When the earth was young, the very air was charged with the magic of creation. When man arrived on the scene many humans had the ability to harness the residual magic of that creation. Spells, curses and enchantments were common.
So it was that the first shapeshifters came into being. Man needed meat and so he emulated the predators he saw around him – wolves, bears, jaguars, tigers and other beasts renowned for their strength and skills at the hunt. Some wanted to be more like the animals they copied and turned to shamans to help them actually become the beasts.
As the world moved on, the magic of creation faded and dimmed. Fewer humans were able to call upon the magic, and the power they were able to summon grew less with each generation.
Man evolved, adapted, created tools that allowed him to hunt and kill more easily. He learned to farm, tilling the land and breeding domestic animals for food. The magic lessened.
In some areas, the magic lingered and was stronger. It likely was no accident that these same areas were also where humans continued to live as they had since the beginning of their existence.
And so it was toward the end of what is now known as pre-history that a Germanic tribe of nomadic warriors fell upon a village and slaughtered all they found. They took the meat – both animal and human – back to their own camp and feasted on it as they danced about a roaring fire.
But there was one woman they had failed to kill. She was the village witch and the old magic was still strong with her. She found the cannibals where they were eating the flesh of her neighbors and she called down a curse on the tribe, turning them into the wolves and bears they emulated by wearing their skins.
This is the origin of the shapeshifters known as the Pack.
The Old Ones of the Pack — those first cursed — were unable to change back to their human shape. But their victims – the ones who lived – found that once every month after they were attacked they also changed into the shape of the animal that wounded them. Those bitten by an Old One came to be known as the First Generation.
The First Generation of the Pack marked themselves with the Othala rune, a rune of kinship and inheritance. When they created new werebeasts and tutored a pupil in the ways of shapeshifting and being part of the Pack, they branded their progeny with the rune as a sign to others, saying that this member was given the Gift properly.
The Pack became scattered and hunted by those they once harassed. They dispersed over Europe, into Asia and Africa. The curse placed on the Old Ones made them immortal, damning them to be reviled and hunted forever unless they are beheaded, wounded by silver, or ingest wolfsbane. Those of the First Generation and beyond were granted lifespans many times longer than ordinary humans.
Those cannibals who were turned into bears seemed to regret their actions as the years and decades wore on. Many sought death. Others retreated to the deep forests and accepted their lives as beasts.
But those who became wolves were less likely to have regret. They were less likely to choose death or to retreat. Instead, they sought to propagate their species and would often attack humans with the sole intent of inflicting a non-fatal wound so that the person could then become a member of the Pack.
This became a particular problem in France during the 16th and 17th centuries. Werewolf attacks soared. New initiates were brought to trial and often executed before they fully understood the extent of their powers.
Realizing the werewolf hysteria was exposing them and that the new initiates were, under torture, revealing secrets of the Pack, powerful members of the Pack began seeking out and punishing those who acted in ways that endangered all shapeshifters.
For the most part, the werewolf hysteria subsided. The rulers of humans increasingly came from cities where belief in such things as shapeshifters was ridiculed as peasant superstition. This was good for the Pack.
There were other shapeshifters prior to that Germanic tribe that came to be the founders of the Pack. Over time, however, the variety of shapeshifters diminished. While there are still isolated territories occupied by were-tigers, were-leopards or other shapeshifters, usually of feline persuasion, the most common is the werewolf.
For the most part, those lycanthropes created before the Old Ones have either died, been killed or joined the Pack, though a few rogues do surface from time to time. In those situations, a powerful member of the Pack will generally find the rogue and dispose of him or her before undue human attention is attracted.
With the exception of a few remote, isolated pockets, belief in werebeasts has almost vanished. Lycanthropy is treated as a mental disorder. This is good for the Pack.
Shapeshifters and Selfish Genes: The Significance of the Mother of the Pack
By Sagi Goldsmith, Ph.D.
