The Ancient Symbolism of the Dog

by:  Aaron Franz

written for
Visual symbols represent a language of their own.  The most powerful symbols are ironically the most common things in our daily lives, those things that we all too often take for granted.  All of the basic things that we see on an everyday basis have the most influence over our lives, both physically and mentally.  Images of the sun, moon, food, and water have always been potent symbols within the “ancient mysteries.”  Anyone who is wise enough to understand the importance of the basic elements of life can use them as symbols to influence the minds of other people.  Life can be interpreted in any number of ways, and the most popular interpretation on any given day has everything to do with the deliberate use of symbols by an “intellectual elite.”  Throughout the ages this has been the case.  Within “civilized” society there has always been a priest class who understands the power of symbols, and has used that power to guide the minds of the masses.

One very powerful symbol that we have taken for granted is that of the dog.  Dogs have become another “normal” part of our everyday lives that we unfortunately take for granted.  However, in the ancient language of symbolism dogs are very important symbols of duality.  Their very nature is twofold:  one part wild beast, and one part domesticated animal.  By the hand of man the dog was taken out of the wild natural kingdom and brought into civilized society.  The taming of nature is a very important aspect of the so called “great work” of secret societies.  The domestication of wild animals is representative of the power to mold and shape nature according to the will.

As a symbol of duality the dog is said to have the power to walk within “two worlds.”  Because of this they are often depicted as guardians at the gates which stand between the world of the living and the world of the dead.  Dogs are often shown accompanying souls traveling from life to afterlife.  In ancient Egypt, Anubis was the dog-headed god of the dead.  He played the role of guardian and caretaker of those who travelled from one world to the next.  Anyone who is at all familiar with the “ancient mysteries” understands that death and rebirth rituals are extremely important.  The philosophical ramifications of this process are far-reaching, and it is important to understand that dogs play an important symbolic role within this mystic rite of passage.  Another dog from ancient mythology is Cerberus, the three headed dog which guards the entrance to Hades.  He lets souls travel to the “underworld” freely, but does not allow them to come back out.  Cerberus represents one of the more fearsome depictions of dogs as well as death itself.  It is exactly this “dark” side to death which is again displayed in the Christian belief in Hell.  As a high mystery which has forever captured the imagination of man, death is forever to be depicted through the powerful language of symbology.  The prominent view on life and afterlife in any given age has everything to do with the specific use of symbols.

Life/death, day/night, light/dark, good/evil are all ways of expressing duality.  The dual nature of man has been depicted over and over again through the use of many powerful symbols.  The dog symbol, if it is to be understood completely, must be viewed in this context.  The dog is actually a symbol of man himself.  The dual nature of man can be understood by the classic struggle between good and evil that takes place within our own minds.  This dual nature has been symbolized by the dog.  The dog is one part wild beast, and one part domesticated animal.  The unpredictable wild beast is symbolic of the “emotional body” within the soul of man.  It is exactly this chaos which is to be tamed by civilized society.  The “rational” aspect of man understands the need for “civilized” life, and can thus act appropriately.  When he makes the choice to deny his “animal instincts” he rises above the state of natural chaos, and walks into the order of civilized society.  To overcome the dark/ evil chaos of our natural emotions is equivalent to the triumph of good over evil.  Our emotions are considered to be the base level function of our own minds.  Anyone who is a “slave” to their emotional body is viewed with contempt by those high level initiates within the secret societies who have symbolically overcome their own base nature and “risen” into the light.  This light is symbolic of the intellect itself.  This is why there is an “intellectual elite” who is in control of the rest of society.  They believe that the mass of the population is unable to rise above their most basic reactionary level of thinking, and therefore must be led by those who have been “raised.”  Because most people are unable to use their intellect, they must be trained like dogs by those who can use their “higher” brain functions.  This is the meaning of “order out of chaos.”  The taming of nature by those who are wise.

Within the mystery school itself, the dog is a symbol of the perfect disciple.  The neophyte must be completely obedient to his master.  By taking orders without question he is eventually brought into the “light.”  Total obedience is required to learn the ways of the order.  It is very interesting to realize that the supposed “philosophical elect” only become enlightened by following strict orders.  They aren’t allowed to succumb to the base level behavior of natural humans.  In truth, they are not allowed to think for themselves, at least not at first.  Ever wonder why FRATernal BROTHERhoods are so wild about humiliating initiation rituals?  To become a god among men, you must first become a dog.  It is by this process that the death and rebirth ritual can be played out by those who are worthy.  To overcome duality is the ultimate goal of the ancient mysteries.

The artwork of Nathan Janes depicts dogs in strangely appropriate situations.  Pieces such as “Total Indoctrination” show the dog as a symbol of the mass mind of society.  By way of propaganda tools such as the television, the modern priest class controls the mass mind of society as a whole.  The media purposely exploits our “lower nature” through the use of “programs” that target our emotions, desires, and survival instincts.  The fact that people are compelled to watch such trite material is proof that they are no better than animals.  Because of this we are trained like dogs to obey the rules set forth by those intelligent few who have the apparent right to guide us.  This is the prevailing mindset of those who control the airwaves.  We are being degraded, kicked, and beaten by our “owners.”  Good people are enraged when they see someone abuse an animal.  By analogy, these same people should be furious about the wide-scale abuse of the human population.  The problem is that of perception itself.  Because we do not recognize our own slavery, we are unable to do anything about it.  We are living the lives of abused dogs, and we unfortunately feel powerless to do anything about it.

I commend Nathan Janes for recognizing this horrible abuse for what it is, and more importantly for making the decision to do something about it.  By using the powerful symbol of the dog in a way which draws attention on our unfortunate situation he has taken us one step closer to actual freedom.  The control of the mass mind of society is ancient, but so too is the desire to break free from the bonds of slavery.  As good human beings we have the duty to recognize abuse for what it is, so that we may put an end to it.  This is the true power of the mind.  Please don’t take your own nature for granted, because when you do, someone else is free to use it for their own gain.

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