Whispering Woods Dragon Lore Course – Lesson Five – Dragon Lore from other parts of the world

Whispering Woods Dragon Lore Course

Lesson Five
Dragon Lore from other parts of the world

Many believe this is the era in history where the dragon originated. In early Egypt the Dragon was chiefly a representation of the snake.

In Egyptian myth “Re” (the sun god) traveled through Duat (the underworld) each night. During the journey through the underworld Re reaches two open doors guarded by snakes, some having human heads and four legs, while others having three snake heads and wings. Re passes by these without incident as they are only guards.

Later on Re observes the demise of Apophis, the giant serpent representing chaos, whose severed coils are bound by Aker, a Dragon representing the Earth.

There are many occurrences of Dragons in Egyptian mythology, another example being Denwen. Denwen was attested in the third millennium B.C.E. and is described as a fiery serpent that would have caused a conflagration destroying all of the gods if it had not been thwarted by the King.

This dragon is thought to be one of the oldest varities of Dragon; the Amphitptere was a winged serpent-type without legs. In ancient history it was recorded in Egypt and in Arabia. Many believed that it guarded the precious Frankincense trees, from which a resin comes that is used in many cultures for religious purposes.

The Babylonian Dragon is found in the Epic of Creation from the early second millennium B.C.E.
It details the struggle of “Apsu” (God of the primordial waters under the earth) and “Tiamat” (the sea) against their son “Ea”. Accordingly, Apsu is said to be defeated by Ea, who takes over his domain and produces a son, the god-hero “Marduk”.

Tiamat created all sorts of Dragons, including the Mushussu Dragon, in order to have her revenge, but she is defeated in single combat by Marduk and her body is split to form the earth and the sky.
The Mushussu is subdued by Marduk and takes its place at his feet. These images were relatively short lived however, as the Chinese Lung types soon came to dominate in later Near Eastern mythology.

The Lindworm had a serpentine-type body, one pair of legs, and it was wingless, therefore, it could not fly. Lindworms were found in Central Asia.

From thehe birthplace of Buddhism, around 500 BCE, we find pre-Buddhist snake or serpentine-like creatures known as the NAGA were incorporated early on into Buddhist mythology. Described as “water spirits with human shapes wearing a crown of serpents on their heads” or as “snake-like beings resembling clouds,” the NAGA are among the eight classes of deities who worship and protect the Historical Buddha.

Even before the Historical Buddha (Siddhartha, Guatama) attained enlightenment, the Naga King Mucilinda (Sanskrit) is said to have protected Siddhartha from wind and rain for seven days. This motif is found often in Buddhist art from India, represented by images of the Buddha sitting beneath Mucilinda’s hood and coils.  In early India, images of the Dragon were in some ways similar to the Egyptian ones in that they resembled the snake. There were those, however, that represented the form of the crocodile, such as the “Makara”.  In Hindu myth the Indians identified the Dragon with nature. One of the Indian Dragons, “Vritra”, caused drought by withholding water in its body until it is slain by Indra, god of rain, with a bolt of lightning thus starting the monsoon. While there are many similarities with the Egyptian images, we can also see influences from the Chinese Lung type.  The Indians Naga are more snake-like with a human head and a long thin limbless body.  But they are also water elementals, controlling rain and thus determining the flooding of the major river deltas.

They live in an underground city (some describe it as a watery underworld) and are also believed to protect springs, wells and rivers. They are also the symbol of fertility. In Hindu mythology, the serpent-dragon Vritra, which adopts a cloud-like form, absorbed the cosmic waters then coiled upon a mountainside. When it was killed by the thunderbolts thrown by the god Indra, life-giving waters flowed down the mountains.

Dragons in the Islamic world initially started out as astronomical figures, and were linked to the Egyptian myth of Re’s voyage through the underworld.

The Dragon “Jawzahr” was thought to be responsible for eclipses and comets. The Dragons “Draco” and “Serpentarius” were emblazoned in the stars.

There are many tales in Persian mythology of Dragons representing evil being slain by heroes, influenced by the Greek legends.

It is from this that the idea of Dragons guarding treasure emerges, the treasure eventually passing to the King who represents good.

This, however, was not to last. (When the Mongols invaded Persia they imposed their own Chinese style images).
Mayan and Aztec:

The Mayan “Kukulkan”, later the Aztec “Quetzalcoatl”, was both good and evil, and it was thought to rule the four parts of the Earth. The greatest god of the Aztecs was “Xiuhtecuhtli” who took on many manifestations, one of which being the fire serpent. There are parallels with the Chinese myths in that Quetzalcoatl is described as being able to take the form of the Sun and is depicted as being swallowed by the Earth serpent thus causing an eclipse.

The “Amphisbaena” was a two-headed dragon (one at the front, and one on the end of its tail). The front head would hold the tail (or neck as the case may be) in its mouth, creating a circle that allowed it to roll.

Apocalyptic beast:
{Biblical – Most likely Middle East} A creature mentioned in the Book of Revelation in the Bible. It has two horns, speaks like a dragon, and bears the mystical number of the devil.

Malay mythology:
Raja Naga, the King of Serpents is dragon-like and lives in the sea. In Indonesian mythology, the dragon-like creatures are more earth than water elements. The Javanese Naga of lore (left) is a mythical serpentine dragon that rules the underworld, hoarding immense treasures.
Batak lore speaks of Silampane or Naga Padoha who rules the middle-earth and can take the vital essence of the man who faces the wrong direction when fighting.

He also rules the moon and his wife lays eggs. Antaboga is an Indonesian underworld serpent that controls the production of rice. In Thailand, the Naga often has five heads and is a symbol of Narayana. In Myanmar, the naga are called Nats or serpent-gods.

Dragons are similar to Chinese Dragons in appearance and behavior but are more sinuous and spit fire. But they also control rain and the weather, and are associated with the major rivers and the sea.
The Vietnamese Dragons are also closely associated with royalty. Like the Chinese and Japanese Dragons, they are believed to be the progenitors of the Vietnamese race.

North America:
The Piasa originated in North America, and was worshipped by the Algonquians. It had the body of a dragon, the head of a person, a lion’s mane, and a tail twice as long as a person.
This was a neo-dragon which lived near the Mississippi River. This dragon did not bother humans until it found dead ones and tried the meat. To its surprise, it liked the taste. It now hunted humans and abducted people to bring them back to its lair for dinner.

There is another neo-dragon known as “The Ethiopian Dream.” This type of dragon had four wings and two feet with claws. They have no breath, but they ate poisonous plants to make their bite and their scratches deadlier. They were large enough to kill elephants. Once four of them were reported to have woven themselves into a raft and sailed over the Red Sea to Arabia, where there was better places to hunt.
1. One of the oldest varieties of Dragon is thought to be the  _____________.
2. Lindworms were found in _________   ______.
3. The Dragon “Jawzahr” was thought to be responsible for _______ and ________.
4. Antaboga is an Indonesian underworld serpent that controls the production of ______.
5. The “Makara” represented the form of a __________.
6. The Babylonian Deity _______, created all kinds of dragons.
7. The “Amphisbaena” was a ___ – _____ dragon.

Author & Researcher: Crick
Website: The Whispering Woods