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Alt.horror.werewolves - The Mini FAQs

How To Use This FAQ Collection

The Frequently Asked Questions file has been broken up into three major parts. The first is the Core FAQ, containing the most basic questions about AHWW, and is intended to acquaint the reader with the newsgroup and its purpose. It has been drastically shortened and simplified so that the reader can get the gist of the group without having to read through the other two parts. The second part is the Resource FAQ, containing the various bits of information and minutia collected over the years by AHWW members. It contains the various ways held to effect physical shifting, humor, Internet resources, books, songs, movies and other media relating to shapeshifters, and much more. It is interesting but rather lengthy. The third part is the collection of MiniFAQs, the essays pertaining to various phenotypes of shapeshifter and the legends specific to them. All three parts will be available from a variety of locations, but only the first part will be posted regularly on AHWW. The other two may be gotten by emailing KATMANDU1@HOME.COM; via anonymous ftp to ftp://ftp.negia.net/users/katmandu; or on the web at http://www.negia.net/~katmandu/ahww.html.  The resource FAQ contains many other locations the files may be found. Additions, suggestions, gripes and kudos should be sent to the keeper of the FAQ, KATMANDU1@HOME.COM.

Introduction to the MiniFAQs

The MiniFAQs are collections of lore and fact relating to various phenotypes of shapeshifter. They are written by folks on AHWW who have a particular interest in said phenotypes. Currently, there are four MiniFAQs; I'm working on one for wolves to add into the next version of this document; and have some information on Kitsune saved up. If you have a particular interest in a type of shapeshifter, cobble together a MiniFAQ and send it to for inclusion.

The Wendigo - Windigo The Feral (NYAR!)

This is the Wendigo Mini-FAQ, compiled by our own net.wendigo. Eventually, I'd like to have mini- FAQ's representing all of the werephenotypes... if you know a lot of folklore and fact about your own were-animal, or just feel an urge to do some research and writing, put something together and mail it to me.

Windigowak (that's the proper plural) are Shifters, like werewolves and the like...they tend to take the (natural) form of either a wraithlike being, a 2-3 meter tall skeleton of ice, or an emaciated 2-3 meter tall, hairy, slightly felid-looking-inthe-face critter with _very_ large fangs and claws. They can also go dim, and can (and very often, do) take their original human forms, the sole thing giving them away in the latter guise being the eyes (which tend to glow red). Windigowak have hearts of ice, visible in the ice- skeleton form, and voices that can be alternately soft as a whisper or loud as a tornado. Oh...and they tend to dine on anything they can catch, due to an eternal hunger...including the occasional meal of "long pig", if any of you know what I'm getting at... :)

There are variants on this--at least one myth claims that windigowak also have animal-like feet, while another states they have but one toe.

Other common names are Kokodjo and Atcen (pronounced AT-shen); the myth was all over, even if the names were different (In fact, the really proper name is _witiko_: it means something to the effect of "He who lives alone". I make no claims on knowing anishinabeg, so if I'm wrong, please correct me on the translation). Even the French- Canadians adopted the myth. As to how one becomes a windigo, there are several ways. One is to dream of the windigo spirit calling one's name (or even better yet, dreaming one IS a windigo). Another is to be lost in the forest and be called by the windigo spirit. A third is to violate tribal custom of the anishinabeg (Ojibway) by committing a transgression (such as eating human flesh) and being cursed to go windigo by a mide' shaman. A fourth way is to undergo a ritual that will affect the change.

As to killing windigowak (note: windigowak are our FRIENDS, even though they eat human flesh...DON'T try ANY of this :), the most effective way (well, the _only_ effective way) is to burn it, the theory being the fire will melt the heart of ice. There are also stories of windigowak being cured; one involved pouring hot suet down the poor windigo's throat till he puked up the heart of ice, the other being one where (upon the first symptoms of vomiting "normal" food and looking upon one's neighbors as snacks) the mide' shaman attempted a cure using migis shells (ritual shells that had curative properties, and were blessed by the gods themselves).

Now, to windigowak in myth and folklore: The best book of windigo myths I have seen is a book called _Windigo Psychosis_ (a psychology text that explored "windigo psychosis", which is much like the medical definition of lycanthropy). It lists all the major stories...quite a good book if you can find it. If not, any book on Ojibwa mythology should have a few of the original windigo stories in it. (You could also try Cree, Lakota, or any other northern tribe; it's pretty universal.)

