Werewolves and Were Bears

Superstition or Ancient Religion?


Werewolves in Holywood

Holywood loves sensation. And the werewolf beliefs of the late Middle Ages are sensational. That is why many horror films have been made in which the werewolf plays an unsavory role. With this the film producers dishonor the faith of the Germanic people. Werewolves are actually shamans, medicine people, priests of Óðinn.

According to superstition, a werewolf is a human who changes into a wolf at full moon. You would become a werewolf if you were bitten by another werewolf. In this superstition, an ancient religion is connected with primitive science. What is the truth?




In the late Middle Ages, wolves contracted rabies. Healthy wolves avoid humans. Only in extremely severe winters does it sometimes happen that a pack of starving wolves attacks a human. Normally that doesn't happen. But when wolves get rabid, they become extremely aggressive. They bite at anything that comes near them. And if you are bitten by a rabid wolf, you will become rabid yourself. Over time, your body begins to cramp and jerk. You can no longer swallow and you refuse to drink, even if you are very thirsty. Then you get fits of rage. You will eventually become paralyzed and die. If a rabid patient bites a doctor, priest, or nurse, they also become infected.


Today, rabies is curable, but in the late Middle Ages it was a terrible disease. Imagine a medieval superstitious priest. According to his view, the patient is simply possessed by a devil. Just sprinkle with holy water and the devil is banished. But instead of dissolving in a cloud of smoke, the patient bites the priest. And then the priest gets rabid too. Despite his 'divine protection'. There must be a very strong demonic force involved.

In the late Middle Ages, the Catholic Church conquered the last pagans. Shortly after their total seizure of power, witch burnings began. But they couldn't do anything against rabies (or the plague). Therefore, people began to believe in a mighty demonic force.

Remnants of the old pagan faith were still remembered. And the old native Europeans knew about werewolves and were-bears. Now they were bitten by a wolf and they became rabid. It was then that people began to confuse rabid wolves with werewolves. Thus arose the superstition that you became a werewolf after being bitten by another werewolf. Since there were no rabid bears, the werebears were forgotten.


The Úlfheðnár


Ulf means wolf, hedh means skin and nar means 'dead person' (a person that is death for the family), initiate. The old Norse Úlfheðnár can be translated as: initiate with the wolf skin. In English they called these people: werewolves. Were means man or human.

The Úlfheðnár were members of a secret bond: the bond of wolves. The members were priests of Óðinn. Óðinn is the god of the sky. He has one flaming eye: the sun. He is also the god of runes and magic, and the god of warriors and death. In continental Europe he was called Woden, Wodan or Vodanes.


The nar: cultic dead or fool:

The old native Europeans lived in a tribe. But some people didn't feel at home in the tribe. Then they became members of a secret bond. During their initiations they passed through the realm of the dead. They were dead to their tribe and family. That's why they called them nar. The Icelandic word 'nár' got the meaning of corpse. But in the old days, it was about someone who was dead to his family and tribe. The Dutch word 'nar' refers to a jester. The word 'hofnar' can be translated as 'royal jester'. He was a person at court without social status who could mock and criticize the noble men and women and even the king and queen.

If you wanted to leave your tribe, there were several options. As a woman you could devote yourself to Hal, the goddess of death. Then you belonged to the Haljaruenos. Or you devoted yourself to Freya. Then you became a Völva. Or you devoted yourself to Jörd-Nerthus. Then you became a priestess of Mother Earth. As a man you could devote yourself to Óðinn (Wodan), Thór (Donar) or Baldr. The priests of Óðinn became werewolves, the priests of Baldr werebears, and the priests of Thór were Buckriders. If you were gay or androgynous, you could become a priest of Freyr.


Transsexuality also occurred among the Germanic people. You are transsexual if you have male sex organs and you feel like a woman, or if you have female sex organs and you feel like a man. The old native Europeans did not have a problem with this. If a woman wanted to become a werewolf or a werebear, and she was suitable, she was given the same opportunities. The same was true for men who wanted to become priestess. On Iceland they made some prohibitions about cross-dressing. At some point it was not allowed for a man to dress like a woman or fro a woman to dress like a man. The fact that they made this kind of prohibitions should be considered as evidence, that this did happen in pagan times.




