I shall warn that if the dear reader relies on mysticism in the story, then it is in vain: bloody stories involving supernatural forces are not in it the main theme. After all, the belief in lycanthropy originated with our ancestors of beliefs about kinship and proximity of animals to people.
Native American myths tell that people and animals were first united, and differed only in the clothes. Embrace of the beast in the skin was considered temporary, so to speak, "outfit to the output", and at home - in a burrow or den - he could take it off, becoming a man. Cause and ceremonial costumes included animal skins and masks.
According S.A.Toporova, "the idea generally held on the occasion of lycanthropy usually by the animal, which in this country is the main object of veneration, presenting a particular danger to humans." If Europe is, most often, the wolf, the other regions - the tiger, jaguar, leopard, etc.
In the tradition of the Bushman woman turns into a lion and antelope hunts to feed a hungry man meat (about why he could not get food for the family, nothing). In the Chukchi and Chinese legends featured female fox. The presiding deity of the Ob Ugric had sons, who turned into a swan, who is a goose who hawk who pike. Mari goddess of the hearth Yurtava turn around a black cat, the gray hare.
Curiously, the ability to shape-shifting is often endowed with heroic ancestors of various tribes. The examples are not far to seek. Our epic hero Volga Svyatoslavich turn into a wolf, and even a falcon, and even an ant. The Saami Myandash-virgin became a deer, and her son, Myandash guy, too, had the same ability. And Vasilisa that ryadilas in frog skin? A Swan Princess? A Finist - Clear falcon? It must be noted that it is in this case, the most that neither is a positive character, and no evil is not seen in the conversion.
How is it that werewolves were submitted monsters? Such a belief has arisen from the fact that lycanthropy was necessarily attributed to witches, shamans and healers. Superstitions rusichej prescribed that they can to appear as wolves, dogs, horses, cats, pigs and foals. In the Ukrainian and Belarusian beliefs they appeared in the form of pigs, dogs, cats, magpies, toads, in Paraguay and Malay - in the form of tigers, Bushman - in the form of dragons. From here and stem fears of werewolves.
Maya Indians believed that a sorcerer, appears as a pet (dog, pig), is able to kill a human eye; Malay semangi believed in animal guise witches eat people, both living and dead, and along with the bones.
Herodotus reported on the testimony of the Greeks and Scythians relatively neuritis, acquires, by the way, on the Belarusian land, all of which were entirely magicians and a few days of the year became wolves. Belarusians themselves believed in special charmer, turn into a wolf, which neither kill nor impossible to catch.
But why do witches in different nations will certainly attributed lycanthropy? Yes, because it was believed that they understand the language of animals and birds, that is, related to them. That's turned over ancient ideas about the relationship of humans to animals, left only for special, vedmacheskoy category.
And on this basis at the time of the Dark Ages all suspected of witchcraft were sent to the stake. There was even a term - lycanthropy (in the so-called modern medicine form of insanity, in which the patient imagines himself transformed into animals, mainly wolves). Actually, here one can see the process of alienation of man from nature, the burning of age-old ideas about the world of human community with the other kingdoms.
Even ways to gain animal image gradually changed. If the first (according to the primitive notions of skin / skin as clothing) was enough rite in animal or bird or fish suit, then the procedure was to provide tumbling, hitting the ground, jumping over the pegs placed in a certain way.
And the area of transformation as the shift in emphasis from the veneration of the animal to the attribution to him of malice began to expand. There are views of the sorcerer, werewolf and other people can give a zoomorphic form. For example, among the Slavs (Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian) there was such a belief: a sorcerer, not invited to the wedding, newlyweds can turn (and even with all the guests) to the wolves. S?mi believed that witch-noiades capable of human to create a cat, and the Paraguayans found it possible to appeal to the will of people in witch otters.
Changing the world, changing views. People have forgotten the language of animals and birds, many of them wasted, leaving the old notions of kinship, littering and littering the land and waters of the earth, giving the nature of the different name - the environment. Do not find that sounds a bit arrogant? But if the memory of our ancestors back, people would refer to the animal world as a relation?