As far as fiction goes, the most famous windigo story is Algernon Blackwood's "The Wendigo"; it is one of the wraith stories, and is hands down the most imitated (Derleth's stories of Ithaqua in the Cthulhu Mythos are perhaps the most famous Blackwood inspirations). The Blackwood story ended up in a television show in the 1960s, and was in a comic in the 1940's. Also, recently a children's book was released ("Call OF The Wendigo") that was based heavily on Blackwood. Ogden Nash did a poem about the windigo (part of it goes "The wendigo/the wendigo/it's eyes are ice and indigo/it's blood is thick and yellowish/it's voice is hoarse and bellowish..."), and there are several good stories in the "modern" depiction of windigowak such as "Sins Of The Flesh", "The Unseen" (Joseph A. Citro. Warner Books 1990.), and "Where The Chill Waits" (sorry, can't remember the author's names)...there is supposedly a song about windigowak that someone told me they learned in school, as well. Also, John Colombo put out a collection of windigo stories back in 1980; however, I can't find it, and it may well be out of print. There's crap as well in the fictional realm...the worst is Stephen King's "Pet Sematary", which so bastardized the legend the creature bears little resemblance to a windigo (and I refuse to call it such). I also have a personal beef with stories such as Slade's "Cutthroat" which make windigowak out as nothing more than overgrown apes! Alas, most of the RPG's are, well, crap. Shadowrun makes windigowak out to be vampiric orcs (eukkk!)...White Wolf does something unusual by making a Wendigo clan (tho' in a way they had made windigowak a separate race), and Dark Conspiracy does the finest job of the RPGs that has attempted to do a windigo IMO. For those who like the Blackwood windigowak, Call of Cthulu is quite good as well. (They all need work, tho'... :)

And finally, windigowak in comics, and the "They Don't CALL it windigo, but if it slashes critters to bits like one, and eats people for breakfast like one..." category: In comics, the only two "official" windigowak I've seen were the ones in Eerie Comics #10 (circa 1940), which was a good Blackwood imitation (but weren't they all then? :), and the one in the X-Men comics, which is utter and unmitigated crap. (And doubly inexcusable IMO...the original creators were Canadian, and should have known better.)

As for the "walks like a duck, quacks like a duck" category...there are LOTS of contenders. There is a creature in the comic _Poison Elves_ that is called a Doppelganger, that is much like a windigo in many ways; there's Feral Jackson in _Strontium Dogs_, who looks _so_ much like the way I've always pictures windigowak (minus the height and the body hair) that I swear Alan Grant, Garth Ennis, and/or artists Harrison or Pugh _had_ to have heard of windigowak somewhere (and if I ever see 'em at a comics con, you bet yer sweet Aunt Agnes I'm askin' them :); there's the "manitou" in the "Shapes" episode of _The XFiles_ that for all intents and purposes was a windigo (and yes, windigowak ARE considered manitou, or spirits); and I even see some similarity in the story of Grendel in Beowulf (there are reportedly windigo stories as far west as Iceland, and "grendel" means "frost giant")...

More on Windigowak - by Spyder Everhunger

This is my attempt at further clarification and expansion upon the collected information of shifters known somewhat generically among the cyberpack as windigowak or wendigos, which I will hereafter refer to by their proper name of 'witiko' (I use this name because in a dictionary of Native American lore, all other names for these creatures simply listed 'See witiko' for their definition.) 8)

I would like to note that I fully support each and every thing that my sibling Wendigo-the-Feral said in the previous section; this is merely and addendum to what s/he has said already.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

"I WAS trying to tell you about the fact that the animal kingdom is dying, and because it is dying it is beginning to take heroic measures to save itself. That's why the spirit of the wolves beguiled your husband. The animal kingdom is after the mind of man."

"IN the West, it used to be thought that there were seven types of personality. There are more than seven types! A type for every beast in the animal kingdom. We are reflections of the whole of reality. Among us there are shrew types, porcupine types, owl types, frog types, lion and zebra types, eagle types. On and on. Often people change types when they get dogs. That's why old people and their old dogs look alike. A bulldog owner becomes a bulldog type. You have to understand the universe as it really is. A hall of mirrors, and we are the mirrors. I hate to sound like a broken record, but I would be able to do this better if I had a beer in my hand." - Joe Running Fox in 'The Wild' by Whitley Strieber

-=-=-

While of a northern Native American origin, the names witiko and windigowak have in these days to signify a wider range of creature than strictly the original Native creatures they once did: the witiko of today are instead of numerous racial and cultural origins from around the world. So the term 'witiko' has come to refer to the conglomeration of all such creatures, much in the same way that Celtic has come to refer to the amalgam of information and ritual associated with hundreds of Western European tribes, or that Native American has come to refer to any member of the numerous tribes of the Americas.

