After the earthquake in Haiti many Haitians were forced to live outside. Among their challenges, many of the Haitians feared the lougarou, shape changing entities they believed roamed the night. Forced to live outdoors they needed to protect their children who slept vulnerable outside from the lougarou, Creole for ‘loup garou’, which is a French term for werewolf. Here is a quote from a story on NPR:
At night, the men stay up to keep watch on the camp. They look out for thieves and mythical, murderous creatures known in Creole as lougarou. – But their fear was so real. The folk tale is that these demons can change shapes — and that they kill children in the night. The lougarou have been part of Haitian mythology for ages, but the fear is greater now, perhaps because so many people are sleeping outside.
“Before sleeping at the night, I pray and I put my bible under the pillow of my children so that I can keep the lougarou, the fiends, away from them,” Joseph told me.
Another story about the Haitian lougarou:
‘Wolf-men’ lynched in Haiti’s ruins
It is amazing that anybody in the 21st century would still believe in literal “werewolves”. The Haitian lougarou is not strictly a werewolf, but a shapeshifting fiend that can take many animal forms. According to the beliefs these fiends prey on children, making them ill if not stealing them away outright.
Human predators are not a superstition. The werewolf, the loup garou, could easily be a metaphor for human criminality. The legend of the werewolf describes spiritual evil of the human kind when a man can become nearly a beast.
It is not commonly recognized, but if we look at the Tarot we can see a werewolf in the cards. Yes, there are werewolves in the Tarot! Where are they?
The werewolves are right there howling under the moon in the Moon Card of course. The Sun card and Moon card are twin cards that represent two sides of our psyche. The sun symbolizes our daylight conscious mind. Beneath the sun are two human twins. The moon symbolizes our nighttime subconscious mind with two canines, a dog and a wolf, baying at the moon. The twins and the wolves are the same beings representing two aspects of our psyche, the conscious and the subconscious. Man and wolf.
We are a combination of both the sun and moon; we need both. The sun alone is consciousness without intuition, without our connection to our inner self. The moon alone is a slave to our uncontrolled emotions, fears, and desires, resulting in unbalanced behavior. The tarot suggests we need a balance between the moon and the sun, our Ying and Yang.
I recall reading one of the defining differences between humans and apes is the intensity of our emotions. Apes are completely ruled by their emotions. Humanity is governed by our rational minds…most of the time. But beneath our intellect still exists our animal nature. Without balance it can emerge and we can become something like the wolfman.