The Wolf Moon occurs this week on Thursday, January 28th, so I’d like to talk about the spiritual mystery of what I’ll call a “wolf initiation” as it can be imagined through the Russian fairy tale of the Firebird.
The January Full Moon is sometimes called “Wolf Moon” because when wolves are heard howling in this season, it was formerly believed they did this because they were ravenously hunger.
In the fairy tale of the Firebird, the protagonist is the youngest of three sons who is tasked with finding out who’s stealing the fruit from the Tsar’s golden apple tree. Of the three, only Ivan is able to stay awake to identify the culprit, a firebird, and seizing it by the tail, he’s able to pluck one feather that is so luminous it can light up even the darkest night. So this is the first stage, staying awake to the mystery.
At the second stage of this initiation, he must make a difficult choice, which involves choosing a path where either he or his horse will die. Once this decision is made, Ivan is beset with the third stage of the initiation, which is placing complete trust in the wisdom of the wolf that has shown up to guide him. The wolf leads him through three processes at which he seems to fail, until finally, Ivan secures the firebird, a horse with a golden mane, and a princess. But then he’s killed, which is an important step in all initiation mysteries. It’s not about being killed literally, but about dying to the lower self, and being awakened again in the final stage, which is through someone else administering the waters of life.
So this week, gather water, light candles, settle in with the fairy tale, and dream. The Wolf Moon rises around 4:30 pm Wednesday and sweeps through the night and across the sky until sunrise Thursday, rivaling the Sun for about 20 minutes before it sets around 8:30 am.
Hear this week’s segment on Interlochen Public Radio, and on my podcast at The Storyteller’s Night Sky.