Totem Animals

Page 43

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By CinnamonMoon

From Jamie Sams' & David Carson's "Medicine Cards" (Revised, Expanded Edition)

You are so noble,
Until the bitter end,
Your medicine is the teaching,
Of true and loyal friends.

All of the Southwest and Plains Indian tribes had Dogs. These noble animals would often give
warning signals of approaching danger. They helped in the hunt and were a great source of
warmth on long winter nights. Since the canine tribe has many breeds, early Indian Dogs were
usually half-wild. This wildness, however, never diverted the owners of their Dogs' innate
loyalty. Dog has been considered the servant of humanity throughout history. If a person carries
Dog medicine, he or she is usually serving others or humanity in some way. Here you will find
the charity worker, the philanthropist, the nurse, the counselor, the minister, and the soldier. Dog
was the servant-soldier that guarded the tribe's lodge from surprise attack. Dog is a medicine that
embodies the loving gentleness of best friend and the half-wild protector energy of territorial
imperative. Like Anubis, the jackal dog protector of Egypt, Dog is a guardian. Throughout
history, Dog has been the guardian of hell, as well as of ancient secrets, hidden treasures, and
babies ~ while mothers were cooking or in the fields. Dog honors its gifts and is loyal to the trust
placed in its care.

In examining Dog medicine, you might find that you have fond personal memories of owning
and loving Dog as a pet. The message that Dog is trying to give you is that you must delve
deeply into your sense of service to others. Canines are genuinely service-oriented animals, and
are devoted to their owners with a sense of loyalty that supersedes how they are treated. If Dog
has been yelled at or paddled, it still returns love to the person who was the source of its bad
treatment. This does not come from stupidity, but rather from a deep and compassionate
understanding of human shortcomings. It is if a tolerant spirit dwells in the heart of every canine
that asks only to be of service. You can also see Dogs that have had the loyalty beaten out of
them. They cower and cry at the slightest look of disapproval, but this is not their normal nature.
Some varieties of dog have even been trained against their nature to be brutal and vicious. Out of
a sense of service, these breeds have adopted the attack-oriented desires of their owners. They
carry an altered genetic memory of what service means if they are to be approved of by their

Dog medicine asks you to look at how readily your sense of loyalty is countermanded by your
need for approval. If you have pulled the Dog card, there are several questions you need to
consider, depending on the situation about which you are asking.
1) Have I recently forgotten that I owe my allegiance to my personal truth in life?
2) Is it possible that gossip or other opinions of others have jaded my loyalty to a certain friend
or group?
3) Have I denied or ignored someone who is trying to be my loyal friend?
4) Have I been loyal and true to my goal?

In the contrary position, Dog may be telling you that you have become critical or mean due to
the company you are keeping. The reversal of this medicine could also imply that it is time to
stop cowering with fear, and time to begin to tackle the adversaries on your confidence. The key
is to realize that these are not external enemies, but thought-forms in your own mind which tell
you that you are not worthy of loyalty ~ either to yourself or to others. You may want to examine
the patterns of disloyalty in your life. Do you, for example, pass on gossip, or not speak up when
someone else is rumor-mongering? Do you make jokes that belittle others? Do you refuse to
return kindness? These are characteristics of fear, and particularly of a fear that is common to the
human, two-legged family: the fear of not belonging or of not being approved of.

Reclaim the power of loyalty to self and self-truths. Become like Dog ~ your own best friend.
*Note: Dog was the card I drew this morning in my Medicine Wheel Spread done with my
Medicine Cards, and it represents my Sacred Mountain or Sacred Tree card, which asks me to
look at the present. In this position I am standing, in a sense, at the crossroads of the spiritual and
physical realities. This card will therefore indicate how my spiritual and physical realities have
melded to produce the "me" of the present moment. Since all things evolve, tomorrow this "me"
will have grown in understanding and my card may be different. In accepting this omen of who I
am in the present, I may then see what needs changing or modifying, whether I am balanced or
upset, and if I need to enter the silence for answers. Although Dog did not appear in the
reverse/Contrary, I have taken the liberty of including the information for others who may have
need of it in the future.