If you wanted to become a priest of Óðinn, you went to a kennari. 'Ken' comes from kenna. Ken-nar means: initiate and master in the secret knowledge. You can compare him to the druid among the Celts. When he took you on as an apprentice, you were initiated into magic, martial arts and runes. Rune means secret.

You were initiated after a long period as an apprentice. Naked and painted black, you went into the forest with a spear to hunt for a wolf. If you killed a wolf, you roasted the heart and ate it. You took the teeth and the skin back with you. These were used in shamanic rituals.

If you couldn't find a wolf, you were out of luck. This was regarded as a sign (omen) of rejection by Óðinn.


After killing the wolf, you got a magical potion. This put you in a deep trance. Then you were put in a leather bag and hanged in a tree in a clearing in the forest. You stayed in that tree for nine days and nine nights. In these nine days you transformed into a werewolf: a man-wolf.


The initiation potion Óðrerir

The native Europeans knew a drink with which people could be initiated. Among the Hindus, such a drink is called Soma. With the ancient Persians it was made from the white Haoma. And the Germanic people called the drink Óðrerir. This translates to 'moves the mind'.


According to the myth, there was a dwarf who knew everything: Kvasir. This dwarf was killed by the dwarves Fjalar and Galar. His blood was collected in two kettles and a cauldron. The cauldron is called Óðrerir, and the kettles Són and Boðn. They mixed the blood with honey and saliva to make mead.

kvaða means: request, demand. Kvasir can be translated as: he who asks the oracle, he who demands insight. boð means: bid, offering, feast, commandment, message. And sónn means sound, special sacrifice. You could translate 'sónn' as: mantra, magical chant, chanted spell.

óðr means: madness, rapid violent movement, spirit power, ritual singing. Óðr is also used in the same way as prana in India and ga-llama in ancient Persia. And erendi means: mission, quest, issue, message, and the result of the mission. Óðr-erir can thus be translated as: quickly and violently carry out a mission and demand results.

When a priest wanted an answer to a question, he prepared Óðrerir. Kvasir (a plant) was killed and divided between a cauldron and two kettles. Kvasir was probably henbane, hemlock or mandrake. (The Dutch word for mandrake is 'al-ruin', which translates to 'all-runes', 'all secrets'.) The roots went into the large cauldron, the seeds or flowers into one kettle, and the leaves and stems into the other kettle. Then the roots were made into mead. Additives were made from the leaves and from the seeds or flowers.

Note. The leaves of Henbane contain the most active substances when the plant is in bloom. So collecting flowers and leaves goes well together. But by the time the plant bears seed, the leaves are virtually powerless.


When a priest of Óðinn wanted an answer to a question, he would isolate himself, put on his wolf skin and drink Óðrerir. As a result, he fell into a strong trance, in which he could send out his animal spirit (Hamr) as an animal. For example as a wolf, eagle, salmon or bear.

During such magical journeys, the priest comes into deep contact with his unconscious desires and complexes. That is why years of preparation are necessary to withstand such contact well. Without this preparation one will go crazy. And then one remains insane for the rest of life.

In order to accept and understand the answer to the question without prejudice, self-conquest and humility are necessary. Therefore, during the training to be a werewolf, your pride and self-importance will be broken. Then you learn to overcome yourself. Finally, you offer yourself to your Higher Self.


Three degrees

The bond of wolves had three grades: Skáld, Thulr, and Kennari. Before you became skáld, you were an apprentice. So there were actually four degrees. But an apprentice was not counted as a member of the bond of wolves.

You can compare these with the degrees: Bard, Ovates and Druid with the Celts. See Druid.




In the Middle Ages there was a similar degree system in the guilds, the trade unions of that time. When you entered puberty as a boy, you went to a master. This one taught you a trade. If you were motivated enough, the master took you on as an apprentice. For years you were less than that master's servant. You had fewer rights, less pay and you had to work harder. But at the end of your apprenticeship you became a journeyman. Then you could work independently and earn your living independently. As an apprentice you didn't have time for a relationship with a woman. And women weren't interested in apprentices because they weren't earning anything yet. So the moment you became a journeyman, you were a free journeyman. Such men were very desirable. They knew a trade and could support a woman. Moreover, they had hardly any obligations. Free journeyman had the women to choose, even if they were quite ugly. Most journeymen married quickly. It was considered strange if a 30-year-old journeyman was not yet married. Sometimes people were urged by the guild brothers to get married, in order to prevent social unrest (fear of sexual adventures with married women).

