Dragons & Dragon Lore
The dragon is a mythical creature typically depicted as
a gigantic and powerful serpent or other reptile with magical or spiritual
qualities. On this page find dragon Classifications, Types of Dragons, European
Dragons, Asian Dragons, Egyptian Dragons, African Dragons, Babylonian Dragons,
Indian Dragons, the Ouroboros, Dragon Spells, Dragon Lore, and the Legend of St.
George and the Dragon.
A 15th-century plaque portraying the legend of St George
The dragon is a mythical creature typically depicted as a
gigantic and powerful serpent or other reptile with magical or spiritual
qualities. Dragons are often held to have major spiritual significance in
various religions and cultures around the world. In many Eastern and Native
American cultures dragons were, and in some cultures still are, revered as
representative of the primal forces of nature, religion and the universe. Many
pre-Columbian cultures were fascinated by the power of dragons. The Moche people
depicted dragons frequently in their ceramics. They are associated with
wisdom—often said to be wiser than humans—and longevity. They are commonly said
to possess some form of magic or other supernatural power, and are often
associated with wells, rain, and rivers. In some cultures, they are also said to
be capable of human speech.
Berrin, Katherine & Larco Museum. The Spirit of Ancient
Peru:Treasures from the
Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera. New York:
Thames and Hudson, 1997.
There are four main sub-classifications of dragons
which are listed here for the curious.
The Lindworm dragon classification does not have
wings, though it does have feet. Since they do not have feet they are unable to
fly; however, they are fire-breathing. Their energetic flow is constant,
persistent, and slow, and thus difficult to stop.
The Ampitere dragon classification is winged and
footless. Because of their grand wingspan, they are able to stay soaring and
flying constantly, keeping an eye on the frankincense trees and people in
The flow of energies from Ampiteres has a looping effect,
which pulses forward, increasing in strength with each loop (http://www.dragonmuse.com/lore1-1.html).
The Wyvern dragon classification has both
wings and feet, which makes them able to fly and run. The Wyvern is
commonly portrayed by artists.
The Wyvern's energies dart from place to place. They are great protectors of
psychic space when called upon (http://www.dragonmuse.com/lore1-1.html).
The Guivere dragon
classification has fins and is thus adapted to water. It is footless and
wingless. The Guivere's energies are slow and flowing (http://www.dragonmuse.com/lore1-1.html).
While these are the main
subcategories, you will find many variations of each as they tend to interbreed.
This makes identification a tricky affair, to say the least!
Types of Dragons
Chinese dragon, color engraving on wood,
Chinese school, nineteenth Century
This work of art is in the
public domain because its copyright has expired.
Indonesian dragon (Naga or Nogo) Naga is a
mythical animal from Indonesian mythology, and the myth encompasses almost all
of the islands of Indonesia, especially those who were influenced heavily by
Hindu culture(including Malaya. in fact, the word 'Naga' is a common noun for
dragon in Malay). Like its Indian counterpart, it is considered as divine in
nature, benevolent, and often associated with sacred mountains, forests, or
certain parts of the sea.
Chinese dragon (Lóng or Loong) "Lung"
being an inaccurate, but commonly used, romanization.) The Chinese dragon,
is a mythical Chinese creature that also appears in other East Asian cultures,
and is also sometimes called the Oriental (or Eastern) dragon. Depicted
as a long, snake-like creature with four claws, it has long been a potent symbol
of auspicious power in Chinese folklore and art.
Japanese dragon (Ryū) Similar to Chinese dragons,
with three claws instead of four. They are benevolent (with exceptions),
associated with water, and may grant wishes.
(Bakonawa) The Bakonawa appears as a gigantic serpent that lives in the
Ancient natives believed
that the Bakonawa caused the moon or the sun to disappear during an eclipse.It
is said that during certain times of the year, the bakonawa arises from the
ocean and proceeds to swallow the moon whole. To keep the Bakonawa from
completely eating the moon, the natives would go out of their houses with pans
and pots in hand and make a noise barrage in order to scare the Bakonawa into
spitting out the moon back into the sky.
