Sunday, August 7, 2011

On the nature of dragons

The oldest known story of dragons has been dated to around 10,000 BC.... Over twelve, thousand years ago!
Australian Aboriginal rock painting of the "Rainbow Serpent".
This story is from the Australian Aborigines. The story has been passed down as an oral account of how the volcano lakes were formed. The story is about Ngalyod, the Rainbow Serpent. There are many stories but the oldest known is related to the volcano lakes. They were formed around 10,000 BC and the logic indicates the story was created about that time. It is possible the Rainbow Serpent stories were before the lakes mentioned but there is currently no way to date them.

Since that time, humans have continued to tell stories of dragons. Every known civilization has related a story about a dragon. Even today's US Military is rich with stories of dragons that were slain or subdued.

The question is, where did the stories come from? Is it a common thread that spread through human history by way of chance and stories related to travelers? This is unlikely since cultures that we know never contacted one another have dragon stories. Why is it that we have both good and evil dragons in most cultures? Is it just our shared human psyche that created this common myth?

I wish I had an answer here. Unfortunately I do not. However, I will share my theory with you.

In my book, The Rise of Magick, (samples at link) I have created a kind of dragon. He is named Sylth the Tar Dragon. Through a series of misunderstandings and mistakes another dragon is created and it is a Smog Dragon. There are also various mentions of ancient dragons and how they interact with these newer creations. Each dragon serves a distinct purpose and conveys a specific message about us as people. 

After writing The Rise of Magick, I read through it and realized that the dragons were essential to show what was right and what was wrong in the characters in the book. They amplified evil, doubt, magic, hate, fear and hope. The dragons are what the people looked to for power and for answers. these same people used the same dragons to create fear and doubt in each other and their enemies.
Perhaps this is the same reason other civilizations used dragons. They were a way to explain what was perceived to be magical in the world. They were used to control populations and to create havoc among the people.

This led me to think about the other areas related to dragons. specifically, magic. Perhaps it is that some magic was possible in the past and may be possible again some day in the future. And with the little magic that was real, we fabricated the rest in order to gain the upper-hand in situations. Magic can be interchanged with dragons at almost every turn. Maybe I am on to something here...

Then again... maybe not.

Until next time.... READ!

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