Wolf Symbolism and Meanings (Guardianship & Independence)

The main symbolism of wolves is guardianship because a wolf spirit animal looks out for you from a distance. But it also symbolizes intelligence, instinct, loyalty, and appetite.

Seeing a wolf in your garden or envisaging a wolf in your dreams is said to be a sign from the universe. It might be telling you to re-double your efforts to be loyal or trust your instincts, among other meanings explored below.

As a spirit animal, the wolf can provide you with some guidance when it comes to your personal freedom. People who have the wolf spirit animal are often strong and independent spirits.

Wolf Symbolism

This article is from our A-Z series on Animal Symbolism.


What do Wolves Symbolize?

Wolves can symbolize a range of things. Below are some potential interpretations.

1. Guardianship

Guardianship is one of the most important spiritual meaning that the wolf gives us. The wolf is a guardian and protector.

Wolves are heavily dependent on their families but also on their packs. Young wolves will always look to their parents for protection, and the male wolf has to protect its own pack.

They live and hunt in packs of up to 10 wolves, and they’ll cover up to 12 miles per day when they’re in a pack. It allows them to stay safe against any potential threats they might encounter on the way.

Another way we can interpret their meaning of guardianship is how ferociously they’re prepared to defend their territory. They’re very territorial, and will not easily give up ground, even if they’re threatened.

If a wolf is your spirit animal, he will look out for you, and also give you the strength of being a caring leader. If you dream of a wolf, it may be because he’s looking over you and protecting you as you sleep.

2. Freedom and Independence

Occasionally, wolves will steer away from the pack and wander out on their own. This led to the term we know today as “the lone wolf”.

Go Deeper: Lone Wolf Symbolism

Lone wolf is a term that’s often used to describe a lonesome person, or someone who prefers to do things alone.

Wolves are symbolic of freedom and independence because they are capable of roaming off on their own. Even though they have their own territories, they like to wander around.

Small packs of wolves might travel several miles per day, even up to 20 miles. Because of that, they represent freedom and they’re willing to fight for this freedom, too.

People who dream of a wolf are often going through a time in their life where they want independence and adventure. The wolf comes to you because it is beckoning you to claim your independence.

Related Article: White Wolf Spiritual Meaning and Symbolism

3. Instinct

Wolves rely on their instincts often, as they have developed strong senses in order to both find prey and locate danger. As spirit animals, they tell you to trust your instincts.

A dream about a wolf may be a sign that you should embrace your instincts. This dream might come about at a time in your life when you’re feeling uncertain or at a fork in the road. The wolf could be telling you to trust your gut.

Similarly, a person who embraces the wolf as their spirit animal may have strong instincts. Trust yourself and follow your intuition in tough situations. The wolf will guide you.

4. Loyalty

Wolves are loyal creatures. They are excellent pack animals. They don’t forget where they come from, and they will always stand by their companions no matter how hard things get.

A dream about a wolf might be a reminder that you need to stay loyal to the people around you. If you’ve recently been disloyal, the wolf may be coming to you to put you back on the right path.

If the wolf is acting suspicious or threatening, though, it could be a sign that there is disloyalty around you. It’s acting strange because it is betraying its nature.

If a wolf has chosen to be your spirit animal, he will help you to remain loyal while also remaining loyal to you throughout your life.

5. Ferocity

Wolves are some of the most ferocious creatures in nature. Many people have heard tales told by their ancestors of wolf attacks, and these tales still haunt many of us today.

You probably won’t encounter a wolf in nature because it will do everything it can to avoid you. But in case that happens, it can be an unpleasant meeting for you. A wolf attack is lethal for almost any species it attacks, including cows, goats, and other types of cattle farmers own.

But it is this ferocious nature that earns them respect in their natural habitat. They’re considered as a strong species so they don’t have many challengers for their territory.

People with wolf spirit animals are often ferocious when they get angry, especially when it’s a righteous anger in defense of people they are loyal to.

6. Appetite

Wolves are known to be able to survive in rough conditions and without food. But when there’s an abundance of food, they won’t waste their time before they get it.

They’ll eat most types of meat as they’re one of the deadliest carnivorous animals on the planet. For instance, only in Germany, there were more than 500 wolf attacks on livestock in 2017 alone, and the numbers are rising each year.