For centuries shapeshifters have lived their lives based on the belief that they suffer a curse, that some ancient witch or tribal shaman or some such is responsible for the ability of our kind to change shape. In this brief treatise I will argue that shapeshifting is not a curse brought on man, but that man is simply a vehicle shaped by a controlling micro-organism and that the ability to shift from man to wolf or bear or tiger is not an act of the vehicle’s individual will, but the result of a concerted effort of the controlling organisms.
Readers of Richard Dawkins will be familiar with the concept of the “selfish gene.” Dawkins argues – and I concur – that the living things we know – humans, animals, plants, etc. – are merely genetic vehicles. Our genes control what we are, forming us into shapes we define as species. However, our genes have chosen the shape we hold for some reason; they have determined that particular shape best suits their need. That need, of course, is survival.
It is my belief that at some point the genes of various animals and humans were exchanged, probably through the bite of said animal. The genes making up the human immediately recognized the assets of the invading genes and, rather than rejecting them through antibodies, assimilated the invaders. The new genetic material has been in a state of rebellion since that time. The human genetics have remained dominant, but at a set period the invaders successfully overcome their oppressors and reshape the vehicle to their own previous design.
The significance of the so-called Mother of the Pack has no supernatural bearing. She will not become – or is not, assuming rumors of her discovery are true – some magical shaman who will lift the “curse” or set shapeshifters up as a dominant species. This Mother will simply be a female that has reached a new level of cooperation between her previously warring selfish genes. In her form they will have found compromise and will regain the genetic drive to reproduce using a more natural method.
Any war resulting from the coming of this female is only the will of the selfish genes looking out for their own survival. We – you, the reader, as well as I, the author – are simply vessels these genes use for various tasks, the same way we use cars, hammers or forks and spoons. The only reason to express interest (I dare not say excitement) in the discovery of this woman is because we get to witness our unusual species take a step forward on the evolutionary ladder.
Werewolves and Gaia’s Will
By Cerdwyn Imogen
The ability to change shape is not a curse. It is a gift bestowed upon privileged humans by Mother Gaia. In her divine wisdom she has chosen members of the human race and given them the secret knowledge that lets them experience life as a certain animal … wolf, bear, jaguar, snake, etc. Her purpose in doing this is to remind us how precious the Earth is, and how fragile the environment she has given us to live in.
There has been a lot of talk about the coming of the Mother of the Pack. The Pack, of course, is not just werewolves. The Pack is all shapeshifters, all of Gaia’s chosen children. We are, after all, one community. The Mother will be fertile, like Mother Gaia herself, and will give birth not to one Alpha, but to many children. The Mother will lead us. The Mother’s purpose is two-fold.
The Mother of the Pack’s first duty is to the Creator Goddess, Mother Gaia. The Mother of the Pack, or the Alpha Female, will be anointed as the high priestess of Gaia’s church. She will overthrow the warmongering patriarchal religions and show humans how to regain a oneness with Nature. Like birth, it will be a painful, bloody return to the true faith, but it is necessary, and long overdue.
Secondly, the Alpha Female will be responsible for producing a new hierarchy of shapeshifters dedicated to carrying out the will of Mother Gaia. Once the patriarchal religions are cast aside, the Alpha Female must breed relentlessly to produce offspring blessed with Mother Gaia’s special knowledge.
If it is true that the Alpha Female has been found, it is vital that she come to us. Some of Mother Gaia’s children, such as Ulrik and Fenris, are warmongerers on the same level as common men and they will try to turn her against us, against Mother Gaia, and use her to further their own patriarchal ambitions. There is a reason we have not been waiting on a Father of the Pack. Gaia promised us a Mother because the womb is sacred. Only a female can propagate the species without the act of violence we have relied on since Nadia passed on Mother Gaia’s gift. The Alpha Female must be found – or rescued – and brought to a place and surrounded by people who will educate her to her true calling.