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Celtic hound / Celtic dog
In Celtic myth tales, hounds are emblematic of courage, extreme loyalty, and honor. Hounds were prized as companions of the hunt and travelers between worlds. Dogs were closely associated with healing. Gallic gods of healing springs had sacred dogs, and votive offerings to these gods often portrayed dogs and their owners. Hounds, invariably magical, were the constant companions of many Celtic heroes. Irish Filidh (seers) chewed the meat of a dog in a ritual to gain prophetic vision. To be called “hound” was an honorable nickname for a courageous warrior; the name of the god Cuchulain is literally “Hound of Culann;” violating a geas (sacred taboo) on the eating of dogflesh leads to the hero’s death. The mother of the god Lugh, in whose honor the Lughnassa festival was celebrated, was killed while in the form of a small dog.
From the Book of Kells, there is a unique interpretation of three dogs chasing the other’s tail. These three dogs represent the three beneficial phases of the dog. In ancient times the dog was a symbol for loyalty. Second, the tribes depended on the dog for guarding. Finally, it was the healing power of the dog that was widely respected.