The Dutch word for 'journeyman' is 'gezel'. The old word for a young unmarried man was vrijgezel. This old word refers to late medieval times. When an apprentice became a 'gezel' he was free and excellent marriage material.

After working for years as a journeyman, some reached a very high standard in their work. Then they were recognized as masters by the other guild brothers. Then students could be hired and trained. These students could work for free, so that they earned more. As a result, the master could still live in reasonable wealth even at an advanced age.



The werebears were the priests of Baldr. In Old Norse they were called Bersekr. Baldr is the son of Óðinn in mythology. The werebears were a split from the werewolves.

An interesting page about Bersekrs.


To become a werebear, you first had to kill a bear, drink its warm blood and eat its heart. Then you got the heart of a bear. You took the skin and a claw for shamanic rituals.

After killing the bear you were put on the bear skin. You had to stand on the bearskin and not move or scream. Then you were pelted with stones, sticks and excrement by the Bersekrs. You had to let this come over you unmoved. If you passed, you got a piece of mistletoe the size of your thumb. By chewing this you went into a deep trance. Then you were wrapped in your bearskin and lowered into a burial mound. You stayed in the hill for nine days and nine nights. On the morning of the tenth day you were released from the burial mound and you were a werebear.

According to obscure sources the piece of mistletoe was kept under an altar stone for a few days. (Could be three or nine days.) Probably the mistletoe changed during that time. Maybe it fermented a bit, maybe chemicals in the mistletoe changed. Or perhaps a fungus grew on the mistletoe. If these sources are right, then the magical potency developed by keeping it under the right circumstances.

Disclaimer: I strongly advice AGAINST chewing mistletoe. It will probably kill you or cause massive damage to your liver.


The werewolves provided the religious education and magic. The werebears were the healers.




Among the farmers there was a strong cult devoted to Thor. Thor is the god of the goats. When he drives his chariot over the clouds, it thunders on earth. When he throws his battle hammer at the ice giants, we see lightning.

The priests of Thor were initiated in a great pit on a high hill. They were symbolically struck on the head with the battle hammer. A second blow brought you back to life.

The Dutch language has an ancient word moordkuil. Usually this is explained as a pit were robbers were killed. I do not believe that this is the right explanation. Robbers were hanged. The historical 'moordkuilen' in the Netherlands are elaborate pits. Much to much work for the execution of robbers. F.E. Farwerck states, that these pits were used for initiations. (F.E.Farwerck, Noordeuropese mysteriën en hun sporen tot heden, p. 364.)

The use of the word 'moordkuil' in Dutch is very rare. Usually it is only used in one saying: "Maak van je hart geen moordkuil'. The literal translation would be: "Do not make a murder-pit from your heart", but that would be nonsense in English. A better translation would be: "Do not make a vault with secrets of your heart", "Speak out about what is bothering you". So this very ancient Dutch saying uses the word 'moordkuil' as a place with closely guarded secrets, a place were things were done which had to be kept secret. Like a place were people were initiated in a brotherhood or in a Masonry. And that is exactly what Farwerck stated.

I am not aware of any old texts that describe what was happening in such a 'moordkuil'. I believe that it was a place were an apprentice was initiated to become a journeyman. Perhaps the apprentice had to kneel down in the 'murder-pit' and then was knocked on the head with a hammer or club. Not very hard, there was no intention of killing or wounding the initiant. It was a symbolic knock. Then the initiant was knocked a second time and was resurrected. This ritual is similar to practices around Thór (Donar).

I have no clue how long the initiant stayed in the pit. Perhaps only a few minutes, perhaps days. Perhaps he was wrapped in cloth and covered with branches and then left for 24 hours or for several days. There are similar rites among spiritual groups, were one digs a hole in the earth and one stays in it for hours or much longer.

