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1 The Dragon is the most nebulous, complex and ambivalent of all the animals that inhabit the jungle of the imagination. This fabulous creature has been the subject of myth and travellers tales for the last 4000 years and, although it has never been seen apart from its snake incarnations, its image has been used in religion, alchemy, heraldry and medicine to name but a few of its aspects, throughout all cultures and histories of the world, primitive, classical, medieval and oriental. A dragon can primarily be considered to be a symbol of the many different aspects of the powers of the earth, both good and bad. When associated with water, it may represent the fertility of the soil, or herald floods and drought. It can also be seen as a sign of the heat within the earthappearing in mythology as Typhon, the son of mother Earth, the firebreathing dragon representing the volcano. Today sites of dragon legends, hills, caves, mounds and lakes can often be linked to preChristian religions, and depictions of the dragon appear in places where they are least expected, like Christian churches. A pagan dragon can be found in a number of churches with foliage sprouting from its mouth, denoting fertility. Perhaps too the dragon slayer is equally pagan in concept, and descends from the Green Man and other fertility deities, pressuring the dragon via the spear into releasing its generative forces of nature. This little book will probably not answer all your questions about dragons, but will, I hope, introduce you to some of the more amazing ideas that surround them. IntroductIon
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