So take one wasn’t very helpful… In my defense I really was not feeling the card at the time when I wrote it.
Dogs are mans best friend. They are a symbol of loyalty, fidelity and reliability. The card therefore asks us to consider our own loyalties, who or what are we putting our trust in?
Dogs are used to protect us, to warn us of approaching danger and to attack intruders. They offer us warning signals as a way of serving us. This idea of service is seen again and again with dogs, the most obvious being assistance dogs.
Side note, did you know that assistance dogs doesn’t just mean guide dogs for the blind? There are lots of reasons why a person might have a specially trained dog to help them. My sister has an assistance dog through the charity Canine Partners and it is amazing how many different and seemingly complex tasks the dogs can be trained to do.
On a darker note, we see the appearance of a black dog in village as a predictor of plague in the 1300s. Dogs are also associated with death in a number of societys. Sometimes this is as the gatekeeper to the afterlife. Sometimes it’s believed that dogs can sense death coming for a human. Because of their excellent hearing, they were alleged to hear ghosts. This ties into the concept of the dog as a warning system.
In the Rider Waite Smith tarot, the dog appears on the Moon, the Fool and the 10 of Pentacles cards:
- The Moon – I would argue that this is possibly a representation of the wolf, there is a wildness associated with the moon that I do not sense in the dog as a domesticated animal. Perhaps though we need to remind ourselves of how much involvement humans had in creating the dogs we have today. We have changed their very nature and temperaments. Is this a good or a bad thing? It certainly shows the power of humanity but it also shows our cultural approach to nature as a thing which must be tamed. We tend to feel the same about our emotions and our unconsciousness, both represented by the moon.
- The Fool – A journey is beginning, where do we go? Who do we take along? In this case, I can see the value of an unwaveringly loyal companion who does not question but stands at your heel as you take the first step.
- 10 of Pentacles – This card asks us to consider what is really important to us in life. It asks us to look at our definition of success and whether we feel we have reached it. Where the fool is the beginning of the journey, the ten of pentacles could be considered the end.