There Be Dragons !

April 4, 2013


Following on from my “I am a Pagan” Blog and some of my Internetforum discussion points where I formalised an opinion that it was indeed our superstitious ancient ancestors who actually invented God. Or to be a little more precise Gods… because before the one God notion there were indeed hundreds of Gods, Spirits and Demons in every shape or form to cover every aspect of life and later on Death !

My ongoing research has led me to believe that it was a growing obsession with death that started mankind’s thoughts of what may, if anything, lie beyond. This and the belief that all animal life was possessed by a Spirit self that after death somehow remained linked to the Earth Mother and could be called forth for guidance when needed.

To me all this seems to show the very early start to what we now call religion. After all if you have a world populated by spirits it seems only natural that you are going to need very special people who can commune with the Spirit World. If you were such a person you would certainly be held in high regard and your wise council would be sought by all those around you.

I read somewhere a translation of an ancient text that remarked that such people were referred to as ‘Speaking with Smoke on their Tongue.’ Which indicated to me that here was a charlatan, someone protecting their secrets with smoke and mirrors and in reality these people would indeed hold positions of great power.

I don’t doubt for a moment that they had a bag of tricks and a showman’s ability to trick and bamboozle the majority. Speaking with smoke on your tongue, an art of using words in a way not easily deciphered or so full of alternate meanings as to satisfy all.

Another old story was of a medicine woman and mystic who it was said could foretell the sex of an unborn baby merely by touching the belly of the pregnant woman. If she was ever challenged upon her prediction she always managed to produce documentary proof that it was she and not the other who was correct. In fact how she did this was only discovered after her death when they found years of old predictions. Turns out whatever she predicted she wrote down the opposite. If she guessed right there was no challenge, if she was wrong….. Well as you see she was never wrong.

In my mind the fact that these Shaman would ultimately go on to become the true fathers of the various religious faiths around the world was no longer in any doubt. As times and situations changed so did their wisdom and teachings, which naturally included self preservation.

It works like this; “I can’t tell you what to do or believe,” however if I tell you I speak on behalf of a God and you accept and believe that I do, then that makes all the difference, you are hooked fear of retribution from a vengeful God or what may happen to you after death takes care of the rest.

Man manipulating Man, a story as old as mankind itself and where the vast majority of people, even today, are more than happy to relinquish the authority of decision making to someone else then a comfortable status quo is established. Now, as long as those decisions are generally seen to be fair to all everyone remains at peace. It is only when the status quo breaks down or two neighbouring faiths collide there is trouble.

A bit like coming out of the dessert turning left and saying “God told me this is the Promised Land.” I’m sure you can see that that might be a little Irksome to anybody who may actually be living there. Oops ! I think that may already have happened somewhere !

Anyway back to the plot; I think it’s fairly well established that the World didn’t suddenly spring into life 6,000 odd years ago and that Darwin had the better idea of where we came from. We are fairly certain that Central Africa was the cradle of mankind and from there we slowly spread out, probably following the migrating herds in their never ending quest for fresh food and water. Eventually reaching the coast and spreading round the Mediterranean Sea and on into what is now Europe and Asia.

Surely if this is the case then such a diverse spreading out would ultimately explain the various distortions of common stories that we frequently come across in the later writings we find in places like Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Rome and in some cases China.
What many people do not realise, or more to the point will not accept, is that we find many of these stories ultimately ending up being retold in the books of the Bible. Again and again we come across such references, as Virgin Births, in many National myths most Gods seem to come into being this way as well as dying and being resurrected after three days.

Of course this could merely highlight that unwanted pregnancy out of wedlock is nothing new, or just how gullible some fathers could be when it came to their own daughters.
Alternatively, another possible explanation could be our friendly neighbourhood Shaman, a quick bribe, off up a mountain for a couple of days and back he comes to announce, ”Yep ! Definitely another case of divine intervention, those pesky Gods do love a Virgin!”
Another face saved in public not to mention avoiding a death by stoning for the girl.

I kept digging, what I was looking for were common denominators, things that linked everything and pulled things back together and lo and behold up popped Dragons. Practically every culture you read about has Dragon stories within their myths and legends and again to me it seemed highly illogical that such an unlikely creature could simultaneously appear in so many places at the same time.

That meant that either they were once a very real danger to the population and therefore had to be wiped out. Or a more realistic answer might be that they had a more common origin in the history and stories of the ancestors of the wandering tribes.
Strange as it may seem the fact that dragons actually existed was believed and held to be true because of the early findings of Dinosaur skeletons Many ancient cultures around the world tell tales of dragon like monsters and the heroes needed to slay them as an account for the fossils of animals long extinct. Our own Saint George, Hercules and many a medieval knight had Dragon slaying on their CV.

To this day in many world cultures and religions the Dragon still holds great spiritual significance and are revered as the primal source of the forces of nature. Long held to be smarter and wiser than humans Dragons are said to have possessed great magic and supernatural powers.

The mighty Merlin himself called upon the Dragon’s magic more than once, on one occasion when King Uther demanded he grant him a night at the side of Igraine, the wife of his enemy Gorlois.
Merlin called forth the breath of the Dragon to shroud the land. As Uther’s army retreated it drew out Gorlois and his army from his castle at Tintagil. In the confusion of the magical mists and with Merlin’s help Uther took on the shape of Gorlois and rode upon the Dragons breath and into the arms of Igraine and so Arthur future King of England was born.

Culturally speaking there are huge differences between the Dragon of the West when compared with the Dragons of China and Japan. Whereas here in the West Dragons are looked upon as creatures of evil Chinese Dragons are seen as sources of great power especially over water.

Very early descriptions of Dragons, from both cultures show remarkable similarities and you can see subtle changes being made the further East you go. As time went on some Eastern cultures gave Dragons God like status and many Chinese and Japanese Emperors claim a linage back to their Dragon ancestors.

As I continue my research backwards through our ancient past, in many cases back before recorded history itself there is only myth and legend left. There was no written language back then only stories, stories handed down from generation to generation. Stories taken from one camp to another to entertain and enthrall during tribal gatherings, there can be no doubt many of the stories grew taller and taller with each telling but probably as with historical tales there is at their heart an element of truth and fact.

I seek to peel away the myth and legend to the facts underneath using only simple logic as my guide. In more than a few instances I find myself at odds with some of the written accounts of what historians and in some cases archeologists have offered in explanation finding as I did that they seemed to have had an ulterior motive deep within their arguments.

Many have even taken the Biblical stories and accepted them as pure fact without the slightest shred of evidence save what they were taught at school or church. Many of these writings I took as proof that they were not prepared or willing to allow themselves to think further back than the creation of the Bible rather than to the creation itself.

In many respects Darwin was a visionary but even he failed to make a connection between man and Dragons. Darwin saw the links in the evolutionary chain, not all of them by any stretch of the imagination but enough to see further back than any man before him.

His early theories rocked both the scientific and religious worlds to their very foundations by daring to challenge man’s apparent God given right to be superior and to be above all other life on this planet and therefore his to do with as he pleased.

That challenge, and that challenge alone is what many people cannot accept in Darwin’s theory of Evolution. That link in the might tree of life that points to the fact that mankind is just another animal life form on this planet with no more rights or privileges than any of the other species.
That one simple fact seems to really stick in the craw of the fanatical religious but it is none the less a fact however I believe it is one that they will deny until their dying day when of course it will be too late.


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