Dogs are never out of the news, especially when we’re extolling their virtues as companion/support dogs … but here they jump to the top of the tree when it comes to magical uses and associations.
Or as ‘Agwren’ observed in her Amazon review: “Ms Draco takes us on a dog’s journey from its earliest forays into the humans world through the four early forerunners groups and onto the many hundreds of variations we know and love today. Through all the mythological connections with the ancient Gods and the recorded ancient historical facts we travel, learning spells and incantations at every turn , discovering craft and planetary connections along the way until finally we reach the lesson at the end of the beginning of our true journey. Each time you look into those beautiful deep dark eyes of your wolf...whether it be the author’s favourite greyhounds or the golden retriever, the lab, the collie or a hundred others from the mighty mongrel to the smallest terrier on your lap ... don’t you often wonder what goes on in that mind...what would it be like to walk a mile on the four paws ... would the sense of smell blow the human mind ... would a thousand new sounds we’d never heard before scream in our ears until we went insane ... how would the sudden adrenaline rush feel at the tiniest flicker of movement in a far off hedge ....
“So here is the goal of this particular journey ... .let the Teacher lead on a wild shamanistic hedge- ride chase as we follow one of her greyhounds as it takes off across a field in pursuit of a hare. Let us find ourselves shape shifting into a long legged lean hunting dog and run with the hound sharing its excitement as it runs down its quarry ... until just at the very last split second the hare cleverly evades us through a hole in the hedge ... what a sensational shamanistic shape shifting ride and one so delightfully easy that even a complete novice like me can breeze into it ...”
Dogs come in all sorts of power-packs to fuel our magical workings - from simple good luck charms to mighty, full-blown curses. From:
O Guardian of Power
Be thou my guide and defence
against all hostile forces,
visible and invisible,
in every walk of Life.
to summoning the Hounds of Hell …
Gather up a magic spell, summon forth the hounds of hell,
Over sea and over land, answer to a witch command,
Changing moon from bright to dim,
the hounds of hell must follow him
The concept of dogs joining their masters in the sky is an ancient one and in our current sky-scape there are four dogs in view as darkness falls. Orion, one of the most striking of all the constellations, is closely followed by Canis Major (‘The Great Dog’), marked by the brilliant star Sirius, commonly known as the Dog Star – the brightest star in the entire sky. Sirius is said to be responsible for the northern hemisphere’s hot, muggy ‘Dog Days’ that occur in September (taking into account the alterations to the calendar since Roman times), just before Sirius follows Orion into the northern night skies. And can be another euphemism for the ‘Rainbow Bridge’ that companion dogs cross when they die.
Blazing prominently in the sky, Sirius is the brightest star of Canis Major; its colour appears to be a brilliant white tinged with a distinctive bluish hue. The star has been compared to a sparkling diamond and it is thought that its Greek name was derived for ‘sparkling’ or ‘scorching’. When it appears near the horizon it seems to flicker with all the colours of the rainbow and has more magical lore surrounding it than any other star in the heavens. According to the Greeks, Canis Major could run incredibly fast. Laelaps, as they called him, is said to have won a race against a fox that was the fastest creature in the world, and Zeus placed the dog in the sky to celebrate the victory.
Nearby Canis Minor (‘The Little Dog’), the brightest of its two stars being called Procyon, is said to be the faithful dog Maera (the glistener), which rises in July, a little before the Dog Star. (Greek: pro-kuon). Another myth has both Canis Major and Minor assisting Orion while he is out hunting. Canes Venatici (‘The Hunting Dogs’) are tucked away just south of Ursa Major (‘The Plough’) and represent a pair of hounds, Asterion and Chara, held on a leash by Bootes the
herdsman, as they chase the Great Bear around the North Pole. Unlike Sirius, this is a rather obscure constellation and, with one exception, the stars are quite faint. Whereas Sirius symbolises Alpha Dog, Asterion and Chara are seen more in the role of companions.
The poem, ‘The Gage’ by Walter de la Mare demonstrates the typical reaction to a curse that is thrown because of the sheer bloody-minded arrogance of the people involved. Because two head-strong people fail to appreciate the repercussions of their actions, the ‘curse’ rebounds and no one is happy. It is a perfect example of why we should think twice before bandying curses about – unless of course, it is necessary and all other avenues have been exhausted. By studying this romantic ballad we can see that it contains several magical truths, which are well worth considering.
The arrogance of both parties that led to the death of the hound, and the powerful curse flung in a fit of passion, which cannot be lifted, is set to destroy the lives of both parties. It is only the intervention of the resurrected hound that means the couple can live happily ever after in true romantic fashion. Nevertheless this adaptation of a verse from ‘The Gage’ does offer an example of an extremely powerful curse that could be used in the event of someone injuring a pet dog and should you be willing to pay the price! For example:
O mark me well!
For what my hound befell
You shall pay twenty-fold,
For every tooth
Of his, i’sooth,
Your life in pawn I’ll hold.
Here we are bringing down a curse that is ‘twenty times’ the number of teeth in the dog’s mouth, which in an average healthy adult is around 42. This means that the magical practitioner must weigh in the balance whether the punishment fits the crime. After all, it would be rather extreme if someone had merely given your dog a clout for attempting to ravish their prize-winning bitch. That said, any act of cruelty against a dog – intentional or unintentional – might be seen to be justifiable. Cursing, like most areas of magic, is a question of personal responsibility and/or morality, but once thrown cannot be retracted.
Remember that even the mildest accident magnified 20 x 42 is going to have some serious repercussions. The reader may think the author is gilding the lily with this particular curse but there is a very good reason behind it. The following rite, in its original form, requires the skull of a canine and if anyone reading this book is even tempted to go out and harm a dog in order to procure the skull, then they may consider the above curse well and truly thrown … O mark me well!
REVIEW by Krystina Kellingley : Author and publisher
“I really enjoyed this, a really good read. It starts off with an interesting story and maintains the reader’s interest throughout. I enjoyed the historical and scientific information as well as the charm, amulet and herb lore. The second chapter was a fascinating look at breeds and their characteristics and the bearing this has from a magical perspective and I also really enjoyed the stories of superstition. In fact this book has lots of appealing information on everything and anything you could ever want to know about the dog as a power animal and spiritual companion. It’s written in a very reader friendly manner and I can see dog lovers of all descriptions being hooked by it.”
Shaman Pathways: Aubry’s Dog – Power Animals in Traditional Witchcraft by Melusine Draco ISBN 978 1 78099 724 7 : 84-pages : UK£4.99/US$9.95 Published by Moon-Books www.moon-books.net