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Mythical and Magical Creatures Pt. 3

The only known existing dragons in the world are Komodo dragons, they are the worlds heaviest lizards and are extremely aggressive. Oriental tradition believes dragons were hatched out of gem-like eggs and that it took 1,000 years for the dragon to hatch and then 3,000 years for it to reach maturity. In China the dragon is considered a bringer of good luck and is associated with the I Ching trigram Chem, which means thunder. The thunder is said to have burst from the womb of the Earth Mother, in the form of a green dragon, at the spring Equinox, scattering the seeds of new life. During drought the dragons slumber under the ground or in pools or wells. The dragons rise in the spring and fight or mate, creating rain, then they scatter pearls and fireballs on to the Earth. The Year of the Dragon occurs every twelve years in Chinese Astrology, the Years of the Dragon are especially lucky for those born at this time. Joan of Arc and Salvador Dali were born under the auspicious sign of the dragon.

In the West, becoming a dragon was a punishment, in China and the Orient, becoming a dragon signified blessings. A boy who lived in the Szechuan province of China, Nie Lang, found a dragon’s pearl during the drought in Szechuan. The boy used the pearl to give his family and friends enough to eat. The fame of the pearl spread and Lord Zhou tried to steal it, the boy swallowed the pearl and was transformed into a dragon. Lord Zhou was washed away when the transformed dragon rose out of the river, to this day the province is protected by the dragon.

Chinese dragons were essential to agricultural life, as they controlled the weather and the seasons. Dragon King temples were created for the people to make offerings to the dragons, to ensure a good harvest. Ruling over the four seas are the Four Dragon Kings called, Long Wang. Oriental weather dragons had the power to divert flood waters away from towns, the deep pools left by storms caused the growth of healing herbs. If the dragons were angered by mortals, they would gather all the waters in a basket creating a drought. Dragons also had the power to swallow the Sun and cause an eclipse.

Celestial dragons live in the heavens in order to serve the gods, the male air and weather dragons bring the winds and rain, ensuring a good harvest. The rivers and subterranean waters are preserved by the female Earth dragons. The Celestial dragons are also responsible for volcanoes and Earth tremors. Thousands of years ago, the dragons taught wisdom and writing to the emperor Fu Hsi.

Draco the northern circumpolar constellation (near the North Pole), resembles a dragon, Draco is the home of the former pole star Thuban (now Polaris). The Roman astronomer Ptolemy (90 BCE-168 CE) named Draco. In Greek myth Draco is known as Ladon, the hundred headed dragon that guarded Hera’s golden apples of the fabled garden of the Hesperides nymphs. Dragons were once associated with meteors and comets, some believed that lights and flames in the sky were fire-breathing dragons warning of earthly disasters, caused by bad human behaviour.

While Uther, father of King Arthur, was leading his army into battle, a dragon flared across the sky. From seeing the fiery dragon in the sky, Merlin prophesied that Uther would win the battle and that after the death of the present king Aurelius, Uther would take his place. After the death of king Aurelius, Uther took the name Pendragon (the head of the dragon) and had a golden dragon as his emblem ever after.

Merlin made other dragon prophecies, one of his prophecies saved his own life by revealing subterranean dragons. Vortigen, who was trying to build a fortress, was told by seers that only the blood of a fatherless child, could stop the nightly earth tremors that kept destroying the tower he was attempting to have built. The fatherless Merlin came to his attention, the young Merlin told Vortigen that the tower that kept falling down, was being built on a site where there were two warring dragons. There was a white dragon and a red dragon, after digging deep the builders found the pool which Merlin told them to drain. The dragons woke and fought each other, the red dragon died first but not before mortally wounding the white dragon. Merlin prophesied that the red dragon was a symbol of the Celts and the white dragon was a symbol of the invading Anglo-Saxons. He also predicted that the white dragon would be victorious but later the red dragon would take back what was rightly his. Vortigen was killed in battle but later Uther, then Authur, drove back the Saxons.

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