Korean dragon (Yong) A sky dragon, essentially the
same as the Chinese lóng. Like the lóng, yong and the other Korean dragons are
associated with water and weather. The yo is a hornless ocean dragon,
sometimes equated with a sea serpent. The kyo is a mountain
Vietnamese dragon (Rồng or Long) These
dragons' bodies curve lithely, in sine shape, with 12 sections, symbolising 12
months in the year. They are able to change the weather, and are responsible for
crops. On the dragon's back are little, uninterrupted, regular fins. The head
has a long mane, beard, prominent eyes, crest on nose, but no horns. The jaw is
large and opened, with a long, thin tongue; they always keep a châu
(gem/jewel) in their mouths (a symbol of humanity, nobility and knowledge).
Siberian dragon (Yilbegan) Related to European Turkic and
1478 drawing by Theodoros Pelecanos, in alchemical tract titled Synosius.
This work of art is in the
public domain because its copyright has expired.
The name Ouroboros means "tail-devourer" in Greek. It is an ancient and
important mythical and religious symbol depicting a dragon or serpent with its
tail in its mouth which forms a circle. This image has represented numerous
things throughout time including the concepts of cyclicality, primordial unity,
and the vicious circle. It has also been frequently used in alchemical
illustrations. More recently, it has been interpreted by psychologists, such as
Carl Jung, as having an archetypal significance to the human psyche.
In alchemy, the Ouroboros is a purifying sigil.
Engraving of Ouroboros (a dragon swallowing its own
tail) by Lucas Jennis. Published on an alchemical emblem-book entitled De
Lapide Philisophico (1625)
The Legend of Saint George
and the Dragon
Saint George and the Dragon, Paolo Uccello,
c. 1470. This small one has the look of a griffin or a wyvern.
Who was Saint George?
to the available writings on Christian saints, Saint George was a soldier of the
Roman Empire, from the Greek-speaking region of Anatolia, now modern day Turkey.
Saint George is one of the most revered Christian martyrs, as he is the patron
saint of Aragón, Canada, Catalonia, Deptford; England, Ethiopia, Georgia,
Greece, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, Russia, and Palestine, as well as the
cities of Genoa, Beirut, Ljubljana, Freiburg, Amersfoort, Ferrara and Moscow, as
well as a wide range of professions, organisations and disease sufferers.. He
became immortalized in the legend of George and the Dragon.
Saint George is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers
- a group of saints venerated together in Roman Catholicism
because their intercession was thought to be particularly effective against
various diseases, in particular. In Christianity, the veneration
of saints is a special act of honoring them, shown outwardly by
respectfully bowing or making the sign of the cross before a saint's icon,
relics, or statue, or by kissing these holy artifacts. The Fourteen Holy
Helpers, also called "Nothelfer" (helpers in need) originated in the
Rhineland during the 14th century as a result of the Black Death (a probable
epidemic of bubonic plague).
Fourteen Holy Helpers
According to the Western version of the legend, a
dragon makes its nest at the spring that provides water for the city of "Silene"
(perhaps modern Cyrene) in Libya or the city of Lydda, depending on the source.
Consequently, the citizens have to dislodge the dragon from its nest for a time,
in order to collect water. To do so, each day they offer the dragon a human
sacrifice. The victim is chosen by drawing lots. One day, this happened to be
the princess. The monarch begs for her life with no result. She is offered to
the dragon, but there appears the saint on his travels. He faces the dragon,
slays it and rescues the princess. The grateful citizens abandon their ancestral
paganism and convert to Christianity.
Wise and loving Father of the Voodoo Loas
Damballah Wedo is one of the most revered of
the African gods, the loa of peace and purity, of platinum and silver, and the
one who grants riches and sustains the world. Optimism emanates from his
presence and it is he who is the original servant to the Creator.
Long ago, the serpent spirit Dambala created the world. He used his 7,000
coils to form the stars and the planets in the heavens and to shape the hills
and valleys on earth. He used lightning bolts to forge metals and make the
sacred rocks and stones. When he shed his skin he created all the waters on the
earth. And when the sun showed through mist settling on the plants and trees a
rainbow was born. Her name was Ayida Wedo. Dambala loved her and made her his
wife. They are still together today, the serpent and the rainbow. Dambala and
Dambalah is also one of the three husbands
of Erzulie Freda.
