Wolverine Taliman by Sage Healer Wolverine – Observation, Communication, Resourceful, Feistiness, Trickster, Resourceful, Protection, Acute Observer, Hidden Talents By Sage Healer One of my regular crystal customers asked me to make her a talisman about Wolverine, one of her totems. This required quite a bit of research on my part, it was a brand new animal for me with not a lot of information. I had a hard time finding a wolverine totem for her talisman, happily eventually finding one by a female Zuni fetish maker that was quite spectacular. By many accounts, the Wolverine is a challenging totem. Combining shyness and clumsy movement with strength, ferocity and speed in the snow, Wolverine has been called a “spirit” or “ghost” animal because it is solitary, nocturnal and seldom seen. Wolverine’s superb powers of observation have made it a legendary animal guide to Native Americans, who also consider Wolverine to be one of the Tricksters, along with Raven and Coyote. Tricksters have many qualities, one being a positive force for change. Myths of the Innu people of eastern Québec and Labrador described Wolverine as the creator of the world. Wolverine has an incredible amount of energy and ingenuity.
Once hunted extensively for it’s thick fur, Wolverines are found primarily in remote reaches of the Arctic, Alaska, Russia and North American. Named “Gulo Gulo” (Latin for “glutton”, and related to the weasel, skunk, badger, mink, otter, and marten (Mustelidae family), this relatively small mammal is stocky and muscular, resembling a small bear in appearance. The Wolverine has a reputation for ferocity and strength out of proportion to its size, with the documented ability to kill large animals such as moose by running quickly on top of the snow with its huge paws until the larger animal tires. Wolverine is an excellent swimmer and climber, and is known for stealing bait food out of traps.
Wolverines most often play the roles of bullies or anti-social trickster characters in Native American folklore. However, in some tribes of Northern California, wolverines are considered lucky animals– they feature in legends as successful gamblers, and seeing a wolverine is a sign of good fortune to come.
There are small wolverine populations in the lower 48 states inhabit the northern Cascades and Rocky Mountains, including Glacier National Park, and as far south as the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Here are several short legends of Wolverines, from several different tribes.
In Native American mythology, the wolverine is viewed as a destructive force almost universally. According to Dena myth, Wolverine trapped two children in his home and fed them scraps from his large supply of food. When the children discovered the private stash of food, they ate it and confronted Wolverine. Angered at their actions, Wolverine declared that he was only keeping the food in preparation for the time when they were on their own in the world outside his den. Feeling betrayed, Wolverine declared that the children would now be scavengers and thieves for the rest of their lives. Another version of the story has a figure know as Traveler, a cultural hero figure among the Dena, coming to the rescue of the children and killing Wolverine and all but one of his daughters. Vowing revenge, Wolverine’s daughter subsequently declares that her decedents would plague man in his hunting endeavors by destroying traps and raiding hunting grounds for all the best prey
This version of the legend comes from W H Mechling’s 1914 collection Malecite Tales. Although the author describes these stories as belonging to the Malecite tribe, the man who narrated this particular story was Mi’kmaq. Since these two tribes are kinfolk and neighbors who share very similar cultures, it is likely that the story was told in both tribes.
One day Wolverine visited his older brother Bear, who was very glad to see him, and at once put the pot on the fire to cook him something. After the food was cooked and they had eaten it, Bear said to his younger brother Wolverine, “How would you make a fire if you did not have any flint and steel?” Wolverine acknowledged that he would be helpless without flint and steel. “Now I will teach you,” said Bear, “how to make a fire, when you do not have any flint and steel.” Having said this, Bear went out and got some maple bark, which he put in a little pile, and then jumped over it. As soon as he jumped over it, it burst into a flame. Then he said to his younger brother, “Now I give you power to make a fire.”
Wolverine was very happy and was in a hurry to get away and try his power. As soon as he got out of the house, he started to run. He continued running until he got to a place where he could no longer see Bear. Then he collected some maple bark and made a little pile of it and jumped over it. When it broke into a blaze, he was very much pleased. He took out his flint and steel and threw them away, saying “These are no longer of any use.”
Wolverine had no use for the fire he made; he only made it to try his power. So he went on, but he had hardly gotten out of sight of his first fire, when he decided to make a new fire. After that he made fires more frequently until at last he made them every ten steps; but finally his power gave out, for he had used it all up. When he next collected a pile of maple bark and jumped over it, it did not burst into flame. By that time it had grown dark and was very cold, and he was indeed in need of a fire. Then truly he jumped, but no success crowned his efforts. He had thrown away his flint and steel and was very much frightened, for it was very cold. He kept on jumping, but it grew so cold that he froze to death while he was jumping. He lay there until spring, when he thawed out. He was lying there dead, when his younger brother, Raccoon, came along and saw him.
