Dragons- That hiss you hear is not a kitty cat

From Wales to Westeros, here there be dragons!

Dragons are universal in myths of all cultures-  – but when was the last time YOU saw one? (Game of Thrones and Pete the Dragon don’t count……….).

There’s many a tale of people seeing dragons, yet there’s no proof – no skeleton or photo or any  jeweled sparkly scales passed down as a family heirloom.

There may not be any proof, but rumor has it there are four types of dragons: fire, earth, air and water. The most famous fire dragon involves the wizard Merlin, who had a vision of fire dragons and an epic battle between the white dragon of the Saxons and red dragon of Britain. Britain’s dragon won and it is said that “milkmaids fled at the first hiss of its wing beat.” The Celts used the word ‘dragon’ for chief, and over time, they became melded together. Slay a chief in battle, then you have slayed a ‘dragon.’ When Arthur’s father, Uther, had a vision of a flaming dragon, he took the name of Pendragon- head of the dragon – and so began the image of a dragon featured on the herald of Britain’s greatest kings. King Arthur was known for the fiery dragon ‘blazing on is helmet as he rode forth to do battle.” Since the Tudor kings claimed to be descended from Uther and Arthur, they too featured the dragon on their herald; it still dwells today on the badge of the principality of Wales.

Earth dragons were invoked by ancient druids to guard the buried treasure of chieftains and warriors and were considered guardians of the threshold. In The Hobbit, the dragon Smaug guards the gold too. Psychologically, they can be thought of as guarding our own inner treasure and wisdom. Air dragons are messengers of the sky god – comets were often thought of as fire-breathing dragons with bright heads and forked tails.

The Chinese consider Water dragons most auspicious as they control rainfall, hurricanes and floods, while the Buddhist mystic Nagarjuna (naga means dragon)  was given the sacred texts of the Mahayana Sutras by nagas of the undersea kingdom.

The 200 pound Komodo Dragon of Indonesia is a real dragon. They can’t fly, but they can outrun a human and smell blood from 5 miles away. The Buginese fisherman who share Komodo National Park with the dragons do so very carefully- no milkmaids hear the hiss of wings– but the people live on homes of stilts, avoid going out at night, and do not wear red since it can be mistaken for blood.

J.R.R. Tolkien did not wish to have dragons in his neighborhood, but he did write that “ the world that contained even the imagination of dragons was richer and more beautiful, at whatever cost of peril.”

That is a sentiment that ancient kings, Game of Thrones fans, and the Buginese fisherman can all share.

Visit us at www.voiceoftheanimal.com  or Animal Radio Network on XM Satellite and over 140 local stations nationwide to hear an audio version of this story. Enjoy our lovely new theme music, courtesy of Dr. Josh Ottum with the Commercial Music department at Bakersfield College.

 

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