Far from the menacing predator that has epitomised fear and danger for centuries, the Celtic wolf symbol refers to a benign creature that appears throughout Celtic mythology as a guide or helper. The Celtic stag god Cernunnos was accompanied by wolves, as shown on the famous Gundestrup cauldron. The Irish king Cormac was said to have been carried off as a baby by the wolves and raised together with the cubs, and the fact that certain Celtic tribes claimed to be descended from wolves shows how greatly the Celts respected this animal. The wolf, in fact, embodied the courage and combative spirit that was vital in battle, while a strong sense of loyalty and protection towards the pack and a well-structured and efficient social hierarchy represented an equally essential aspect of tribal life.
Similar to the wolf symbol is that of the hound. The legendary Irish warrior Cuchulainn was called the Hound of Ulster for his courage and steadfastness in battle. On a mystical level, hounds were believed to have the power to travel between worlds, and since they accompanied the divinities of healing springs they are also associated with healing.