August 15, 2018
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dogWhat modern calls “the domestic dog” (Canis lupus familiaris and Canis lupus dingo) is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in human history.[62] Their value to early human settlements led to them quickly becoming ubiquitous across world cultures. Over the 15,000-year span in which the dog has been domesticated form the wolf, [63] it has diverged into only a handful of landraces, groups of similar animals whose morphology and behavior have been shaped by environmental factors and functional roles. Through selective breeding by humans, the dog has developed into hundreds of varied breeds, and shows more behavioral and morphological variation than any other land mammal.[64] Man has been tied the dog as his ultimate animal friend and ally for thousands of years. The uncanny superiority of his senses, his capacity to track a smell over immense distances, his sureness of direction, his keen feeling for truth of heart, have been our extension into realms where we could not venture unaided by his guidance. While the human brain is dominated by a large visual cortex, the dog brain is dominated by an olfactory cortex. The olfactory bulb in dogs is roughly forty times bigger than the olfactory bulb in humans, relative to total brain size, with 125 to 220 million smell-sensitive receptors. The bloodhound exceeds this standard with nearly 300 million receptors.[65] Subsequently, it has been estimated that dogs, in general, have an olfactory sense ranging from one hundred thousand to one million times more sensitive than a human’s. In some dog breeds, such as bloodhounds, the olfactory sense may be up to 100 million times greater than a human’s.It is the reason why he can find what we have lost in the proverbial woods of the unknown, and gain nurturance from the hunt; in some cultures he was felt to commune with the spirit world. The frequency range of dog hearing is approximately 40 Hz to 60,000 Hz, which means that dogs can detect sounds far beyond the upper limit of the human auditory spectrum.[66] In addition, dogs have ear mobility, which allows them to rapidly pinpoint the exact location of a sound. Eighteen or more muscles can tilt, rotate, raise, or lower a dog’s ear. A dog can identify a sound’s location much faster than a human can, as well as hear sounds at four times the distance.While a dog’s visual acuity is poor, their visual discrimination for moving objects is very high; dogs have been shown to be able to discriminate between humans (e.g., identifying their owner) at a range of between 800 and 900 m, however this range decreases to 500–600 m if the object is stationary.