In truth, the fundamental components of the windigowak occur in the lore and 'mythology' of nearly every culture across the globe: Redcaps and similar malicious fae can be found in Ireland and Scotland, the Grendel of the Scandinavian regions, the Wild Hunt in Britain and Wales, ogres and trolls of the Black Forest and Germany, as well as a wide variety of dragons and dragon-like creatures throughout Europe. In the East, there are the Rakshasa to be found in India, the Oni and Goblin Spiders of Japan and China, and literally hundreds more of which I am as yet unfamiliar.

All my tribe share a few common threads: a monstrous appearance that is not simply abnormal, but the kind of thing that haunts the nightmares of the normal human herd; all witiko also possess certain animalistic traits of appearance, often incorporating multiple traits from several animals but being not wholly of any one specie's appearance - an important fact which separates them from others of the shifting breed; and all witiko from around the globe prey in one form or another upon humanity, be it innocents and children, sinners and the unjust, or any of the vast flock of the human race. And most if not all share a singular angst toward humanity which ranges from disgust to hatred to blind rage, at what humans do to the world, themselves, or their children.

So while all windigowak are unique and often of vastly differing appearance from one another, all are siblings under the skin or in the blood. We are all brothers and sisters, related peripherally to the other skin-shifters and therianthropes.

But just where do the windigowak in all their multitude and forms fits into the scheme of things? Each clan or tribe of therianthrope is linked with their species: the werewolves of the world are representative of the lupine species, the werecats of the felines, the foxes of the vulpines, and there are even reptile and avian species of therianthrope. But where do the atcen fit in? Who do we represent? What are we, really?

As I and the others I have talked it over with see it, the windigowak in all our chimerical variety have no one species to watch over, being both all and none; instead we concern ourselves with safeguarding the welfare and future of all the Wild, the embodiment of nature itself in all its violent splendor. A witiko is a spirit of the wood and wild, seducing men and women away from their campfires to run amok through the trees and prey upon their brethren. We are more concerned about the limiting of Man's power and return of the wilderness to the Wild than any one species of animal.

The Werebear --Gary (Werebear) Howdy.

Well, over the past few weeks, I have put together--in my spare time-- this MiniFAQ which gives information on Werebears and Bear myths in general. I hope someone gets something from it. Special thanks to Wolfshadow (Dave Aftandilian) for his help in the shamanic references and in editing.

What are some historical legends associated with werebears?

  • The Scandinavians

In Scandinavia, there was a firm belief in the ability of some people to change into or assume the characteristics of bears. Our English word "berserk" comes from this legend. It was thought that if a warrior was to don a bear- skin shirt (called a bear-sark) which had been treated with oils and herbs, that the warrior would gain the strength, stamina, and power of the animal. These people would be driven into a frenzy in battle and were said to be capable of biting through the enemy's shields or walking through fire without injury. No matter how much of the legend is true, the thought of a group of rabid Vikings made up as bears is sobering.

  • The Greeks

The pre-Classical Greeks also believed in the ability of men to become bears. One of the most commonly told stories is that of Callisto, who bore a child of Zeus'-- Arcas. Hera, Zeus' wife, became jealous and transformed Callisto into a bear as punishment. Arcas, out hunting, came upon his mother and shot at her. Zeus, taking pity on the mother and son, changed them into Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, the two great bear constellations. From this one myth comes a whole score of others. For instance, Arcas' name comes from the Greek word for bear--Arctos. By extention, the "Arkades" of Arcadia are supposedly decended from Arcas. Their name means bear- people.

The Callisto myth also blends very well into the werewolf myth of Lycaon. According to legend, Callisto was Lycaon's daughter. Arcas was the individual who was supposed to have been served to Zeus as a test of the god's divinity, but he managed to escape. Even one of the synonyms for bear used by the Greeks, bee-wolf (for the bear's love of honey), managed to make it into legend. A legend, in fact, which was the first great work of the English language.

  • The English

The story is titled "Beowulf". And almost every high school English class reads it. It is basically the story of a Geatish hero who vanquishes several evils from the world. Beowulf supposedly had the strength of thirty men in his left hand. He is a powerful swimmer and has tremendous endurance. All these traits are commonly associated with the bear.

  • The Native Americans

These are not the only legends of bear shapeshifters. In fact, one of the earliest legends in human experience concerns a bear-shapeshifter. This legend, that of the Bear Mother, is found in the traditions of many peoples throughout the world, including several Native American tribes.

