Dragons everywhere you look!

Discussion in 'Ancient History and Mythology' started by juantoo3, Oct 23, 2006.

  1. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, all!

    Don't know how far this will go, but I was doing a little bit of looking around a few days ago. Isn't it kinda interesting how dragon myths circle the globe?

    It's almost weird...in the West the dragon is a villian to be slain, when looking at the St. George and the Garden of Eden / Revelation symbology. And in the East, a dragon of a different stripe is considered a protector and bringer of good fortune, some cultures even being known as "people of the dragon." It doesn't end there, if we carry the serpent / dragon symbology to the sea, there are sea serpents and leviathan of legend or superstition. Even in the New World hemisphere, the feathered serpent, Quetzalcoatl (sp?) figured prominantly in the regional mythos. In Africa, mokele mbembe (sp) is said by some to exist in the deepest jungle. In North America, "lake monsters" reminescent of "Nessie" are sacrificed to for the assurance of a safe crossing. Some dragons fly, some breathe fire, some swim. And all of them make strong impressions on the collective psyche of humanity, some for good, and some for evil.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    Hi Juan.

    You should look for a copy of a book titled, The Golden Bough. It was really the first modern work that tied ancient symbological patterns and representations to cross cultural and global belief systems. The author's name escapes me but it's British, who else...and he has about four initials before his last name

    Even some early Christians were known to put a depiction of a serpent swallowing its tail on the burial places of their dead. Sort of an old version of the circle of life myth. If I'm not mistaken many of these markers were obliterated about the time that Constantine came to power in Rome.

    flow....:cool:
     
  3. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, Flow!
    Thanks, that one I already read. Sir (_ _) Frazer, I think, was the author's name, it's been a couple years now. Borrowed a copy from one of my Profs, a rather high honor I later learned. So I have a bit of a notion about how Frazer tied various myths together, not unlike how Rev. Alexander Hyslop did about 20 years or so earlier.

    But I seriously don't recall dragons in that one...

    The Green Man / Wild Man myths, the various death and resurrection (winter and spring) myths, the fertility myths, etc., but I don't recall the dragons...

    It wouldn't surprize me if Jung had something to say about 'em though!
     
  4. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    Hi Juan:

    No. I wasn't implying any dragon info in The Golden Bough, but I wouldn't rule out a reference or two. I was just commenting in general as to its quality as a general reference source that is still very useful.

    Yeah...Frazier...that was it...thanks !

    flow....;)
     
  5. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant New Member

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    A bit of Job... Sounds mighty dragonish to me.. :) Maybe dragons are dinosaurs but the myths survived because people actually saw them and told stories... Matter of fact all of Job 40-41 speak of Leviathan and Behemoth. Fascinating how the bible proves itself as science develops.

    11 Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him? Everything under heaven is Mine. 12 "I will not conceal his limbs, His mighty power, or his graceful proportions. 13 Who can remove his outer coat? Who can approach him with a double bridle? 14 Who can open the doors of his face, With his terrible teeth all around? 15 His rows of scales are his pride, Shut up tightly as with a seal; 16 One is so near another That no air can come between them; 17 They are joined one to another, They stick together and cannot be parted. 18 His sneezings flash forth light, And his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning. 19 Out of his mouth go burning lights; Sparks of fire shoot out. 20 Smoke goes out of his nostrils, As from a boiling pot and burning rushes. 21 His breath kindles coals, And a flame goes out of his mouth. 22 Strength dwells in his neck, And sorrow dances before him.
     
  6. jiii

    jiii ...

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    I'm glad you mentioned this, juantoo, as I have also found myself wondering what the deal is with dragon mythology existing in so many different cultures.

    Here's one idea I came up with while pondering: Picture this...you're a pretty reasonable man living, say, a three-thousand years ago in, I don't know, China...North America...Greece...whatever. You don't buy into much of the popular nonsense of the era...you fancy yourself as one that is not swayed so easily by fantastic and likely untrue stories about demons and monsters, and you don't fret over supertitions of the day. You almost have the skepticism of a scientist. One day, somebody returns to the village claiming that they found the bones of a dragon. You think it's laughable, not to mention ridiculous. You know that no such thing as dragons exist. For a good laugh you follow a group of curious onlookers to go see the supposed dragon skeleton. The disbelief is striking and you're sense of reality is turned upside down as you come to find the man really has found the massive bones of a dragon partially buried in the ground. From that day on, dragons would be a pretty impressive and mysterious part of your life.

