by Hannah Spencer
The Dragon Myth
The mythical, fire-breathing beast which swoops effortlessly over the landscape, guards untold riches in the midst of its coils and draws valiant heroes into ferocious battle, the dragon has acquired a unique place in the minds and imaginations of mankind. All cultures past and present recognise this creature, also known by the synonymous names of serpent, snake or worm. Through the heroic stories of Jason and the Golden Fleece, The Lambton Worm, Beowulf, Sigurd and Fafnir, St George and Hercules to name but a few, the dragon or serpent is integral to our world culture and heritage.
But the symbolic interpretation of this magical creature runs far deeper than simple folk stories and myths. To delve beneath the surface of these ancient stories is to discover clues to the nature of our very existence.
The phenomenon of ley lines was identified by Alfred Watkins in the 1930s. Watkins discovered that the ancient roads of Britain, often long pre-dating the Roman period, followed arrow straight lines across vast distances, connecting villages, ancient burial mounds, churches, stone circles and many other sites of ancient and sacred significance. Many of these place names included the syllable ‘ley,’ hence the term ‘ley line’ was born.
A few decades later, ley lines were associated with electromagnetic (EM) energy currents which criss-cross not only Britain but the whole world, connecting sacred and religious sites across the globe.
These currents, readily detectable by dowsers, are also known as Fairy Paths in Europe, and Dragon Paths or Feng Shui to the Chinese, and are known and understood by almost all traditional cultures across the world. It is these energy currents that are symbolised by the dragon or serpent.
The reason for this was demonstrated by the well-known British dowser Hamish Miller, while dowsing the St Michael ley line which runs from Cornwall to Norfolk. Although ley lines follow arrow-straight lines over long distances, Hamish showed that when followed locally, they are much more organic and fluid, and follow a twisting, serpentine route. There are no straight lines in nature, after all. This is one reason, although the full story is likely more complex, for the integral association of ley lines with the dragon or serpent.But why are these currents of such universal significance?
Food of the Soul
The correct exposure to EM energy is essential for our health and well-being. For example, ultraviolet light is needed for our bodies to synthesise Vitamin D, and the medical condition Seasonally Affected Disorder (SAD) is caused by a lack of exposure to daylight. On a simple level, everyone feels happier when the sun is shining.
An artificial chamber which blocks all exposure to EM energy provokes feelings of panic, dread and hysteria. And in the opposite case, an artificial elevation of EM energy evokes feelings of intense well-being and euphoria. Just like the typical transcendent religious experience.
So people are consciously or intuitively drawn to sites where the EM energy is elevated, where the ley currents are channelled or transfixed by natural or artificial means. The slaying, or rather, transfixing of the dragon, or the energy current it represents, is a metaphor this. These special sites became integral to the local spiritual or religious life, and this sanctity transcends time, place and culture.
It is well known that sites of religious significance retain their sanctity over many centuries or millennia. Archaeologists have discovered that in the ancient land of Sumer, now modern day Iraq, there was a temple to the God Enki, built on the site of no less than seventeen earlier temples. In Egypt, a building was not considered sacred unless built on the site of another sacred building. Many churches and mosques were built on the sites of earlier pagan shrines or ancient burial mounds, and many Holy Wells in Britain were once revered by the earlier Celtic religion. The Shanidar Cave in Eastern Europe has been a place of reverence for over 20,000 years, not only to modern humans but Neanderthals as well.
Why? Because all these sites are situated on focal points of the earth-energy, and since time immemorial man has associated them with his spiritual experience and his Gods- whoever those Gods may be.
Guardian of Untold Riches
Particularly in Western Europe, the dragon was the jealous protector of great treasure; hoards of gold, the Golden Fleece, the magical Apples of the Hesperides, and much more besides. This treasure, intricately linked to the ancient burial mounds and sacred sites discussed above, was of course spiritual rather than physical. It is a symbol of the transcendent surge of energy which uplifts and enlightens the soul.
And so the dragon or serpent is traditionally the great benefactor of mankind, by way of the great metaphysical power it represents. In China, the dragon is the most revered of all creatures. In Aztec and Mayan culture, the God who civilised and educated the people was called Quetzalcoatl or Kukulkan respectively, both meaning ‘Feathered Serpent.’ And even in the Garden of Eden, the much maligned serpent was representative of the Tree of Knowledge.
The caduceus, two serpents entwined around a stick, is an ancient symbol of healing and associated with Aesculapius, the Greek God of healing, and even today remains the symbol of the medical profession.
And so, after haunting the dreams and nightmares of our subconscious minds for millennia, the reason why is now clear. The dragon is the symbol of ourselves, our souls and the spiritual life force of the earth which feeds our souls. And this most beautiful and majestic being will no doubt continue to haunt us for millennia to come.
Hamish Miller, The Sun and the Serpent, Pendragon Press
John Michell, The View Over Atlantis, Abacus
Arthur Cotterell and Rachel Storm, The Encyclopaedia of World Mythology, Lorenz Books
Lyall Watson, Supernature, Hodder and Stoughton