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Symbolic Meaning of Dog Tattoos

Symbolic Meaning of Dog Tattoos

Dog Tattoo Meaning and Symbolism

* Confidence
* Loyalty
* Strength
* Community
* Friendship
* Obedience
* Protection
* Courage
* Intelligence
* Guidance
* Determination
* Faithfulness
* Perception
* Community
* Guardianship
* Teamwork

Most of the dog tattoos I see are memorial tattoos – permanent displays of personal love and affection for a canine companion who has passed into the great dog lands of the heavens.

Interestingly, dogs themselves are considered sentinels to the gateways of the Otherworlds. In ancient Egyptian, Celtic, Greco-Roman and other myths, the dog represents a kind of “psychopomp” or spiritual guide – an ally while a human soul is transferring between the realms of physical and non-physical. Do you feel you are straddling the dimensions of worldly life and ephemeral reality? Perhaps a dog tattoo can solidify a feeling of guardianship and protection as you move through the veils of reality and experience.

In Shamanic wisdom (as well as Celtic thought), the dog is associated with the powers of the forest. Here we see canines as keen, savvy wilderness guides. Hearty, strong and stead-fast to leading us through dark and infinitely mystical territory, the dog is a champion guide. Dogs are phenomenal companions on any kind of journey (spiritual, physical, emotional). A dog tattoo might be a great way to convey that concept of guidance as you wind your way through dark forests of life.

In Asian symbolism, the dog is incredibly good luck. The Chinese prescribe symbolism of prosperity, good fortune, obedience and friendliness to the dog. The dog is also associated with Aquarius in the Chinese zodiac, and therefore is considered to have an amicable disposition. Philanthropic, empathic and very well-liked are other attributes. If you need a bit of luck or a boost in your social standing, a dog tattoo might be the reminder you need for these aspects.

Dogs are associated with both lunar and solar qualities.

As a moon-connected creature, the dog reminds us to move in-sync with the shadows in our midst. Moon dogs also ask us to release ourselves to our untamed selves. Howl at the moon. Copulate by moonlight. Go mad with lunar lust. Dogs do it, so can your soul. A moon-dog tattoo might underscore a need to break out of conformity.

Solar dogs will remind us of our vitality, strength and courage. Dogs associated with the sun are also symbolic of bright self-expression and clear communication. Countless cultures have recruited dogs in the aid of agriculture (a sun-affiliated field), as well as war/battle (also associated with the heat of the sun). If you’re looking to bolster bravado and/or you’re aiming for illuminated self-expression, a sun-dog tattoo might be your sign.

The color of your dog tattoo is a tale-teller too. White dogs are symbolic of purification, clarity, virtue and stamina. Black dogs have a lunar flavor to them and hearken back to the baying hounds of Hecate who is the mistress of shadows. Red dogs convey virility and a sense of victory in personal battles.

Dogs are also considered animal healers. They are associated with sacred waters in Celtic mythology (which offer healing/cleansing power). Canines are also depicted with Asclepius, an ancient Greek physician of renown portent. In many cultures, dogs were thought to have immense healing powers. Ancients observed dogs tending to their own wounds (licking) with remarkable healing results. Are you a healer? Shamanic wisdom encourages you to invite the dog in your healing practices, as this creature will guide you in more effective healing results. A dog tattoo may also serve as a dynamic statement of your power and desire to heal others (and/or yourself).

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