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exploring the unconscious world of Dreams through Myth, Symbols & Metaphor
the psychology of dreams....a Jungian perspective

Dragons and Serpents
Basic meaning : Unconscious fears that are repressed and need to be acknowledged

Symbolism in Dreams

The Jung/Freud Approach

(1) Is the dragon guarding a treasure, or a cave which might contain treasure? If so, the cave probably represents your unconscious, the treasure represents yourself, the dragon that stands between you and your true self represents the fearsomeness of the unconscious, for one who is still afraid of what may be lurking there. This is a repression of the unconscious contents

(2) For Jung, the first stage of the individuation process is the conscious ego's heroic struggle {the hero/heroine journey of mythology} to lift itself out of the orginal all-encompassing unconsciousness and to establish control of unconscious forces. This finds symbolic representation in the legendary dragon-slayer, St George (St George = the ego; the dragon = the unconscious).

(3) The dragon may represent the devouring aspect of (your relationship with) your mother. 'Slaying the dragon' may therefore mean putting an end to whatever in your attachment to your mother is detrimental to the process of finding your own psychic individuality. Once the individual has achieved liberation from the 'dragon', the feminine side of the man's psyche and the masculine side of the woman's psyche will no longer appear in threatening form, but as an indispensable companion and guide in further stages of self-development.

(4) A dragon may represent the generative power of (Mother) Nature; the unconscious, felt as womb pregnant with new possibilities of life.

(5) A winged dragon may symbolize some kind of transcendence, some passing from 'lower' to 'higher' level of personal maturity.

(6) A dragon may be a symbol for your sexuality, particularily if it - your sexuality - frightens you. Is your fear irrationsal; or does sexuality threaten to rule your life? In either case, don't kill the 'dragon'; if necessary tame it.
(In China, 'chi' is good, life-giving energy and the channels it runs along are called 'dragon-lines', which are said to follow underground water and underground magnetic fields).

Source: Eric Ackroyd
From Oxygen Dream Dictionary

Animal instincts to be conquered, hence the battles of Saint George and Saint Michael with "the dragon." The dragon fight is related to the archetypal themes of search/quest, the hero/heroine, and, in more modern terms, separating ourselves from the collective values of our parents/ancestors. The dragon can symbolize a guardian or guarding quality; something that needs to be guarded/protected in your life/psyche. As a devouring creature, it may represent negative aspects of the mother archetype. It shares much of the same symbolism as the snake, and both can symbolize the developing Self<. In many cultures/legends, the dragon symbolizes wisdom and strength. Because of its hidden knowledge, the dragon often possesses supernatural/magical powers {myth}.
Pagan/Wiccan Interpretation of Dragon {Positive}
  • A symbol of wisdom due to long lives and potent magick
  • Dragon charms can bring power
  • Visions or dreams of dragons can symbolize a person in power
  • Dreaming of flying on the back of a dragon symbolizes the beginning of a new spiritual insight

Joseph's Dragon Dream in Revelations {Negative}

In Revelation 12, the major opponent of the church is also exposed. He is the terrifying red dragon with seven heads, ten horns and seven crowns on his head. Revelation clearly identifies the dragon or monster. He is "that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray" (12:9, with 20:2).

Satan's earthly proxy — the beast from the sea — also has seven heads and ten horns, and he is scarlet in color as well (13:1; 17:3). Satan's character is mirrored in his earthly representatives. The dragon personifies evil. Since ancient mythology had many references to dragons, John's audience would have understood that the dragon of Revelation 13 represented a cosmic enemy.

Exactly what the dragon's seven heads represent is not immediately clear. However, given John's use of seven as a numerical symbol of completeness, perhaps this suggests the universal nature of Satan's power and that he completely embodies within himself all evil. The dragon also has seven diadems or royal crowns on his heads. They could represent Satan's spurious claim against Christ. As the Lord of Lords, it is to Jesus that all crowns of authority belong. He is the one who will be crowned with many diadems (19:12, 16).

We are told the dragon had "swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to earth" (12:4). This fraction is used several times in Revelation. Perhaps we should interpret it as meaning a significant minority.
Links:     Dragons and the Earth Spirit     The Serpent's Prayer: The Psychology of an Image

Dragon Traditions of Myth in East & West
From Dragonorama

Dragons have a deeply rooted connotation in Western culture associating them with evil, whereas in Eastern stories they can also be kind and are considered very wise
The Western Dragon Tradition

Western dragons aren't necessarily evil - but they often are. At the very least they tend to be solitary and bad-tempered.

The typical Western dragon - or Wyrm - is a large, scaly creature resembling a dinosaur or a large lizard. It usually has wings and can fly, often it will breathe fire.

Western dragons tend to live in caves in mountains or hidden away in the forests. They often guard a stash of gold. Western dragons are often used to symbolise greed.
Note: Caves symbolize the unconscious. In dreams a dragon in a cave would often symbolize unconscious fears, or a need to confront {and slay} unconscious fears.

Dragons vary as much as people do. Although many Western dragons are brutal, ignorant creatures who kill and eat humans others are ancient, wise creatures more akin to those found in the East.

The Oriental Dragon Tradition

Whereas Western dragons are usually found in mountains or forests, Oriental dragons are more likely to be found in the sea. Many oriental dragons resemble water snakes.

Oriental dragons rarely breath fire, instead if a mortal annoys one then it is likely to result in great floods.
Note: When confronting the unconscious there is often a reluctance by the conscious mind to accept what is there. Often the conscious ego will throw annoying barriers so one will continue to repress or ignore unconscious contents.

The traditional Western dragon is often seen as a brutish creature to be feared. Oriental dragons tended to be wise and benevolent - as long as they were given the respect they deserved. Their chief flaw was their vanity and if insulted could cause dreadful natural disasters.

Oriental dragons fly to and from heaven in clouds but do not usually have wings. Some sources say that they gain wings after living for a thousand years.

Famous Dragons, Serpents & Wryms


The dragon Abraxas originated in Persian mythology however the name has been taken up elsewhere. As such descriptions of Abraxas vary considerably.

Abraxas is usually described as having either a man or a serpent's body with the head of a cockerel (sometimes two such heads). He has two dragon's feet and carries a whip in his human hands.

The name and image of Abraxas were of importance in Gnosticism and other esoteric teachings. Some identified Abraxas with a supreme deity.

There is much numerological interest in the name Abraxas. The number of letters - seven - is considered important by some. There is also interest in the fact that the letters of the name can be made to sum to 365 in some systems. Abraxas is thus considered the Lord of the 365 Virtues, one of which represents each day of the year.

Some people have sugested that the name "Abraxas" could itself be derived from "Abracadaba".

The name is considered to have great power and is inscribed on stone talismans called Abraxas Stones.

more Famous Dragons
The individual path....is a psychological journey

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