The cleanest version of it comes from the Haida people of British Columbia. According to this version, some women from the tribe were out gathering huckleberries. All but one of them were singing to appease the bears. She chattered on about her own concerns, and it angered the bears--they felt that she was mocking them. So as the berry- pickers headed home, the chatterbox was the last to go, for she had spilled her berries and had to gather them up again. As she worked, she was approached by two men wearing bear- fur robes, who looked like brothers. One of them offered to help her if she would go with him. She agreed. She followed them to a large house. Inside were several people, all of them dressed in bearskins. One of them told her that she had been taken to a bear den and that she was now one of them. She noticed that she too was wearing a bearskin robe. The chief of the bear-people took her as his wife and she gave birth to twins which were half- human and half-bear.

One day, her brothers came looking for her. They found her, and murdered her husband. Before the Bear Husband died, however, he taught her the songs that her brothers must use over his corpse to bring good luck and speed his soul to the afterlife. The Bear Sons lived with the tribe as humans until their mother died. Her death ended the twins' connection with humanity; once again they became bears and returned to live with the Bear People.

For some peoples, this myth was extended into that of creation itself; some myths went so far as to say that the entire human race was decended from the children of the Bear Sons. And many, many peoples believed in deep spiritual connections with bears.

What are some spiritual beliefs about bears?

It really depends on whom one asks. Almost universally, the Bear is represented by the constellation Ursa Major, the Great She-Bear. It is composed of fourteen stars, seven of which shine with extreme brightness. Most of us in the west know the constellation better as the Big Dipper--the rump of the bear appears to have a long "tail" extending from it, which looks exactly like the handle of a saucepan. This "tail" no longer exists in modern bears, but the cave bears had them and to the early peoples there was nothing at all strange about the shape of the sky-bear.

Many people used these stars as an indication of the seasons. As winter drew near, the Bear would slowly dip lower in the sky, looking for a place to "bed down." These stars would slowly spiral around Polaris, the north star, following the same path night after night. They acted as a clock that was so accurate that many indigenous peoples still use them to tell the time.

Many of these same peoples looked at the bear as "brother," or "great grandfather." To them, the bear was very human in its manners and ways. It could stand on its hind legs and walk like a man, it ate the same food they did, walked the same trails, and cared for its cubs in a fiercely protective way. The skeleton of a bear, if stretched out, looked very much like that of a man. The bear became a companion in the path of life and a model for the living of it. This oneness of man and bear is clearly represented in the Grizzly Bear Song of the Tlingit Indians:

               "Whu!  Bear!
               Whu! Whu!
               So you say
               Whu Whu Whu!
               You come.
               You're a fine young man
               You Grizzly Bear
               You crawl out of your fur.
               You come
               I say Whu Whu Whu!
               I throw grease in the fire.
               For you
               Grizzly Bear
               We're one!"

In a spiritual sense, the Bear is seen as a totem of healing, or of strength and introspection. She is the Spirit of the West. She represents rebirth and regeneration. In an imitation of death, the bear goes into her den and is gone through the cold months of winter. Then, as spring comes, she returns, reborn. Usually, she comes out with cubs, serving as a symbol of birth. The Shaman would often dress in the skin of a bear, and call upon Her medicine to heal the sick or guide him to what herbs should be used to cure an ailing tribesman.

Today, followers of modern Shamanism look to Bear for the same reasons. As Spirit of the West, She is one of the Four Great Powers. She encourages Her followers to consider their actions, to think about the decisions that they are about to make.

What about books about werebears?

Well, in the fictional realm, there are several authors who have written of characters who could change into bears into their novels. Most notable is the late J.R.R. Tolkien. He created Beorn, who turned the tide in the last battle of _The Hobbit_. There is also Dennis L. McKiernen. McKiernen wrote _The Eye of the Hunter_, a story about a group of heroes on the trail of an ancient evil. One of the characters, Urus, is called a "cursed one" because he can change but has no guarantee that he will be able to change back. Finally, there is David Eddings. In his Belgariad series, there was a character, Barak, who was fated to turn into a bear whenever the protagonist was in danger.

Even in comic books there are characters who can become bears, or at least, bear-like. In the Image title "New Men," there is a character named Kodiak who can turn from a geeky teenager into a huge, bearish humanoid. Marvel has two. The first is Ursa Major, a Soviet government agent who can change into a large bear-man. The second is Ephraim Dees, whose power manifests itself as a spectral bear superimposed over his aura. Neither one of them is well portrayed or even worth the time to look into. They are mentioned here for the sake of completeness.

