The Black Dog is a figure in British Isles Mythology. He has many names; Cwn Annwn, Garmr, Cerberus, Cu Sith, the Barghest, Hairy Jack, Padfoot - there are many more listed on the wiki page.
Seeing the Black Dog is usually a harbinger of impending death or doom. He's also associated with lightning storms, but he's most known as the portent of death.
I'm writing about him today because I've had a personal encounter with the Cu Sith, or Black Dog.
Sascha and I were driving from Oregon to North Carolina. He'd just come home safe from Afghanistan, so we were moving back to North Carolina. Most of our stuff had been shipped; it was just Sascha, the cat, and I in the car, along with the stuff we needed for the two week journey. (We were stopping to see sights as we went.)
In the middle of Montana, miles from anywhere, we were cruising along at 75 MPH (the speed limit on their interstates) when a very large black dog ran in front of the car. We swerved, attempting to miss it, hit it anyway, spun out of control, across the road, and into a fence. The car was totaled. Sascha was life-flighted to a hospital sixty miles away with a punctured, collapsed lung and two broken ribs. I waited with the car until a nice SPCA employee came to pick up our cat (she kept her at her house until we could pick her up again!) and then the tow truck driver drove me to the hospital. I had twisted an ankle, but was otherwise unharmed.
And it was on the hour ride to the hospital, while I was quietly, inwardly panicking because I had no idea if Sascha was alright, that I realized the dog we'd hit was black. (SPCA later told us it survived, somehow, but disappeared from the road. They THINK the family who'd lost it came to get it, but they're not sure.)
Sascha spent a week in the hospital. It took us another week to find a new car, pull our stuff out of the old one, and pick up Boudicca so we could continue across the states. But Sascha survived, and is pretty much back to normal now, a year later.
Running into the Black Dog remains the scariest moment of my life. I still have nights where I think back on it, and the moments after we hit, when I looked over to see Sascha with blood running down his face, telling me he couldn't breathe. Those are bad nights. I still have moments in the car when I think I see movement at the side of the road. It's been pointed out that I seem to have a mild case of PTSD, which I think I agree with, but I'm getting better. Those nights are few and farther between now.
Looking in from the back of the car, you can see how the driver's side buckled inwards and broke Sascha's ribs. Boudicca's carrier was right behind me. The actually had to cut Sascha's door OFF to get him out of the car.
Part of me wonders at the timing. The only real ritual I've performed was just after Sascha deployed to Afghanistan; I performed a protection ritual to keep him safe. Every night he was gone I prayed to Brigid. And he came home safe, but it was like the universe rubber-banded on us. I pulled too much and it snapped back.
Sascha has mentioned this principle in regards to weather-working. He doesn't do it much, because it tends to backlash eventually.
Has anyone else observed this with magic? Energy backlashing when you've pulled to hard the other direction?
Has anyone else had encounters with the Black Dog?