Dogs are man’s best friend, or so the saying goes. As well as being loyal to their human owners, they are powerful companions for witches and shamans.
Shaman Pathways - Aubry's Dog: Power Animals in Traditional Witchcraft,by Mélusine Draco, looks at the history, mythology and magical traditions associated with these important animals. The book’s title comes from a legendary dog who, after the murder of his owner Aubry of Montdidier in 1371, not only detected the killer but also defeated him in a judicial trial by combat, forcing the man to confess to the crime.
Mélusine starts by looking at the history of the dog as a companion to man and points out “Cave drawings from the Palaeolithic era include hunting scenes in which the crude form of a canine appears alongside the huntsmen.” Since very early times, dogs have lived alongside humans to help with hunting and for protection. It is the willingness of dogs to attach themselves to people that makes them so valued as working animals as well as pets.
This connection means dogs also have an important magical association that can be used for spells, talismans and amulets. Different breeds would have magical correspondences depending on what that type of dog had been bred to do – such as guarding, speed, tracking ability and so on.
In folklore, dogs have been credited with psychic abilities, such as being able to sense ghosts or predict calamities. Some superstitions cast dogs in a less helpful role. A dog howling is often thought to be a bad luck and there are also plenty of tales of ghostly dogs that act as omens of doom.
Mélusine points out, “In … recent times the dog has, more often than not, been seen as a harbinger of evil, death, disease and bad luck by the monotheist religious doctrines … The European witch trials often accused the dog of being a witch’s familiar, or even the Devil in disguise.”
Rather than being bad luck for witches, however, dogs are valuable companions – in a magical as well as a practical sense. Aubry’s Dog offers a large collection of magical lore to help any witch with a dog as a companion or spirit guide to make the most of this association. The book offers protection spells, healing spells, divination techniques and cures that use ingredients such as hairs of a dog or canine correspondences, as well as making the most of the creatures as shamanic power animals.
Publisher Moon Books says on its website: "The term 'power animal' was introduced into contemporary language in 1980 by anthropologist Michael Harner in his classic work The Way of the Shaman, and refers to a broad-based animistic and shamanic concept that has entered the English language from the fields of anthropology, ethnography and sociology. The animal is conceived as a tutelary spirit that helps or protects individuals, lineages, and nations. Dogs and man became companions a long time ago, and the dog adopted as a power animal represents speed, agility, courage, protection, justice, nobility and loyalty. Aubry's Dog: Power Animals in Traditional Witchcraft guides your footsteps on this most ancient of paths."
Shaman Pathways - Aubry's Dog: Power Animals In Traditional Witchcraftis due to be published in March and can be ordered through Amazon.
Suzanne Ruthven writes as Mélusine Draco and has been a magical and spiritual instructor for over 20 years. Her Traditional Witchcraft series includes Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living and Traditional Witchcraft for the Seashore. She has also written By Spellbook and Candle and Shaman Pathways: Black Horse, White Horse, also published by Moon Books.
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Shaman Pathways - Aubry's Dog: Power Animals In Traditional Witchcraft