Fiction's good, but what about fact?

There are a number of good books on mythology. The non- fiction works make for much better reading. The ones that I recommend, both on bears and werebears, are:

*Shepard, Paul and Barry Sanders.  The Sacred Paw.  New
York, NY:  Arkana, 1985.

     This book is, without question, the best book on the
     subject.  It explores, in great detail, the biology of
     the bear, the spiritualism that many peoples associate
     with the bear, and bears in literature.  A fabulous
     read with the most complete bibliography on the subject
     there is.  Also has some great stuff on spiritualism
     and shamanism in general.

*Brown, Gary.  The Great Bear Almanac.  New York, NY:  Lyons
     & Burford, 1993.
*Elman, Robert.  Bears:  Rulers of the Wilderness.
     Stamford, CT:  Longmeadow, 1992.
*Savage, Candice.  Grizzly Bears.  Vancouver, British
     Columbia:  Sierra Club, 1990.
*Rockwell, David.  Giving Voice To Bear.  Toronto, Ontario:
     Roberts Rinehart, 1991.

     These four are all very good books on bears in general,
     with a heavy emphasis on the symbolic.  Savage's work
     is a brilliantly executed photo essay that covers
     mythology as well as truth.  Brown's work is an
     encyclopaediac reference to little known bear facts
     including mythology.  Elman's work is another photo
     essay, but the pictures are wonderful.  Not quite as
     nice as Savage's work, but they cover a wider variety.
     And Rockwell explores Native American beliefs about the
     bear.

*Andrews, Ted.  Animal-Speak.  St. Paul, MN:  Llewellyn
     Publications, 1994.
*Meadows, Kenneth.  The Medicine Way:  A Shamanic Path to
     Self-Mastery.  Dorset:  Element Press, 1990.

     These two books are good references for information on
     shamanism.  And not just for information about bear as
     a totem, either.  There is information on quite a
     variety of totems and their meanings.

The Felines --Walks-Between-Worlds

Howdy and welcome to the Feline FAQ. I've tried my best to include information on a variety of cats, both great and small. If you've ever felt drawn to cats but thought Werewolves were more up your alley because of their shapeshifting nature, fear not. There are Werecats, and you just might be one of them.

This FAQ is divided into two sections:
1.) Legends and myths surrounding normal cats and Werecats
2.) Are you a Werecat? (includes twenty ways to know you're a Werecat)

First, though, a list of resources that went into the making of this FAQ:

_Werewolves In Western Culture_ edited by Charlotte F. Otten 
_Animal-Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers Of Creatures Great & Small_ by Ted
  Andrews
_Meet The Werewolf_ by Georgess McHargue

Part 1: Myths and Legends
---------------------------

As long as transformation stories have existed, so too have stories about humans changing into cats. In 1588, a horseman was passing by the Chateau de Joux in France and saw several cats in a tree. He approached and discharged a carbine which he was carrying, and a ring with several keys attached to it fell from the tree. The horseman took them to the village, and when he asked for dinner at the inn neither the hostess nor the keys to the cellar could be found. The horseman showed the keys to the host, who recognized them as his wife's. Meanwhile she came from the kitchen, wounded in the right hip. Her husband grabbed her and she confessed that she had just come from the Sabbat, where she had lost her keys after being shot in the hip from a carbine.

The Inquisitors also tell that in their time villagers saw three large cats near Strasbourg, which afterward resumed the shape of women.

In India, Weretigers were believed to house the spirits of the dead who were being punished for evil deeds. I personally don't believe the evil part, but who knows? ];-)

In Africa and South America, the power of shape-shifting is often seen as a gift from some spirit or God and is for the purpose of getting revenge. Werejaguars, Wereleopards, etc., don't run around killing for the hell of it, they only attack those who have harmed them in their human form.

The following's a Werejaguar story from the jungles of Brazil:

A Dutch trader named Van Hielen went on business to an out-of-the- way Native village. He was fond of nature and decided to take a walk toward the forest early in the evening.

At the edge of the clearing, far from the village itself, Van Hielen found an isolated hut. He heard shouts of anger and the sound of blows from inside. Suddenly a nine-year-old boy ran out the door. He was followed by a woman who was beating him with a peice of wood. Van Hielen liked children and stepped between the woman and the child. In the Native tongue, he asked the woman why the boy deserved such a beating.

"Done?" cried the woman. "Why, he has done nothing. That's why I beat him, the lazy lout. Not a stroke of work will he do. His sister is just as bad. Ah!" she broke off. "There's the wretched child now. She too will get what she deserves."

