She closed her eyes. She could see the insides of the eyelids of a Dragon. The eyelids opened up to a thin slit, and she tried to peak out. The light was blinding. She closed her eyes again, and she could see the intricate and colorful pattern on the outside of the eye being spotlighted by the sun. She slowly opened her eyes again, and looked down her thin nose and saw a trail of smoke, and felt her inner fire. She glanced over to see the side of her body covered in strong, beautiful beautiful and elaborate scales, and she marveled over how each one of her scales were a piece of art, crafted by centuries of gathering wisdom and courage. She slowly opened up her wings, flexing them in the sunlight, and felt their strength and purpose.
Dragon as Myth
The dragon exists as a mythical creature around the world. It is perhaps one of the oldest legends we have, inhabiting our subconscious from before we were fully human. If you take the three primary predators primates faced : snakes, large cats, and raptors, and combine them you would get something that looks an awful lot like a dragon.
The dragon developed as a myth in separate places around the world but always carries with it certain qualities. In the Americas and Far East the dragon is part of the creation myth: it is the very stuff that our world is made of. There is also always an elemental aspect: in eastern mythologies it is always water, though in the americas and western cultures it can take on any number of elemental traits. They breathe fire, fly through the air, swim in the sea, and come from or create the earth. Generally eastern dragons are perceived as more benevolent and with reverence than western dragons, which are more likely to be seen as destructive and wrathful.
Dragon as Archetype
The Dragon as an archetype is the symbol of your unconscious. It is your instinct and your energy. It is the predator that wants to go get it; it was originally food, but now it might be that promotion, or any other goal you have in mind. The dragon doesn’t really care, it is just the energy that acts. If you say “this is what I am going to do” the dragon is there to hold you accountable, to challenge you to look at those things that get in your way. The dragon asks you to look at what it is that stops you from living fully.
In myth, the dragon collects a hoard in its lair. The dragon sits on it; sleeps on it. Does the gems, gold & silver do the dragon any good? No, it’s of no use to the dragon. But it means that your dragon has a stockpile of resources: time, energy, knowledge, that you could have access to if you only knew how. In some myths, the dragon controls access to the young maiden. This symbolizes hoarding your lover or your creativity, hoarding the future, relationships with children, the next generation.
Everyone hoards something: money, books, precious objects, collectibles, relationships, experiences. The trick is to let go of the things you do not need, or to make them useful to you.
Where in your life is the Dragon Riding YOU?
Imagine you are pinned down, face to the ground, the dragons got you, you can feel it breathing down your neck and you are stuck.
In what areas of your life is this true, in what situations do you feel like you have no control, it has you.
- In your career – where do you get in your own way? Do you procrastinate? Do you see everything as a challenge?
- In your health – where do you neglect your body?
- In your relationships – where do you take on the victim’s place? Where are you enabling or harming others?
- What are your hoards? – Where are you stagnating? What are you afraid of letting go of?
“What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size.”
~ Carl Jung
Face Your Dragon
The challenge is to face the dragon, regardless of your fear. The Hero’s journey isn’t always to slay the dragon, but to overcome the obstacle it represents and receive the treasure beyond that obstacle. If you can meet your dragon with confidence, negotiate and create a partnership with it you will gain access to the dragon’s power and resources. Say your dragon shows up as a need to be in control at work: micromanaging your coworkers and employees may give you control over the project but will engender resentment and difficulty with the people you are working with. Instead letting go of the minutia and trusting other people to see the overall vision, and that trust will earn you respect and leadership when you do step in. You will also have more time and energy now that you’re not trying to do everything at once! To face your dragon is to accept and embody your life force, your power, and your predatory instinct with integrity and without shame. When we embody our life force in this way, we gain the energy, agency, and audacity to live a full, authentic, and unapologetic life
As she closed her eyes again, she felt herself back in her human form, knowing she is also a Dragon. Knowing she could draw on the strength and purpose of the dragon when she chose to, knowing she could choose to see the world through the wise eyes of the Dragon.