Imagine that you are the initiant. You have heard the word 'murder-pit' and you have heard, that the brotherhood will do some things with you. It will frighten you. Then you are taken up a hill and you have to take place in the murder-pit. Then the leader of the rite comes with as club or hammer and ... Such a rite will make a lasting impression.

Farwerck (Noordeuropese mysteriën en hun sporen tot heden) writes on page 427:

... One one of these feasts, the spring-feast, new journeymen were accepted. This is like the initiation of young men in the bond of warriors, which also happened in the spring. We do not have much literature about these initiation rites, but we can deduce that death and resurrection was an important part, as we see in initiation rites to this day. In several cases the acceptance as journeyman was done by submersion in water, which can be seen as death and rebirth. But there are also similar rites known. With the guilt of coopers the apprentice was put in the hide of an donkey or a horse and he came out of it as a journeyman. Sometime (in simplified form) the apprentice was put under a bench and re-appeared as a journeyman. The other journeymen would beat him like it was done with the Bersekrs. They said while doing that: "A boy crawls under, a journeyman appears." ...

Unfortunately Farwerck did not supply the source of this statement.

germ_source/farwerck_427_kl.jpg germ_source/farwerck_428_kl.jpg

When the farmers in Limburg (in the south of the Netherlands) ran into distress and were forced to work in the coal mines, a parody of the old faith in Thór revived. They called themselves Buckriders.


With Light and Love, Andreas Firewolf


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Edda means wit

When you put a 'V' before the word Edda, you get Vedda or Veda.

Vedda or Wedda is related to the Dutch word 'weten' and the Germand word 'wissen' (to know) and the English word 'Wit'

The Edda, the Rig Veda en the Zend Avesta have the same origin.

Where did Germanic peoples come from

According to DNA research of David Reich et al. the Germanic people came from Central Asia from the Yamnaya culture.

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How to navigate these websites


This website has a lot of pages and a lot of information. This page will give you information about how to navigate these websites.

Native European shamanism

The world tree Yggdrasil

There is no truth

Germanic tribes lived from about 3500 BC to 100 AD. Each tribe had its own myths and customs. And they changed over time.

So we can not say things like: "The Germanic people were like this and they believed that".

Edda means wit

When you put a 'V' before the word Edda, you get Vedda or Veda.

Vedda or Wedda is related to the Dutch word 'weten' and the Germand word 'wissen' (to know) and the English word 'Wit'

The Edda, the Rig Veda en the Zend Avesta have the same origin.

Where did Germanic peoples come from

According to DNA research of David Reich et al. the Germanic people came from Central Asia from the Yamnaya culture.

Hate against women

Did the old Germanic peoples hate or despise women?

In the Edda's and other old writings about the Germanic peoples and their mythology the women are almost completely ignored. Does this reflect the attitude of the old Germanic peoples or the attitude of the Christian writers?

Óðinn is not Óðinn

When authors use the label Óðinn, what are they referring to? Do different authors use the label Óðinn to refer to the same 'thing'?

I distinguish the following different meanings of Óðinn.

  1. Óðinn as father of all, as Anima Solaris.

  2. Óðinn as Hangatýr.

  3. Woden woody as deity of the woods.

  4. Óðinn as father of the fallen.

  5. Óðinn as a heroic person, a king, a sorcerer, a con-artist.


teacher, master


to know, recognize | to taste (food or drink) | to feel, perceive | to show, bear witness of | to teach one a thing, to make one do a thing


request, claim, demand


bid, offer | banquet, wedding feast | bidding, order, commandment | message




mind, feeling | song, poetry | mad, frantic | furious, vehement, eager


errand, message, mission, business | breath (ørendi)


noise | mocking, derision


year | plenty | name of a Rune | oar | first beginning | anciently, of yore | early




a heavy (swelling) wave, a roller | time, age | old cycle


there, at that place


who, which, what | am, is






was | to warn, caution | to give (one) a foreboding of | wares


sand | the sea shore



sea | seen


balcony | to chill, cool




jörð (the earth, Mother Earth)




never | at any time | not




gap, empty space | ;shouting, crying


deception | joking


but, and, if, when


grass, herbage, herb


each, every one | whosoever | nowhere | by no means, not at all


mighty, great



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