Dragons are the stuff of legends and depending on the part of the world you hail from, your cultural perspective and deeper connection with dragons may differ. Are they the nemesis that must be slain, as in the tale of St George? Are dragons more like Smaug, fire-breathing and treasure-guarding? Most dragons in the mainstream media in the West are terrors and evil, with a few exceptions such as Puff the Magic Dragon and Falcor from The Neverending Story.
Regardless of their origins, it is undeniable that dragons are powerful and supremely intelligent ancient creatures not to be dismissed. Some say dragons exist in another dimensional realm and many people work with dragon energy. Whether you believe they are mystical beings that exist only in fairytales and folklore, you may still consider working with them as archetypes, symbols, Chinese Medicine treatment, and leylines. We will look at these approaches in this 3-part series.
Dragons as Archetypes
Caroline Myss, from her myth-travelling, broadly categorizes Dragons as Western and Eastern Archetypes. The Western Dragon is the masculine, the animus, left-brain, winged, cave-dwelling, and fire-breathing. The Eastern Dragon is the feminine, the anima, right-brain, earth-bound, and aquatic in origin. The Western Dragon represents the Fire and Air elements, and the Eastern Dragon, Earth and Water elements.
Both Dragons exist within each of us, with all their qualities and the four elements. We can thus view ourselves and our consciousness as the fifth element, Space/Ether, the container.
Archetypes are primordial patterns or impulses which pre-exist human consciousness and from which all meaningful drives, desires, instinctive survival reactions to the environment and familiar patterns of behaviour.
If “power is a fundamental ingredient in life” as Caroline Myss says, then working with the Dragon, perhaps the ultimate symbol of power, can have tremendous implications and effects.
Here are some questions we can ask ourselves and observe :
- Are your two inner Dragon energies balanced and expressed constructively and creatively?
- Does the most fitting and useful Dragon appear when we require help?
- Or do they just run amok of their own accord?
Fire Dragon as an Archetype
Let us take a look at the Fire Dragon.
When we think of fiery person, we may think of a strong personality – passionate, quick-tempered, focused, enthusiastic, and direct. Like a dragon, their fiery behaviour can lead to upset people around them.
Is your Fire Dragon burning down the bridges in your life? Is the passion of the Fire Element been so ignored that your rage and self-judgement are literally and metaphorically incinerating your relationships and environment? Has your beautiful Dragon turned into a monster and how can we rebalance it and direct its monstrosity of a power into purposeful and intentional use?
If we look at the symptoms as a bodily (physical, emotional) manifestation of a disturbance or a disharmony in the consciousness, we can easily use the symptoms as clues to the true underlying illness. Dr Rudiger Dalkhe, author of The Healing Power of Illness, believes that what we call illnesses is but one illness and it exists on the level of the consciousness. Illness exists when there is a disruption or a disharmony, when we polarize our perspective, while demonizing one pole of existence.
If a person, for example, is struggling with skin issues – rashes, hives, and other inflammation, that person can look at this as a fire element disorder, a question of Mars energy, and a lung imbalance as entry points to assess what on the level of the consciousness is out of balance.
The Fire Element
Fire is one of five elements. In Chinese Medicine is related to the Heart-Small Intestine meridian family. This relates to knowing who we are and making choices to support and reflect our journey. Part of that is the ability to give and receive warmth. Ability to give and receive love and to communicate clearly. A person with a balanced Fire element has good boundaries (so not to burn themselves and others) and follows their own desires.
We ask ourselves – how are we living our passion and our creativity? Are we putting life into action?
The Mars Archetype
The principle of Mars is aggression. What do you think of and how do you feel when you read the word “aggression.” Aggression has very negative connotations. It brings to mind bullying, warfare, unprovoked and unjustified attack, and brutality. This is but a polarized experience of this energy.
The energy and archetype of Mars and aggression is also being bold, vigorous, confident, and assertive in action and pursuit of goals. Are we able to use this energy to effect what we desire to create in life?
This fiery energy is essential for our health, for example, in the form of a fever that is an immune system mobilization against a foreign substance. Fevers are a natural and important part of the body’s return to homeostasis. Our modern efforts to curb fevers at first sign have suppressive effects. What happens when we suppress our fire? Look around, it is easy to see.
To continue with the skin issues …
If we take the organ/meridian approach, we can look at the lungs as the skin is related to the lungs. We can contemplate where we are uncomfortable with the interface between our inner and outer worlds.
The lungs, with the breath, is about taking in elements from the outside world.
What of the outer world are we afraid of? What are we unable to take in and integrate what we need and eliminate what is not useful? It is also about inspiration, taking in life force. Where are we afraid to be in the world, to be visible?
On the other hand, we can ask where are we holding on? How are we living in lack? We hoard because we are fearful we won’t have something when we need it.
These imbalances can show up as a skin condition because it relates skin is related to the lungs. Also skin is an elimination organ. What we do not consciously release and is toxic, our body does so in other way. In this case, through the skin.
Working with the Elements
In Chinese Medicine, the five elements have many associations and correspondences. There is an order creation and an order of destruction that shows which elements strengthen and which ones weaken other elements. Fire -> Earth -> Metal -> Water-> Wood -> Fire. It is a cycle that continues.
The Order of Destruction is also called the Control Cycle. The preceding element is the Parent of an element. Wood is the parent of Fire. The one before the Parent is therefore the Grandparent. Water is the Grandparent of Fire. In Chinese culture, grandparents traditionally raise and also discipline the child so the Grandparent control the Child. Water can put out the Fire.
Balancing our Eastern and Western Dragons
Our Eastern dragon (earth and water elements) can therefore overwhelm our Western dragon (air and fire elements). This can happen when we allow our emotions take control of our lives, when we are so flooded that we cannot take actions necessary for daily life. A person in this situation may struggle with depression, lethargy, and sleepiness.
The Eastern and Western dragons also represent the feminine and masculine energies that exist within all of us. When they are in harmony, like yin and yang, we are in flow. We are in action, with the Western dragon is “on stage” when action is required. We are receptive, with the Eastern Dragon leading the way, when yielding and receiving is called for.
This can be seen for example in our ability to give and receive love. Another example is how we move from planting the seed of a project, through its many stages of planning, resting, executing, to its conclusion.
There are days when all of us have wanted just to stay in bed. The key is understanding ourselves better so we know when it’s time to slow down for more self-care, when we are pathologizing a condition, or when there truly is a deep imbalance.
In myths, we vanquish dragons. Zeus defeats the aquatic dragon Typhon with his lightning bolt. St George famously slays the dragon (an allegory of sorts). We are taught to think that Dragons must be defeated. Believing in this polarity and paradigm can mean we are missing out on golden opportunities to come into harmony and well-being.
What if we worked with our inner dragons and all aspects of the dragon archetype in an eternal dance and play of energy?
In the part two of this series, we look at acupuncture treatments called Internal Dragons and how it can help deep disturbance and blockages, including possession.