The first dog that ever hunted in company with man was probably the one who used to follow the mighty Nimrod. It was unquestionably a species of tawny greyhound, still to be seen in Syria and Egypt, and powerful enough to seize and strangle the wild boar. All nations of classic antiquity have in tun claimed the honor of the birth-place of the hunting dog. The Greek mythology has many legends, the most striking is of which is, that the twins of Leda first followed game, and we have Castor and Pollux among the stars still engaged in their favourite pursuits. The type of primitive anima is best preserved, among those familiar to us, in the European shepherd dog. It is a light animal, cut for the course, with eyes piercing, ears fine and straight, air alert and spiritual. Its coast of hair is rough and its tail sweeps the ground. All hunting-dogs that we now possess proceed from this breed. In the Celtic world the dog, or hound, was associated with the warrior caste. In contrast with the Greco-Roman world, the hound was used as an object of laudatory comparison and metaphor. The name of their greatest hero, Cùchulainn, means ‘Houd of Culann’ and we know that all Celts, both insular and continental, trained dogs for war and hunting. To compare a hero with a hound was to do him honour and to pay tribute to his valour in battle. There is a complete absence of the pejorative and there does not seem to have been hell-hound like Cerberus. The dog in nowhere spoken with kindness in the Old Testament or the New; and the Jews in the Eastern countries retain their dislike to the animal even to this day. In even worst in Islam where they seem to have pictured the dog as embodying almost all that is utterly vile in creation.[67] It is well know that the domestic dog has a predisposition to exhibit a social intelligence that is uncommon in the animal world. Dogs are capable of learning in a number of ways, such as through simple reinforcement (e.g., classical or operant conditioning) and by observation.Dogs also demonstrate sophisticated social cognition by associating behavioral cues with abstract meanings.[68] One such class of social cognition involves the understanding that others are conscious agents. Scientific behavioral research has shown that dogs are capable of interpreting subtle social cues, and appear to recognize when a human or dog’s attention is focused on them. The German philosopher Arthur Shopenhauer was quite an admirator of the dog, going as far as to say that he personally prefers their company to that of human beings. In his Parerga and Paralipomena he speaks very highly of their “moral and intellectual qualities.”[69] Somewhere else, in an interview, he goes on to make the apology of their honesty and transparency,[70] saying that the friendly swingning of the tail that dogs are known for is far more authentic and welcoming than all the hypocrit fake smiles, frowns, and horrible facial rictus that human beings are exchanging in their everyday face to face interactions. Homer has used the faithfulness of the dog to give point to one of his most beautiful episode. In Homer’s the Odyssey, Argos (Greek: Άργος) is Odysseus’ faithful dog. After twenty years struggling to get home to Ithaca, Odysseus finally arrives at his homeland. In his absence, reckless suitors have taken over his house in hopes of marrying his wife Penelope. In order to secretly re-enter his house to ultimately spring a surprise attack on the suitors, Odysseus disguises himself as a beggar, and only his son Telemachus knows his true identity. As Odysseus approaches his home, he finds Argos lying neglected on a pile of cow manure, infested with lice, old and very tired. This is a sharp contrast to the dog Odysseus left behind; Argos used to be known for his speed and strength and his superior tracking skills. Argos recognizes Odysseus at once and he has just enough strength to drop his ears and wag his tail but cannot get up to greet his master. Once Odysseus passes by (but not without shedding a tear for his dog) and enters his hall, Argos dies. The simplicity of the relationship between Argos and Odysseus allows their reunion to be immediate and sincere.[71]Dogs never desert their masters, their indefectible fidelity is notorious all around the world and this is why they are regarded everywhere in various mythologies as accompagnying their masters even unto death and as guide in the afterlife. Sometimes they even follow their masters in Heavens, like it was the case for the Chinese alchemist Wei Po-yang[72] who supposedly ascended into heaven with his dog.[73] The more we think about it, the more we realise that it was in fact a real blessing, we might say, that this marvellous animal has been willing to come into our civilized world, separating himself from his wolfish ancestry, to take his place at man’s side with such a friendly attitude, a blossoming of unconditional love and devotion that sometimes surpasses our own. It’s mainly because he was willing to pay the price of separating himself from the wildest sides of his nature in order to team up with his human companion that the dog has assumed such a central place in mythologies as a guide between the worlds of life and death, known and unknown, human and animal, and symbolically between the conscious mind and the wilderness of the unconscious psyche and soul. In nearly every world mythology, our constant companion the dog has come to be associated with our other constant companion, death. In this context, it is striking to remember that alchemists and philosophers used the analogy of the dog devoured by the wolf for the purification of gold by antinomy, the penultimate stage of the ‘Great Work.’ Now dog and wolf are none other than the two aspects of the symbol in question,. Which undoubtedly is resolved in this esoteric image as well as being given its deepest significance. Simultaneously dog and wolf, the sage – or saint – purifies himself by devouring himself; in other words, by an act of self-sacrifice he finally reaches the last stage oif spiritual self-mastery.

Tree  of Life Attributions

dogThe dog is also attributed to this 25thpath of the Tree of Life because “the dog is sacred to the huntress Artemis.”[61] The dog has been attributed to another path under the form of the Cerberus casted in the role of gardian of the gateway to the underworld, but the aspects of the dog that is the essence of this attribution are his propensities for the hunt and his superior acuity of his sense of olfaction and audition.