The Hound

"Fierce, with their bristles up, my gallant hounds!
That in their speed outstripped the howling storm"
From the Ossianic poem 'Manos'

The hound is a powerful guardian: Celtic ambassadors were accompanied by hounds which
acted as bodyguards and in recognition of their role as protectors, the term 'hound' became a
title of honor given to chiefs and warrior, heroes and champions, whose names were often
prefixed by 'hound' - such as Cu-Uladh and Cu-Chulainn. Even certain kings were honored in
this way, such as the British kings Cunoglasus (Tawny Dog) and Cunobelinn (Dog of the god

In Ireland there are tales of the dog-tribes - 'men with heads of hounds' - and the inhabitants of
Connaught are said to be descended from them. The Concheannaich (Dog-heads) were a similar
tribe who lived at Moygonihy in Kerry.

The hound as a champion guards more than human lives and livestock. He is the guardian
animal of roads and trackways, of crossroads and gateways. The hound is the guardian of the
Mysteries, of the Underworld. English folklore is replete with tales of the Black Dog - a phantom
hound that presages death or patrols the networks of ancient trackways, roads and other places
of transit. Death represents a moment of transit from one place to another and the hound stands
at these threshold places as guardian and protector. Just as the hound would guard its master
from harm in the physical world, so in the Otherworld would the hound protect and guide the
soul of the dead. For this reason, figurines of hounds often accompanied Celts in their graves
and favorite dogs were buried with their keepers. Later, hounds came to be depicted on
gravestones for the same reason.

The loyalty and faithfulness of the hound provides a model of devotion and service which is free
of the complexity and ambivalence that characterize human relationships. The contrast between
the innocence and selflessness of a hound's loyalty and the burden of guilt we carry as a result of
our human intelligence and feelings is powerfully conveyed in the Welsh story of Prince
Llywelyn and his hound Gelert. One day, when the prince had to lead a raiding party, he left
Gelert to guard his baby son who lay asleep in his tent. When he returned, he found the tent
collapsed with Gelert seated beside it, covered in blood. In despair and fury he ran his sword
through the dog, only to hear a cry and to find his son alive and well with the carcass of a huge
wolf slain by the faithful Gelert lying nearby.

Many heroes were accompanied by a hound. King Arthur's hound was known as Cafall and the
Irish god-hero Lugh had a magic hound that was unconquerable in combat and which could turn
spring water into wine. During a forest exile and separation from his beloved Isolt, Tristan's
faithful hound Houdain kept him alive by catching game. The life of the great Ulster hero CuChulainn
is intimately bound up with the dog as totem animal. As a boy, arriving late at a
celebration held by Chulainn the Smith, he found the gates of the enclosure guarded by the
smith's savage hound. The dog sprang at him but he grabbed it by the throat and smashed it
against a pillar. Chulainn was deeply upset by the loss of his hound, but the boy promised to rear
a puppy for him and to act himself as guardian-hound of the household until the dog was fullgrown.
During his life he became a mighty warrior and was name Hound of Chulainn by
Cathbad the Druid. He was also known as the 'Hound of the Bright Deeds,' the 'Hound of the
Sweet Discipline' and the 'Hound of Ulster.' His downfall occurred when three old hags
persuaded him to eat some of the dog-meat they were roasting on spits of rowan. Once he had
broken his obligation never to eat the meat of his totem animal, his power rapidly declined and
he was soon overcome by Lugaid, the son of Cu Roi macDaire.

Another great hero, Fionn mac Cumhaill, was surrounded by hounds who had been humans. His
aunt Turen was turned into a hound by a fairy and his own two hounds, Bran and Sceolang, were
once his nephews. Bran's legendary exploits, recounted in the Irish Fionn cycle and the Scottish
tales of Fingal, have made him a dog-hero.

The connection between hounds and water is ancient. Many goddesses of the Celts were depicted
with hounds as companions. Lakes, pools and the sea were all seen as gateways to the
Otherworld and as guardians and guides of this realm hounds were often depicted as going into
the sea. By entering the sea or a lake in legend, the hound is seen as entering the magical
Otherworld of the Unconscious, of dreams, of life-after-death in which all things are renewed
and healed and in which is found immortality.

Copyright of Celtic Sacred Animals


The Dog
Throughout history dogs have been known as protectors and guardians. Their acute hearing and
keen sight forewarned their masters of impending danger. Dogs are known as mans best friend.
They serve selflessly never asking for their service to be praised. They hold the energies of
unconditional love and teach us its true meaning.