    Of course, at that point in history, you don't have the background knowledge that would identify the bones as that of a massive dinosaur that died 70 million years before anything vaguely hominid ever walked the planet. After all, who would ever think, in that day in age, that a bone could last 70 million years? You wouldn't know that bones can become petrified.

    I don't think that it is a stetch to assume that discoveries like this occurred in almost every culture in numerous instances, beginning perhaps even before distinguishable societies emerged. The key aspect is that a man of antiquity that distrusted the myths of dragons just as strongly as the ordinary person might today, wouldn't have known how to react to finding that dragons really do exist, after all...there would be no other way to explain what would come to be known as "T-Rex" bones a few thousand years down the line.

    Enough of these discoveries are made over long periods of time, and word filters down through generation after generation being reinforced every now and then by a fresh discovery of dragon bones...and voila! You have the making of some long-lasting and deep-seated dragon mythology that will be that much stronger since it appears, by all accounts, to be true.

    I think that very few people of prehistory or antiquity ever had a chance to see dinosaur bones, themselves. Though, if at various points in history handfuls of men from all over the globe and of every persuasion -from wise to stupid, from doubtful to gullible- can say that they saw proof of dragons first-hand, people start to take notice.

    That doesn't explain too much about how or why each culture developed their own unique dragon symbologies, but it might be a possibility so far as why dragon mythologies are so widespread. Sometimes it seemed that all evidence pointed at the myths being true, and some people even held in their hands the bones of a creature that didn't seem likely to be anything else besides the massive and unlikely creature of which oral tradition had spoken.
     
  7. earl

    earl ?

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    OK-here's my speculation.:) Dragons have tended to be associated in symbology with the unconscious psychologically. Western cultures have seemingly placed emphasis on delineating, defining, strengthening what psychologists term the ego function-executive mental functions involved with discriminative thinking. So the "dragon" of unconsiousness appears to be the adversary with which to engage in battle to subdue its influence. Eastern philosophies and religions which de-emphasize the ego functions or outright advocate paths of transcending overly distinct ego boundaries would not in the same way tend to see the unconscious as the enemy but perhaps are aware it can actually bring "gifts" or boons when not feared. Even with the children's song/story re Puff the magic dragon-we have the story line of a child outgrowing his "imaginary" dragon friend and, of course, with age fortunately or not, our ego functions become elaborated and tend to automatically close off channels of less-ego-controlled awareness which then requires enormous effort as adults to reconnect in healthy ways with these closed off aspects of ourselves. Have a good one, earl
     
  8. moseslmpg

    moseslmpg Member

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    You know, I saw a book a while back that was written about this same subject exactly. I can't find it right now, but it also has the differences between eastern and western dragons.

    Ok, this is all I could find.
     
  9. earl

    earl ?

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    To continue the speculative play...snakes are mythologically of a similar ilk as dragons. A number of psychological commentators have retold the Genesis Eden story from the vein of seeing it a psychological metaphor. The serpent tempting Eve to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil they see as the metaphorical embarkation of a path of consciousness development-we're booted from our Edenic garden of undifferentiated awareness into and onto the path of discursive consciousness. We have no choice but to become more conscious or suffer, (my own personal view of "original sin" is along these lines-that it is inevitable in the human condition to be at least initially "blind" to the full flowering of the Divine within and through us-takes work to receive the grace:) ). Snakes seem to trigger a near universal aversion in folks. They slither unseen along the ground to then "spring up and shock us." Metaphorically it is our unconscious slithering about the ground which springs up to shock us if not prepared to receive it properly-when worked with the serpent "rises." Asklepios was the Greek god of healing and of course a snake was depicted twining around his staff. It is rising in the act of healing. Similarly, in Kundalini yoga, the subtle energies of kundalini which are believed to rise along the spine as the individual becomes more spiritually aware has typically been seen metaphorically as being a serpent who twines about the spine on arising. The twining in these images is a spiral pattern which also to me has metaphorical significance-psychospiritual "growth" seems to occur "spirally" in that as new degrees and levels of awareness dawn in us we weave in and out of understanding-first through a glass darkly and then with clearer understanding-old issues and events now seen in a different light. As it is said in the gnostic gospel of Thomas:
    "If you bring forth what is in you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."
    When brought forth, the dragon of awareness gifts us, when resisted and repressed into the shadowy realms of our being, the dragon seems fearsome and gnaws away at us. Take care, earl
     