The animal attributed to The Third Path of the Tree of Life: Gimel is the dog. Most obviously this is because of its Greek deity attribution, Hecate, which is always depicted in compagny of dogs. This attribution also has a lot to do with the symbolic function of the dog as a threshold guardian that third path being the one crossing the abyss. This function would appear to have some relationship with the iconographic association of Hecate with keys, and might also relate to her appearance with two torches, which when positioned on either side of a gate or door illuminated the immediate area and allowed visitors to be identified. “In Byzantium small temples in her honor were placed close to the gates of the city. Hecate’s importance to Byzantium was above all as a deity of protection. When Philip of Macedon was about to attack the city, according to the legend she alerted the townspeople with her ever present torches, and with her pack of dogs, which served as her constant companions.”[32] This suggests that Hecate’s close association with dogs derived in part from the use of watchdogs that, particularly at night, raised an alarm when intruders approached. Watchdogs were used extensively by Greeks and Romans.[33] Like Hecate, “the dog is a creature of the threshold, the guardian of doors and portals, and so it is appropriately associated with the frontier between life and death, and with demons and ghosts which move across the frontier. The yawning gates of Hades were guarded by the monstrous watchdog Cerberus, whose function was to prevent the living from entering the underworld, and the dead from leaving it.”[34]Strangely, the dog was Hecate’s regular sacrificial animal, and was often eaten in solemn sacrament.”[35] The sacrifice of dogs to Hecate is attested for Thrace, Samothrace, Colophon, and Athens. Artemis was also associated with the Dog. According to legends, she got her hunting dogs from Pan in the forest of Arcadia. Pan gave Artemis two black-and-white dogs, three reddish ones, and one spotted one – these dogs were able to hunt even lions.[36] Pan also gave Artemis seven bitches of the finest Arcadian race. However, Artemis only ever brought seven dogs hunting with her at any one time.


[32]Vasiliki Limberis (1994), Divine Heiress: The Virgin Mary and the Creation of Christian Constantinople, Routledge, pp. 126-127.
[33]Hornblower, Simon; Spawforth, Antony, eds (1996). The Oxford Classical Dictionary(Third ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 490.
[34]Richard Cavendish (1975), The Powers of Evil in Western Religion, Magic and Folk Belief, Routledge, p. 62.
[35]Alberta Mildred Franklin (1921), The Lupercalia, Columbia University, p. 67
[36] “And speedily again thou [the child Artemis] didst go to get thee hounds; and thou camest to the Arkadian fold of Pan. […] the Bearded God gave two dogs black-and-white, three reddish, and one spotted, which pulled down very lions when they clutched their throats and haled them still living to the fold. (Callimachus, Hymn 3 to Artemis 86 ff)

[61] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings, p. 94.
[62]The word “dog” may also mean the male of a canine species, as opposed to the word “bitch” for the female of the species.
[63]Savolainen P, Zhang YP, Luo J, Lundeberg J, Leitner T (November 2002). “Genetic evidence for an East Asian origin of domestic dogs”. Science 298 (5598): 1610–3.
[64]Spady TC, Ostrander EA (January 2008). “Canine Behavioral Genetics: Pointing Out the Phenotypes and Herding up the Genes”. American Journal of Human Genetics82 (1): 10–8.
[65] See Coren, Stanley (2004). How Dogs Think. First Free Press, Simon & Schuster.
[66] See Alderton, David (1984). The Dog. Chartwell Books.
[67] Dogs are also regarded as unclean. Jinns often appeared in the shape of black dogs. Dogs howling near a house presage death and their flesh is used as a preservative against barrenness, ill-luck, etc.
[68]Coren, Stanley (2004). How Dogs Think. First Free Press, Simon & Schuster.
[69] “Ideas Concerning the Intellect Generally and In All Respects,” in Parerga and Paralipomena, Volume II (translated by E. F. J. Payne), page 82.
[70] “Ce qui rend la société de mon chien si agreeable, […] c’est la transparence de son être. » (Didier, Raymond (1992), Entretients [avec Arthur Shopenhauer] Criterion, Paris, p. 112.)
[71] See Homer. Odyssey. Trans. Stanley Lombardo. Canada: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2000. Print.
[72] Wei Po-yang was a Taoist philosopher, who wrote the earliest known Chinese treatise on alchemy and is considered by most as “The Father of Alchemy.”
[73] He did so after having testing a pill of immortality he manage to produce through alchemical manipulations. The dog died, he did too after taking the pill anyway, and one of his disciples followed him. The others disciples were sceptic and did not take the pill. After they were gone, He took the disciple, whose name was Yü, and the dog, and went the way of immortals.


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