Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Sophia and Denny Sargent, authors of the new Book of Dog Magic.
We have been dog lovers our whole lives, and have found many remarkable myths and folklore about them. As spring emerges, the one myth that really comes to mind to share is the “First Dog” myth told by several Native American tribes. Not only does this myth get to the heart of the special and very ancient relationship between human beings and the dogs that help us in so many ways, it also reminds us that they are our partners, not our servants.
Many researchers believe that without the help of wolves that bonded with ancient prehistoric peoples, we might not have survived as a species. These wolf-dogs, the ancestors of our best friends, protected us and were crucial to hunting. How did this powerful and spiritual relationship occur?
The Lakota Sioux have a legend that shows the close relationship between tribal people and dogs. The First Dog Spirit came to the First Man and Woman, giving them the divine gift of puppies to help them survive. In return, said the First Dog, mankind must provide food and shelter to their dog companions forever. This is called the pact of fire. The Legend the First Dog says:
“They will be companions to you and all your generations, never leaving your side, as long as Mankind shall survive. In return, you will share your food and the warmth of your fire. You will treat my children with love and kindness, and tend to them if they become ill, just as if they were born from your own belly. And if they are in pain, you will take a sharp knife to their throat, and end their misery. In exchange for this, you will have the loyalty of my children and all their offspring until the end of time.”*
If you have them in your home, play some lovely music for them; put them within the proximity of indoor plants or flowers, or burn some beautiful incense for them. They also benefit from smudging with white sage or other purifying plants.
We love this story, because, well, it is pretty much true, isn’t it? The story ends with a clear command to never mistreat your dogs! They come from the Great Spirit! We think every dog lover should spread this myth around.
Another Native American myth says that Dog Spirit (or Coyote Spirit) brought fire to mankind. Maybe this is why all dogs love to sit around a fire with us. Possibly their fireside howling is their way of letting us know we are only borrowing THEIR fire!
As spring unfolds, let’s remember that the dog is a symbol of creation, beginning, and renewal for humanity. Every new puppy brought home represents this new creation and new world of love and loyalty. As we strive to create a loving and safe world for our puppy, it is comforting to know that the ancient myths say the dog spirit did the same for us.
Our thanks to Denny & Sophia for their guest post! For more from Denny & Sophia Sargent, read their article, “Becoming a Werewolf: Ancient Shamanic Dog Magic.”