With that the woman lunged for the thin girl of about ten who had come running from the forest at the sound of her brother's cries. Van Hielen was so upset at the children's beatings that he offered the woman money if she would let them alone. She took the money greedily and disappeared into the hut with a glare at the children.

"Poor things!" The trader said, "How can a mother be so cruel to her own children?"

"Oh, but sir," exclaimed the little girl, "she is not our mother. She only makes us be her servants. You are kind, but do not trouble yourself. My name is Yaranka. My brother and I are the true children of the Forest Spirit, and she will help us to our revenge. We have suffered enough from that woman. We will get help from our true mother tonight in the Secret Place." With this speech, the two children made for the forest, leaving Van Hielen somewhat bewildered.

Keeping to the shadows, for the moon was bright, Van Hielen hid himself near the hut. He heard the woman snoring, and not long after he saw two small shadows creep from the doorway and enter the forest. Van Hielen followed them, thankful that his many years in the country had taught him how to move silently through the jungle at night. Even so, he nearly lost sight of the two children many times. They seemed to slip through the tangle of vines and bushes like elves.

After some time they came to a small clearing where a waterfall plunged into a pool in a shower of silver. In the center of the pool grew a single large, white water lily. Yaranka and her brother knelt down by the edge of the water and began to chant in an unfamiliar language. Then the children picked flowers from the bank and tossed them into the water.

The motion of the tossed flowers made the trader dizzy. Everything seemed to be spinning, and the rush of the waterfall was joined by the rush of a strange dark wind. Out of the earth a vast figure reared itself, shapeless and towering. Then, in a mere flick of time, the figure vanished, the sickening motion in the clearing stopped, and all was as it had been before. Except that where the two children had stood, there now stood a pair of large jaguars. They were so close to Van Hielen that he could count the spots on the sleek heads and even the whiskers of the snarling lips.

Van Hielen was a brave man, but he knew he had no chance against two such ferocious hunters at such close range. He saw the two pairs of green eyes gleam as the beasts scented him. Suddenly one jaguar checked its leap and shouldered the other one aside. The two furred bodies rushed past him on the narrow trail, so near that he could feel their breath. Then they were gone. Shaken, Van Hielen pulled himself together and made his way back toward the village. He arrived at the clearing just as dawn broke . Everything appeared as usual - except for the woman's hut, which had paw prints leading into the doorway. From within the hut came the most horrible sound he had ever heard. It was a soft *crunch*, *crunch*, *crunch*, as that of a large animal (or animals?) gnawing on bones.

Certain that the woman would no longer beat the children, Van Hielen left without a backward glance.

Domestic and wild cats represent magic, mystery, and independence. In Scandinavian lore, the domestic cat was associated with the Goddess of fertility, Freyja. In the Hindu tradition Shasthi, the Goddess of childbirth, is depicted riding a upon a domestic cat. And the Egyptian Goddess Bast (or Bastet), patron of cats, was most often presented in Werecat form. The Egyptians worshipped the cat perhaps more than almost any other culture. The cat was thought to be sacred to the goddess Isis, thus when Isis and her husband, the sun god Osiris, had a daughter the cat- goddess Bastet (Bast or Pasht) emerged. Originally Bastet was lion-headed, like the goddesses Tefnut of Heliopolis and Sekhmet of Memphis with whom she is often confused. Although it was in her later cat-headed form that Bastet became so immensely popular, she never ceased to be worshipped as a lion-headed deity. Bastet personified the life-giving warmth of the sun which encouraged the growth of vegetation. Because of this as well as being associated with Isis (as Mother Nature) Bastet was often worshipped as a fertility goddess. Tefnut, the lion-headed goddess of the Old Kingdom who was known as the "Ethiopian Cat" personified the cruel, searing heat of the equatorial sun, perhaps because the cat is seen as cruel in many cultures. No one can doubt the cats ferocity, and the Egyptians coveted that as well. Thus Sekhmet, "the Great Cat", which was twin sister to Bastet, "the Little Cat" was very a ferocious and warlike goddess that emitted flames against the enemies of the gods, for her aspect was the fierce destructive heat of the desert sun. When people wanted a fierce goddess to protect them they called on Sekhmet; and when in need of gentler and more personal help, they turned to Bastet. A text referring to the solar goddess runs: "Kindly is she as Bast, terrible is she as Sekhmet." The Egyptian Trinity was known by the composite name of Sekhmet-Bast-Ra.