Some of the chief attributes of Damballah
Wedo is his lack of human speech and an affinity for water. He has many aspects,
one of which Damballah la Flambeau, where he appears in fire form and pure
active energy. In this form he melds with the attributes of the Dragon, and
represents the outward manifestation of Kundalini of the East rising.
Simbi Voodoo Doll
In Haitian Vodou, Simbi (also Sim'bi) is a large and diverse
family of serpent deities from the West Central Africa / Kongo region. Some
prominent Simbi Loa include Simbi Dlo (also Simbi d'l'eau - Simbi
of the Water), Simbi Makaya, Simbi Andezo (Simbi of Two Waters),
and Gran Simba. Traditionally in their Kongo context they are all
associated with water, but in the Haitian Vodoun context they have wide ranging
associations. For example Simbi Makaya is a great sorcerer, and served in
particular in the Sanpwel secret societies. Simbi Anpaka is a Loa of
plants, leaves, and poisons.
Simbi spirits are
said to perch in trees like the birds and descend to the ground to create magic.
They are believed to be the source of special blessings and a higher class of
ancestors, elevated by death to a higher status than humans; yet , still
available for consultation and service. Simbi is
also a lwa of communication. Things regarding communication which move at the
speed of light are in Simbi's domain (such as nerve impulses, Internet,
electricity.) He is associated with crossroads and his veve (ritual symbol)
encompasses the equal-armed cross (http://www.sosyetedumarche.com/Vodou_Info/Lwa/Simbi/simbi.html).
Milo Rigaud (City Lights, NY; c1969; "Secrets of Voodoo") speaks of Simbi as
the Vodou Mercury, the messenger of Legba (the Sun). In this aspect Simbi is the
bearer of souls to all places, and the creative principle.
Pictured is a Voodoo doll of Simbi of the Water (Simbi Dlo).
Veve of Simbi ©2008 Denise Alvarado
Fáfnir guards the gold hoard in this illustration by
Arthur Rackham to Richard Wagner's Siegfried.
In Norse mythology, Fáfnir (Old Norse) or Frænir (Faroese) was
a son of the dwarf king Hreidmar and brother of Regin and Ótr. In the
Volsunga saga, Fáfnir was a dwarf gifted with a powerful arm and fearless
soul. He wore the Aegis helmet and guarded his father's house of glittering gold
and flashing gems. He was the strongest and most aggressive of the three
After Ótr was killed by Loki, Hreidmar received the cursed gold of Andvari's
as repayment for the loss of his son. Fáfnir and Regin then killed their father
to get the gold, but Fáfnir decided he wanted it all, turning into a dragon
(symbol of greed). Regin then sent his foster-son, Sigurd, to kill the dragon.
Sigurd succeeded by digging a pit under the trail Fáfnir used to walk to a
stream and plunging his sword Gram into his heart as he walked past. Regin,
however, corrupted by the curse on Andvari's gold, planned to kill Sigurd to
take the treasure for himself, but Sigurd, having eaten part of Fáfnir's cooked
heart, was warned by birds of Regin's attack and ended up killing him.
Níðhöggr gnaws the roots of
Yggdrasill in this illustration from a 17th century Icelandic manuscript.
In Norse mythology, Níðhöggr
(Malice Striker, often anglicized Nidhogg) is a dragon who eats
the roots of the World Tree, Yggdrasill.
According to the Gylfaginning part of Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda,
Níðhöggr is a being which gnaws one of the three roots of Yggdrasill. This root
is placed over Niflheimr and Níðhöggr gnaws it from beneath. The same source
also says that "the squirrel called Ratatöskr runs up and down the length of the
Ash, bearing envious words between the eagle and Nídhöggr".
In the Skáldskaparmál section of the Prose Edda Snorri
specifies Níðhöggr as a serpent in a list of names of such creatures:
- "These are names for serpents: dragon, Fafnir, Iormungand, adder, Nidhogg,
snake, viper, Goin, Moin, Grafvitnir, Grabak, Ofnir, Svafnir, masked one." (Faulkes
Snorri's knowledge of Níðhöggr seems to come from two of the Eddic poems:
Grímnismál and Völuspá.
