Dragon lore is very old. It actually even extends into human prehistory.
All cultures across the world speak of a time before the form and order of today’s world was “fixed”, and of powers dwelling in the world that predate humanity in both sentience and insight. Many of these still exist in the human species memory, and have been reflected in our own consciousness even if the original presence seems to be gone. Specifically, one of the most influential creatures of the terran “dreamtime” were dragons. Originally creator kings/queens of a sort, and would come to be the model of sovereignty for later human rulers.
But more specifically, what were dragons? Well, that’s not as easy to define as might be thought. For one thing, they were known universally for having either powers of concealment or shape changing. As a rule, they generally only become known as dragons when some action on their part reveals their nature, and possibly even their forms.
In many cultures, the highest divinities had “lesser” agents. Not lesser as in not as divine, but more focused or localized. In a sense, “incarnated” even before the act of creation became crystallized, set in stone, or rather “flesh and blood”, and the dragons had for bodies the primal forces of creation itself. The earth, wind, fire, and waters, but also having an existence preceding even these states of matter.
They had habits in the world, and across the world, and in all human reckoning these habits weren’t merely quirks. They shaped the world itself, forming the behaviours of the later “fixed elements”. They also seemed to have a remarkable ability to exist “beyond death”, and were often the keepers of the boundary between the world and death itself. For all the dragon slaying, east or west, dragons never really died, instead reincarnating or transforming in a way that their spirit still lingers in the world itself. The dragons were often the patrons of later mystical traditions. Like the way of the Druids or the Japanese Shinto priests.
Or like the Sumerians and Babylonians? Indeed. In fact, Marduk, a demi-urge like God, was said to have slain a female dragon by the name of Tiamat, and although he slew her she was said to live on in the world. The actions of Gaia herself were the behaviours of Tiamat herself, and humanity were said to have been created from the blood of Tiamats consort Kingu. So humanity in Sumerian belief are the children of dragons, but not only Sumerian.
Didn’t the rulers of those regions typically have themselves deified into sculpture and myth as dragon-like themselves in looks and behaviour? They did. In Hindu belief, we have two dragon divinities alive in our bodies, and our very physical health and continued life is dependant on their harmony. Ida and Pingala are their names.
Who coincidentally wrap around each other as a helix, like DNA. Yes, and in the same culture there were beings resembling both serpent and man, known as the Naga, who were believed to be very wise and possessing an advancement in the sidhis or “powers” well beyond the human potential of the time.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.