The transforming of man into beast seems pretty standard in traditional Slavic myths, and even in old tribal ceremonies and rituals the warriors would sometimes wear a wolf's pelt to symbolize those aspects of the wolf they wanted when later hunting or fighting. In ritual they would "become" the wolf, so some have suggested this is part of the werewolf mentality/symbolism that then merged into were-related myths and legends throughout the region.

Want to learn more? Buy the book: Slavic Myth and Mankind: Forests of the Vampire (a Barnes and Noble book, 1999).

1 comment:

Georgie K. Buttons said...

Cool. That's something I did not know before.