  10. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    Hi Earl:

    I would agree with you that dragons and serpents are a general representation of "energies rising". As you pointed out, twining energy representations showing serpents curling around staffs and tree structures are very old. Moses is said to have had a "brazen serpent" (brass) on the tip of his staff that could supposedly cure poisonous snake bites. Joseph Campbell wrote extensively about the ascension of energies up the spines of humans through the chakra points and the sensible utilization of these energies in life.

    Flying dragons are iterations of the same sort of conceptual understandings regarding "rising energies" IMHO. Gaugin used the image of a small, flying red dragon instead of a snake in a tree in his famous series of panels depicting Adam and Eve in the Garden. Many of the dragons illustrated in Chinese art works are red and flying, and it is a general worldwide understanding of dragon mythologies that they are endowed with the ability to fly.

    For me the clincher is that many pyramid structures that remain from central and South American civilizations of the past show serpent forms crawling up the ridges of the pyramid forms towards their peaks. This is a representational cross-cultural understanding that mountains and peaks focus earth's energies, and that valleys tend to spread them out, Also keep in mind that the ancient Hebrews worshipped in "high places" and used clusters of staffs (groves) in their rituals. One might call that a "neo-pagan" interpretation and touches upon these cross-cultural understandings of dragon/serpent mythologies, but as we know these rituals were abolished about 600 bce. by the reformers of Hezzikiah's era.

    In ancient Sumer the gods were said to descend from time to time to a small blue house at the top of ziggurats (pyramids) to engage in sexual relations with virgins placed in the blue house soley for the edification and enjoyment of the gods (why else would Viagra pills be colored blue?). Of course it is now known that human sexual motivations spring from the oldest portion of the brain, some call it the primitive or serpent portion. But of course this may have all been formalized in mythologies by our ancestors through the unconscious and subliminal use of dragon and serpent symbology in their representations of the eternal energies of earth renewal. All cultures knew that these energies were a two edged sword with the potentials to both heal and destroy.

    But the Judeo-Christian wisdom that has come down to us since then is that G-d hates serpents and has cursed them forever...while they are still revered as symbols of wisdom in South Asia. Obviously something has been going on here for a long time.

    flow....:cool:
     
  11. Ciel

    Ciel in essence

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    There are fine energy lines and dimensions to be seen outside the normal spectrum of light known. And yes I have seen - there be dragons. Shamans tap into this primal state of energy and often with the use of hallucinogenics, though it is possible to also tune through higher frequency consciousness.

    There is a certain writing of the poet Rumi;

    Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo.
    You might say," The world outside is vast and intricate.
    There are wheat fields and mountain passes,
    and orchards in bloom."

    You ask the embryo, why he or she stays cooped up in the dark with eyes closed.
    Listen to the answer.

    " There is no other world.
    I only know what I've experienced.
    You must be hallucinating."

    - c -
     
  12. InquisitiveInHalifax

    InquisitiveInHalifax New Member

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    This is so interesting! I was just watching Peter Jackson's rendition of King Kong this weekend, it got me thinking about the possibility of our ancestors and dinosaurs inhabiting the earth at the same time. If by some miracle ancient human ancestors and dinosaurs encountered one another or perhaps our ancestors encountered the fossils of dinosaurs as Jiii suggests it could account for dragon myths being found everywhere.

    Earl's explanation of dragons as symbols of our unconscious psyche is very interesting as well.

    That's the thing I love about myths, there can be so many layers of understanding.

    Thanks for the post juantoo3
    -R
     
  13. moseslmpg

    moseslmpg Member

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    Another good question is why exactly did people attribute all of these meanings to snakes in the first place. The book I posted a link to theorizes that while dragons may have never existed, they were formed from different threats perceived by our ancestors, so it explains how it got into the collective unconscious of humanity. It's easy for us to give different meaning to the symbols of snakes and serpents, but I would say that probably because those were all taught to us by someone who was taught that, and so on.
     
  14. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Wow, some great responses, far more than I expected!

