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What a Splendid Creature Indeed!
Dragons: an Overview

First off: a short glossary which will help you later:

Amphitere:
a term generally applied to plumed dragons. Most appropriately tagged with the Egyptian dragon Buto and the South American dragon Quetzlcoatl.
Drake: An old English term for dragon (nowadays tagged to a male duck). A fire drake is a fire breathing dragon.
  • Guivre: according to heraldry, the whole shebang: four legs, two wings. However, it is interesting to note that in the french tale of the guivre, it is a wyrm.
  • Wyvern: A dragon having 1 pair of legs, and 1 pair of wings (whereas your more common dragon will have 2 pairs of legs and 1 pair of wings). In Heraldry, it stand for war and pestilence.
  • Lindworm: a dragon with two legs and no wings.
  • Wyrm: a dragon having no limbs.

  • Salutations, and welcome to Dragons'Orb! I am a lowly dracophile who through 15 years, and probably past lives, of studying dragons on my own. Through my studies, I have come to one inevitable conclusion. Dragons exist now, here, today, in one form or another. Finally, I have found some dragons in Subsaharan Africa: the circle is complete. Now the only place devoid of draconic activity is Antartica, and I can't say I blame them. There are dragons in North America, South America, the South Pacific, Australia, Europe, Middle East, North Africa, India, and Aisa. And I have just recently made a surprise discovery in the April 1998 issue of Discover (see the western dragons for details> which I believe throuoghly proves my point.

    A question that is hardly, if ever asked is "what is a dragon?" We all know what a dragon is: it is far easier to define what a dragon is NOT. For the most part, dragons are most often based upon snakes, but I have found no satisfactory definition for dragon.

    A dragon is a creature that reaches out, grabs your soul, enraptures and frightens it, and when it leaves, you are left with a feeling of awe, fear, and respect that only a dragon can give. For some, only the fear lingers. For others, like me, the dragon never parted from the soul. We all know what a dragon is. If you stop a random person on the street and ask them a) what is a Degu? and b)what is a dragon? They could tell you what a dragon is, even though it is 'nonexistant' whereas they couldn't tell you what a Degu is, even though it is a real animal (it's a furry rat looking thing). Dragons have made a far reaching cultural impact on the human race that no other person or symbol can*.

    Sometimes the line between dragon and snake is very thin. For example, I consider Kakuru a dragon. Kakuru is a rainbow serpent of the Aboriginal Dream Time myth whose appearance marks the beginning of the rainy season. "So, it's a big snake? What makes it a dragon?" First off: it's association with water. Not untill recently have dragons actually been linked to fire. Since the beginning, dragons have been aquatic beings. Secondly: it's magical significance. Dragons have long been associated with magic and the keepers of knowledge. On that note, Kakuru also fits the knowledge requirement in that it presents the knowledge of the coming rain season. Kakuru can be seen as a type of Wyrm: a dragon without limbs.

      Another tough call is Quetzalcoatl. Quetzalcoatl is a South American God that is basically a feathered serpent. So what makes it a dragon, and not let us say, a feathered serpent? Well, we must look at the Mayan equivilant of Quetzalcoatl: Kukulcan. In the creation myth of the Quiche Mayans of Mexico, Kukulcan and the Maker create the world. They live in the Sea. Ka Bam! Water connection! They what? CREATE the world and all its creatures. Badabing! Magic Connection!! In the end, they strive to create a creature knowledgable enough to worship and revere them. They what? Created KNOWLEDGE. Badabing, badaboom: dragon. Kukulcan=Quetzlcoatl=dragon.

      In North America, Snakes are rulers of the underworld. Hmmm...this one is a toughie. I'll come back to you. For now, they're borderliners. More familiar dragos roamed Northa America, namely the piasa (More information on the piasa can be found on the New World section.)

      Today, there are more dragons than ever before. Recently, chinese dragons have become the latest fashion statement (Check out Miller's Outpost, Wet Seal, or the Delia's Catalogue and you'll see). And of course, if you're daring enough to take the plunge into the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section of your local Bookstore, as scary as it may be with all those Trekkies and Dungeons and Dragons creeps milling around, you can actually find some entertaining reads.

      Of course, dragons don't really exist, right? I mean, no one has ever really seen one, right? And there's no scientific proof! Where are the bodies? The way I see it is as such: how can just about every human civilization share an image of a similar creature and it NOT exist? There are several theories which try to explain the existance of dragons:

      There is the theory put forth by the late Dr. Carl Sagan that dragons are simply the genetic memory of dinosaurs, ingrained on our tree-dwelling mammalian ancestors, and that they represent a long standing animosity between reptiles and mammals.

      On the opposite pole COMPLETELY is what you'll find in D.J Conway's book Dancing with Dragons. According to Condway, dragons used to live on earth, but retreated to the astral plane to escape the dangers of mankind, and that they can still be contacted, and occasionally visit.

      I don't personally have an opinion, but I find it unlikely that they can breathe fire, but anywayz: these and more dragons inside these passages...Enjoy Dragons'Orb!


      * If you checked down here after seeing the asterisk, good for you! You're thinking "What about Jesus?" He had a very big impact, but dragons have been around longer. This applies for any other person you may have been thinking about while reading my little scrawl up there. Return to your reading. [Overview] [West] [East] [New World] [Modern] [Adoptees] [Short Stories] [Poetry] [Legends] [ScrawlWall] [Awards Won] [My Award]