This is an interesting symbol. In a dream, it may mean that you have a strong sense of determination or ‘appetite’ for goals that you want to achieve.

7. Greed

This is a more negative symbol of wolves. Many people affected by wolf attacks, especially farmers, see them as greedy animals.

Perhaps that mentality is sometimes justified, especially when there are other sources of food around wolves other than livestock. In some cases though, wolves will do that out of need.

A wolf in a dream could therefore symbolize the idea that you are being greedy. The sighting may be a sign that you need to control that greed before it forces you into doing something you don’t really want to do.

8. Fear

As much as these animals can be an inspiration to us in some ways, they’re a big source of fear for many around the world.

Whether it’s because of their experiences with them, or simply because of how wolves are often depicted in our culture, the fear is there.

If you have a nightmare about a wolf, chances are that it’s because you’ve got heightened fear in your life right now. Mediate on ways you can work through your fear by removing things from your life that scare you and by developing more personal resilience and strength.

Native American Wolf Symbolism

Native Americans have very strong relationships with wolves. In fact, many Native American stories tell of how the wolves are their ancestors. In the past, men were turned into wolves. Many Native Americans therefore feel a duty to care for the wolves in the environment.

The wolf is the clan animal for many Native American clans. For example, the Cherokee Wolf Clan name is Aniwahya. It is also the tribal animal of the Munsee Delaware, Mohegans, and Skidi Pawnee. Tribes like the Shawnee also have a ceremonial Wolf Dance.

Overall, Native Americans see wolves as ancestors who are to be cared for and respected. They are strong, courageous guardians who have healing powers and can help with a successful hunt.

For more on Native American wolf symbolism, see here.

Wolf Spirit Animal Meanings

The wolf as a spirit animal can stand by your side and bring you the following traits when you most need them.

Spirit Animal StrengthExplanation
1. InstinctThe wolf spirit animal teaches you to trust your instincts. This might help you become more spontaneous in some decisions where you tend to overthink some situations.
2. ConfidenceIt encourages you to stay confident even when you feel threatened. Wolves are perceived as ferocious animals although in truth, they tend to avoid conflict, especially when they feel like they are up against it. Instead, they know their power and strengths and they use them wisely, and when they do, they do it confidently.
3. IndependenceThe wolf spirit animal will give you independence and a desire for personal freedom. You will be able to look out for yourself through any situation, and you may develop a strong desire to travel.

Wolf Totem Animal Meanings

If you’re someone with the wolf totem animal, then you have a strong connection with nature, and you crave for freedom in your life.

You also have very strong instincts and you respect them. You are protective to your friends and family, and especially to people that are close to you. Although sometimes, it feels great to get away and be independent and free.

You want balance in your life between having too much social connections and feeling free. That’s where the wolf totem animal can come to rescue in your situation.

Wolf Dreams Meanings

Dreaming about a wolf can have a wide range of meanings. It’s hard to know the exact meaning because dreams are highly subjective.

The best way to interpret a dream is to journal and meditate on the dream. Think about which messages you need in your life right now (not necessarily the ones you want, but the ones you need). Only you can say which meaning is right for you.

Below are some potential wolf dream meanings.

  • A wolf on a rock or howling at the moon often means that you have a strong desire for independence and to set out on your own adventure.
  • Being attacked by a wolf in a dream might mean that a person you care for may be betraying you or being too greedy.
  • Seeing a pack of wolves in a dream might mean that you should connect with the people that are close to you more and embrace them as they.
  • A wolf staring down at you is caring for you and making sure you’re safe and protected while you sleep.



The wolf is one of the most fierce animals in nature. Many people fear them because of the many depictions of wolves as these ferocious animals that attack us. However, wolf symbolism can have some important meanings to you, and you can also count on the wolf spirit animal to help you out in need.

The wolf is a strong spirit animal. Wolf symbolism carries some important meanings that can change your life – they represent the qualities of guardianship, freedom, instinct, and loyalty. It also has some negative meanings, such as greed and ferocity. Overall, the wolf spirit animal helps you connect to your intuitions and connect with the people close to you more.