Can Dragons Fly? Find out Here!
Hi all and welcome to Spirit's blog. Today is Monday, I would like to stick to some kind of routine with these blog posts, so today I'm going to be telling you about dragons.
Dragons are or were large reptile like creatures. The myths about them are very different depending on the region of the world the myth originated in. The western world around the Middle Ages believed these creatures to be aggressive, winged, four legged, fire breathing monsters. Whereas in the same time period the eastern world believed dragons to be four legged, snake like, and possess high intelligence.
In ancient Mesopotamia there are tales and artistic depictions of dragons. There are tales of storm gods being the only ones who could slay a dragon. In Babylon they had a particularly popular dragon called Mushussu. This creature was a hybrid of a dragon, a feline and an eagle. The Mushussu was named a sacrificial animal by Marduk (the patron god of the city of Babylon and later leader of pantheon) and his son Nabu (patron god of literacy, arts and wisdom). Marduk was beaten by Tiamat ( the goddess of the salt sea), whom as you could guess took on the form of a dragon. The Babylonians likened the Mushussu to the constellation Hydra.
Ancient Egyptian belief held that their god Apep (Apophis) took on a dragon like form. They believed Apep to be the nemesis of Ra (the god of sun, order and truth), he was said to have embodied Chaos. Chaos is the nothingness that became the earth. Apep was sometimes depicted as a snake, some took it to an extreme stating that his body length was around 16 yards, with a head made of flint. The Egyptians also believed that Apep was a by product of Ra's birth, made out of his umbilical cord and therefore not a primordial god. This fitting in with the belief that evil is from one's struggles not existence.
In the Hebrew Bible, there is the Leviathan. They depicted it as a sea monster, according to the Book of Job, Psalms, Isaiah and Amos. The Book of Job draws inspiration from the creature Canaanite Lotan, which was a primeval monster defeated by the god Hadad.
In early Vedic religion, there was Vritra, a dragon, also their personification of drought and the enemy of Indra (the god of heavens, storms, lightning, rain rivers and war). In Vedic tales Vritra kept all the water of the earth captive, this was until slain by Indra.
In the Hebrew myths the dragon figure is Lernaean Hydra, or Hydra of Lerna. The Hydra was said to live in a lair in the Lake of Lerna, this site was said to be the opening to the underworld. They Hydra was slain by Heracles in the second of his twelve labors. The Hydra was believed to have breath and blood that was so poisonous that even a smell could be lethal. The Hydra was stated to be multi headed. In later myths the Hydra could regenerate heads, so when one was cut off, two more would grow in it's place.
The Norse dragon was named Fafnir. It was said to be born of the King of Dwarfs, and becoming infected by Andvari gold disease, this human turned into a dragon. Andvari was a dwarf who lived under a waterfall. He would shape shift into a spike and one time was caught by Loki the god, as a punishment Andvari had to give up his special gold ring that allowed him to transform and steal gold. Andvari put a curse on his fortune, stating that any human who touched it would be destroyed. So Fafnir as a human finds and keeps the gold of Andvari and is doomed to spend his life as a dragon. Fafnir as a dragon was slain by Sigurd.
One of the more famous tales of dragons is that of the story Beouwulf. This tale set the mark for what dragons in the East were depicted as. This was the first appearance of a four legged, flying, fire breathing threat.
Chinese cultures believe the dragon is a symbol of good luck, and has power over rain. Many Eastern deities have dragons as their companions. There was an association between dragons and the Emperor of China. To the point where only the Emperor could keep dragons, wear dragons on his clothing or in reality have anything to do with dragons.
In Ancient Greece and Rome, dragons were seen as snake like creatures. All the stories from these civilizations show dragons are only ever defeated by a god. For example "The Illiad" by Homer, "The Theogony " by Hesiod and "The Homeric Hymn to Apollo" by Hesiod (others contributed later in time). There is also a mention of Heracles slaying the Hydra from the Hebrew Bible by Heracles.
The Western cultures followed in suit with the depiction of the dragon, roughly in the Middle Ages. Then it began to gain more popularity in modern times through the works of J.R.R Tolkien's "The Hobbit", J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter", and "A Song of Fire and Ice" by George R.R. Martin. In Lewis Caroll's "Through the Looking Glass", Lewis describes a jabberwocky as a dragon like creature. With these writings the dragon earned it's place in Western society and culture.
Practically every culture in the world has a dragon story. Some depict dragons as lucky, some as wise, some as evil. The myth still remains the same, dragons have been and always will be, a creature to conquer. Blessed be.
© 2019 Occult Spirits