Raccoon went over and tried to wake him up, saying, “Older brother, get up, you are over-sleeping, it is very late.” Then the Wolverine rubbed his eyes, got up and said, “Younger brother, I overslept. I would have lain there forever, if you had not come by and awakened me.” He would have rotted there, but as it was, he got his strength back and was as strong as ever.
This is my favorite of all the tales I found ….
Title: Girls who made love to the stars
Tribe: Ojibway, Northern Minnesota
Once there were two foolish girls who slept outside the lodge. No self-respecting girls would do this, only man hungry ones. As they lay on the ground they looked at the sky. “Look at those two stars, the red one and the white one.” said one of the girls. The other girl said “I’d like to make love to a star, they must be good lovers.” “Me too,” said the first, “I’d like to have a star under the blanket with me. You take the red star, I’ll take the white one.” They fell asleep and when they awoke they were in the sky surrounded by stars. The stars were men and they said “You wanted us, well here we are.” The girl who had chosen the red star found that he was a vigorous young lover and he kept her busy all night. The girl with the white star found that he was quite old and couldn’t perform very well. After a while the girls realized that star husbands were not as fun as they imagined. All the husbands did was eat star food, make love, and shine. One day the old woman who sits on a hole in the sky moved a little so the girls could peek down at the Earth through the hole. They saw their tribe playing games in the snow. They asked their husbands to help them go home by letting them down on long ropes made from plants. The ropes didn’t reach the ground and the girls wound up trapped in an old eagles nest in the top of the tallest tree in the world. They called to a bear “Help us down and we will make love to you.” But the bear was wise and thought them too forward. They called to a buffalo with the same promise and he tried desperately to climb the tree but he couldn’t climb with hooves so he wandered off. They called to a wolverine who quickly climbed the tree and made love to them both. But then he fed them and left them in the tree. Everyday he returned to rape them and feed them. One day a female wolverine passed by and helped the girls down from the tree. The male wolverine returned that night. In the dark and his haste he mistook the female wolverine for one of the girls. He made love to her all night and they were married the next day. The two girls swore never to sleep outside the lodge again.
Story 4 – Here is a slightly different version of this fun story:
The Foolish Girls – Ojibway
Two girls want to sleep with stars, convinced that they will be red-hot lovers. They go to sleep and find their wish has come true: they have gone to the spirit world and have star husbands. But one complains that she has sex too often, the other that she has it too rarely. So they decide to escape. They see their village through a hole in the sky (which in the spirit world is beneath them), and make a rope to lower down. They make their escape but it is too short and they are stuck in an eagle’s nest.
They call on a bear, a buffalo, a coyote and then a wolverine to get them down, tempting them with the offer of a good time. Wolverine gets them down. Unfortunately, Wolverine always makes love to them and then carries them back up the tree to the eagle’s nest. Then Wolverine Woman comes along and they tell her that if she gets them down she can have the ‘handsome’ Wolverine Man. Wolverine Man comes back, and doesn’t notice the difference until dawn. Wolverine Man and Wolverine Woman are shocked to find how ugly the other is, but decide they’d better stay together because no one else would have them!
This is in part a tale about birth and reincarnation, the rope being the umbilical cord, and about the separation and interchange between earth and spirit world. Marrying the stars is like death, and the homesickness for their village is what causes the girls to ‘reincarnate’. On another level, the story is about sexual desire and compatibility. There are interesting variations on this story among other tribes.
Lastly, Wolverine is from the same animal branch as Weasel. Here is a Weasel tale:
The gifts of weasel are the ears that hear what is really being said and the eyes that see beneath the surface of a situation to know the many ramifications of any event.
It is said that the chiefs would send Weasel to the enemy camp to find out what their powers were. “Tell us, Weasel; what are the medicines of our enemy?” the chiefs would ask upon his return.
Dear little weasel never failed to give an accurate account of the enemy’s numbers, strengths, and weaknesses. It was weasel who tearfully reported to the First People of the coming of the white boat people:
“These brothers have strange new medicines. They will tell us that to live the way we do is wrong. They will confuse us with their talking bark. They have stolen thunder from Sky Father and placed it in their weapons. They have no respect for the animal brothers and sisters, and they make their thunder speak to the animals and kill them. They will make the thunder speak to us also. Their numbers are too many to count and these white brothers will steal everything from us but our spirits. The great dark shadow of the ravenous bird of death has fallen over the People”.
Can you imagine how hard that was to share for weasel? If you have the medicine of weasel your powers of observation are quite keen. People find you as a powerful ally in business since you can see what the competition is doing. Sometimes people make a big mistake when sizing you up because they don’t always see your great powers. Weasel asks you to observe who or what needs attention, or a solution and then to offer your assistance in your own quiet and discreet way.
Sage Healer, Thank you for sharing your stories tonight!
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