The domesticated dog is a faithful companion to humans and has a strong willingness to serve.
Their sense of spirit and the ability to love even when abused is incredible. The dog teaches
those with this totem how to give and receive love unconditionally. It also carries the energy of
forgiveness. People with dog medicine would do well in service oriented jobs.

Dogs are intelligent and sensitive. They are able to sniff out dangerous situations accurately and
guide us into safety. Psychic gifts have long been are associated with the dog because of their
ability to detect subtle energy frequencies often unknown to mankind. If dog suddenly appears in
your life pay attention to your immediate surroundings and let the dog guide your footsteps.
Certain breeds of dog were designed for specific functions. The study of the breed and its
purpose can help you define the energy associated with it. Since wolves and coyotes are its
descendants these should be studied as well.

The behavior of a dog often reflects the personality of its owner. Through its observation and
constant interaction with you it anticipates your next move, and serves as a mirror image of who
you truly are. The dog is a great teacher for those who are willing to be loyal students. The
choice is yours.


Dogs and wolves are related, but they're more "cousins". They probably are both descended
from a common ancestor. I'll check that to be sure and let you know.

Oh - one of the oldest known breeds in the world is the Maltese. They are mentioned and shown
in paintings in Ancient Greece and Rome. So they have been little fluffy white dogs for a long,
long, time.


I was taught that domesticated animals are not our Totems, but that they can become Spirit
Helpers once they cross over. I have two that come to me this way today. Domesticated animals
have lost their natural ways to some extent and thus they were not considered along these lines.
IE: Domesticated geese, ducks, cattle etc. do not migrate or react as their wild counterparts
would to the seasonal changes. The taming of any creature is considered to change the purity of
their essence and lessen their connection to Spirit.

While I've had many dogs and cats over the years, and have found some of them to be spiritually
tuned in, not all of them were. Personally I think it can vary, but if they are attuned they will
come around you when you are doing your pathwork, meditations, etc. and they will respect it,
almost joining you rather than disrupting your session. I used to have a cat that would lay beside
me when I did readings for others, as soon as the reading was done he would leave the room. He
did this when I meditated, or when I was doing ceremony. He would enter the circle of sacred
space and take his place quietly.

It is said that domestic or wild, the animals can and do sense spiritual work taking place and will
often join in. I've experienced this on both ends over the years. Also it is said that we should not
fear or be disturbed when they draw near, outside or inside our sacred space, they are attracted to
the energy of Spirit's presence and are considered a blessing. That's not to say that if a wild
animal comes and is threatening for some reason that you shouldn't take precaution, but we are to
give them space to join us first.

The Druid Animal Oracle by Phillip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm
Dog: Guidance, Protection, Loyalty

Dog brings guidance and protection, acting as a loyal companion and friend on your journey in
both this life and the next. In the Druid tradition the dog is seen as the Guardian of the Mysteries.
As such, he can be fierce, but if our intentions are good, then he will lead us over the threshold
through the darkness and the waters of the Unconscious toward the shimmering realm of the
Goddess. The time may come when you need to act with the spirit of Dog--to defend your values
or protect that which you hold sacred. Faithfulness, trust, and loyalty are vital ingredients of
close relationships, and the time may have come for you to focus on these qualities--to develop
them gradually in yourself and to appreciate them in others.

Contrary it urges you to examine the degree to which you or those around you may be lacking in
faithfulness or loyalty. Ask yourself to what extent you value these qualities in your friends and
lovers, and to what extent you and they express these values. If you find it difficult to keep
friendships, Dog as your ally will help you to develop the qualities of selflessness and trust that
will nurture close relationships. But remember that sometimes loyalty and faithfulness can be
inappropriate--a dog is often submissive and anxious to please even a cruel owner.

Libraries are on this row
INDEX Page 1
(Divination & Dreams, Guides & Spirit Helpers)
INDEX Page 2
INDEX Page 3
(Main Section, Medicine Wheel, Native Languages & Nations, Symbology)
INDEX Page 4
(Myth & Lore)
INDEX Page 5
(Sacred Feminine & Masculine, Stones & Minerals)
INDEX Page 6
(Spiritual Development)
INDEX Page 7
(Totem Animals)
INDEX Page 8
(Tools & Crafts. Copyrights)

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