Guest Author - Aisling Ireland
Dogs can be found in cross-cultural mythologies, throughout history, and most of us have encountered them for better or for worse in our waking lives. People often describe themselves as a 'dog person' when they prefer the company of this animal. Given their commonplace appearance in waking life, it is not surprising that dogs are also one of the most frequent animal stars in dreams.
Mythology gives us many clues as to how to interpret the dog symbol that shows up in our dreams. In Greek mythology, Orion, the great hunter, had a dog named Sirius who can be seen in the constellation of the same name. The star, Sirius, is sometimes called the diamond in Sirius' collar. Greek mythology also gives us Cerberus, the three-headed guardian of the underworld.
Sirius also played a role in Egyptian mythology. Its appearance heralded the annual flooding of the Nile, and it was said that its light blended with that of the morning sun. The Egyptian god of the Underworld, Anubis, is often depicted with a jackal's head, but he can be associated with other dogs as well.
Chinese mythology gives us 'Fu dogs' which appear to be part lion and dragon. Fu dogs are meant to be energetic guardians. Statues of Fu dogs are placed at entrances of Asian homes and businesses for protection.
Throughout Great Britain and Ireland there is the 'black dog' which goes by many names--'spectral hound', 'death hound', 'hound of hell', 'Black Angus', 'Gwyllgi'. See this dog was meant to be an omen of death. Howling dogs, as well, were death omens. Interestingly enough, today we know that certain chemical changes take place in the body before death. Dogs can smell these changes so there may be some factual basis for this belief.
Each of the ways dogs are symbolized in mythology are ways dogs may be interpreted in dreams. Dogs, like Orion's Sirius, are seen as faithful companions. Dreaming of a dog may therefore indicate a longing for such a companion. They can be symbols of loyalty and trust. Is the dog accompanied by someone you know? If so, that person may be the object of your feelings of loyalty and trust.
Dogs may also show up in dreams as guides, much like seeing eye dogs. They may be leading us into worlds we can't see but which they navigate with ease. Look at the surroundings in the dream and see where the dog is leading you. This can be a key clue in interpreting the dream. The dog may be leading you toward an area of your life that you may be having trouble seeing or 'looking at'.
Dogs are often attributed with psychic sense. They are believed to have the ability to see ghosts and other energetic phenomena. In that context, dreams of dogs may indicate that we are developing our own psychic sense.
People often call their pet their 'baby'. Dogs, like cats, are often substitutes for children. A dog in a dream may symbolize some maternal instinct, or a need to express that instinct.
As opposed to cats, to whom we typically assign female energy, dogs generally represent male energy. As such, they may be pointing to areas where we need to be more active or need our attention.
Also look at the color of the dog or notice the colors of other symbols appearing with the dog. Colors often appear in tandem with other dream symbols and may provide valuable information as to what the symbol is attempting to get across. Information on color as a dream symbol can be found at: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art13547.asp
Remember though that these are just a few ideas for interpreting your dog dream. What is always most important in any dream is how you relate to the symbol. If you are dog phobic, then it doesn't matter that millions of people think of the dog as their loyal, faithful companion. What matters is you don't! Use the mythology of dog (or any other symbol for that matter) and dictionary interpretations only as a starting point. Use your own personal mythology and associations as the foundation of your interpretation.
As always, sleep well and dream out loud!
*~Aisling Ireland~* is an ordained Spiritual Counselor providing dream interpretation and Tarot readings. To make an appointment check out her website at: