Dogs are purely and simply magical.
They’ve been humankind’s faithful companion for thousands of years.
They’ve infiltrated into mythology and folklore.
Dogs have been associated with gods and goddesses.
While cats may be commonly affiliated with witchcraft and magick made popularized by media, witch trials and movies, dogs have their own magick and connection to the gods, goddesses, the underworld and folklore.
Dogs are found in folklore around the world such as English, Scottish, Welsh, Norse, Greek, Indian, Chinese, Egyptian, African and Japanese, just to name a few.
Let’s take an introductory look at the magic of dogs.
The Magic of Dogs:
Gods, Goddesses, Folklore & Magick
Here we’ll explore:
- gods, goddesses & folk figures associated with dogs
- witchcraft and dogs
- dogs and folklore
- saints and dogs
- magick, healing and protection for dogs
Gods, Goddesses & Folk Figures of Dogs
This list is not inclusive of all known deities or folk figures associated with dogs, but are some that may be of interest to begin with:
Hekate is the goddess of witchcraft, magick, necromancy, the moon, the sea and is associated with dogs.
While Hekate is commonly associated with witchcraft, she is a complex and primordial goddess that can be viewed as multifaceted.
Followers and devotees of Hekate view her as a goddess that’s more than simply a goddess of witchcraft and necromancy.
Hekate is said roam at night and her presence is known by the sound of barking and howling dogs at night.
Read more about Hekate and her Hounds by Keeping Her Keys.
Artemis is associated hunting and is often depicted in statues and images with dogs by her side.
Her Roman equivalent is the goddess Diana.
Dogs are sacred to Artemis.
The god Pan gave Artemis two black-and-white dogs, three reddish ones and a spotted dog that were used for hunting and are said to be able to hunt lions.
The Greek story of the hunter Actaeon stumbled upon Artemis bathing naked in the woods, amazed by her beauty. Artemis exacted her revenge and forbade Actaeon to speak or else he’d be turned into a stag.
When Actaeon heard his hunting party, he cried out to them and was turned into a stag.
Actaeon felt into the woods and saw his reflection in a pond, he groaned at the sight that had become him.
His hounds chased him, not knowing it was Actaeon. He raised his eyes to the gods to plea with them, but they didn’t hear his plea.
Actaeon’s hounds tore him to pieces which afterwards the hounds were so upset that they had killed their master, Chiron created a statue of Actaeon that was so life-like that the hounds thought it to be Actaeon.
Ares is the god of courage and war; his Roman equivalent is the god Mars.
He is associated with different animals such as the boar and vulture, but is also connected to dogs likely due to the ability of dogs to attack, defend and be guardians.
Dogs have historically been utilized in war and still are connected to war operations.
Anubis is the Egyptian god of embalming, the underworld and the dead depicted with the head of a jackal.
In Egypt, the catacombs next to Anubis’ temple once held nearly 8 million mummified dogs and puppies dedicated the the Egyptian god.
Gula / Bau
Gula is the Mesopotamian goddess, originally known as Bau, a Sumerian goddess of dogs.
Dogs were associated with healing which the goddess Gula became a goddess of healing and a bringer of earthquakes and storms when angered.
At the temples of Gula, dogs roamed freely and were well cared for as her sacred animals and companions.
In the 1950s, ceramic statuettes called Nimrud Dogs were discovered in the city of Nimrud and are believed to be the an exemplary example of the dedication to Gula.
Dogs may have been ritually sacrificed at the temples which a discovery if dogs buried at the entrance at the Gula’s temple in Isin.
Some speculation may indicate on the other hand that these buried dogs may have been simply temple dogs that lived there.
The Mesopotamians created statues and figurines of dogs, and the act of burying dogs, may have been a way to ensure protection from evil.
Xolotl is an Aztec god of death and is associated with dogs.
Dogs had a significant importance in Aztec religion and believed that dogs could guide humans to the afterlife.
In Mexico, there have been discovered several ancient burial sites of dogs.
This ancient burial site for dogs and sacred animals was found under a Mexico City apartment building.
Panhu is a Chinese mythological dragon-dog that transformed into a human and married a princess.
There is a variation that Panhu’s transformation into human form left him with the body of a human and the head of a dog.
In the myth of Panhu, it’s said that a king in China would offer his daughter to marry anyone who could bring him the head of his enemy.
This task was accomplished by Panhu and was awarded the hand of the King’s daughter in marriage.
It’s said that the princess and Panhu had six sons and six daughters who became the 12 clans in Chinese mythology.
Sarama is a figure in Hindu mythology and is described as the female dog of the gods.
She is also depicted as the mother of all dogs, especially the two four-eyed brindle dogs of the god Yama.
Dogs are also given the matronymic Sarameya meanings “offspring of Sarama”.
Witchcraft and Dogs
Dogs in the occult and modern witchcraft can be associated with companionship, loyalty, friendship, protection and good luck.
In ancient Greece, dogs were sadly sacrificed to the gods but in modern days, people are much more empathetic and attached to dogs for their intelligence, companionship and faithfulness.
Thankfully, many regions and many charitable organizations work to rescue and ensure the welfare of dogs.
To work with the spirit energy or symbolism of dog in general, this can be done with naturally shed items from a dog such as fur, whiskers or nail trimmings.
These can be collected from simply brushing the dog, finding naturally shredded whiskers on floors or bedding, or trimming nails.
Some dogs will have nails that break naturally and harmlessly and can sometimes be found on the floor.
However, working with these items from a dog should be shed naturally or from routine grooming / shedding.
Some online oddity shops sell bones and skulls of animals which sometimes have dog skulls available including other canines such as foxes, coyotes and wolves.
While some practitioners may frown upon purchasing or acquiring animal bones (even legally), others feel that the bones are given respect and a good home which are otherwise discarded as “waste.”
If purchasing dog or other animal bones online, be sure to find a reputable online oddity shop and check the laws in your province / state or country about purchasing, importing or owning bones (animal or human.)
If you have questions about the source of the bones, a good and reputable oddity shop will be happy to answer your respectful inquiries.
Dog spirit energy can be called upon in magick or spells for:
- finding your way
- mindfulness / living in the present moment
- strengthening relationship
- forming bonds
- appreciating the simple / inexpensive / free things in life
Later in this post, we’ll discuss about healing and protection for dogs.
Dogs and Folklore
Here are a few select and chosen folklore about dogs, but is not exhaustive or inclusive of all the known folklore stories about dogs.
In English folklore, there’s the old belief that thee is a creature known as the Black Dog which is viewed as demonic, spectral or supernatural.
This old English belief connected the Black Dog creature with the Devil, death and crossroads.
In Somerset, the Gurt Dog (“Great Dog”) is seen as a protector of travelers at night.
Black dogs in English, Scottish and Welsh folklore are often associated with demons, the devil, ghosts or an omen of death.
Dogs in other folklore have been associated with the underworld such as:
In Scotland, the “Muckle Black Tyke” is the black dog that presides of Witches’ Sabbaths and is supposedly the Devil himself.
In Wales, there was an equivalent called the Gwyllgi (“Dog of Darkness”), a terrifying apparition of a mastiff.
In colloquial English, the term “black dog” is used as a metaphor for depression.
In Nigerian, there is the story how humanity missed the opportunity for Immortality all due to a distracted dog.
The legends says that the creator god was fond of the humans that he had created, but when the first human died, he became saddened by the event.
The creator god sent his dog to deliver the message to the humans about how they can achieve immortality by means of resurrecting their buried dead, but along the way the dog became distracted and rested too often on its journey.
The creator god sent a sheep to deliver the message which the sheep reached the humans unlike the dog that dilly-dallied.
However, because the sheep wasn’t as intelligent as the dog, the message was unclear and mixed-up the message by telling the humans to bury their dead.
The dog arrived later and delivered the correct message, but no one believed the dog because they had received the message first from the sheep and believed it to be the true message. *
Saints and Dogs
In Roman Catholicism, there are saints that are associated with dogs or animals.
For healing and protection of any animals, St. Francis can be petitioned with prayer, plain bread and water, a brown candle or a St. Francis candle.
St. Rocco is the patron saint of dogs and is also a protector against epidemics/pandemics.
Medallions of St. Rocco or St. Francis can be worn as a necklace or attached to a dog’s collar.
Most small medallions of saints can be found online and are very cheap to purchase or replace should the medallion fall off the chain or dog collar.
Read more about Working with Saints in Magick.
Healing and Protection Magick for Dogs
When working healing or protection magick for dogs, the colour brown is commonly associated with animal magick.
Items that have come into contact with the dog, their personal belongings or other items that the dog uses on a daily basis can be used in spells for protection.
This can be ID tags, collar, leash, toys, bedding, blankets, etc.
It’s important not to use any herbs, oils or essential oils on or near the dog and not on the dog’s bedding.
Any herbs or oils can be used on a brown candle and the dog items near the candle on the table, altar or on the floor next to the table or altar.
A small charm to attach to the dog’s collar can be used in spells or ritual to add protection or healing for the dog.
Protective charms (for example a small pentacle or hamsa) can be purchased in shops and online to attach to a pet’s collar which some are marketed for this purpose. Be sure to use a symbol that has meaning to you or that you feel has protective qualities.
As mentioned earlier, small medallions or charms of saints such as St. Francis or St. Rocco can be attached to pet collars.
Energy healing such as Reiki is believed to be very effective for animals including dogs because they’re attuned and sensitive to subtle energy around them at all times.
The use of energy healing for dogs can provide healing, calmness and reassurance to dogs that may have health, behavioural or trauma issues.
If you’re trained or experienced in Reiki or energy healing techniques, there are resources available to work with animal and dog healing.
For more information for Reiki or energy healing practitioners, check out Reiki for Dogs by Kathleen Prasad.
While not every ‘pet’ or ‘pet dog’ is technically a familiar per se, they can still make our daily lives full of magic and wonder.
Be sure to give your dog some extra love and affection today and every day!
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 Morbid Magic: Death, Spirituality & Culture around the World by Tomás Prower