The lion was a symbol for the sun-God Mithra. The Egyptians believed the lion presided over the annual floods of the Nile. Early Christians believed it to be the earthly opponent of the eagle. The midieval alchemists associated th lion with the fixed element of sulphur, and a young lion was often the symbol of the rising sun and all that is implied by it.

In the Scandinavian and Norse traditions, the lynx was sacred to the Goddess Freyja, and her chariot was sometimes depicted as being drawn by a lynx. The Greeks believed the lynx could see through solid objects. In fact, it was names for Lynceus, a mythological character who could also do this. In 1603 Italian scholars formed the Academy of Lynxes, dedicated to the search for truth and the fight against superstition. Galileo was a member, and its symbol was that of a lynx tearing Cerberus with its claws.The implication was that knowledge would end darkness and suffering. The panther has been associated with Jesus. In the *Abodazara* (early Jewish commentaries on the scriptures), it is listed as a surname for the family of Joseph. It tells how a man was healed "in the name of Jesus ben Panther". The panther was also associated with the Greek God of wine, Dionysus. One story tells how Dionysus was nursed by panthers, and he is sometimes depicted riding a chariot drawn by them. To the Natives of North and South America, the jaguar - especially in the form of a black panther - was endowed with great magic and power. It was seen as a symbol for mastery over all dimensions.To the Tucano Indians of the Amazon, the roar of the jaguar was the roar of thunder. The black panther was seen as To the Arawak, becoming the man-jaguar was the ultimate shapeshifting ritual. The Olmecs created monuments to the jaguar, and the Aztecs and Mayans spoke and taught about the power in becoming half-human, half- jaguar. Even in Egyptian rituals, a panther tail was worn about the waist or knotted about the neck to help protect and strengthen. It was used in a process called "passage through the skin" - their own version of shapeshifting to engender themselves with the panther's power.

In Central Asia there arose a belief that the snow leopard does not eat the flesh of its victims, but sucks their blood. This belief probably stemmed from the puncture marks left when the snow leopard suffocates its prey. Another story is that of Milarepa, Tibet's poet-saint, who was stranded for six months in the Great Cave of Conquering Demons. When his followers went to find him, they found he had been transformed into a snow leopard.

In Korea, the tiger is the king of beasts. In the Hindu tradition, the tiger is sacred to Kali, the Goddess of creation and dissolution, sexuality and death. In Greece it was connected to Dionysus, God of wine. In China, the tiger is both a symbol of darkness and the new moon, as well as brightness and the full moon. There are five mystic tigers in Chinese lore. The red tiger is a symbol of the south, summer, and fire. The black tiger is a symbol of the north, winter, and water. The blue tiger is a symbol of the east, spring, and vegetation. The white tiger is a symbol of the west, autumn, and all metals. The yellow tiger is supreme among all five; it is the ruler of Earth and all energies upon it.

These represent just a few of the "breeds" currently involved in the Cyberpack. To those whose breeds weren't included, I humbly apologize. I couldn't find any stories or lore regarding them!

Part 2: Are you a Werecat?
----------------------------

Discovering one's feline nature is an individual and deeply personal thing. Often Werecats exhibit a "loner" attitude, and feel uncomfortable in groups. Werecats tend to value freedom above all else, the freedom to come and go as they choose, the freedom to be able to think and express ideas without anyone peering over their shoulder. Some Werecats are social and Pack-oriented, just like a lion or a beloved family cat.

In the days of the Inquisition, women with "supernumary nipples" (more than two nipples, marked my faint dimples or freckles under the breasts) where accused of shapeshifting into large cats and feeding their familiars from their supernumary nipples. Men who acted particularly feminine or women who were assertive were termed "catty".

Some Werecats are vain in their appearance and "preen" themselves, taking great care in their hygeine and style. Other Werecats are too wild to care for fashion and formalities.

Werecats exude a sexuality and sensuality about them, primarily derived from the sleek, graceful nature of the cat itself. While not all Werecats should or do feel this way, many are rather amorous and occasionally lecherous or teasing.

Cats are regarded for psychic and channeling capabilities, and this applies to Werecats as well. Werecats usually are empathic, and see things that others may not. Sometimes Werecats can astral travel more easily than others. A Werecats eyes are often important in seeing auras, or the kinetic impression of moods. This makes it difficult to hide intentions from a Werecat, and often (sadly) leads to the other person fearing and avoiding them.

The biggest misconception is that Werecats are too selfish and aloof to run with a Pack. This is silly, as Werecats are part human and humans need companionship.

