We Wolfsheads

A somewhat belated account, but the local Pagan Council held its first Camp some few weeks ago. The venue was the field attached to a lovely 15th century pub in Finningham, in deepest darkest Suffolk. A decent number of us gathered, some under canvas and some as day visitors. We entertained each other with talks and workshops on various subjects, and passed the evening with storytelling and song around the camp fire.
Some of the people attending inquired about the choice of name for the event - why Wolfshead? To some extent this choice was to reflect the various lupine traditions associated with our county - such as the wolf imprinted coins of the Iceni Magni, to the coming of King Wuffa and his foundation of the Wuffinga Dynasty which ruled until the death of Edmund in 869 (and the guarding of his severed head by a wolf), to the arrival of the Norman Vis-da-loup family in the Shotley peninsular. Some of us also wonder if the accounts of the Black Dogs of Suffolk are an adaptation of this lupine presence.
Another influence is the fact that pagans, since the dominance of Christianity, have been outsiders. The Anglo-Saxons referred to wanted criminals as wolfsheads - outsiders who might be hunted and imprisoned or destroyed for the continued security of polite society. As much as paganism has become more socially acceptable in recent years, in the eyes of many people we are a troublesome presence to be shunted to the margins. Equally, when one looks at the corruption and malice at the heart of polite society, perhaps the best place for us is far at the edge and pushing for change and improvement.
Wolves are held up by many tribal societies as exemplars of community and commitment to the collective good. Which makes for a good emblem for a burgeoning social gathering.

Plus there is my own obsessive lupophilia, of course.


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