    Here I was just looking at the symbolic artwork for the most part, not knowing very much at all about the attached symbolic meanings other than from my own Christian perspective, and noticing the very real opposite correlation with the Oriental view. Coming from the American South West, I had been exposed some to Aztec, Maya and related cultural myths, and have long wondered the Quetzalcoatl thing.

    That is an interesting coincidence about the connection with the reptilian brain, but if I recall correctly from class it has more to do with form, shape and function than with symbolism and abstract relations. If I recall correctly, our "spirit center" (I want to say "amygdala," but I can stand correction if I am mistaken) has no direct relationship with our reptilian brain. The reptilian brain as I recall is concerned with autonomic body functions (heart beat, breathing, stuff like that). Goodness, it's been a long time since I thought about this stuff, and I didn't get in very deep to begin with.

    In other words, "guys", I'm all ears. I'm learning quite a bit.

    Oh, I almost forgot...One I failed to mention is the Sirrush from the Ishtar Gate. Even in modern Iraq, there are ancient depictions of dragons / dinosaurs. Since these are included with three other known creatures, it does add a bit more fuel to the fire as to whether or not perhaps there may have been some interaction between humans and "thunder lizards."
     
  15. Ciel

    Ciel in essence

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    So isn't this basically about elemental forces? Dragon lines as above, in reality structure weather movements, electric - magnetic, connecting to earth and energy lines running through the planet given the name of ley lines, dragon lines.
    And humans the same, we also carry meridian lines of energy effecting mind, body and spirit.
    The microcosm and macrocosm as one.
    See the serpent as human elemental nature vs the will of God. If the two were to be in balance working together what a wonderfull world it would be...................

    - c -
     
  16. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    Remember also that ancient cultures worldwide, and especially in the Northern Hemisphere, held a basic belief that Gods and men came from the sky and drew their energies from the heavens: and, that women came from the earth and drew their energies from that source. The dragon at the Ishtar gate that you mentioned Juan would likely be a representation of this. Dragons were often known to inhabit areas where entry into other realities were believed to exist.

    Native American cultures and their predecessors from the Eurasian Plains were especially fixed in these beliefs. There are also many Native American Creation myths that exhibit a common thread of the original people emerging from the earth to begin their tribes. Kind of like a resurrection scenario IMO.

    There are unseen energies flowing around, through, and impinging off of us at all times from our conception to our death. Some from the heavens, some from the earth. You can't tell me that this does not have effects upon our lives. We are a part of the universe, and it is the largest part of us.

    flow....:)
     
  17. moseslmpg

    moseslmpg Member

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    I thought men came from the earth and women came from the sky.
     
  18. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    Nope...in general worldwide the traditional belief is men from the sky and women from the earth. Some cultures of river people and south Pacific people believe in ancestors coming by boat or barge, but these are exceptions to the rule. But as I noted, in some American Native cultures, it is believed that all original people came from the earth.

    flow...:)
     
  19. moseslmpg

    moseslmpg Member

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    Sorry I know this is off topic, but can you give specific examples of women from the earth, men from the sky or maybe where I can read more about this? I just don't remember ever hearing about this before.
     
  20. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    I've done a lot of reading on ancient beliefs over the past twenty years or so. While I can't give you specific references, during my research on global cultural anthropologies, this fact just jumped out at me one day in my work. I have found this pattern emerging in several places over the years. I would suggest a general text on the spiritual beliefs of Native American tribes of the plains. You should find it there

    Now, the Hebrews believed that for men to receive the arrow of knowledge (mishkan) from G-d who dwelled in the heavens, one was obliged to place himself in the attitude of the female (shekinah) in order to be receptive to the piercing by the mishkan. IMO, this implies, even at this relatively late date, that there was a carry-over of beliefs from ancient tribal days into the nomadic Hebrew period of a concept of men being able to receive spiritual messages from the heavens under appropriate conditions. Dauer and Bananabrain had a different interpretation of the process than the one I found in my work, but opinions differ on most things this far back in time.

    Sorry, but that's about the best that I can do. By the same token it was a common belief that women received spiritual energies from the earth through their feet. There is even biblical precedent for this concept in G-d's command to Moses to take the shoes from his feet when in the presence of the burning bush when they first met. But the concept is there of there being something special about holy ground.

    flow....:cool:
     

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