As a fun aside, here is a list depicting 20 ways to know you're a Werecat:

1.) You panic when your mom talks about spaying or neutering the house cat
2.) When you walk by a sandbox, you have the urge to relieve yourself
3.) When you hear a catfight in the neighborhood, you puff up twice as big
4.) At the zoo all of the big cats sit still and stare at you...
5.) You can't get from your car to the front door without the neighbor's dogs chasing you
6.) You feel more comfortable sleeping in tree limbs than in a bed
7.) You would rather lick yourself from head to toe than take a shower
8.) When Spring rolls around you can't stop peeing on furniture and caterwauling
9.) Mice suddenly seem like a tempting gourmet
10.) The "Meow Mix" theme song suddenly makes sense
11.) You shed everywhere
12.) During Spring the neighborhood cats won't leave you alone
13.) You get chased up trees a lot
14.) The dogs that chase you see you shiftshape and retreat, yipping, holding their tails between their legs
15.) You've been sharpening your claws on the furniture
16.) People in the neighborhood are disappearing and you wake every morning with the window open and 
blood on your hands (just a joke!)
17.) You have an uncontrollable urge to sashay as you walk
18.) You lament at the lack of Werecat films and books
19.) Being "catty" takes on a whole new meaning
20.) Mouse - mmmm, tastes like chicken!

The Nahual
Lobocursor Lyceus (Gerardo Rubio) - AHWW packmember
* Comments, howls, fleas and more to:
[ webman@indiana.acatlan.unam.mx and webman@apolo.acatlan.unam.mx ]

NOTE: The english in this mini-FAQ has been corrected with the permission of the author, who is not a native english speaker. Any errors are probably my own.

The Nahual: The mexican werecreature

Ocultist theories about the origin of human race said that men must have evolved across different animal, vegetable and mineral forms before reach the actual state.

This is a primitive from to explain the werecreature origin.

Mexico is known for their shamans, wizards and "curanderos" (tribal doctors), sometimes called Nahuales o Naguales. All cities and towns in Mexico have at least a Nahual.

The aztec voice for Nahual is "Nahualli" that means "lo que es mi vestidura o piel" (Something that is my cloth or skin). And it refers to the abilty of the Nahual to morph himself into a werecreature (wolf, jaguar, lynx, bull, eagle, coyote, ...) That voice also refers nigromancy, secret and mailce.

Before the rise of the great Perhispanic civilizations like aztec and mayan, The yakis, tarahumaras and seris indians, who lived in the North of Mexico and South of US, around 900 A.C. had Nahuales. These civilizations were sited in part of the US states of California, New Mexico and Texas, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Baja California, Sonora and Sinaloa. They belived that if a man can know his primitive spirit or Nahual, he can use it to cure the people and practice magic. Many primitive drawings in old caves show people like werewolves.

In the aztec empire the Nahuales are protected for Tezcatllipoca: The aztec god of the war and sacrificie. The legend said that a Nahual can put away his skin and transforma into a werecreature. Many aztec and colonial hunters said that in the night they killed an animal and the next day it turned into a man.

"The Nahual only can morph in the nigth and he attack our babies with hellish spells" - said the people since the Colonial Time (1500-1800 A.C.). The Santa Inquisition (the catholic tribunal that punished jews, witches, and the generally non-catholic) hunted Nahuales for many years. But people beleive in their power and sometimes protect them, especially in the indian towns.

In modern days Carlos Castanneda, an Southamerican anthropologist that study the Nahuales, published many books about they since 1960: Las ensennanzas de Don Juan (The teaching of Don Juan), Una realidad aparente (An apparent reallity) and Viaje a Ixtlan (Voyage to Ixtlan). But nobody has confirmed Don Juan's existance; many people say that he is only a fraud.

He only knows a part of the secret rituals and herbs to morph into a werecreature, and the forms of how to know our inner Nahual. The books are very confused and have less info than the publicity shows. A Nahual have many spirits that protect him like the Native American indians. Basically all rites are more or less the same in all American civilizations.

Today many people especially in the rural parts of Mexico believe in Nahuales, the topic was gaining interest from 1982, because the American geneticist Frank Greenberg of the Baylor College of Medicine discovers a Mexican family with a disease that show them as werewolves: their bodies have covered with hair like the classic werewolf film of Hollywood "The Wolfman" (1945).

That family was segregated from Mexican society, they were forced to hide in thier home in Loreto's town, and can only obtain work in the circus.

The legend of nahuals have dark parts hidden on the past, on the mexican magic cosmology. Maybe the truths about this topic will shown, but, until that moment all is possible.


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