Year of the Dog by Ellen F. Franklin, PhD

Year of the Dog by Ellen F. Franklin, PhD

Dog is the 11th of the 12 animal signs in the Chinese Zodiac, this year Brown Earth Dog in its Yang Form, is vigorous, noble, decisive, independent and righteous. Dog invokes, tolerance, empathy, global solidarity, and a call for social justice. Dog is a symbol of courage, valiant, loyal, intelligent, stubborn. There is such a strong connection between Dog and protection that we may witness changes in national security. While 2018 provides opportunities for material and spiritual wealth there is also the possibility of uprisings throughout the world as people demand fairness and a better standard of living. We may also see the collapse of major institutions or large adjustments in the economy.

In its Earth Dog Yang form there is also strong influence over agriculture, the environment, earth healing, and protection of tribal lands, as Dog strongly defends the earth against violence and material exploitation.

From Sumer to ancient Egypt, Asia to the Americas Dog plays a significant role in human evolution, rituals, and dreams as psychopomp, guide to the Underworld, protector and faithful companion featured in creation stories, myths, and legends. Dog appears in the heavens as Sirius, the dog-star and guardian of the sun, moon, dawn, and dusk and the summer and winter solstices. Also known as the brightest star, the star of Isis visible just before sunrise at the time of the winter solstice which marks the beginning of the Egyptian Year.

Anubis one of the eight early Egyptian gods is depicted as a dog, bushy tailed black jackal or as a dark-skinned man with the head of a dog. He is protector of souls as they travel through the Land of the Shades, guardian of mummification, funerals and tombs. Responsible for determining the fate of a soul in the Hall of Judgment the heart of the dead is weighed against the Feather of Truth. If Anubis determines that the heart is out of balance it is cast to the eaters of souls.

In Mexico in myths of the Aztec, Toltec and Maya, Xolotl is credited with the creation of humanity and is associated with death, the evening star and the planet Venus. In dog form Xolotl accompanies souls and the Sun into paradise and the underworld. Also recognized as companion or twin to Quetzalcoatl the supreme deity—god of air, fertility, wealth, medicine and the healing arts. Dogs also play an important role in many native traditions across North American in central Asia and among the Inuit of North America where there are many origin myths of human females and male dogs coupling.

Dog also brings the gift of healing: linked to Asclepius the god of healing, to the straw dogs of China where it was believed to prevent plague and in France where the lick of the dog’s tongue is believed to have healing properties, de chien sert de médecin. Dog also serves as benefactor and guide to lift us out of darkness and reawaken shut down hearts.

Dog the first of the animals to join man and woman as friend and companion, guardian and guide, stands as a powerful symbol of loyalty and devotion. It is likely Dog’s keen sense of smell and exceptional ability to sniff out that which is hidden that links this archetype to the unconscious. Consider for a moment how often the word dog is used in language, hair of the dog, being in the dog house, working doggedly; to dog or guard. Whether dog took the initiative to domesticate human or human invited in dog for protection, dog has contributed to our evolution and is an integral part of human development throughout the world.

May we all be blessed with the energy of a beautiful brown dog in 2018!


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