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8 9 From the very earliest times, dragons in the West have been intimately connected with earth goddesses in particular and women in general. In early Mediterranean art, the Mother Goddess is often shown in the company of a serpentine dragon. There is a cylinder seal in existence from the Tigris Euphrates valley, inhabited in 4000 BC by the Sumerians, which shows the great Goddess Bau on the left of the tree of life. Behind her rears a great serpent dragon representing her lifegiving powers. In the Pelasgian myth of creation the universal Goddess Eurynome creates the great serpent Ophion to become her mate. Eurynome soon becomes pregnant and gives birth to the Universal Egg. Ophion coils around the egg until it hatches and out falls everything in the Universe from the sun to the smallest ant. But Ophion grows vainglorious and boasts that it is he who is the author of the whole of creation. This enrages Eurynome who hits him over the head with the heel of her shoe, kicks out his teeth and throws him into the dark caves beneath the earth. In Egyptian hieroglyphics the term goddess is expressed by the image of a cobra, and the Egyptian Goddess Neith is portrayed as a great golden cobra. Later statuettes of Cretian Goddesses found in the temple of Minos show them holding sacred adders in their hands. Like the Great Goddess these are capable of causing both terror and swift death. the sIgn of the goddess A temple maiden protected by a dragon. 9
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