The Symbol Of The Dragon

The word dragon comes from the Latin word "draco" and the Greek word "drakon" that means snake or viper snake.

It's a fabulous animal and a symbolic universal figure.

The dragon is present in most of the cultures of the world. In the ancient Oriental cultures as well as in the Westerner.

The ethnologists Alexander Haggerty Krappe ("La genese des Mythes"), told that the dragon figure could come from the shock of discovering remains of prehistoric animals.

In all the cultures the dragon has a important symbolic nature. Depending on the shape of the depicted dragon, the meaning may vary. Thus, the multi-headed dragon has a strong adverse meaning. The dragon that bites its own tail symbolizes the "Eternal Return", and has been depicted many times in emblems and shields. The symbol of the dragon was very usual in Alchemy.

Colors may vary the meaning of the dragon: a red dragon is the guardian of science, and a white one is a lunar dragon. In the Eastern, a black dragon symbolizes the North, and blue ones are symbol of the coming Spring.

In the Orient, dragons are considered benevolent spirits, symbols of the forces of Nature and Universe. They are linked to Wisdom and a long life. In the legends of Orient, they have magical powers.
In China, they made dragons with paper and wood and were used to attract the rain. They were carried through the streets. If the rain didn't come, the dragon was destroyed. The dragon was believed to be an intermediary between them and the forces of Nature.

In the Westerner cultures, it's depicted winged, scaly and able to spit fire. In some cultures, the dragon has the gift of speaking.

In the dragon converge the elements of fire, water, earth and air.

In the beginning, the dragon was associated to the God of Water and the God of Sun. It had powers both destructive and benevolent. It was believed that it lived in the deep of the sea where it guarded treasures. The dragon controlled the destiny of humanity.
So with the pass of time, people began to fear the figure of the dragon, and there was a wish to fight and defeat it. This way, in the Westerner, it ended having an adverse meaning, and sometimes it was depicted as a devil or demon.

In the Middle Ages, it was depicted with chest and legs of eagle (celestial quality), body of snake (secret and subterranean quality), bat wings (intellectual quality, as intellect comes from God that is associated with Heavens), and a dart shaped tail (just like the lion in Astrology, a symbol of submission to reason).

The dragon, both as a symbolic figure as well as for its majestic appearance, has decorated palaces, shields, weapons... It has starred stories and works of art. It's always present in the fantasy stories of all times.
Maybe because the dragon gathers all the elements that the human beings desire and admire.

-Emma Alvarez-

© 2008 by Emma Alvarez. Link to this post without copying the text.

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bloggo said...

Fantastic! You have a really great blog!

Emma Alvarez said...

I'm glad that you like it and come back soon!

Donald Mckenzie Jr said...

This was a really great post. I loved how you added a lot of detail with the different paintings of the dragons. Keep up the great work.

Emma Alvarez said...

Thank you Donald, actually there are so many good artworks in fantasy with dragons that it's a temptation for me.

Keith said...

Good job with your website Emma!

Emma Alvarez said...

Thank you, Keith.

franklin marks said...

I enjoyed reading your blog. I love dragons, majestic animals. I view them as benevolent and peaceful.

Unknown said...


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