I use to have a full time gig teaching music at a K-8 in downtown Portland. Every start to the school year coincided with an all school festival:
A musical/theatrical event for the entire community honoring the legend of St George (or the lesser known St Margaret - thanks Patriarchy!) who were Dragon Slayers. That's right kids, it's Story Time!
Our story begins in a land far, far away, where a terrible dragon is eating all the villagers and raping and pillaging the land (relatable?). Not even the fiercest knight, the most intelligent scholar, nor the trickiest of magician from the king’s own table can battle this mighty beast (hmmm relevant to current times?). Despair, fear and hopelessness rake through the hearts of everyone as they watch the world as they know it crumble and be ripped into shreds. (Sound familiar? - Ok, Ok I'll stop!) Suddenly a powerful Archangel named Michael appears and embodies a sacred sword with celestial iron, fire and stardust. This Archangel ceremoniously approaches our soon to be Saint (George or Margaret - choose your own adventurer! - sorry I just couldn't help myself!).
With this sword now blessed, the combined powers of the most grounded Mother Earth Iron and the most Inspired and Celestial Wisdom of the stars empower the dragon slayer to go forth into the forest and find the Dragon asleep under a waterfall - its belly full from beings of the neighboring towns. The dragon sniffs the air and smells fresh blood. She opens one eye and sees our fearless warrior standing there before her, sword in hand. I’ll let you imagine an appropriate battle scene for your unique psyche here - nevertheless, the dragon slayer prevails, thus ridding the villagers of this terrible scaly beast and restoring peace and happiness to the land. Some versions kill the dragon, others befriend it, some train it to be of service - I prefer the latter!
This is a story about empowerment! The villagers were being victimized, they believed there was no hope. They didn't have the tools or the abilities to conquer or tame this beast and so got eaten by it. They obviously didn't have Alice Walker in their midst who said, "The most common way people give up their power, is by thinking they don't have any."
This quaint play the school put on each year represented a G-rated version of the journey we all take each September into our own dark caves that dwell in the hearts of our own inner forests. Each year at this time we are asked to look at the places inside of us that need smoothing, shaping, releasing and transforming.
Two years ago I was in Lliria, Spain on Michaelmas. There was nothing quaint or cute about that village's annual festival! Each year the entire town makes a pilgrimage up a steep and winding dirt road to a church that was built at the highest point in the area. Imagine loud church bells ringing, smoke and incense burning, dancers, musicians and artists all expressing their own versions of soul transformation! The path is PACKED with people of ALL ages, shapes, colors and sizes. People who have set the intention to bring their sorrows, regrets and misgivings up that hill, reflect on them with every step and release the burden of them at the feet of an ornate statue of St Michael/St George. This statue is then carried down the hill by 8 strong people followed by a pilgrimage of pedestrians singing, drumming and marching all the way to another church in the center of town. This is an all-day event practiced every year at this time.
In the Far East, Dragon symbolism is about claiming the authority and becoming an Emperor or Empress over one's life. Working with Dragon medicine marks a time of fortune, authority, growth, luck and development. Dragon medicine can even be enhanced by the elements:
Fire Dragons will help you with self-mastery, creativity, mental keenness, alchemical transformation and leadership.
Water Dragons focus on what or who "drives the ship" of your life. They help you to put down unhealthy patterns and sail toward your higher purpose.
Earth Dragons – stabilize and provide the key for sustaining and thriving in life.
Air Dragons – Surround you with their magical safety nets, wrap you in their grasp and fly high - they help you gain greater perspectives personally and globally.
The never ending tales of battles between knights and Dragons reflect the inner struggle of human kind to come to terms with the fact that we are both physical and ethereal in nature and that both must exist in us to survive. This is why I prefer the fairy tales that talk of taming, befriending and understanding the Dragon. Though it often is, this doesn't HAVE to be a battle.
So take a moment and try something with me, right now...
This called "running our energy" and I learned this trick from Liliana Barzola with Lotus Lantern Healing Arts.
Sit in a chair with your feet on the ground and close your eyes.
Through your feet, imagine welcoming up the Earth’s energy from deep within her core. Run this energy up your feet, legs and thighs into your pelvis.
Now imagine opening a water fall down the back of you where water flows off of your sacrum.
Into this waterfall you can put any obstacles to be washed away.
Feel yourself grow heavy and supported by the strength and purity of the the Earth. Breathe...
Now through the crown of your head, bring in just a little bit of the inspired wisdom from the cosmos,
Imagine a star that's just for you and holds all you need to know and bring a tiny handful of that Knowledge into the top of your head.
Bring it down your spine and feel it meet the Earth energy running in your center.
Down your sacrum, keep that waterfall flowing to release all that is raping and pillaging your own inner landscape right now.
When we run our energy like this, WE become the the heroines and heroes of our own story. WE become the swords! -utilizing both our grounded heavy iron nature of the physical AND our inspired celestial nature of the spiritual, we tame that wild Dragon.
In this tale, the Dragon represents the mind. The vast, shape-changing, complex, beautiful enigma that runs central to our very beings. When the mind is unfed, unfriended or dwelling in the wrong place, this wild and overpowering creature can wreak some serious havoc. But, when in alignment and balance, this ancient and imposing figure can be a source of protection, self mastery, stability and transformation.
This time of year calls us to look at what is needing transformation in our lives - what is needing to be slain, tamed or befriended?
When you run your energy, what message comes up for you?