Thor goes fishing for the Midgard Serpent in this picture from an 18th century
Jörmungandr, also referred to as the Midgard Serpent or World
Serpent, is a sea serpent of the Norse mythology, the middle child of the
giantess Angrboða and the god Loki.
According to the Prose Edda, Odin took Loki's three children, Fenrisúlfr, Hel
and Jörmungandr. He tossed Jörmungandr into the great ocean that encircles
Midgard. The serpent grew so big that he was able to surround the Earth and
grasp his own tail, and as a result he earned the alternate name of the Midgard
Serpent or World Serpent. Jörmungandr's arch enemy is the god Thor.
There are three preserved myths detailing Thor's encounters with Jörmungandr.
Lifting the cat
In one, Thor encounters the serpent disguised as a colossal cat by the giant
king Útgarða-Loki. As one of the tasks set by Útgarða-Loki, Thor must lift the
cat, and though he is unable to lift such a monstrous creature as Jörmungandr,
he manages to lift it far enough that it lets go of the ground with one of its
four feet. He comes so close that when Jörmungandr is revealed by Útgarða-Loki
it is still an impressive deed.
Thor's fishing trip
Another encounter came when Thor went fishing with the giant Hymir. The two
did not get along, and when Hymir refused to provide Thor with bait, Thor struck
the head off Hymir's largest ox to use as bait. They rowed to a point where
Hymir often sat and caught flat fish, and he drew up 100 whales and lions. Thor
demanded to go farther, and so they did. Hymir told Thor that the part they were
at was unsafe, because of the Serpent, but Thor ignored him, and to Hymir's
horror they rowed out further.
Thor then prepared a strong line and a large hook, and Jörmungandr bit. Thor
pulled the serpent up; the two faced off, Jörmungandr dribbling poison and
blood. Hymir went pale with fear, and as Thor grabbed his hammer to kill the
serpent, the giant cut the line, leaving the serpent to sink beneath the waves.
This encounter seems to have been the most popular motif in Norse pagan art.
Four picture stones can be definitely linked with the myth.
The final battle
Their last meeting will come at Ragnarök, when Jörmungandr will come out of
the ocean and poison the sky. Thor will kill Jörmungandr and then walk
nine paces before falling dead from the serpent's poison.
DRAGONS AND DRAGON LORE
BY ERNEST INGERSOLL
[1928, copyright not renewed]
* Please note that the
following links will take you off of the Mystic Voodoo site.
Chapter One: Birth Of
Chapter Two: Wanderings
of the Young Dragon
Chapter Three: Indian
Nagas and Draconic Prototypes
Chapter Four: The Divine
Spirit of the Waters
Chapter Five: Draconic
Chapter Six: The Dragon
as a Rain-God
Chapter Seven: Korean
Water And Mountain Spirits
Chapter Eight: ''The Men
of the Dragon Bones''
Chapter Nine: The Dragon
in Japanese Art
Chapter Ten: The
Dragon's Precious Pearl
Chapter Eleven: The
Dragon Invades the West
Chapter Twelve: The 'Old
Serpent' and his Progeny
Chapter Thirteen: Welsh
Romances and English Legends
Chapter Fourteen: The
Dragon and the Holy Cross
Chapter Fifteen: To the
Glory of Saint George
Dragon's Blood Spell
An extremely potent magical
material, dragon's blood is the bright red resin that is obtained from different
species of four distinct plant genera: Croton, Dracaena, Daemonorops, and
Pterocarpus. The red resin was used in ancient times as varnish, medicine,
incense, and dye. It continues to be utilized for similar purposes by some, down
to the present time.
Pictured is the Dracaena draco tree from which dragon's blood resin is procured.
This picture is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Dracaena_draco.jpg.
DRAGON'S BLOOD BATH
This bath can be taken in preparation for rituals and spell work. It's purpose is
to remove accumulated psychic debris and negative energy that block the full
expression of personal power. It can also be used for spiritual cleansing
following incidences of violence, humiliation, or violation.
Instructions: Blend dragon's blood powder with crushed frankincense and sea
salt. Add the powder to your bath water.
otherwise noted, the images on this page are licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its
publication occurred prior to January 1, 1923.